If Iran launches a nuclear missile attack on Israel, and Israel defends itself by using ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems to destroy the incoming missile, who will be blamed if winds send the radioactive fallout over Arab nations? Unbelievably, Israel will.

That was the prediction from Jeff Kuhnreich, American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) deputy director of policy and government affairs, speaking at an AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C.

“Iranians have made no bones about what they want to do with a long-range missile,” Kuhnreich told the audience.

That referred to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has said Israel should be wiped from the map. The Iranian leader as well predicted that Israel soon shall cease to exist. And he has denied the Holocaust.

Iran has fired missiles of various ranges in a single salvo test; fired a missile from a submerged submarine; and said it is embarking upon a space program. Placing a satellite or other object in orbit requires much the same missile capabilities as are required for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). If Iran ever gained such capabilities, it could hold not only Tel Aviv and Jerusalem at risk, it also would threaten New York City and Washington, D.C.

Some analysts say Iran would never dare launch a nuclear attack on Israel, because that would draw an instant, devastating response from the United States. But Kuhnreich said that the practice of deterrence called Mutual Assured Destruction worked to prevent a nuclear nightmare during the Cold War because rational leaders controlled both the United States and former Soviet Union. But not all leaders in the Middle East are rational, he indicated.

Further, Iran has refused to cease its nuclear materials enrichment program, which Iran claims is to produce fuel for nuclear electrical generating reactors, but which Western observers and the United Nations fear will be used to build nuclear weapons, igniting a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East. Iran claims it wishes to fuel nuclear electrical generators, even though Russia already has given Iran more than enough fissile material to fuel a generating station, and even though Iran is one of the most oil-rich nations on the planet.

Kuhnreich outlined what is likely to occur if Iran, as expected, become a nuclear-armed state.

“If Iran shoots (an ICBM) at Israel, and Israel shoots it down,” and the resultant fallout “drifts onto Arabs, guess who gets blamed?” Kuhnreich asked rhetorically, with unhappy resignation.

While outside observers would say Iran without question created the crisis by building nuclear weapons in defiance of world opinion, and then by launching a nuclear attack on Israel, Kuhnreich indicated that logic isn’t in great supply in the Middle East.

Rather, Israel, in defending itself from a nuclear nightmare, a holocaust killing thousands, would be the one to be blamed, he indicated.

Iran and its proxy terrorist groups want to attack and kill Israeli civilians, he said.

For example, he noted, when Hezbollah terrorists used 4,000 or more rockets and missiles obtained from Iran to assault Israel in 2006, Hezbollah didn’t focus those thousands of rockets on Israeli military targets. Rather, the weapons were used in a terrorist manner to attack an Israeli bakery, a train station and other civilian targets.

The attack, while horrendous, provided a useful lesson, he said: Israel absolutely must have a competent and capable missile defense.

Israel already is moving toward that goal by developing David’s Sling, the Arrow and other BMD systems.

What would aid Israeli missile defense systems would be access to U.S. missile defense radar data, from radars that could be installed in the region to warn of Iranian missile attacks. (Please see separate story in this issue.)

However, it is uncertain just if and when that might occur.

The United States is proposing to install a missile defense system in Europe, but that is subject to approval from the Czech Republic (radar) and Poland (interceptors in silos). And in Washington, Congress has curbed funding for the European Missile Defense system, which would be a variant of the U.S. Ground-based Midcourse Defense system now installed in Alaska and California, until the Czechs and Poles provide final permission to install the system.