September 4, 2012 | 10:00 am
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Yesterday's headline made no room for mistakes: "A secret message from the US government to Iran: don't attack us if Israel attacks you." According to the paper's main story, Obama's government sent a secret message to Iran, through two European countries, asking Ahmadinejad to avoid attacking US military bases in the Middle East. The article also said that Obama stated he would not support an Israeli attack in Iran, and would not support any one-sided attack by Israel. Lately, there had been much speculation regarding a possible future attack in Iran, but this one caused quite a commotion.
In the past few months, we got used to reading almost every speculation regarding an Israeli attack on Iran. Day after day, the main articles in leading national newspapers went through the various possibilities for an attack. Sometimes, they referred to Israel's military options, sometimes to Obama's speeches about the sanctions, and sometimes to the failure that is the Obama- Netanyahu relationship. Due to the overdose of articles and new-old-not-so-breaking-news, we got rather indifferent to them, knowing the papers are drying up the Iran- attack well in the search of a non-existing sanctions. The articles mentioning the US government were the most boring of them all, because they were always the same: Obama is calling for sanctions, and asking Netanyahu to contain the attack for a little while. This is exactly why yesterday's headline was anything but boring.
This reported "secret message" meant that our one powerful ally, our solid backer, will not support us, in case of an attack in Iran. It meant that Obama doesn't really care we are under a life threat as Iran continues working on a nuclear weapon, while Ahmadinejad is telling whoever wants to hear that he wishes to kill all Israelis. It meant the one person we could trust to help us win this scary battle is not really there. It seems as if Obama doesn't trust Israel to attack Iran only in case there will be no other choice, and is willing to abandon the strong, six decades long friendship with Israel. More than the feeling of betrayal, I felt fear. This message was plain and simple, and shook us up. Of all the many speculations regarding the future attack, this one was by far the scariest. The US was the one partner we knew would help us win every battle and help us get through the roughest of times, and in one headline, the security was gone. After reading about the Obama-Netanyahu decreasing relationship recently, this story appeared as the bottom line and basically sealed the deal: the US-Israel relationship cannot be saved. We WILL lose the war against Iran.
This story was discussed on social networks and in each and every Israeli's mind. It made me restless, and for the first time, I was worried. It was only later in the evening when the US government replied to the story, when the White House spokesman Jay Carney told Reuters that this story is incorrect on every level. On the eight o'clock news, the anchor reported that US government officials blamed the false news on the Republicans, saying this is a part of their presidential campaign. I know the people behind this message probably won't read this, but I have something I want to say to them: Sorry, but this time you've gone too far. I get why the approach towards Israel will affect the support of the Jewish communities for your presidential candidate, but creating such a false story meant taking this election campaign too far. Just to make is clear: I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat, I am Israeli. I know we are far away, and not as many as you, but yesterday, you got many of us scared. Your little prank hurt the "little people", plain and simple. We also matter. We are not only a pawn in your campaigning game, and I can only hope both candidates fully understand this. Don't play with us, because everything you do, for better and for worse, affects us.
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