Israel is back in business.
PM Binyamin Netanyahu delivered two speeches this week: one at the AIPAC Conference and another before the Joint Meeting of Congress. The AIPAC speech was a good prelude to the brilliant one delivered to the House of Representatives.
Therefore, we are going to look at the main messages sent by the Head of the Jewish State, and briefly offer our take on the criticism that arose after the delivery.
“For 2000 years, my people, the Jewish people, were stateless, defenseless, voiceless. We were utterly powerless against our enemies who swore to destroy us. We suffered relentless persecution and horrific attacks. We could never speak on our own behalf, and we could not defend ourselves. Well, no more, no more.” – PM Netanyahu
PM Netanyahu began by clarifying that the Israel-US relations are not in an all time low “(..) reports of the demise of the Israeli-U.S. relations are not only premature, they’re just wrong.” (therefore it would be interesting to know why the so-called pundits, and media networks, insist upon being wrong), then he moved on to say that he is grateful to President Obama for all he has done for Israel and so should all Jews and Pro-Israel Activists (a clear guideline: move on, for using Israel to attack Pres. Obama doesn't work).
But the main message delivered at the conference was that Israel has never been and never will be America's lackey. When the interests of the Jewish State are at stake, the Israeli government will make its own decisions and act accordingly – even when it displeases the US.
“In 1948, Secretary of State Marshall opposed David Ben-Gurion’s intention to declare statehood. But Ben-Gurion,understanding what was at stake, went ahead and declared Israel’s independence.“ -- idem
“In 1967, as an Arab noose was tightening around Israel’s neck,the United States warned Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that if Israel acted alone, it would be alone. But Israel did act — acted alone to defend itself.” -- idem
It's 2015, if Israel must act alone to defend itself, yet again, it will. Israel doesn't go to war to impose democracy, or impose its vision of the world, the Jewish State is forced to go to war in order to survive.
Joint Meeting of Congress
The main two messages behind this speech were:
1. The US can't possibly be fighting ISIS while at the same time assisting Iran in expanding its power, when the only difference between ISIS and Iran is that one is actually an Islamic Republic, an acknowledged sovereign state with sophisticated weaponry; and the other while aspiring to be an Islamic State, is not acknowledged as such and fights with less sophisticated weapons – notwithstanding, their main goal is the same.
2. If the US strikes a bad deal with Iran, one that is absolutely detrimental to Israel's national security, then the Jewish State will have to act alone.
The Israeli PM, however, is willing to make a concession: not to seek a regime change in Iran, if only they'll change their behaviour – this guarantee comes only come through a good deal that satisfies Israel and the Gulf nations.
Our take on the criticism
Some individuals have accused Bibi Netanyahu of not having offered an alternative, despite his eloquent speech; but either they didn't pay attention or they have difficulties with interpreting words, for the Israeli Prime Minister did offer three alternatives:
1. Don't lift sanctions before the Revolutionary Islamic Republic changes its behaviour
2. Don't go for regime change, if they're prevented from making a bomb
3. Go ahead with an apparent self-serving agreement (that jeopardises Israel's security) and we'll study a way to deter the Revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran.
Some say that the Obama Administration is fuming over the PM's words; well, then it would be probably because the Israeli leadership has put the administration in a position where they will have to explain the American people what exactly comprises the deal with Iran – because, so far, they haven't explained it very well. Leaking that the Iranian Foreign Minister screams at State Secretary Kerry at the negotiations table is purely a distraction; the American people deserve a proper explanation.
But let's assume that the Israeli PM hadn't indeed offered alternatives:
- Was he invited to the negotiations table, even though Israel is the main interested party in all of this? No.
- Was he invited to Congress to inform and explain the dangers of a bad deal? Yes, and he did it well.
- Was he to dictate what the US should do? No, and that interference would have been inappropriate.
I understand the American Plan concerning Iran. I can see where they are coming from. It can be a good plan if the US can give guarantees that it will stay put when the time for action arrives.
We have to remember that while the CIA (until 1998) and the NIE (in 2007) insisted that Iran's nuclear programme was being developed for civilian purposes, the Supreme Leader of the Revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran was overseeing the development of nuclear weapons (in spite of being a signatory of the NPT). Under the nose of two US Presidents, secret nuclear plants were built. This means that the Revolutionary Iran is duplicitous by nature and the US, today, cannot offer full guarantees that after sanctions are fully lifted they won't proceed with their plans – specially now that Saudi Arabia is reportedly seeking its own as well. So, what's America's alternative to a deal that will be certainly breached by the present Iranian regime?
“This is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.” -- PM Netanyahu
Shema Am Yisrael - no matter what - Israel will stand בע"ה