ISRAEL AND IRAN….Steve Clemons went to Israel recently and reports that Israelis are considerably less worried about Iran’s nuclear program than Americans are:

One of the issues that came up in many of the national security related discussions I had was that Israel has maintained and cultivated a very strong human intelligence network inside Iran. The two nations were close strategic allies 25 years ago ? and continue, in many behind-the-scenes ways, to communicate and possibly even to coordinate certain actions. It doesn’t mean that Israel is ready to appease Iran’s regional ambitions, but it does mean that I have witnessed far more worries about Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s anti-Holocaust and anti-Israel rhetoric in the U.S. than I did in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

….Nearly everyone I spoke to in Israel who ranged in political sympathies from the Likud right to Maretz left thought that the tone of the AIPAC conference had been too shrill and that Israel thought it wrong-headed and too impulsive to be engaged in saber-rattling with Iran at this stage.

I don’t know how widespread this belief is, but it’s an additional data point to consider. Do we really want to be more hawkish than the Israeli establishment on this issue?

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