Israel now finds itself at a perilous crossroads.
Despite several rounds
of international sanctions, Iran continues to advance its atomic ambitions with
dogged determination, defying the world as it marches steadily toward the
nuclear finish line.
And yet, even as this existential threat grows
ominously more real, the United States, France and other Western countries seem
more resolute about thwarting an Israeli pre-emptive strike than stopping Iran
from going nuclear.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Israel now
faces a stark choice: either to rely on America to ensure our security or simply
go it alone and protect ourselves.
Underlining the sense of urgency was a
quarterly report issued late last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency
which revealed that the ayatollahs have accelerated their uranium enrichment
In the past three months alone, Tehran has more than doubled its
underground nuclear production capacity at the heavily fortified Fordow facility,
boosting the number of enrichment centrifuges to 2,140 from 1,064 in
And they have also taken further steps to conceal aspects of their
nuclear program from the prying eyes of international inspection.
PRIME Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the cabinet Sunday, “The report confirms
what we have been saying for some time: while the international sanctions are
indeed making things difficult for the Iranian economy, they are not delaying
Nevertheless, in the run-up to the US presidential
elections in November, the last thing that Barack Obama wants is a conflagration
in the Middle East. As a result, administration officials have sought to
emphasize that “all options are on the table” even as they seek to dissuade
Israel from launching a unilateral attack.
But if recent history is any
guide, there is little reason to take comfort in the soothing assurances of
American officials. For all its tough talk about nuclear non-proliferation,
Washington has failed miserably to stem the tide of an increasingly nuclear
Take, for example, the case of North Korea. Already in the
mid-1980s, US intelligence began to pick up signs that the dictatorial regime in
Pyongyang was working to develop nuclear weapons.
Throughout the 1990s,
America applied a series of sticks and carrots, using a mix of threats, talks
and aid in a largely fruitless effort to discourage the Communist hermit kingdom
from going down the nuclear path.
When George W. Bush became president,
he promised to take an even tougher line, and in the wake of the September 11,
2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington, he singled out North Korea
along with Iraq for their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.
January 2002 State of the Union Address, Bush declared North Korea to be part of
the “axis of evil” together with Iran and Iraq, and insisted that their pursuit
of nuclear weapons constituted a “grave and growing danger” to the US, which
would do “what is necessary to ensure our nation’s security.”
18, 2002, as he prepared to travel to South Korea, Bush was even more explicit,
telling reporters that, “America will not allow North Korea and other dangerous
regimes to threaten freedom with weapons of mass destruction.”
year, in September, the Bush administration issued a paper outlining its
national security strategy which said that Pyongyang was the “world’s principal
purveyor of ballistic missiles” and even affirmed America’s right to take
All the bluster didn’t seem to make much of an
impression on the North Koreans. At a meeting in Pyongyang on October 4, 2002, a
team of US State Department officials presented evidence indicating that their
hosts had been acquiring centrifuges to process enriched uranium which could be
used to build a nuclear bomb. Without batting an eyelash, the North Koreans
acknowledged that to be the case.
They subsequently withdrew from the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and by June 2005, Pyongyang proudly announced
that it had amassed a stockpile of nuclear weapons and was eagerly building
more, which it continues to do today.
So for all the assurances and tough
talk over the course of nearly two decades, America proved either unwilling or
unable to stop North Korea from joining the nuclear club, with the result being
that US ally South Korea is forced to live under the shadow of an ongoing
Is that how we want Israel to end up? If George W. Bush
was not prepared to take action to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear
weapons, does anyone really believe that Barack Obama will be tougher than his
predecessor against Tehran? This is more than just a political or philosophical
musing. It is a matter of life and death for the Jewish state and we cannot
afford to gamble our future and that of our children on the
Seven decades ago, the nations of the world were prepared to sit
back and watch as Jews were incinerated. We cannot risk that happening
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Democratic president who was beloved
by American Jews, refused to bomb Auschwitz and allowed countless Jews to
Now, Barack Obama, a Democratic president who is adored by many
American Jews, appears unwilling to shut down the nuclear Auschwitz that the
would-be Hitler of Persia is busy constructing.
Clearly, diplomacy has
failed and sanctions and pressure have not succeeded in deterring the
As frightening as it sounds, Israel has no choice but to act.
We need to bomb Iran before it is too late.