Painting Israel into a Corner
As many of us feared, the Iran Deal has become more and more problematic for Israel on many fronts. President Obama has stated that “the whole world” favors this deal, and only Israel is in opposition. (Whether this is true or not doesn’t really matter. If President Obama repeats it often enough it becomes “true” in the media and in public perception).
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s stridency has rubbed many people the wrong way. The Jerusalem Post has reported that Netanyahu continues to urge American Jews to lobby against passage of the Iran Deal. He thus puts American Jews into a dilemma. We are asked to be the vocal supporters of Netanyahu’s Iran strategy, whether or not we agree with him. Many Jewish organizations are busily at work trying to convince Congress to reject the Iran Deal. But many Jews are not sure this is a good approach. It would be so much more effective if this were not perceived as “an Israel issue,” or as a “Jewish issue.” Whether the deal is good or not should be of concern to many people, Jewish or not Jewish; pro Israel or not pro Israel.
This is a no-win situation for Israel and for American Jews. In fact, the Congress will almost surely adopt the Iran Deal; if it rejects the deal, President Obama’s veto will override congressional opposition. Once that happens, Israel—and American Jews—will find themselves in an uncomfortable political isolation.
If by some chance Congress does defeat the Iran Deal and does override the President’s veto, then Israel—and American Jews—will be blamed by President Obama and the “whole world” for undermining American diplomacy. Such a “victory” will hardly be an occasion for dancing in the streets.
Israel’s security concerns are certainly valid. But Israel—along with other Middle Eastern nations-- should be pointing out that a nuclear Iran will not only endanger Israel, but the entire Middle East. If, Heaven forbid, Iran launched a nuclear attack on Israel, it would have devastating impact on the Palestinians, on Jordan, Syria, Egypt and other countries. An attack on Israel would result in a ferocious retaliation by Israel using every weapon in its arsenal. This would prove catastrophic for Iran, but would also encourage Iran to launch even more missiles not only at Israel but at its enemies in the West. World War II will look like child’s play compared to what might happen in this next war that will include nuclear weapons.
We can be sure that the military and political leadership in Israel is busy working on Plan B—what to do once the Iran Deal is put into effect. It is very important that this Plan B be clearly defined, so that Iran—and every other country—will know how Israel will react in the face of Iranian aggression.
When all is said and done, Israel is a mighty nation, but a very tiny country. It needs the confidence to act with strength and courage; but it also needs the humility to realize that it must relate positively to as many other countries as possible. It is self-defeating for Israel to paint itself into a corner.