Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.


There are serious considerations that impact on whether Israel and/or the U.S. decide(s) to attack Iran’s nuclear installations and facilities or not. These include strategic and tactical choices, timing, weather, support, geo-political teamwork, etc. There will be meetings in September at the opening of the U.N. session when many of the key heads of states or their representatives will be able to personally interact with each other and specifically with Israel. Iran, and the U.S. after which all options go on the table. Meanwhile Israeli leaders are determined to do everything to convince the U.S.,  it European friends, the Arab world, and its own people that it is not bluffing any longer.

These presumably rational activities are now being overshadowed by a set of public, grand scale posturing as both Iran and Israel are now rallying religious leaders in support of a possible attack against or by Iran. For Iran, there is nothing new in getting its the active involvement at the highest levels of Iranian politics of the Supreme Leader and his entourage in substance, rhetoric, hatred, and spirituality. 

It is, without a doubt, much stranger to see Israel, a country which could potentially be facing the greatest challenge ever to its existence, seeing its leaders seek to involve the leading rabbi in the country, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, in the process. It suggests a level of maneuvering for political purposes as Israel’s security leaders want his blessing so that the public can feel reassured and will not throw them out should their mission fail.

Finally, Jeff Goldberg, writing in Bloomberg View today makes the most interesting political suggestion. To avoid an Israeli attack or pushing the U.S. to do so at this time before the election, he suggests that Obama go to Israel—now.

Yes, Obama is running for re-election, and it is hard to leave Ohio and Florida. But a trip to Israel — a place he hasn’t visited as president — would put Iran on notice that Obama is deadly serious about thwarting their plans. Combined with stops in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, such a visit would also allay the fears of our Arab allies. Most important, such a visit could prevent war. Which, of course, is a very presidential thing to do.


Obama has around 70% of the Jewish vote and even if he is attacked by Romney forces for the transparency of such a trip, the pluses will clearly greatly outweigh the negatives.

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