Opinion

Biden is forcing Israel to attack Iran alone

The White House has reoriented its Middle East policy from an Israel-centered to an Iran-centered one.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on March 9, 2016. Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on March 9, 2016. Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO.
Eric Levine
Eric Levine
Eric R. Levine is a founding member of the New York City law firm Eiseman, Levine, Lehrhaupt & Kakoyiannis, P.C. He is an essayist, political commentator and fundraiser for Republican candidates with an emphasis on the U.S. Senate.

When asked about the Biden administration’s reported new “arrangement” with Iran regarding its nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded, “More than 90% of our security issues stem from Iran and its [proxies]. … Our position is clear: Israel will not be bound by any deal with Iran and will continue to defend itself.”

Clearly, the White House will do nothing to stop Iran’s march to a nuclear weapon. To the contrary, Biden’s new “arrangement”—just like his predecessor Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal—would give Iran a legal path to a nuclear weapon and a ballistic missile system to deliver it.

At the same time, it would hand the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism billions of dollars in sanctions relief to fund its military and global terrorist network.

Now all eyes turn to Jerusalem.

Will Israel unilaterally attack Iran? Clearly, the U.S. has decided to acquiesce to Iran’s nuclear ambitions rather than sanction its nuclear program out of existence. The Biden administration, like the Obama administration before it, has reoriented its Middle East policy from an Israel-centered to an Iran-centered one.

This means that the U.S. has left Israel with no choice but to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities alone.

Israel faces a Hobbesian choice. If it attacks, the attack will almost certainly trigger a regional war—unless the U.S. jumps in to prevent it from escalating—that will see tens of thousands of rockets launched by Iran’s terrorist proxies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza at the heart of Israeli cities.

Those attacks, paid for by the billions of dollars Iran will receive in sanctions relief, will result in thousands of Israeli deaths. It will be a national and humanitarian disaster.

The alternative, however, is worse. A nuclear Iran threatens the lives of nine million Israelis. If the Jews have learned anything from history, it is to believe what your enemies say. Iran continually says it will wipe Israel off the map.

This is where the Biden administration’s grotesque appeasement of Iran is leading us.

It is important to understand the key founding principle of Israel: The Jewish state exists to ensure that Jews are responsible for and can control their own destiny. It is about power.

Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, was correct that the Jewish nation is legally entitled to its own state like any other nation.

When Herzl announced that principle at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, it met resistance from Jews around the world. They felt that Jews might be entitled to their own state but, despite antisemitism in their own countries, they were living well enough in Europe and the United States. They did not want to do anything that might compromise their positions there. Pre-Holocaust Germany provides the best example of that shortsighted view.

The Holocaust changed things. Jews and their supporters around the world came to the realization that the establishment of a Jewish state was a moral imperative if the Jews were to survive as a people.

For most American Jews, Judaism is a religion and their nationality is American. In Israel, Judaism is both a religion and a nationality. Every Israeli prime minister, not just Benjamin Netanyahu, sees the survival of the Jewish people as their highest responsibility.

The question is not whether Israel will act alone against Iran. If it has the capability, it will. The better question is what America will do if Israel attacks. An immediate response in support of Israel in order to contain the conflict will be critical. But do not count on it. The Biden administration cannot even bring itself to defend American forces in Syria and Iraq when they are attacked by Iran and its proxies.

Progressives prefer their Jews as victims. That is their primary objection to Israel. The Jewish state exists precisely because Jews refused to be victims. Moreover, Israel is a regional power, which is an unpardonable sin in the eyes of progressives.

Thus, if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear program there will be tremendous handwringing in the U.S. and around the world decrying Israel for having the temerity to defend itself. But anyone who thinks Israel will put its destiny in the hands of people who share Barack Obama’s world view is delusional. Israel will be the master of its own destiny. Nothing will change that.

Israel is not looking for sympathy from folks who claim they know better than the Jews what is good for them. The last century teaches us that is a losing bet. Israel must survive. If that invites the enmity of the world, so be it.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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