NEW YORK – During a panel at Yeshiva University on Tuesday evening, Sheldon
Adelson, noted businessman and owner of the newspaper Israel Hayom, suggested
that the US should use nuclear weapons on Iran to impose its demands from a
position of strength.
Asked by moderator Rabbi Shmuley Boteach whether
the US should negotiate with Iran if it were to cease its uranium enrichment
program, Adelson retorted, “What are we going to negotiate about?”
imagined what might happen if an American official were to call up an Iranian
official, say “watch this,” and subsequently drop a nuclear bomb in the middle
of the Iranian desert.
"Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes’," Adelson said.
“So a tremendous demonstration of
American strength?” Boteach clarified. “So that they would get the
“It’s the only thing they understand,” Adelson said.
you see the current negotiations as a sign of weakness?” Boteach
“Absolutely,” Adelson said.
Adelson, who donated tens of millions of dollars to defeated Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the most recent campaign, criticized the Obama administration's willingness to engage the Iranians diplomatically.
"[It's] the worst negotiating tactic I could ever imagine, my entire life," he said.
"Because you can’t get anything. He’s not saying to them, Roll back your entire program and show that you’re willing to be peaceful. So, roll it all back… and we’ll roll back the sanctions…. What is that, a game of chicken, who’s going to blink first?"
In response to Adelson's comments, Boteach said whether the remarks were regarded as serious or an exaggeration to exemplify the extreme measures that the US must take to thwart Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the international community often employs double standards on Israeli issues.
“When I heard Sheldon make his remark, my initial thought was that his purpose was to goad his more liberal critics into attacking the policy so that their double standards on nuclear threats against Israel could be exposed,” said Rabbi Boteach in a statement.
“I would hope that those who seem alarmed by Sheldon’s overstatement on the extent to which the United States should go to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon will at least protest that much more loudly against its actual development,” he added.
JPost.com staff contributed to this report.