Israel confronts existential conflicts with Iran and proxies
Gadi Taub

News Analysis

By Steve Wisch

Hamas’ unprovoked Oct. 7 massacre of more than 1,200 Israelis requires that Israel initiate and win a series of wars against Iran and its proxies — Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi terrorists and ultimately Iran itself — as a matter of survival of the nation, said Professor Gadi Taub, a prominent Israeli academic and commentator, in recent interviews and remarks at Congregation Beth Israel in Houston.

“What I have to say is troubling. Israel must transform itself from a defensive posture and initiate wars with Hamas, Hezbollah and other Iran proxies and ultimately, will have no choice but to confront Iran” directly to survive, explained Taub.

In years past, Taub, who earned a Ph.D. from Rutgers University and has taught at Hebrew University, had different views. In “The Settlers” (published in English in 2010), Taub wrote that realization of Zionism required Israel to disengage from so-called occupied territories.

“The secular Zionist dream was fundamentally democratic,” Taub wrote in a 2010 opinion piece published in The New York Times.

“Its proponents, from Theodor Herzl to David Ben-Gurion, sought to apply the universal right of self-determination to the Jews, to set them free individually and collectively as a nation within a democratic state. (In fact, the Zionist movement had a functioning democratic parliament before it had a state.)” Taub previously saw the establishment of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza as inimical to Israel’s survival as a democracy in the Middle East.

“I no longer hold those views,” Taub explained, saying that the Oct. 7 massacre was an existential game changer for Israel and the Jewish people.

“This war is not (just) another chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s the first Iranian-Israeli war (being) fought through an Iranian proxy, Hamas. Hamas is the weakest Iranian proxy that surrounds us (Israel). And, if Israel doesn’t win this conflict decisively, our blood will be left in the water for the larger sharks (Hezbollah, Iran) to smell.

“And also, our newly formed alliances are likely to fray because if the Gulf states — our partners to the Abraham Accords — realize that Israel is weak and it’s open season on the Jews, then they will move away from us. Remember, these states are also afraid (of Iran).”

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi’s desire to eliminate Israel and the Jewish people is a matter of public record.

“I hope that God will liberate Palestine as soon as possible and we witness the final moments of Israel’s existence and celebrate its end,” he declared in November 2023.

Raisi has repeatedly questioned whether or not the Holocaust and the Nazis’ systematic murder of more than 6 million Jews actually occurred; he told “60 Minutes” in 2022 that if the Holocaust did occur, Israel and the Diaspora “should allow it to be investigated and researched.”

The American Jewish Committee reported in January that in addition to Iran’s proxies — Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthi terrorists — Iran funds at least a dozen terror networks across the Middle East.

Taub sees Israel’s survival requiring the “utter destruction of Hamas and will require hunting down all the heads of Hamas … After that, we will have to initiate war with Hezbollah, because the whole north of Israel has been evacuated.”

Hezbollah, which Taub says is a far more formidable foe than Hamas, is headquartered in Lebanon. Hezbollah is a Shiite Muslim terrorist force and political party situated in Lebanon. Its charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel. The Times of Israel has reported that Hezbollah receives approximately $700 million a year from Iran.

Taub’s view is that the Biden administration’s quest for a two-state solution is “preposterous.”

“If anybody outside of Israel believes that Israelis can be convinced to go to a two-state solution, they are out of their minds,” Taub said.

Taub believes a two-state solution, given the Oct. 7 massacre, would provide Israel’s enemies with a direct corridor to destroy the Jewish state.

“If the news that the U.S. is going to recognize a Palestinian state that doesn’t exist was intended to break up Prime Minister Netanyahu’s wartime coalition, it’s unlikely to work. Contrary to what the Biden administration assumes, the obstacle to the ‘two-state solution’ is Israel’s electorate, not its prime minister. The more the administration tries to ram this misguided plan down the throat of traumatized Israelis who are in no mood to compromise their security, the more the country’s prime minister will recover political support,” Taub wrote in a recent article in Tablet Magazine.

Simply put, the massacre of more than 1,200 Israelis by Hamas on Oct. 7 and its taking of at least 240 hostages has caused a “tectonic shift” and realignment of Israel’s vital national security issues. Taub believes that a series of wars with Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, other Iran proxies and Iran itself will be necessary for Israel’s survival.

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