How did Israeli PM Netanyahu do yesterday?....
Bibi's AIPAC Address. His 30-min. speech (full speech text) was given to more than half the members of the Congress, a clear indicator of how wide Israel's support is in America; the eternally demonized "Jewish Lobby" is, it seems, a majority of Americans. He focused exclusively on Iran's prospective nuclear threat. He crisply summed up the absurdity of those questioning Iran's commitment to build a nuclear weapon, noting that underground facilities & ICBMs are not designed to deliver medical isotopes:
The Jewish state will not allow those seeking our destruction to possess the means to achieve that goal. A nuclear armed Iran must be stopped. Amazingly, some people refuse to acknowledge that Iran’s goal is to develop nuclear weapons. You see, Iran claims that it’s enriching uranium to develop medical research. Yeah, right. A country that builds underground nuclear facilities, develops intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactures thousands of centrifuges, and absorbs crippling sanctions – is doing all that in order to advance…medical research. So you see, when that Iranian ICBM is flying through the air to a location near you, you’ve got nothing to worry about. It’s only carrying medical isotopes.
Bib offered a neat "nuclear duck" formulation:
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then what is it?
That’s right, it’s a duck. But this duck is a nuclear duck. And it’s time the world started calling a duck a duck.
Bibi put it bluntly: "As Prime Minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation."
Bibi reiterated his morning White House quote: "When it comes to Israel's survival, we must always remain the masters of our fate." And this, writes Bill Kristol, is the fundamental issue:
The issue is not whether Israel can trust President Obama to do what he says—or whether Israel could trust any American president on a matter of such gravity. The issue is not whether the president is right to be confident that the U.S. would see an Iranian breakout and could act in time. The issue is not even how an Iranian nuclear capability, pre-breakout, would transform the region for the worse. These are all secondary issues.
The Israeli prime minister insists that Israel remain the master of her fate. The American president is willing to let the Iranian nuclear program go to a point where Israel would no longer be master of her fate. This is the fundamental disconnect. And this disconnect can result in only one outcome: Israel will have to act.
Bibi then recounted how in 1944 the US refused to bomb Auschwitz--in part for fear it would radicalize the Nazis:
Some commentators would have you believe that stopping Iran from getting the bomb is more dangerous than letting Iran have the bomb.
They say that a military confrontation with Iran would undermine the efforts already underway, that it would be ineffective, and that it would provoke even more vindictive action by Iran. I’ve heard these arguments before. In fact, I’ve read them before. In my desk, I have copies of an exchange of letters between the World Jewish Congress and the US War Department. The year was 1944. The World Jewish Congress implored the American government to bomb Auschwitz. The reply came five days later. I want to read it to you. Such an operation could be executed only by diverting considerable air support essential to the success of our forces elsewhere…..and in any case would be of such doubtful efficacy that it would not warrant the use of our resources….And here’s the most remarkable sentence of all. And I quote: Such an effort might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans. Think about that – “even more vindictive action” — than the Holocaust.
Bibi then praised Obama--an obligatory gesture well executed. At WSJ Bret Stephens grimly details how a prominent Obama pundit-supporter offers evidence--in a pro-Obama book, apparently--that O's view of Israel is poisonous. Bibi gets this too.
One Israeli TV news report has Israel having already made a final decision to attack Iran, unless conditions change for the better in the interim. But the report is not specific as to date range. Barry Rubin sees war with Iran as inevitable, unless (a) Iran stops short of assembling an actual weapon; (b) sabotage delays Iran's program; (c) there is regime change in Tehran. Iran, slow-rolling us again, has offered one-time access to its Parchin facility (visited once before, in 2005), where Iran is suspected of conducting explosive tests for a nuclear bomb trigger. But Iran offers no date, so it will have time to scrub the site before inspectors visit.
Give the last word to PJM's Roger Simon, who says: "Bibi for President!" He speaks better than anyone is US politics--including better English. Alas, though he spent much of his youth in the US, he is a sabra--born in Israel--and thus ineligible.
Bottom Line. Bibi demolished claims by some in the Obama administration that Iran is not bent on developing a nuclear weapon, and demolished the argument that attacking a nuclear Iran is worse than suffering its existence. In a setting cordial rather than confrontational, as was last year's Bibi-Obama set-to on the eve of AIPAC, Bibi avoided treacherous political shoals whilst preserving all of Israel's options.
Per the Ira Gershwin lyric, "Who could ask for anything more..."
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, National Security, Nuclear Proliferation, WMD, Terrorism, Foreign Policy, Conservative Politics