I have roughly zero time to post today, but I suspect some folks might be coming by to see what I think about President Obama’s AIPAC speech, or about his talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu, or about the whole Israeli effort to lead the world into a cataclysmic war with Iran. The thing is I don’t have time to write about any of that, or anything else! (Though I may have just tipped my hand with the use of the word “cataclysmic”).
Obama, who was playing on Netanyahu’s home court at the height of an election year, criticized the excessive talk about war with Iran. Hinting at both Israeli government officials and the Republican presidential candidates, who have been vying with each other in calling for war, Obama said this was causing oil prices to rise, which in turn helped finance Iran’s nuclear program. The president said that excessive public discussion of the Iranian issue not only undermined the security of both America and the world, but Israel’s security too.
The unnecessary statements by Israeli leaders are drawing fire on Israel. The government would be wise to listen attentively to President Obama’s advice and adopt the sage counsel of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” The U.S. president carries the biggest stick in the world.
The government would also do well to internalize another important statement by Obama: “As president and commander in chief, I have a deeply-held preference for peace over war.”
This worldview is also appropriate when it comes to the conflict with the Palestinians, which has been pushed aside by the Iranian issue. It must be hoped that Obama will utilize his meeting with Netanyahu Monday to underscore the consequences that a collapse of the diplomatic process and a violent conflict in the territories would have for the American and international effort to halt both Iran’s nuclear program and its terrorism.
I share the opinion of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, that “Iran is a rational actor*,” and thus believe that the real danger to Israel’s future is not Iran (unless Israel should decide to attack, then all bets may be off), but rather the settlement project and the requisite occupation of the Palestinian people.
Unless and until Israel understands that having a “deeply-held preference for peace over war” is the only way to actually end war and make Israel secure, Israel will continue down a path to self-destruction that I believe will ultimately see the Jewish State become just one more disaster on the long list of Jewish disasters.
And anyone (like the men and women of AIPAC) who aids and abets Israel’s efforts to ignore that excruciating fact will be complicit in the disaster.
In my always humble opinion.
*If you’re interested in reading some of the books that led me to the shocking conclusion that Iran might just be a rational actor (no! I know!), here are some suggestions: Iran Reading List.