Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Netanyahu: 'Never Again!'

Israeli PM Indicates 2012 Year of Decision,
Iran Must be Stopped Before it's Too Late

How much is “much longer” is the subject of debate, but one thing is clear: Israel won’t wait beyond 2012 or until after the US presidential election in November.

“Israel has waited six years for sanctions to stop Iran,” he told the AIPAC audience, but they have failed.

He produced two documents dated 1944 in reply to the widely-reported view that Israel is short of the capacity to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and an attack would cause disastrous consequences for the region and the world.

One document was a World Jewish Congress plea to the US State Department for the Americans to bomb the Auschwitz death camp. The second was a rejection of the WJC’s appeal, explaining that diverting large-scale air power from America’s primary front would bring forth “even more vindictive action from the Germans.”

Netanyahu drew loud cheers when he declared, “As Israeli Prime Minister I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation! Never again!”

Can Israel on its own end the Iranian nuclear threat without losing Tel Aviv? Nearly 45 years ago, Israel faced a similar threat. Click here to read about the Six-Day War--and the destruction of the Egyptian Air Force on the ground in order to prevent it from bombing Israeli civilians. The lessons of that conflict and of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when Israel failed to act preemptively, are certainly in the minds of today's Israeli leaders.

Tragically, successive American administrations have ignored the lessons of another time--the lead-up to World War II. Just as appeasement of Nazi Germany not only failed to prevent a war but made it inevitable, appeasement of Iran … followed by failed attempts to actually align with it in a Grand Bargain aimed at pacifying parts of the Greater Middle East … have made war with Iran inevitable.

World War II was initially fought on Germany's terms. Benjamin Netanyahu is letting Israel's friends--and enemies--know that Israel has no intention of fighting a war with Iran on its terms. The Jewish State has the political will--and the weapons--to prevail.

UPDATE: The Prime Minister's domestic political foes have accused him of trivializing the Holocaust, as reported here. They are dead wrong. Netanyahu was clearly not comparing Israel to a Jewish ghetto or to imprisoned and starved Jews about to be annihilated in a death camp. To the contrary; he made clear that Israel is more than capable and has every intention of defending itself. But he was comparing the Iranian and Nazi threats--absolutely. In contrast with his critics, Netanyahu is a student of world history. He appreciates all too well the parallels between prewar Nazi Germany and (prewar) clerical fascist Iran; and, in this regard, he understands that a totalitarian regime committed to a policy of imperialism--meaning, a policy of trying to overthrow the status quo, or power relations among nations--cannot be appeased, as shown by World War II, is difficult to contain, as shown by the period of the Cold War when Stalin was in charge of the Soviet Union, and, in the case of an irrationally apocalyptic actor, such as Iran, is impossible to contain.