Thursday, January 21, 2021 -
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Senators Levin and Boxer, it is time to face down Iran

We are a little puzzled why such pro-Israel stalwarts as Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and Barbara Boxer of California have not yet signed the non-binding Congressional resolution urging the Obama administration to define the “red line” that, if Iran crosses it, will declare Iran to have violated a “vital national interest of the US.”

Perhaps the senators have simply not yet signed and our urging will prove to be unnecessary. We hope so. Both senators certainly know what is at stake.

Apparently, the critical disagreement between Israel and the US on how to respond to Iran’s nuclear pursuit is how to define Iran’s rogue behavior. Will it become so unacceptable as to trigger a response when Iran acquires a nuclear bomb, or when it “merely” has the capability to build one?

Apparently, the US takes the first view; Israel, the second.

Clearly, it will be far easier — though not at all easy — to stop Iran before it has acquired a nuclear weapon, or before it is building a nuclear weapon; than when Iran has the capacity to build a nuclear weapon but is not yet building one.

For Israel, the existential crisis is already here. Iran is pursuing  nuclear weapons, and is declaring its desire to wipe out Israel.

The crisis becomes unbearable the moment Iran acquires the capacity to build a nuclear weapon, whether it proceeds to do so or not. It is not that every country with the capacity to build a nuclear weapon is necessarily a threat to anyone else. But Iran is different. It has made its desire to wipe out Israel abundantly, and repeatedly, clear. It is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. In the case of Iran, the mere threat of a nuclear attack on Israel will destabilize Israel, could well bankrupt Israel, and, in any case, will wreak havoc in Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and elsewhere.

These and other countries in the Middle East will seek to acquire their own nuclear weapons, as a deterrent to Iran.

The US strategy of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons will fail. A Middle East nuclear arms race — due to Iran, not Israel — will commence. The world will be immeasurably more dangerous.

That is why Congress is seeking to redefine, and advance, the red line beyond which Iranian behavior will provoke a response beyond sanctions.

That is why Israel is trying to persuade the Obama administration of the same thing.

That is why AIPAC, as well as staunch friends of Israel in Congress, both Democratic and Republican, are pushing this non-binding resolution.

That is why the upcoming national policy conference of AIPAC in Washington will be critical.

And that is why Sens. Levin and Boxer — and the rest of Congress — should sign this resolution.

It is way overdue to face down Iran. The stakes are too high for any more delay.

Admittedly, the prospect of a war — anybody’s war, any level of war — with Iran is terrifying. More terrifying is the prospect of allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

Copyright © 2012 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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