Israeli voters must send a message to Obama
Shoula Romano Horing /Ynetnews
Published: 03.14.15/ Israel Opinion
Op-ed: Congress speech was PM Netanyahu’s way of telling US president that he is giving up on him as ever being a trustworthy friend of Israel and appealing directly to the American people; Israelis should show their support for this stand. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Congress speech had such moral clarity and historical and strategic context that it inflicted fatal wounds to US President Barack Obama’s very bad deal regarding the Iranian nuclear program.
During the speech, Netanyahu was Churchill-like, warning a naive world about Obama’s Chamberlain-like agreement which could lead to another holocaust as well as a nuclear arms race and destruction in the Middle East. He was like King David, a proud Jewish warrior, challenging Obama‘s Goliath-like plan to appease evil in order to create an alliance with the Muslim world while throwing Israel under the bus. He was like President Ronald Reagan, calling the world to “tear down” Iran‘s sponsorship of terrorism around the world, its aggression against its neighbors and its call for Israel’s destruction.
Still, Isaac Herzog, the head of the left-center camp, is continuing to tell us that the speech to Congress “will not stop the Iranian nuclear program” and won’t affect the upcoming agreement , not the content, not the timetable” and that the prime minister‘s trip “damaged Israel’s relations with the US.”
After the speech, it seems that the Herzog camp and the media have been coordinating with and joining Obama’s campaign in dismissing the effectiveness and importance of Netanyahu’s speech while continuing their fear mongering about the harsh consequences to the Israeli- America relationship.
The president dismissed the speech as “theater” and “nothing new,” and told reporters that Netanyahu had no better ideas than the status quo or, in theory, military strikes against Iranian facilities.
We know the reason Obama belittled the speech, but for Herzog, Yair Lapid, Tzipi Livni and the left to be on the side of Obama and Iran in criticizing their own prime minister’s message on such an important issue in order to win an election is a disgrace and a betrayal.
Fear mongering and ridicule cannot conceal the true reality that we all witnessed on live television.
Despite the warnings that Bibi would speak in front of “empty chairs” and that the Democrats would boycott the speech, 92% of the Congress was in attendance including the overwhelming majority of both Republicans as well as Democrats. Netanyahu was escorted into the chamber by bipartisan delegation of lawmakers and greeted with raucous enthusiasm. The Congress gave Netanyahu 26 standings ovations and 43 applauds by both Democrats and Republicans and a three-and-half-minute standing ovation at the conclusion of the speech.
Moreover, the pro-Obama New York Times, in an article titled “Netanyahu event similar to a State of the Union address, but more electric,” described the speech as follows: “It had the trappings of the State of the Union address: A packed and rapt House chamber, suffocating security, lawmakers lining the aisles, a powerful world leader at the microphone.”
The truth is that Netanyahu’s speech was so effective that he, the prime minister of the tiny Jewish state, with a population of six million Jews and the size of New Jersey, elevated himself to the position of a powerful world leader and an equal to the president.
Now the burden of persuasion has been moving to Obama and to Herzog, Lapid and Livni to address the arguments the prime minister raised as to why the emerging deal is “a very bad deal.”
A Fox News poll published the day after the speech revealed that the American people agree with Netanyahu’s arguments over those of their own president. Eighty-four percent of voters, including 80% of Democrats, think it is a bad idea to allow Iran to get nuclear weapons 10 years from now in return for agreeing it won’t obtain nukes before then.
Moreover, a 57% majority feels the US has not been aggressive enough in trying to get Iran to stop building a nuclear weapons program and two-thirds of voters favor the US using military action, if necessary, to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
Obama repeats a seemingly simple vow: That on his watch, the United States will do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Obama must respond as to why he agrees to live with an Iran that 10 years from now will be free to have as many nuclear bombs as they want with no restrictions on behavior or economic sanctions? Why does he think that the military solution or the additional economic sanctions to suffocate Iran’s economy and destabilize the regime would not be a better alternative solution? Why does he believe that friendship is possible with a Jihadist Muslim dictatorship that has long been, according to the US State Department, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism?
In reality, we do not really know what Herzog stands for except for his “anyone but Bibi” message.But we do know that a week before the speech, he told the Washington Post that he trusted US President Obama to “reach a good deal on Iran” and declined to call a potentially nuclear Iran “an existential threat” to Israel, saying that a nuclear Iran is only “a big threat. That’s enough.”
Now Herzog must explain why he trusts Obama to make a good deal even though it seems that the President has agreed in the negotiations to allow the Iranians to keep their enrichment plants and reactors, their intercontinental ballistic missiles program and 6,500 spinning centrifuges? Why does he believe that a “good deal” could ever be reached in light of Iran’s long history of nuclear deception and vicious public threats by its supreme leader regarding the annihilation of the Jewish state? Why does he think that a nuclear Iran which already has Revolutionary Guards units in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq is not an “existential threat”?
Israelis must know whether, if he is elected prime minister, will he ever be able to say no to Obama’s pressures just to protect the relationship. Would he agree to the creation of another Hamastan in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem and a bad deal on Iran to appease Obama?
Netanyahu, for the last six years, has reluctantly tried to pacify Obama on the Palestinian issue for the sake of a good Israeli-US relationship by releasing terrorists, freezing settlements, offering outrageous offers to the Palestinians, and publicly accepting a two state solution. Yet still, Obama has blamed Israel and Netanyahu for Abbas’ rejections.
This congressional speech was a break up letter and Netanyahu’s message to Obama that he is giving up on him as ever being a true and trustworthy friend of Israel and appealing directly to congress and the American people.
Now the Israelis must give a message to Obama that they are standing united with Bibi.