By Jeff Rutherford
It’s beginning to feel like we’ll continue witnessing momentous, deadly events for many years to come in the Middle East. When you stop and view the Iran nuclear weapons negotiations through the eyes of Israel — the lone oasis of liberty in a vast surrounding desert of anti-Jewish theocracies — the arrogance and callous disregard that President Obama and his State Department are showing towards the safety of Israel defy rationality.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will explain eloquently next week before Congress, it is ridiculous for Obama to be bypassing Israel to make deals with Iran that invest a totally unfounded level of trust in Iran’s future good behavior, and all done from the geographically distant North America — half an earth orbit away from any fledgling ICBM launch attempt that Iran might someday try.
Morally speaking, Israel’s interest in survival should trump Obama’s exercises in narcissism and dreamy utopianism, not be subordinated to them. Obama is audaciously gambling to secure a lofty legacy for himself, while recklessly placing the Israelis’ lives at risk – and no longer bothering to consult with them or even inform them of his high-stakes dealings.
Washington Post opinion columnist David Ignatius wrote a column last week under the no-spin headline “Why Netanyahu Broke Publicly with Obama over Iran.” Ignatius is no conservative — he’s a mainstream D.C. Beltway liberal. But in this instance he shows himself to be fair and pragmatic. I give him credit for writing a straightforward analysis of the valid concerns that Israel has about the Obama administration’s naive strategy with the Iran nuclear weapons negotiations. Ignatius’ op-ed piece reads more like a hard news story than 90% of the alleged “news” articles in the New York Times. Here is an excerpt. The bracketed phrases are mine, to provide context.
The public rift between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iranian nuclear issue is often described as a personality dispute. But a senior Israeli official argued this week that the break has been building for more than two years and reflects a deep disagreement about how best to limit the threat of a rising Iran.
Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of intelligence, outlined his government’s view in an interview Wednesday. […]Steinitz said the Israeli government understands the U.S. goal of a 10- to 15-year duration for the agreement, which would constrain Iran into what’s likely to be the next generation after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is 75. But here again, he [Steinitz] dissented.
“I understand the logic, but I disagree,” Steinitz said. What the United States is saying to Iran, in effect, is “if you agree to freeze [uranium enrichment efforts at 6500 active centrifuges] for 10 years, that’s enough for us.” But that won’t work for Israel. “To believe that in the next decade there will be a democratic change in leadership and that Iran won’t threaten the U.S. or Israel anymore, I think this is too speculative.”
Steinitz concluded the conversation with an emphatic warning: “Iran is part of the problem and not part of the solution — unless you think Iran dominating the Middle East is the solution.”
People who think that a nuclear deal with Iran is desirable, as I [David Ignatius] do, need to be able to answer Steinitz’s critique.
It sounds like Ignatius might actually welcome Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Tuesday March 3rd. Too bad more liberal intellectual elites won’t make a similar effort to shut their traps and open their ears and minds for a moment to the tenuous plight of Israel. Ideological leftists claim to be for world peace. So why are most liberal politicians and pundits watching – and even encouraging – President Obama to throw Israel to the wolves?