It has become the iconic picture that reverberated around the world and took over social media sites. Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu illustrating to the world (quite literally!) where the red line on the Iranian nuclear program and subsequent response should be drawn. Whether or not people remember the contents of his speech, Netanyahu’s cartoon ACME bomb and the bold red line drawn at 90% has become the visual seared into the collective global memory. It has also been the subject of a lot of debate in Israel with many asking if the UN General Assembly is in fact the forum to illustrate your point quite like that. And you know you have reached a state of infamy when you inspire comical imitations!
The message was simple. Iran + enriched uranium = a very bad thing.
And in case you are sceptical of our warnings or don’t believe the ranting of the genocidal Ayatollah’s and their mouthpiece, Ahmadinejad, let me draw you a picture. And so he did.
But who was Bibi actually speaking to? The UN General Assembly presents the perfect forum for world leaders to address each other and depending on your level of political interest, the world. Or was he trying to appeal to the American electorate? We are just weeks away from what is perhaps one of the most important and decisive US elections, at least from a strategic point of view for Israel so using the opportunity to influence the voting public may have been a smart choice. The use of biblical references and to-the-point language seemed to remind us not only of the Jewish People’s right to the land but what we stand to lose should Tehran go a little nuke crazy. With so many domestic issues on the minds of US voters, is the Iranian threat something that they worry about or can relate to?
Bibi explained the phases of the programme and its current status. He gave a well orchestrated and simple science lesson on how good vs bad nuclear energy is harnessed. Hey, don’t try this at home folks! He alluded to the fact that Iran has long tentacles and has committed acts of terror in various countries. And we all know who is on the Iranian payroll!
But one thing Bibi did not address was the Iranian people. A showdown with Iran is something the Ayatollahs and Revolutionary Guard are relishing. But the average Iranian is more concerned with an economy that has collapsed, they are concerned about the clampdown on personal freedoms. Iranians are worried about the human rights abuse in their country and a regime they appear powerless to change. Protests were viciously crushed.
We have to be vigilant that in our need to protect ourselves we do not forget to send the Iranian people a very important message. We are not at war with you. If we seek to rally international support, we need to include not just the scientific facts but also remember our sense of humanity for the people affected. This is the point that will sway crucial votes.
When it comes to standing firm on his country’s right to defend itself, Bibi is da bomb. May we continue to always show our regard and respect for the citizens of Iran as the sands of the Middle East continue to shift. Let this be our defining red line.