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Why Is a Liberal Israel Analyst Echoing Neocon Fearmongering on Iran?

MJ Rosenberg buys into the 'Iran as existential threat' frame.

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The bottom line here is that rationality doesn't correlate with a love of democracy, a belief in free speech and free expression, or anything that has or has not happened in Iran since the election. Ever since the revolution, regardless of who has been in power at the time, Iran's leadership has been interested, above all else, in self-preservation.

Roger Cohen wrote in response to an interview in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invoked the specter of mad mullahs with their finger on the button, "Every scrap of evidence suggests that, on the contrary, self-interest and survival drive the mullahs."

And while Rosenberg goes out of his way -- admirably and necessarily -- to distance himself from those using essentially the same argument to push for an attack on Iran that would prove utterly disastrous, he is still reinforcing his ideological opponents' framing of the issue.

His piece, however cautious, is another arrow in the quiver of those seeking a military confrontation -- it'll be yet another example of, "see, even liberal critics of Israeli foreign policy agree that Iran is an existential threat to the Jewish state."

To paraphrase E.J. Dionne, the stakes are simply too high to risk "talking the other guy's talk" on such a dangerous subject.

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.

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