The Persian Hand

As you’ve probably heard if you follow the news at all, for the first time in nine months a suicide bomber has struck Israel, murdering three people in a bakery in Eilat. The Israelis had become quite good at blocking the infiltration of attackers from the West Bank through their use of checkpoints, a giant wall, restrictions on Palestinian movement, etc., but this guy came through from Egypt. What I don’t see in either that Times story or in The Washington Post’s account is the effort to blame this on the enemy du jour, Iran. Fortunately, yesterday at 3:30 PM Eastern Time my inbox was hit with a press release from The Israel Project glossing the events thusly: “Iran-backed Terror Group Behind Attack in Eilat”. They note, accurately enough, that Iran provides financial support to Palestinian rejectionist groups including most notably Palestinian Islamic Jihad and then swiftly move to the Iranian nuclear program:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and believes it is his duty to bring about an apocalyptic war that will usher in the 12th Imam, a Messiah-like figure of Shiite Islam. A group in Iran says it has recruited 25,000 people to carry out martyrdom attacks against the West, and Tehran is pursuing a nuclear program in defiance of the U.N. Security Council.


You may recall from the Iraq Debate that these kind of truthy charges about Saddam Hussein’s role as a sponsor of Palestinian terrorism played a prominent role. These are good talking points for the hawks because they have the virtue of — unlike many of their talking points — being firmly grounded in some actual facts. The purpose, clearly, is to get people to leap beyond the facts and believe either that Iran is likely to give PIJ/Hamas/Hezbollah a nuclear bomb, that “Iranian support for terrorism” means Iran is hell-bent on sponsoring terrorist attacks on American soil and may have been involved in 9/11, and to believe that Iran is the main cause of Palestinian terrorism. This last you may recall from the “road to Jerusalem goes through Baghdad” school of thought which held that with Saddam out of the way the Palestinians would suddenly fold and Israel could achieve that glorious combination of a stable peace deal without giving anything up they want.