Right of Reply: We must act against the Iranian threat

The problem is not non-disclosure of intent; it is the intended victim's leaden ears.

Ahmadinejad 224/88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Ahmadinejad 224/88
(photo credit: AP [file])
In his recent article "Those obscene Holocaust analogies" (August 11), MJ Rosenberg severely criticized those who support strong action against the Iranian nuclear threat, calling them 'hysterical." Rosenberg acknowledges that there is an Iranian threat which "has to be addressed." His solution, safely ensconced in his ivory tower in far-off Washington, is "diplomacy without preconditions." What if that proves to be unsuccessful? Rosenberg seems not to care. He offers no Plan B. His basis for his position is a novel theory culled from the Holocaust experience. Rosenberg posits the breathtakingly naive notion that the reason the Nazis "total annihilation almost succeeded was because Europe's Jews... had no weapons." However, he continues, "if the Jews had the power to take the Nazis down with them, the Final Solution would not have occurred." The situation with Israel and Iran is much different, continues Rosenberg. Since Israel "has nuclear weapons" (one wonders how Rosenberg can be so sure of that since Israel has never conceded that it does), that knowledge itself would prevent Iran from launching a nuclear attack. As Rosenberg puts it: "I don't believe that the Iranians would sacrifice Teheran to take out Tel Aviv." THERE YOU have it. Rosenberg advocates that his non-expert, unverified belief be trusted, everyone sing "Kumbayah" together and simply love one another. Would that Rosenberg were correct. Unfortunately, his is a recipe for disaster. Tyrants throughout the ages have attacked armed adversaries. This is true even in our own recent history. In World War I, Germany went to war with a well-armed France and England. In World War II, the Allies and Russia were not without arms. But that did not prevent Germany from once again attacking them. Actually, it is Rosenberg's own suggestion of "diplomacy" which is often used by an aggressor as a means of lulling its unsuspecting target into unpreparedness. That very approach was utilized by Japan, which was engaged in diplomatic negotiations with Washington at the time of its sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Is Rosenberg really suggesting that Israel run the risk of being lulled into complacency so that it would be vulnerable to an Iranian nuclear attack? Israel's own experience puts the lie to Rosenberg's foolish assertions. When Israel took to heart Gamal Abdel Nasser's threats of annihilation and launched a preemptive attack on the Egyptian armed forces in June 1967, a mortal threat was overcome and Israel emerged with an earthshaking victory whose fruits it still enjoys. On the other hand, Israel's failure to use the same tactic in 1973 almost resulted in utter disaster. Israel's preemptive destruction of the Iraqi atomic reactor in 1983 did the entire world - and the US armed forces in particular - an enormous favor by ridding the evil Saddam Hussein of his nuclear capability. The civilized world's failure to prevent North Korea and Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons, on the other hand, has permitted such terrifying weapons to be placed in the hands of unstable rulers of unstable countries. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD has stated clearly on numerous occasions that he plans to destroy the State of Israel and its inhabitants. Tyrants and madmen often disclose exactly what they intend to do if they get the opportunity. For example, Adolph Hitler clearly articulated his views on the Jewish people which he wrote in Mein Kampf and constantly espoused in public speeches. The problem is not non-disclosure of intent; it is the intended victim's leaden ears. Rosenberg's ears may be leaden; it is hoped that those of Israel's leaders are not. I am not aware of Rosenberg's knowledge of halachic principles, but Halacha has a clear (and thoroughly rational) directive in the face of mortal danger: "Haba L'hargecha haskem l'hargo." "When one is coming to slaughter you, kill him first." This eminently sensible directive has served the Jewish people well over the ages. It is as applicable today as it has been historically. The writer, a recent oleh from the US, is the chairman of the American Israeli Action Coalition, a non-partisan NGO formed to represent the more than 250,000 Americans living here. [email protected]