If Obama decides it is in America’s interest to make an example of Israel after the Gaza flotilla incident in order to win goodwill in Cairo, Beirut, Tehran, and Ankara, then he must also recognize that the leadership in Jerusalem is going to conclude that it cannot trust the United States to safeguard its security, and that therefore it must take matters into its own hands on any number of issues, not the least of which is Iran’s nuclear program. In effect, if the White House decides to come down hard on Israel now, it is the same as giving a green light for Israel to strike Iran.
Rubin quickly claims that he is not engaging in “advocacy” for an Israeli strike on Iran, just as he claims to be opposed to military against Iran in general. (The real question, of course, is not whether bombing Iran would be his first choice but whether he prefers war to containment and deterrence as a last resort). But the threat is clear: keep quiet on the flotilla attack, or Israel starts a war with Iran — thereby destabilizing the region and jeopardizing the U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The obvious word for this is “blackmail”.