Israel's PM needs to come clean on why he ignored his own intelligence service (Mossad) in his crusade to convince that Iran wants a nuclear weapon and so goad the world into bombing it, rather than negotiate for a nuclear energy settlement.
A week before Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the US Congress on his claims of an “existential” threat of a nuclear Iran, his argument appears to have been blown out of the heavy water by the latest release of leaked diplomatic/spy cables.
Al Jazeera and The Guardian are still trawling through the trove of information, but an early casualty, thanks to his own spy agency Mossad, is Netanyahu.
Remember the ridiculous cartoon bomb drawing he used as a prop at the United Nations in 2012?
Well the accompanying narrative was that Iran was a year away from making a nuclear bomb and the world must stop it.
However his own spies, just two weeks later, passed on to the South Africans that they knew that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons”.
It is not credible to presume Mossad told the South Africans and before having briefed its own boss. Such information takes time to assemble and assess.
The questions left begging are did Netanyahu deliberately mislead the UN, and if not, what was the source of his own intelligence?
If, as some of his supporters have claimed, the Prime Minister just did not agree with Mossad, the question of supporting evidence remains unanswered.
In fact the details in the cables with respect to the level of uranium enrichment Iran had achieved were so far short of Netanyahu’s bomb cartoon as to point to a much more sinister reason behind what now smells of duplicity - Netanyahu needs fear of Iran in order to boost his chances of personal political survival.
Fear of a messianic Iran is a slam-dunk, especially if the fear of Hamas has waned somewhat since the last assault on Gaza.
Netanyahu’s cartoon bomb - which seems even more risible now than it did then - not only took the UN for idiots, but the rest of us too in the hope that the US would be forced into abandoning all efforts to negotiate with Iran, and bomb the hell out of its nuclear facilities on Israel’s behalf.
At this stage we can all be thankful that not every leader is as trigger happy as Netanyahu, and instead of bombs we got talks. Serious ongoing negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran.
If the deal goes through, which it has to by the end of March, Iran will have the nuclear power resource it, as a signatory of the NPT, is entitled to.
this is not going according to Netanyahu's plan. He needs to be the strongman Israelis need to elect March 17 to protect them. For the 'cause' he has even sacrificed the tight relationship his country has with its benefactor and protector, the United States.
The US has been deliberately leaving Israel in the dark over the details of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations because it can’t trust that Netanyahu would not use any information in a selective way.
Netanyahu in turn has accused the negotiators of giving Iran a green light to maintain the ability to make nuclear weapons.
For that he’s earned a rebuke from US Secretary of State John Kerry who made it clear that anyone “bad-mouthing” the deal is premature.
Yet, the man who ignores his own intelligence services keeps on tub thumping because he alone, the Churchillian non-appeaser, just knows Iran wants a nuclear weapon.
While Israel, with its undeclared nuclear arsenal has practiced the skill of covertly stockpiling nuclear weapons, that is hardly a sound diplomatic, let alone moral base from which to accuse others.
The nuclear negotiators are due to meet again on Monday - the day before Netanyahu is scheduled to go through with perhaps his biggest blunder and address the US Congress on the perils of a nuclear Iran.
According to the Republicans Netanyahu is more qualified than most world leaders to talk about the threat that the Iranians pose.
That is at best a ruse, especially now we know the PM is out of step with his own intelligence service.
Plain and simple, the Republicans invited Netanyahu in order to give him a platform to bolster his domestic electoral chances.
Republican leaders are tight with Netanyahu and they want him to stay.
So too do the likes of American Jewish casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson who has established a newspaper in Israel that is a blatant Netanyahu mouthpiece, he’s a very generous sugar daddy to selected US Republicans, and blew close to $100m trying to defeat Obama in 2012.
Boehner and Co. crave Adelson’s approval.
If this were merely the election of just another right wing politician it wouldn’t warrant much attention.
However the Middle East is front and centre of contemporary geo-politics - again, disturbingly, for New Zealanders. A gung-ho Israel fuels this region.
Netanyahu has faced a deluge of calls to quit the March 3 speech. Opinion writers in Israel and beyond now openly taunt him about it.
The latest Haaretz poll shows his party has lost support to be tied with his main opposition Zionist Union.
So, bring on the international platform in order to deflect attention from his concerning economic and social domestic record.
Personally there is desperation to distract from the Israeli State Comptroller’s report suspecting criminal activity in the excessive spending of les Netanyahu.
He needs diversion from the reality that he has never intended to settle with the Palestinians, preferring instead to tread diplomatic water while engaging in rampant illegal expansionism into the occupied Palestinian territories.
He has unilaterally appointed himself Jewish leader of the world and calls on Jews persecuted in Europe to “come home” to a place most have never even visited. Naturally he omits to explain where he would house an influx from the likes of the Paris or Copenhagen slums.
He has angered American Jews by making them choose between America and Israel. Many have told him to stay home.
Now however, thanks to the spy cables, Netanyahu will have to produce evidence to back his trafficking of fear over a nuclear armed Iran.
Netanyahu fancies himself as the only leader capable of knowing appeasement when he sees it.
But then a big, bad Iran is good for his political survival.
The rest of us are more concerned with the success of the actual work underway to bring Iran out of the cold and back on a secure economic footing because like it or not, Iran is a seriously important player in the current and future Middle East.