At my family’s Rosh Hashanah dinner table, as I assume happened at countless others around the world, we discussed Israel, Iran, the conflagration in the Middle East and President Obama’s dilemma in this crucial election season.
Our Rosh Hashanah was hosted by my 92-year-old Romanian uncle, a Holocaust survivor, whose love for Israel knows no bounds. His daughter, my cousin Ester, is a top official at AIPAC, the powerful Israeli lobbying group in DC. His son, Peter, moved to Israel in his 20′s, and the youngest of his three children just finished her tenure in the Israeli army.
This backdrop led me to think deeply about Israel’s future and the Jewish people’s perilous past, much of which is defined by the Holocaust, a tragedy of epic proportions that happened just 70 years ago and which directly impacted my parents (they lost their parents, siblings and others in the death camps).
The founding of Israel in 1948 is the only silver lining that came out of the tragic events in Europe in the 1930′s and 40′s. Israel today represents for every Jew worldwide a realization of a Zionist dream and a life raft in case anti-Semitism rears its ugly head again in the world.
Israel has been a steadfast ally of America’s and it now needs that loyalty reciprocated like never before. A Third Reich-like regime in Iran has vowed to wipe out Israel if it can and it is now getting close to developing a weapon of mass destruction.
And once again the world silently stands by, watching in slow motion as a potential Holocaust unfolds before our eyes.
But there is a way to potentially head off this inevitable conflict.
Theodore Roosevelt, one of the greatest presidents in American history, famously said: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
Roosevelt also knew that flexing America’s naval power was a practical embodiment of his famous aphorism.
Now President Obama is facing a Theodore Roosevelt moment. He must start using that big stick.
Or he will find that our most loyal and reliable ally, Israel, will be forced into a corner and any unilateral action by Israel will not be good for the Middle East or the world.
So here’s a thought: why doesn’t President Obama initiate a naval blockade of Iran and finally force Iran’s mullah thugs to abandon their nuclear ambitions?
By choking off the sea lanes in and out of the Persian Gulf, the American blockade will exercise the big stick approach to diplomacy.
Not one rocket or bullet need be fired. Just an exercise of naval military power that will finally tell the leaders of Iran that we mean business and will not stand idly by as the clock runs down on Israel.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton can prove that they have drawn the right lessons from history: that they are heirs of Theodore Roosevelt, not Neville Chamberlain.
The world is watching.
Tom Allon, the son of Holocaust survivors, is a Republican candidate for Mayor of New York City in 2013.