At the United Nations General Assembly, today, Benjamin Netanyahu said the following:
Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, even if we have to stand alone. Yet in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others.
If Israel hits Iranian nuclear facilities they can expect an international wall of hatred the likes of which we have not seen since the rise of Nazi Germany. An Israeli strike upon Iran will have people pouring into the streets of the European and Arab capitals screaming for Israeli and Jewish blood. The BDS movement will gain a great boost as people throughout Europe and the United States sign up in droves. Europe, which is already an exceedingly difficult place for Jewish people to live as Jews, will become intolerable as Muslim racists attack Jewish people in the streets in London and Paris and Stockholm.
The European elites will either turn a blind eye or justify the violence against us by blaming Israel for that violence.
On the other hand, of course, Israel simply cannot allow a nuclear-weaponized Iran and no one believes for one single second that Iran’s nuclear program is for strictly peaceful purposes. Of course, Iran wants nuclear weapons and who can blame them? If I were in their government I would want to have nuclear weaponry also because it represents a deterrent from invasion. Iran looks immediately to its east and it sees Afghanistan which was not so long ago attacked by the United States. Iran looks immediately to its west and sees the same in Iraq. And they, obviously, are right smack in the center, so naturally they want a nuclear deterrent.
The problem is that we simply cannot allow them to get that deterrent, because what can be used as a deterrent can also be used as a weapon of aggression and that is a risk that the Jewish state of Israel simply cannot afford; not after so many years of genocidal talk coming out of Tehran.
Furthermore, we cannot count on the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) – which saw the west through the Cold War – to have much influence with a theocratic regime that has an End of Days scenario embedded in their religion. Islamic fundamentalists make American Christian Evangelicals look like a bunch of hippies in comparison. And while I would not like to see nuclear weaponry in the hands of Pat Robertson, I would much less prefer nuclear weaponry in the hands of the Iranian ayatollahs. MAD may have worked with the Soviet Union, but the Soviet Union was comprised of secular rationalists who did not believe that killing infidels represented a ticket to some cosmic paradise with Extra Virgin cocktail waitresses.
This leaves Israel in a no-win scenario. If they attack the facilities, the world community will go nuts. Even countries who benefit from Israel’s action will denounce the Jewish state in acidic terms. What the United States would do is anyone’s guess and it’s possible that Netanyahu cleared the language with Washington, D.C. before giving the speech, but, if not, then Israel could not count on this particular American president to have its back.
I see no good options, but I would rather see Israel take out Iran’s nuclear program, and weather the storm of international hatred, then allow themselves to be threatened with a potential nuclear holocaust.
Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.