Can Sparta be Stopped? By Miko Peled

A senior Israel government official, who is strongly believed to be Israel’s Defense Minister General Ehud Barak, was quoted in Haaretz saying “The blade that rests on our neck today is more dangerous than the blade that threatened us in 1967.” In spite of evidence that clearly proves Israel was not under any threat in 1967, the legend of the1967 war where Israel was supposedly under an existential threat and therefore had to engage in a pre-emptive strike against it Arab neighbors, continues to live on in the minds of Israelis. Now this myth is being manipulated to justify an attack on Iran. General Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are recreating 1967 in order to spread fear among Israelis and solidify their arguments for an attack on Iran.

Until recently it seemed that Israel wanted the so-called Iranian threat so it could use it as a smoke screen.  It was easy for Israel to hide behind an Iranian threat so that the state can continue its atrocities and gross human rights violations against the Palestinian population.  But now, as the 1967 scenario is being re played it seems that Israeli decision makers want more than just the threat, they want the war.

In the weeks and months leading up to the war of June1967, several elder statesmen warned of a pending disaster if Israel acted alone and they pleaded that Israel must not act until US approval was clearly given for an attack.  Today, Israeli President Shimon Peres came out of his non-political post as citizen number one, and said Israel must not attack without the US or “It will remain friendless”. Line by line, this too was taken from the script of the 1967 play.

Clearly Israel is the Sparta of today where war is just a game. Seventy five million Iranians who have done no harm must suffer sanctions and live in fear of an impending attack. Israel is known to be a nuclear power and it has a history of aggressive, one would argue irrational and violent behavior.  The question is who has the power to stop Sparta, and the answer, sadly, is: No one.

In a world where stockpiles of weapons need to be replaced so that new ones can be manufactured and sold, and politicians running for office confuse war mongering with leadership, an entire nation is once again seen as collateral damage. Iranians may be victims to the war hungry state of Israel and money hungry US arms manufacturers and contractors.

Just as in the case of Iraq, once the guns are silenced and the dead have been counted, and whatever it is that these blind, war hungry megalomaniac generals and politicians did not foresee happen does happen, only then will people ask, “why?” Why was this war necessary? Why did we allow the rogue Zionist state that has already delegitimized its very existence by practicing ethnic cleansing and mass murder of civilians to go ahead with this act of terrorism against Iran? Then politicians will claim they opposed this from the get-go and that they were misinformed, and the look for a scapegoat will begin.  But by then the damage will already have been done, the destruction will not be undone and the dead will not be brought back to life.

What will it take to stop Sparta? Palestinians, who suffer daily under the yoke of Israel’s oppressive and brutal regime, have been calling out for years but their cries fall on deaf ears. Israel continues the slow and methodical ethnic cleansing campaign that began six decades ago, but the world looks the other way. Now it seems that Israel is preparing for its most dangerous, indeed most deadly escapade and still politicians in the US and around the world either sit idle or add to the beat of the war drums with their absurd claims of an Iranian threat. One wonders what would it take for millions to start protesting in front of Israeli embassies and consulates around the world and demand Israel stand down the threat of war.

On June 1967, Israel’s government was pushed into the war by an irresponsible, trigger happy, overly confident group of young generals who wanted to conquer land and destroy the Arab armies. No thought was given to the future of the state or to the consequences the war may bring, but because they were victorious their irresponsible actions were forgotten. Today, a government that is blinded by a desire to fight, destroy and of course win leads Israel. They are certain that victory is within reach and they seem willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to act on their urge to attack. They are Sparta.


  1. Like most American Jews, I was “taken in” by the farce of 1967. On campus at USC, Jewish fraternities organized support drives for teeny weeny vulnerable Israel. Palestinian students and organizations set up information desks which were assaulted by students several times over as I recall. Ah, little Israel reluctantly forced to fight the big bad Arabs. Our time had come on the world stage!

    I am now ashamed of having been naïve, ill-formed, ready to beat the drums of the tribe, ashamed but forgiving at having been so young, believing and trusting. The myth of 67 is easily shattered by anyone willing to ask the hard questions and use their brains. As a replay, the Iran story is also easily shattered. The nuclear threat presented by Iran is a chimera. Iran has no nuclear weapons, on the one hand, and war could stop Iran from obtaining such weapons if it chooses. Rather than attacking Iran, why doesn’t Israel offer a nuclear ban treaty with Iran? Iran forgoes nuclear weapons in the future and Israel disarms its nuclear arsenal.

    Of course Israel will not disarm willingly, not for anything. It is bound to its hegemony in the region and the policy of war which sustains it. War provides profits for the US, glorifies Israel and draws world Jews and others into a glorious but ill-defined future. It is nonsense but without war, Israel has nothing special to draw Jews from all over the world as required by the Zionist program. Indeed, without war, Israel would not have had the West Bank to offer settlers (“frontiersmen!”) today! War is the mother of possibilities; without it, Israel becomes just another little ME state as it was prior to 67. Miko is right that economic interests in the US are tied to such war, but for Israel war is so much more: War creates the illusion of change without real change, the illusion of taking another positive step toward securing the Zionist future. A Jewish State is demographically and politically impossible but this only makes it more romantically desirable.. If bombing Iran will help secure the land of Palestine for Jews, well then bomb away! And while all eyes are on Iran and the US, Israelis can dodge their real problems and their true history for another generation. Meanwhile, I do what I can to prevent all this.

    Right on, Miko!

  2. I am on the last pages of your book–it has restored my faith in human nature. That line, “Ah, brave new world that has such people in it,” keeps running through my head.
    The comparison to Sparta carries weight, perhaps you could expand on this.
    Many, many thanks, Gaby

  3. Spellcheck should be banned. Yolk is from an egg – Yoke is what holds the Palestinians under Israeli oppression. A good dictionary goes a long way. Otherwise, good article.

  4. Dear Miko, Again, and again, I wont to publish your book. And invite you to come to Argentina to present your book in Spanish. Let me know if it is posible. Let me tell that in april next year I am publishing Gilad Atzmon book The Wondering Who and Gilad will be here to present his book in its Spanish translation. Cordially yours. Saad Chedid

  5. War is everything. For Israel, war is not simple foreign policy but projects how Israel and Israelis want to be known and understood. It is the \”I\” in Israel, the literal defense shielding the contradictory and troublesome life of conscience in Israel. War expresses clarity and Israeli political and intellectual life has very little clarity, to say the least. War is simplicity itself compared to politics. War works the tribal impulse and connects people who are otherwise not connected. It provides commitment and purpose in a complex world. War was used by demagogues throughout history to simplify issues and reduce dissension. (Barak sees himself — can you believe? — as a demagogue!) War creates enemies: Israel has created many of its enemies.

    Underlying the passion for war-making, however, is fear. This fear is amorphous, attaching to one thing after another, one \”enemy\” after another. IMO, the national fear in Israel is the fear of being found out, or being exposed finally as charlatans. Israelis live with the deep fear of being held to account for the past, the Nakba and all the lies and violence perpetrated by Zionism over the decades. It is fear of facing the facts at last and making things right. And so Israel is a ghetto held in by the walls it has made in the WB and Gaza and the blockade as Atzmon suggests in his work.

    In his book, Miko Peled points to the “pain of knowing”, the pain that outsiders, not the victims of Israeli power, can share. This is the pain that goes with understanding that despite anything and everything Palestinians are being dispossessed, threatened, injured, jailed and killed on a daily basis without meaningful consequences.

    Let the Israeli Spartans take note: Sparta did not make it in the face of emerging territorial national empires.

  6. Salam Miko,

    Very will written opinion. Your analogy of such potential war against Iran with the 1967 war is very creative and true. There is absolutely no need to wage war against Iran. Such war will have a very destructive consequences knowing that Iran will not be like Afghanistan or Iraq. The Persians are very patient people and their civilization goes back thousands of years. Iran will never use an atomic bomb against anybody as some Israeli leaders claims. The Iranians know that the US will back Israel and Israel has close to 200 Atomic missiles that can wipe out Iran from the map. I am praying that wisdom will prevail and no war will take place. I recall in the eighties the same propaganda was waged against Pakistan. At that time it was call the Islamic atomic bomb. Pakistan ended having the bomb but apparently for deterrence and not for attack.

    You must be facing lots of criticism from Israelis for your position. To face such attack you need lots of courage.

    Ghassan Elashi

    (Ghassan is in federal prison, serving a 65 year sentence. He is one of the Holy Land Foundation 5 who were punished for operating the largest Muslim charity in America. They helped orphans, they assisted in building hospitals and libraries, providing wheelchairs and ambulances. Ghassan is a Palestinian from Gaza.) I am posting this with his permission. MP

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