The Irish Times Goes Easy on Iran, but Hard on Israel – analysis

The Irish Times Goes Easy on Iran, but Hard on Israel – analysis
Iranian Missile

The Irish Times says Iran’s new hypersonic missile ‘could boost [its] deterrence and give it a military advantage over international and regional foes.’

By Hugh Fitzgerald, FrontPage Magazine

In early June, Iran announced it had developed its very own “hypersonic” missile that could attain speeds of five to ten times the speed of sound – and reach Israel within “400 seconds,” too quickly, it was claimed, to be intercepted by Israel’s anti-missile defenses.

The homicidal glee with which this was announced, displayed even on billboards in Iran, was noted by some Western reporters, but not by Michael Jansen. Jansen, despite her name, is a female journalist; she has spent two decades reporting from the Middle East for The Irish Times.

Rachel O’Donoghue’s report on Michael Jansen’s dispatch can be found here: “Irish Times Sounds Excited at Prospect of Iranian ‘400 Seconds to Tel Aviv’ Missile,” by Rachel O’Donoghue, Honest Reporting, June 11, 2023:

Iran’s recent gleeful boasting that it has successfully developed a new hypersonic missile that takes just “400 seconds to [strike] Tel Aviv” did not go unnoticed by the global media last week.

CNN, for example, opened its report by noting how unusual it is to see Hebrew written on adverts in the streets of Tehran, referencing the ominous billboards that appeared in the Iranian capital last week signaling Iran’s unconcealed desire to wipe Israel off the map.

The billboards in Tehran were not advertisements, but warnings, in Farsi and Hebrew, to the Zionists that, given Iran’s new hypersonic missile, they should be “very afraid.” As a sign of Iranian attempts to strike terror in the hearts of “the Jews,” it certainly deserved to be reported on.

Meanwhile, The Guardian — frequently criticized for its unalloyed attacks on the Jewish state — also led with the warning to Israel and detailed at length the unhinged threats made by Iran’s leaders.

Even The Guardian, ordinarily so reliably anti-Israel, which at times has included downplaying threats made to the Jewish state by its enemies, in this case did not. It even reminded readers of the litany of “unhinged threats” made by President Raisi, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and IRGC commander Major General Hossein Salami to the state and people of Israel.

However, when it came to Michael Jansen over at the Irish Times, it appears there was something exciting — tantalizing, even — about the prospect of Tel Aviv being razed to the ground by an Iranian missile.

In the piece in which the new weapon is cavalierly described as a “game-changer,” Jansen presents the very construction of the missile as borne out of some defensive need to safeguard against Israeli threats while the Iranian nuclear program is viewed through the lens of Israeli aggression towards Iran with no mention of the latter’s desire for nuclear weapons:

“If the hypersonic missile is as effective as Iran claims, the weapon could boost Iran’s deterrence and give it a military advantage over international and regional foes. A substantial number of hypersonic missiles could mount devastating counter strikes if Iran is attacked and could be a game changer in the Middle East […]

“Israel has repeatedly called for military action against Iran’s nuclear programme and has carried out strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities and assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. Israel was blamed for a drone attack on an Iranian military factory in January of this year.”

Rachel O’Donoghue then notes:

There is also no mention at all of the frequent Iran-linked threats against Israel via the many Iranian proxies in the Middle East, including Hezbollah and Hamas….

Ms. Jansen has confused the aggressor, Iran, with Israel, the country Tehran has repeatedly threatened to annihilate. Israel has no desire either to conquer or destroy Iran, but only to prevent the mad mullahs from attaining the means — nuclear weapons — to destroy Israel. Yes, Israel has managed to destroy arrays of centrifuges – twice – at Natanz, that Iran had been using to enrich uranium. It has assassinated, seriatim, five Iranian nuclear scientists. It has hit a military factory just this past January. Can you blame Jerusalem? The Israelis are doing everything they can in order to avoid a major war with Iran, a preemptive war that would be precipitated by Iran’s being only days away from having enough enriched uranium to make one or more bombs.

Nor does Ms. Jansen mention how Iran has been sending weapons and money to the two terror groups, Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, that have been responsible for decades of attacks made on Israeli civilians. Hezbollah now has 150,000 missiles, received from Iran, that it is prepared to launch against Israel whenever Iran calls upon it do so. This failure to mention Iran’s powerful proxies is part of her minimizing Iran’s threat.

O’Donoghue again:

This invites the question of why the Iranians would need to take out purely defensive systems unless they needed to eliminate the one thing preventing their ballistic missiles from reaching their targets. But Jansen is so motivated against Israel, that she fails to consider the obvious….

As Rachel O’Donoghue says, the Fatah hypersonic missile was built in order to destroy Israel’s defensive weapons – especially the Iron Beam, an anti-missile system with a 96% success rate in intercepting incoming missiles. The Iranians need to destroy that defensive system before launching their ballistic missiles, with nuclear warheads, against Israel, which is their ultimate objective. Ms. Jansen fails to tell her readers that this is Tehran’s intent and Jerusalem’s nightmare. Perhaps she thinks the Iranians don’t mean it when they threaten to wipe out Israel? Israel, of course, doesn’t have the luxury of assuming that Iran doesn’t mean it.

Ms. Jansen presents Iran as the victim, only trying to develop weapons to prevent those terrible Israelis from attacking it. But the nuclear weapons it has been working on for many years are not defensive. Furthermore, Israel has never announced its desire or intent to annihilate Iran, as the Iranians have said they hope to do to Israel. Israel has not transferred 150,000 missiles to a proxy that could threaten Iran, as Iran has done by sending such a vast arsenal to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It is Iran’s “hypersonic” missile that, Tehran boasts, cannot be stopped by any Israeli anti-missile defense and can visit massive destruction on the Jewish state, while Israel only wants to defend against such a missile, not develop and launch one of its own against Iran. Israel intends to defend itself against attack from those who threaten its survival, Iran, on the other hand, has made clear it intends, if it acquires the means, to destroy Israel, if it can, not because it threatens Iran, but simply because it is a Jewish state.

The announcement of Iran’s latest weapon, and the intent expressed to use it against Israel, just appeared on billboards in Tehran, with monitory messages in both Farsi and — notably — Hebrew. These billboards was duly, and appropriately, reported on even by CNN and The Guardian. But in the report by Ms. Jansen in the Irish Times on Iran’s hypersonic missile, there was nothing about those sinister billboards.

Why not?

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