I have visited the Holy Land nearly a dozen times, and the speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress left me with a range of intense emotions.
As an unabashed supporter of Israel I felt pride in the way our most vital ally’s leader was welcomed by Congress. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle greeted him in the Chamber with a hero’s welcome, which he deserves.
As an American I also felt disgust at the White House’s attempts to pre-empt Netanyahu’s speech by attacking his credibility. Their attempts to derail the speech and to encourage lawmakers to boycott the address was unbecoming and fell far below the minimum standard which we should expect from that esteemed office. Comments by Mr. Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice that the speech was “destructive” to the relationship between America and Israel were absurd and misguided. That statement reflects a total lack of understanding of the moral underpinnings that bind our two countries together.
I felt sad for Israel that it must face the prospect of an existential danger in the form of a nuclear-fanged Islamist theocracy. The Iranian threat to the entire Middle East and the entire world is real, and it is shortsighted, ill advised, and downright dangerous to turn the U.S.-Israel alliance into some sort of political football. Instead, we should view it as the vital strategic partnership that it has been and must continue to be.
The speech by Netanyahu exposed just how inept and divorced from reality the Obama administration has been as it has bent over backwards to accede to Iranian demands at the negotiating table. In a tactful, respectful fashion, Prime Minister Netanyahu provided factual information that demonstrated beyond doubt that Iran has no intention of backing down, and has been toying with President Obama, his negotiators and the entire world. With crafty gamesmanship that you would expect to see in Persian bazaar, the Iranians have made a mockery of the international community’s attempts to curb their relentless nuclear drive.
As the Prime Minister pointed out, we are not negotiating with just any nation, and certainly not one that belongs on the same plane as the United States. Iran oppresses Christians, hangs gays, persecutes women and stifles human rights. Tehran spews the same strain of vile anti-Semitism that has existed for centuries, but uses modern methods to do so: using Twitter to call for Israel’s destruction
Netanyahu shined an uncomfortable light on the fact that the deal being negotiated with Iran is a very bad deal for America and Israel. Somewhere along the line, dismantle became delay and prevent became postpone. And along the way, some of our leaders seem to have forgotten which nation is our friend and which is our foe.
I cannot for the life of me understand why America seems so desperate to accede to Iran’s demands and allow them to keep the dangerous nuclear program that the Islamic Republic built in secret and hid successfully from the international community. The White House continues to sell the American public the narrative that it has diminished Iran’s nuclear capabilities, but that simply is not true. The facts tell a different story entirely.
By going forward with his address despite the White House’s attempts to muzzle him and to pressure the American Congress into turning its back on him, Netanyahu displayed true leadership. Leadership means having the moral courage to do what you must to defend what is right.
In the gallery of the Capitol sat Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize winner who survived the horrors of the Holocaust. He was imprisoned at a death camp at a time when the Jewish people had no ability to defend themselves. His presence provided a stark warning of what can happen when the world refuses to ignore the warning signs and instead appeases evil regimes with global designs of spreading their nefarious influence and power.
Thankfully today, from a re-born state in its historic homeland, there is an Israel. Israel can take care of itself and defend its people. America should do all in its power to help, because the very threats that Israel faces also endanger our own future.