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Loathing Trump, Hating Netanyahu

How can any Israelis complain about raising economic, political pressure on Tehran?

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For a brief moment I hoped that this time, for a change, the response would not be Pavlovian. Even if it strengthens his status in Israel and the world, Netanyahu’s haters would breathe a sigh of relief in view of the painful blow Donald Trump dealt Israel’s most dangerous enemy. I also thought that at least regarding the Iranian issue, they will also overcome the loathing they feel toward Trump.

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I was wrong. The arguments with which the hatred and loathing were wrapped may have reflected “strategic” assertions, but the real, deep reason for the grumbling and depression is the unequivocal proof that regarding Iran, Netanyahu – not they – was right the whole time. And the frustrations only grew when they found out that despite the greater risk of conflagration, most of the Israeli public gave broader support to Trump’s move, and extensive credit to the one they hate. This credit, as we learned from the Israel News Company, is reflected in the Likud’s streak upward in a public opinion survey held after the withdrawal announcement. In this case, the Likud is Netanyahu.

After the sour reactions toward the American move, it is no longer hard to believe – after all, they are people of peace – how respectable Israelis who use lofty language react negatively to every American move in Israel’s favor. They expressed their loathing after the announcement of the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem, the appointment of John Bolton, Israel’s admirer, as national security adviser and the appointment of Mike Pompeo, whose positions are close to Bolton’s, as secretary of state. Anyone who checks the reactions of Israel’s declared enemies to these pro-Israel actions will have no difficulty finding similarities – sometimes even identical language – between how they were denounced in Iran, Gaza and Ankara, and how they were in quite a few Israeli platforms, including this one.

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I can understand people being moved to despise Trump and oppose Netanyahu (the readers of this column know what my long-standing opinion of the latter is). But it’s beyond my grasp how Israelis, who know well to what end the ayatollahs’ regime is striving to produce the bomb, can present in a negative light Netanyahu’s personal achievement in the American withdrawal from the agreement – namely to increase the economic and political pressure on Tehran, which could bring the evil regime’s end closer.

After all, beyond the ambivalent analyses at the Herzliya conference, and the sour responses of other experts, they all know that one of the main reasons the Iranians refrained until Wednesday from retaliating against our attacks is linked to the fear of the United States’ pulling out of the agreement. But even now, maybe especially now, when the United States has already pulled out, Iran retaliated with a lukewarm shelling for fear that a broad-scale act of war would compel Europe to follow in the United States’ footsteps. Also, if Tehran continues with its deeds, the unpredictable Trump (who sent aircraft carriers eastward) may respond with aerial action and return to Syria – and the Middle East – with large forces, and shatter other schemes Iran is plotting.

What, in the name of the God of all sourpusses, is wrong with that? Even if the American deterrence fails; even if the Europeans continue to be Europeans and love Jews as they loved them throughout history, and stick to the agreement – what’s wrong? What’s the problem, when it’s about our national security, that as a result of the American sanctions the Iranians have less money to manufacture ballistic missiles and finance terror and subversion against us and Sunni regimes? And above all, what’s wrong with the Americans getting “involved,” deploying significant forces in Syria and standing as a buffer between us and Iran and as a counter-balance to the presence of Russia?