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April 14, 2024


Glen Tomkins

It's not at all clear that Netanyahu wants to avoid doing things that are stupid for Israel. Israel is in the middle of a "war" in Gaza. Why widen that conflict by attacking the Iranian consulate? What good could that do Israel?

Well, Netanyahu's interests diverge from those of Israel. Their electorate seems to realize this, and so seems ready to get rid of Netanyahu. Yes, they are at this "war" in Gaza, and a nation at war has to be careful changing leadership in midstream. But what is going on in Gaza is actually a one-sided slaughter. Gaza seems less and less a threat, Israel seems less and less in any sort of midstream with Gaza that would make it risky to get rid of Netanyahu.

War with Iran, though, that's different. Unlike Gaza, Iran has an actual military. Iran can fight back. Gin up war with Iran and you create a real midstream in which it is dangerous to change horses, so Netanyahu gets some armor against being ousted.

So far so bad, but now Iran has responded and its response makes it too look pretty toothless. No dangerous midstream! So, sure, Israel's best bet is to call it quits with Iran right now, no further tit for tat. But that was best for Israel before the IDF killed those Iranian generals, and Netanyahu went ahead anyway. What's best for Netanyahu now, forget about Israel, is to escalate into a really dangerous war with Iran.

His big problem is presumably getting the war cabinet to go along with him. It's not clear to me if he could do that, or if he could get around their disapproval of something really stupid for Israel, but smart for Netanyahu. I wonder if the war cabinet approved of the attack on the consulate, and if they did, why? Netanyahu managed that despite that being bad for Israel.


Good comments, Glen.

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