Obama Must Stop Netanyahu, Barak From Attacking Iran

If Obama is opposed to a military solution, then he must stop the duo of Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, before it is too late.

Akiva Eldar
Akiva Eldar
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Akiva Eldar
Akiva Eldar

Some six months before a devil incarnate shot Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in the back in order to stop the peace process, two American politicians stabbed him in the neck. In May 1995, at the height of the fragile negotiations on the interim peace agreement, the two welcomed Rabin to Washington with a fatal legislative initiative. The Republican candidate for the presidency, Bob Dole, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, proposed recognizing united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and requiring the administration to move the U.S. Embassy there. Yigal Amir hoped that his assassin's bullets could save Israel from the threat of peace; the Republicans hoped that their law would save several million dollars from the pockets of the Jewish donors.

Sixteen years after the assassination, "peace" is considered almost a dirty word in Israel. On the eve of elections in the United States, the fate of Israelis is once again serving as a ping pong ball in the hands of American politicians. The explosion of the peace process over the Jerusalem issue has made way for the Iranian nuclear plan.

There is a good reason why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is wont to describe Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Hitler. How can the leaders of countries that did not prevent the murder of six million Jews object to the right of Israel to defend itself from the deadly foe who wishes to destroy the Jewish state?

Gingrich, who has joined the race for the Republican candidate for the presidency, declared at the week's end that if the Israeli prime minister reaches the conclusion that the country is in danger, no American president could doubt it and expect Israel to sit with its arms folded and face the danger of another Holocaust. One of his rivals for the candidacy, Rick Perry, then hastened to announce that if Israel decided to attack Iran, he would demand that the United States stand behind it.

What do they have to lose? If this is a false threat designed to goad the United States into exerting more pressure on Tehran, they can wave their support. If a military assault is a new version of the last war in Iraq, they will be able to place the blame on President Barack Obama.

Escalating oil prices in the wake of a military confrontation in the Middle East, in the midst of a difficult winter and an extreme economic crisis, will be a boost to the Republicans. If Obama sits by idly, they will pull out his pictures from the much-publicized meeting of the United Nations' Security Council, which adopted his call for reducing the nuclear arsenal throughout the world. Who remembers that they did not open their mouths and utter a sound when "their" president, George Bush, with his own hands every half year, signed an order to delay the law for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital? Election considerations of the kind that distance Obama from any hint of disagreement with Netanyahu over the negotiations with the Palestinians are not merely immoral, they are also not effective. Numerous public opinion polls carried out over the years at the instigation of Jewish organizations have shown that the attitude toward Israel is at the bottom of the voting considerations of Jewish Americans in presidential elections - far behind economics, health and the war in Iraq.

A recent analysis conducted by experts at the Gallup polling company attributes the drop in Jewish support for Obama to the Jews' lack of satisfaction from his economic performance. In a survey of the American Jewish Committee, 73 percent of the Jewish respondents defined themselves as liberal or moderate, and only 25 percent as conservative. This ratio has barely changed over the past decade.

The Americans are reiterating that Iran's nuclear program is a worldwide problem. The members of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee pointed out the special significance of Obama's vision and action on behalf of a world without nuclear weapons. The president replied modestly that this was not an estimation of his achievements, but rather a call to action. He surely did not mean watching from the situation room in the White House how the Israeli Air Force goes into action against Iran.

If the Americans are so fearful of "a second Holocaust," and feel that they have exhausted the diplomatic option, will they kindly go into action against Iran themselves? If Obama is opposed to a military solution, then he must stop the duo of Netanyahu and [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak, before it is too late.

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