I hate lies. Lying is an art, and government lies are as ugly as modernist paintings. Professors of art can teach painting but are lame painters themselves; politicians’ proficiency at lying doesn’t make their lies good or credible. Lying is a high art.

The story of Ahmadinejad’s “promise” to wipe Israel off the map is shocking. Not because it is a lie. Political lies haven’t shocked me for decades now. The story showed that the king is naked; the kings here are Western analysts on Iran. It wouldn’t be shocking had they only missed that Ahmadinejad quoted a famous line by Ayatollah Khomeini; ignorance is widely acceptable in the intelligence community. What is shocking is their complete lack of intuitive understanding of the Iranian mentality. It is extremely unnatural for an Iranian to promise to wipe a country off the map. Such ugly straightforwardness is part and parcel of Western culture, specifically of the rationalist fast food culture. Every analyst who works on Iran had to immediately jump up screaming that an Iranian just couldn’t say those words. “To wipe off the map” is American language rather than Persian. Khomeini years ago promised that the Zionist state would vanish from the book of time. That statement implied no violent role for Iran whatsoever. In Western parlance, that’s the equivalent of “justice will prevail.”

Iran is the only Muslim country with a large, thriving, and content Jewish community. We the Jews have never had institutional or otherwise lasting problems in Iran. It is disgusting to see Israel appealing to the chorus of Jew-haters against the country most tolerant of Jews.

The Muslim rulers of Iran naturally have a problem with the Zionist regime. Good Jews too have a problem with it. Such an attitude is not peculiar to the ayatollahs. The Shah of Iran, a murderous dictator and close friend of America, didn’t embrace Israel either. In terms of foreign relations, Iran has every right to subvert a regime it doesn’t like: the Israeli regime. The United States searches for “distant monsters” around the world to destroy; the CIA has subverted scores of regimes abroad. Israel too cooperates with the Kurds to subvert the ayatollahs. Iran works against the post-Zionist regime which took hold of Jewish land: that possibly makes Iran an enemy, but not at all the demonic state it is often pictured to be.

Iran supports the Palestinian and Lebanese independence movements. It is Iran’s right and a logical stance for an honestly Islamic regime. But for the Arab guerrillas, Israel would still occupy South Lebanon and refuse statehood to Palestinian Arabs. Polls show that Israeli support for Palestinian statehood correlates with Palestinian terrorist campaigns. Arab suicide bombers made Israel accept Palestinian national aspirations. That’s not to say that Israel should abandon South Lebanon, which is the northern part of the Promised Land, or agree to Palestinian statehood. The point is, Iran is a decent adversary not deserving of the hysterical hate poured upon it.

Iran shows restraint in supporting Hezbollah and Hamas. After the Israeli Air Force destroyed a transport of Zelzal missiles in Lebanon, Iran didn’t try resupplying Hezbollah with mid-range missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv. The bulk of Iranian aid to Hezbollah and Hamas goes to charity; their military capabilities are largely provided for by Syria and by smaller foreign donations.

Israeli rulers have happily made Iran into a straw man and scarecrow. High-ranking Israeli traitors from Beilin to Lieberman united against the Iranian threat. Other urgent problems are set aside—such as the problem of IDF becoming bureaucratized like the US Army, an overly expensive monster incapable of lightning (before the media strikes back) offenses. Enemy armies have grown huge enough to make conventional wars prohibitively dangerous for Israel, and the mid-range and anti-aircraft missiles of Arab countries tremendously constrain the IDF’s attack capabilities. The Iranian nuclear threat is inflated specifically to hide the real, existential problems Israel is incapable of dealing with: loose Pakistani nukes, nuclear proliferation by North Korea, some of the Pakistani nuclear warheads reportedly stocked in Saudi Arabia, and the Egyptian, Algerian, Moroccan, and Libyan nuclear programs.

Iran would never attack Israel with nuclear weapons. A historian would be hard pressed to recall the last instance of major aggression by Iran; the minuscule Tunbs invasion seemed an aberration until the recently opened British archives confirmed that the Sharjah emirate requested the invasion as face-saving measure. True, Iran will brandish its nuclear weapons and possibly provide a defensive nuclear shield for Syria; but thousands of Syrian mid-range missiles, many with chemical and biological warheads, provide an equally potent shield.

It is not even clear that Iran indeed has a military nuclear program. It might insist on domestic enrichment solely to satisfy its national pride. As a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has a right to enrich uranium, and winding down its program means bowing to US pressure.

Shiite Persian Iran is Israel’s natural ally against Sunni Arab enemies. Iran would be a much more welcome and honest arbiter of Israeli-Arab conflicts than Egypt, which currently holds the de facto office of regional arbiter. Nuclear Iran would create great unrest in Azerbaijan and other Russian neighbor-countries, bankrupt Israel’s Arab enemies with an arms race, and share the status of their collective enemy alongside Israel.

There are good reasons for Israel to attack Iran and destroy its nuclear facilities. Reinstating the Jewish deterrent is an important consideration. Preventing the rush of Arab regimes toward their own nukes is another reason. Maintaining the psychologically important regional monopoly on nuclear weapons is also a casus belli.

In the Christian-Islamic-Black-Asian world, Israel has no friends. Sometimes we have to attack friends to scare off our enemies.