Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nuclear Iran

Many in the Jewish community feel McCain would be the best choice in supporting Israel. I don't think either candidate will put the needs of Israel against those of the US. McCain has promised to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, just as President Bush did and others before him.

Bush refused to meet with Arafat and that made me respect him. We mustn't forget it was a Republican president, Reagan, who gave safe passage from Lebanon to Arafat and other members of the PLO. It was another Republican president, Eisenhower, who plied pressure on France and Israel to stop the attack on Egypt after Egypt seized the Suez Canal. It was a Republic president, Nixon, who didn't think Israel needed all those tanks and weapons during the Yom Kippur War.

It was a Democratic president, Truman, who not only instructed the US delegation to the UN to vote for the creation of the State of Israel but also was one of the first of the world leaders to recognize Israel. I cannot ignore the fact that the US also restricted the sales of arms to Israel before Israel declared statehood.

It was a Democratic president, Johnson, who sped up arms to Israel during the Six Day War.

It was a Democratic president, Carter, who brokered a peace deal between Israel and Egypt. Since then, Israel has not been invaded by the armies of Arab countries. I cannot ignore the vile hatred Carter has spewed against Israel these past decades. Nor can I ignore his slanderous words of calling Israel an apartheid state.

President Bush keeps asking Israel to make concession after concession as "confidence boosting measures" for Abbas. While all these measures are ongoing, the Israeli town of Sderot sees a daily bombardment from Qassams, an Israeli yeshiva saw the murders of students, and a new tactic of terrorism: The use of bulldozers and cars to run over Israeli citizens.

These are threats but none trumps what Iran plans. The world largely ignored Hitler's speeches against Jews. The world doesn't seem too concerned with Iran's threats to wipe Israel off. Iran's president is given carte blanche at the UN and is embraced by UN officials. At least the US delegation and a few other countries had the decency to walk out when the president of Iran was introduced.

It made for go show. The US is supposed to be an ally of Israel and yet its actions have been reminiscent of the Eisenhower presidency. You would think the US, especially led by the Republican president, would do more to help ease the threat of Iran to Israel. Yet, the US is seemingly hampering Israel's efforts to defend itself against Iran's nuclear threat.

As of late, the regime in Tehran has been praising and glorifying the barbaric sacrifice of children as human mine clearers. Apparently, there is a reason for this.

Iran’s advancement towards a nuclear bomb and the international community’s inaction in stopping it necessarily give rise to the option of Israel having no choice but to act on its own. However, our great ally, the United States, is making it difficult for us to build this option.

At first we had the leak to the New York Times regarding the long-range exercise carried out by the Air Force above the Mediterranean. This was followed by the statements of Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the joint chief of staff, in respect to the danger inherent in an operation against Iran. Later, according to media reports, the US rejected Israel’s request to purchase systems that would improve the Air Force’s ability to operate against long-range targets.

Yet then came the compensation; a compensation prize in the form of an advanced American early warning system to be deployed in the Negev. This radar, which is connected to a satellite system, will extend the warning of incoming ballistic missiles by precious minutes. The chance to intercept these missiles will also grow. The system to be deployed in the Negev will be manned by US troops or citizens.

This gift improves Israel’s self-defense capabilities, and we should be thankful for that. However, it limits our freedom to act both operationally and diplomatically. Our problem is not only how to protect ourselves. We need to be able to act against those who made the State of Israel’s elimination their top priority. This ability of ours has been undermined. The message inherent in the granting of the radar system is the same message of American refusal to our previous requests: Do nothing. There is no certainty that the words uttered by presidential candidates McCain and Obama against the Iranian nukes will be translated, in 2009, into a more forceful policy than that of the current US Administration.

Israel is being checkmated by US policy. McCain will more than likely continue this course. Iran, once it has the nuclear weapons will not be concerned that Palestinians will be slaughtered as well as Israelis. Iran will not be concerned about those in Lebanon or Jordan who will be affected by any nuclear strike against Israel. It will be concerned with only thing: The destruction of Israel.

It was past Democratic presidents who had the courage and the moral imperative to buck prior US policy. It is at best, a tenuous argument but Israel really cannot afford more of the same of what it is seeing from Republican policies.

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