Israel Speaks About Iran But Are We Listening?

by Diane Dimond on March 9, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

Okay, so let me get this straight. We need to add the conflict in the Middle East to the list of things our politicians cannot agree upon. Is that right?

Our schismatic U.S. Congress – the body that makes the laws we are all bound to live by – can’t agree on what to do about immigration, long overdue tax reform, environmental issues, economic policies, budgetary matters and now they’re also divided on how to treat Israel — our strongest ally in the never ending war of ideologies in the Middle East? Really?

Look, I’m no expert on international relations but when Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of a friendly foreign country, comes to the United States to address a joint session of Congress and more than 50 democrats shun the speech because their party’s president didn’t like the way in which he was invited – well, that’s just childish. And when protocol is broken and the Vice President of the United States doesn’t attend either – well, that’s just premeditated crass politics.

Ask yourself this:  What did those no-show democrats achieve with their group hissy fit?

Speaker Boehner Extended the Invite

Speaker Boehner Extended the Invite to Address Congress and American People

Yes, the speech was arranged by republican House Speaker John Boehner. Yes, the White House was not informed ahead of time.  And, it was known in advance that Prime Minister Netanyahu was going to slam the U.S. led nuclear negotiations with Iran. He had openly worried that the American team (and representatives from five other countries) might be giving in to Israel’s avowed enemy and that Iran might move closer to possessing material for nuclear weapons.

But so what? A leader is supposed to advocate for their country’s security in every way, shape and forum they can. That loyalty to country should be applauded not snubbed.

Are our elected officials so unable to take criticism, so arrogant that they believe they’ve got it all figured out? Maybe they think they need no more information about something as complex an equation as Iran possessing nuclear material.

Iranian Leader Ayatollah Khamenei Tweets: "Increasing global hatred of #Israel is a sign of divine help"

Iranian Leader Ayatollah Khamenei Tweets: “Increasing global hatred of #Israel is a sign of divine help”

Put it together: A hostile fundamentalist Muslim county that has long backed the terrorist group Hezbollah (and maybe others) + Iran’s open and repeated call for Israel’s annihilation + ownership of the nuclear material needed to make massively destructive bombs.  Sound like a promising combination to you?

Critics of the ongoing negotiations with Iran say that given that country’s history and its oftentimes radical Islamic beliefs its leaders cannot and should not be trusted to live up to the terms of any agreement. That we seem to share a common enemy in ISIS is not enough.

Make no mistake. There is no less at stake here than the future of who will possess the most deadly weapons known to mankind. If Iran achieves that capability how long before a nuclear warhead finds its way into the hands of a radical terrorist group like, say, Hezbollah?

This discussion – and Netanyahu’s speech — seems pretty damn important in the scheme of things. A lot more important than petty high school type bickering about who invited whom to speak at the party.

Note: Vice Pres Biden Replaced by Sen. Orrin Hatch

Note: Vice Pres Biden Replaced by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch

“The greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of military Islam with nuclear “weapons,” Netanyahu told those lawmakers who bothered to attend his speech at the U.S. Capitol. He spoke of a “potential nuclear nightmare.”

Anyone reading this disagree that if a terrorist group got a hold of a nuclear bomb horrendously bad things would follow?

The dozens of lawmakers who sat out this speech surely watched it on television or read about it later, at least I certainly hope they did.

So, were they comfortable simply dismissing Netanyahu’s message as being politically motivated? (The Prime Minister is facing a difficult reelection later this month) Or thinking it was part of some “theater” as President Obama labeled it later? Are they all sure Israel is over-blowing the potential for danger?

Has Their Feud Caused Political Blindness?

Has Their Feud Caused Political Blindness?

The fact that Netanyahu would come to the U.S. and lecture against an official White House policy should give us all pause. It was an unprecedented scold. Why did the Israeli prime minister feel compelled to do it? Maybe because the distance between Jerusalem and Tehran is just 1000 miles.

We don’t have an enemy developing nuclear capability that close to the U.S. mainland but if we did I’d want our Commander in Chief to use every forum necessary to try to get them to stop.

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Author correction:  Earlier versions of this column mistakenly included the sentence…”Maybe because the distance between Jerusalem and Baghdad is just 540 miles.” I regret the error.  

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 8:29 am

Reader Larry Sullivan writes:

“Ms. Dimond:
I agree, you are not an expert on foreign policy. Maybe you should re- read Mr. Netanyahu’s WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION speech about Iraq to the US Congress before you start telling me and other Americans how to think.”
Larry Sullivan

Reply

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 8:30 am

Mr. Sullivan,
I never tell people what to think. I tell them what I think. Sorry we don’t agree that our members of Congress should listen to ALL sources of important information about vital world events.
I will post your comment on my website so all can see your thoughts. ~ DD

Reply

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 8:34 am

ABQ Journal Reader Eldon Dickson writes:

“Dear Diane:
Thank you for this message. I believe you hit the nail on the head!
I am just sorry that there are so many people who will refuse to even read it.”
Eldon Dickson
Albuquerque NM

Reply

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 8:35 am

ABQ Journal Reader James Gorman writes:

“Ms Dimond,

I am an avid reader of your column in the Albuquerque Journal. It is one of the reasons I maintain my subscription.

I found today’s column to be particularly insightful. I know many people of all political bents who felt embarrassed by the disgraceful treatment of Mr. Netanyahu by the White House and certain Democratic Members of Congress. Personally, I am appalled by the disdain shown to the leader of the only liberal democratic nation in the entire Middle East. True, Mr. Netanyahu is a politician; but he has a moral responsibility to the people of Israel to ensure that the other liberal democracies throughout the world realize the true existential threat a nuclear Iran poses to the State of Israel and the other nations in the region. I believe his speech last Tuesday did exactly that.

It’s ironic that many of those who refused to attend this speech (including New Mexico’s own Sen. Martin Heinrich) are among those who advocate for legislation to counter bullying in our schools. But, these same folks turn a blind eye to one of the meanest bullies on the world’s playground. Democratic lions such as Henry Jackson and Jeane Kirkpatrick are surely turning over in their graves.

When asked why he was going ahead with the “controversial” speech, Mr. Netanyahu said, “The whole point of Zionism is that the Jewish people will no longer be spectators to the decision-making that determines our fate.” This man demonstrates exemplary leadership. And he didn’t even take a “selfie”.

Take care, Ms. Dimond, and continue your exemplary commentary!

Sincerely,
James (Jim) Gorman, DPA
Santa Fe, NM

Reply

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 8:39 am

ABQ Journal Reader Kathy Lathan writes:

“”Look, I’m no expert on international relations . . . .”

Well put, Diane, and you should have stopped right there, instead of using hundreds of words to belabor the point and insult the intelligence of your readers.”

Reply

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 8:41 am

Reader Shlomo Karni writes:

“Greetings,

I am in total agreement with your article. Additionally, your candor is both rare and refreshing when you write, “Look, I am no expert on international relations,” and, as if to support this assertion, you write later, “…the distance between Jerusalem and Baghdad is just 540 miles.” (It should be “… Teheran… 1070 miles”).

Best,
S. Karni
from the ‘hood

Reply

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 8:48 am

You caught an editing error, Mr. Karni.

In an earlier version of this column the second to last paragraph of was incorrect, reading, “Maybe because the distance between Jerusalem and Baghdad is just 540 miles.” It should have read: “Maybe because the distance between Jerusalem and Tehran is just 1000 miles.”

My mistake. I regret the error. ~ DD

Reply

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 8:51 am

Reader Lisa Mondy writes:

“Baghdad is in Iraq. Your column made it sound like Baghdad was the “enemy developing nuclear capability that close to the U.S. mainland.” But, as you said, “[you] are no expert on international relations.” Iran is further from Israel, albeit still too close for comfort. Iraq was accused falsely by the former administration of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iraq and Iran are (were balanced) enemies. The U.S., specifically the former administration, destabilized that balance and helped Iran gain the ability to get as far as it has on nuclear reprocessing to enrich uranium. The complaints of the Democrats and the President are more than “petty high school type bickering.” Those boycotting the speech were worried that it could derail sensitive negotiations. As part of the current negotiations, Iran has already slowed its nuclear reprocessing efforts. Does the U.S. want to give them the excuse to crank the program back up? Won’t Russia or China be against us on tough new sanctions and defend Iran’s “right” to reprocess to a level allowed by the Non-Proliferation Treaty? Couldn’t this fight lead perhaps to nuclear war – not just between Israel and Iran? Isn’t negotiation ALWAYS worth at least an attempt as opposed to heavy-handedness that could lead to war? I think these serious questions are worth debating, not just pooh-poohed as “petty…bickering.” (Also, our “strongest Mideast ally” is on the State Department’s “sensitive country” list because they have refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and have helped others like South Africa get the bomb.) Besides, Netanyahu’s visit was clearly politically motivated by his upcoming tough election. I usually agree with your columns, but this one just irritated me because you sounded ignorant.

Regards,
Lisa Mondy

Reply

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 9:01 am

Reader Micha writes:

“Ms. Dimond
Your article was to the point.
Unfortunately you made a small error, the relevant city is Teheran not Baghdad.”
Best,
Micha Gisser

Reply

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 9:02 am

Once again, (see above) I regret the error and it is corrected here. ~ DD

Reply

Diane Dimond March 9, 2015 at 9:03 am

Noozhawk Reader John Tieber writes:

“For those who prefer something different than tedious neocon/neoliberal warmongering lies and spin:”

Anti-Netanyahu Protest Fills Streets Of Tel Aviv As Ex-Mossad Chief Calls His Congress Speech “Bullshit”
Only a few days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from his much publicized United States trip, during which he was celebrated and drooled over by America’s top warmongers, a large protest against him erupted in the nation’s section largest city, Tel Aviv…

Reply

Diane Dimond March 10, 2015 at 9:57 am

Noozhawk Reader Marcus writes:

“NJO we do not want to listen Israel, they beat the same war drums against Iraq, remember, short memory ha? Israel dragging US war to war,US congress bought and sold by Israel shame on them, some democrats are standing up against this terrorist state, now AIPAC will punish them, we need to free US congress and US president from Israel claws to have independent US domestic and foreign policy good for this country and the World peace.”

Reply

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