Dueling Column: Netanyahu won’t let Israel be destroyed

Image by Prime Minister of Israel via Flickr

Amid Bennaim | Staff Writer



Unfortunately, we live in a country in which everything has become politicized and we sometimes forget the role of our leaders. We often assume that it is the same in other countries, but it is not. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu came to the United States in order to address Congress. Meanwhile President Obama refused to see Netanyahu because he believes this to be a political ploy by the Israeli Prime Minister to garner support for his reelection which will be just a few weeks after his trip to Washington. However, the Prime Minister of the State of Israel came for the sole purpose of saving the people of his country from complete and utter extermination.

It is important for the American public to understand why this is not a political ploy for increased votes. While his popularity has dwindled since the past summer’s war with Hamas,  most polls indicate that the Prime Minister will keep his job. Israel’s alliance with the United States is very important to Israeli voters, but going on a diplomatic mission to America is hardly groundbreaking. Nearly all Israeli Prime Ministers come here and they are all warmly received, so Israelis don’t consider this sort of diplomatic mission as a reflection of Netanyahu’s diplomatic prowess.

Prime Minister Netanyahu came to the United States because at the end of this month, the current nuclear non-proliferation treaty with Iran expires, after which Iran can resume its nuclear weapons program. He came here to implore Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, to make a deal that will ensure that Iran will not achieve its goal of attaining nuclear weapons. Netanyahu needed to come here because one nuclear weapon is enough to destroy the entire State of Israel.

There were two main criticisms of Netanyahu’s visit to congress. The first being the Boehner invited Bibi without Obama’s consent. While this might not be standard operating procedure, it is not illegal. People tend to overlook the fact that only congress can ratify treaties and only they can remove sanctions. Netanyahu felt that he needed to come here and appeal to the ruling body of the most powerful nation on earth as well as Israel’s closest ally. Internal American politics aside, if the leader of a country facing destruction is invited to come to congress and plead to the American people, it is obvious that he/she will come and make an appeal to them.

The second criticism of Bibi’s visit is that he did not propose a different plan of action. In truth, Netanyahu has been doing so for years. As he said in front of congress, he wants a path by which the international community can verify that there is no enrichment of nuclear fuel in Iran. Whether this comes from a good deal between the governments negotiating in Geneva, with the collapse of the Iranian regime through sanctions or through a military strike, Bibi just wants to make sure that he can verify that no weapons are being built. Netanyahu has put those three options on the table for years. If neither of the peaceful options work, the alternative  is clear, “even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand” he said.

As Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Netanyahu has the obligation to do everything in his power to prevent Iran, a theological dictatorship which funds terrorism world-wide and denies that the Holocaust happened, from developing the means to wipe out Israel. The idea that Iran will attack Israel is not an irrational fear, but the literal message that the clerical dictator Ayatola Khomeni broadcasts repeatedly to his people through his public speeches, through the state-owned propaganda machine and even Twitter. Even Saudi Arabia, a historic enemy of Israel, has allowed Israeli planes to pass through Saudi airspace if Israel were to attack Iran because they are also afraid of a nuclear Iran.

Israel is smaller than New Jersey. A 1 megaton nuclear bomb detonated in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Haifa would instantly incinerate millions of Israelis and the fallout would kill nearly all men, women and children in the country. This would not only be a national tragedy for the country but a genocide of the Jewish people less than 70 years since Adolf Hitler unleashed a Holocaust upon us which killed more than six million Jews. Over half of all the Jews in the world live within the borders of the State of Israel, and they are the target of Iran’s nuclear ambition.

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