Iranian attack on US should wake up Israel - opinion

Iran fired 12 massive ballistic missiles at the US consulate that was being built in Erbil.

 VIEW OF a damaged building in the aftermath of missile attacks in Erbil on Sunday, for which Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps claimed responsibility. (photo credit: AZAD LASHKARI/REUTERS)
VIEW OF a damaged building in the aftermath of missile attacks in Erbil on Sunday, for which Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps claimed responsibility.
(photo credit: AZAD LASHKARI/REUTERS)

The 12 massive Fateh ballistic missiles fired from Iran at the large United States consulate being built in Erbil, Kurdistan, were not only aimed at America.

They were aimed at getting all the countries negotiating a new nuclear deal with Iran to cave in to the final demands of the Islamic Republic, surrender on sanctions and enable unlimited cash to flow in, which would undoubtedly be used for similar acts of terror around the world.

Only the most feckless administration in Washington would continue negotiating after being fired upon so brazenly. If America signs a deal after that, it would become an international laughingstock, and terrorists around the world would receive a signal that they have carte blanche to act without restraint. Any remaining deterrence would be completely lost and all American servicemen stationed abroad would know that they would be cannon fodder.

The US will surprise no one when it continues negotiating with Iran, because it has proven non-stop since Joe Biden became president that it would pay any price to its greatest foes and sacrifice its greatest allies.

This is true of Ukraine, which has not received nearly enough assistance from Washington since the February 24 Russian invasion. Any hopes in Ukraine of America doing anything other than sanctioning the Russians was quickly quashed amid the rubble in Ukrainian cities. It is also true for Israel, which can only look at America’s behavior in utter disbelief, dread and debilitating fear.

 Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi inspects the site of a damaged building a day after a missile attack, in Erbil (credit: IRAQI PRIME MINISTER MEDIA OFFICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi inspects the site of a damaged building a day after a missile attack, in Erbil (credit: IRAQI PRIME MINISTER MEDIA OFFICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

“Iran fired missiles at an American consulate in Iraq and yet, it continues negotiating with the same ayatollahs who fired the missiles, which would enable them to obtain a nuclear arsenal that would endanger Israel and the peace of the world,” opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said, in a video he posted on social media. “They will remove the sanctions from Iran, which would give the ayatollahs hundreds of billions of dollars to continue such acts of terror. There is no greater absurdity than this.”

Netanyahu’s video will obviously have no impact on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government. Bennett takes pride in doing the opposite of whatever Netanyahu says to do, even when it is obvious that his much more experienced predecessor and former mentor is exactly right.

But, the attack on Erbil and subsequent Iranian claims that its real target was a Mossad facility should serve as a wake-up call to Bennett that his strategy of fighting the Iran deal from behind the scenes is a dismal failure. Israel has clearly not impacted the deal by one iota.

It is not too late for Bennett to change his dangerous and counter-productive course. His ally, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, said she altered Israel’s five-day-old Ukrainian refugee policy, because she heard the public’s feelings.

If Shaked can hear feelings, Bennett should be able to hear an enormous missile strike. He should start making his voice heard and finally raise a public alarm in Washington, European capitals and around the world, as he should have been doing all along.

In a speech in Tel Hai marking the yahrzeit of Israeli hero Yosef Trumpeldour last week, Bennett said only one sentence about Iran: “We have an obligation and a historical right to maintain our ability to protect the existence of the Jewish people and the Jewish state with our own force,” he said. “We will always maintain this ability to defend ourselves by ourselves.” Bennett also has a duty to address Iran’s race toward a nuclear capability coherently, instead of constantly speaking in code and downplaying the greatest threat to Israel’s existence.

No one in Israel is raising the alarm about Iran right now. Consequently, the issue is hardly discussed in America. Without Netanyahu coming to Congress and making noise, Israel is taken for granted, as if it is a proxy for the US. Perhaps Bennett’s policy would make sense if America could be counted on, but what has happened with Ukraine has proven that America’s assurances are unfortunately utterly worthless.

Due to new Russian demands, it remains unclear whether a deal will be reached. There is even talk of removing Russia from the equation to expedite an agreement.

If there is a choice between a very bad deal and no deal, undoubtedly no deal would be better. With such a bad deal, Israel would be in an untenable position, due to the money and power coming to Iran. Endowing terrorism for the foreseeable future will trump any guarantees and assurances that the Biden administration may offer to Israel as compensation.

The Saudis and the Emirates would also suffer, but the Jewish state would suffer the most. If a nuclear Iran or one of its arms, like Hamas or Hezbollah, fires a missile at Israel, its arms would be tied. That is why the missile strike on Erbil must become a rallying cry for immediate action by the US and Israel to change course and prevent that from happening.

The writer is co-president of the Religious Zionists of America, chairman of the Center for Righteousness and Integrity and a committee member of the Jewish Agency. He was appointed by former US president Donald Trump as a member of the US Holocaust Memorial Council. The views expressed are his own. [email protected]