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April 18, 2013 8:51 am
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Shimon Peres Has Undermined Israel’s Promise of “Never Again”

avatar by David Meyers

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres at the President's Residence March 20. 2013 Photo: Facebook.

Since 1948, Israel has been guided by a simple principle: never again. Never again will the Jewish people be helpless and defenseless. And never again will six million Jews put their security in someone else’s hands. This is a founding tenet of the Jewish state, and it’s a principle that every Israeli leader, including Shimon Peres, has supported.

So it was quite surprising to read Mr. Peres’ recent comments in The Times of Israel, where he once again repeated his complete confidence that President Obama will use military action against Iran if all diplomatic efforts fail.

Peres is without question an iconic Israeli leader. And he has recently taken strong stances on Hamas and the Palestinian peace process. But his comments on Iran are alarming, and they undermine Israel’s policy of “never again.”

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The Holocaust was barely three years old when the State of Israel was founded, and Israel’s leaders promised that they would never again allow the Jewish people to be slaughtered as they had been in Europe. Israel would build itself into a strong, powerful nation – and it would rise up to confront anyone who sought to exterminate the Jewish people.

Israel’s leaders were also guided by another principle: that Israel couldn’t trust its security to anyone else. They knew that if times got tough, the world might abandon the Jewish state, just as it had abandoned the six million Jews in Europe.

This belief was immediately proven correct in 1948. As Israel stood on the brink of annihilation, greatly outgunned and outnumbered, the United States and Europe refused to intervene. It was only through Israel’s own actions and its fortitude that the Jewish state survived. And this self-reliance is why Israel still exists today.

Despite those who accuse American Jews of dual loyalty and warn about the “Israeli lobby” in Washington, American Jews are Americans first. We understand that Israel and America will sometimes have different interests, and we expect our leaders to do what’s in the best interest of America. Israel must realize this, and understand that it can’t put its security in the hands of the United States of America.

This principle applies to Republican and Democratic administrations. For example, President George W. Bush was one of Israel’s strongest supporters in the White House. But when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert came to Bush in 2007 asking America to destroy Syria’s nuclear weapons plant, President Bush refused, deciding that America could not take such an action.

But Olmert knew that for Israel, preventing the Syrians from building a nuclear program was a necessity. So he ordered a unilateral Israeli strike (a move that, today, is almost universally praised).

What drove Olmert’s decision? He understood that Israel could not put its security in anyone else’s hands – even its great ally the United States, or its great friend George W. Bush. Never again.

An Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program is obviously a much tougher call, and there are strong arguments on both sides. But Israeli cannot place its security in the hands of America and President Obama.

America and Israel face different threats from Iran. And for all the terrible consequences that would arise from a nuclear Iran, the Islamic state would never be able to destroy America and its 300 million citizens.

Unfortunately, less than 70 years ago, we saw that it is possible to destroy six million Jews.

With peaceful efforts near failure, Israel may soon be forced to weigh the risks and decide whether or not to strike Iran. But if the United States refuses to act, Israel must make this calculation according to its own interests, just as Americans (and American Jews) expect President Obama to make his decision based on America’s interests.

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  • Mel

    How many of the world’s Christians have named their sons Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s second son? Barack Hussein Obama claims to practice Christianity. For one
    raised by Muslim and Atheist parents and grandparents; with formative education in Muslim schools and nations; who paid huge legal fees to suppress his legal records; is that claim Credible or Laughable? Truth or Taqqiya?

    The Nations see passivity and tolerance as weaknesses. Peres snd Obama share a disability. Socialists tend to view the world as they wish it to be, rather than as it is. Americans surviving their delusion is is due to size and remoteness. The shrinking world is testing Americans’ mettle. Lacking both size and remoteness {and trapped between Islam and the sea) an Israel without Hashem would be catastrophic—and pointless.

    Hashem continues to test us, as history records.

  • Yale

    >>And for all the terrible consequences that would arise from a nuclear Iran, the Islamic state would never be able to destroy America and its 300 million citizens.

    If only this were true. An ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack could kill 85-90% of all American in a matter of weeks because of the collapse of the infrastructure that enables the country to function. This why we’re hearing what we are about the North Koreans and their misisle effort: A sincle nuclear warhead exploded 500 or so miles above Kansas could take out almost the entire country.

  • H.Givon

    Every country -large or small -has its own needs and priorities; sometimes those requirements intersect with those of others but there are always individual considerations that may take precedence. While the United States and Israel are both democracies with shared values, the threat by radical Islam to destroy both the ‘big Satan’ (the U.S.) and the ‘little Satan’ (Israel) creates an immediate urgency for the Jewish state that is not so for the American government. Its small size and geographic proximity to Iran with its nuclear potential bring an existential danger that will likely necessitate a defensive move by Israel to prevent a more catastrophic result; it is inconceivable that the country would wait for the possible action of the U.S. when President Obama has chosen to continue on a failed diplomatic route.

  • Patricia

    I understand what is being said but I do take a difference with one statement i.e. “President Obama will do what is in America’s best interest”. More than half of America do not believe that because of the policies he has instituted. He came as a destroyer of America’s economy so he can rebuild it the way he wishes. His desire is to turn America into a Socialist/Communist Nation. He is no friend to Israel or America.

  • It is very naive of the author of this commentary to suggest that it would be better if the President of Israel announced to the world that he does not believe what President Obama says and promises regarding Iran and the safety of Israel. I am glad the author is not the President of Israel — stiff necked, arrogant, and politically juvenile! Peres is wise to state his complete confidence that President Obama will use military action against Iran if all diplomatic efforts fail, instead of taunting the President of the greatest ally and question his words. Yet Israel needs to be alert and wise, as they say, trust but verify.

  • pinchas baram

    There are 2 points to keep in mind about Shimon Peres.

    Point #1. He is a total knee-jerk sunny optimist. This is why he has lived so long (doesn’t have the high blood pressure and heart problems that sad and anxious people have).
    Paradoxically, his up-beat disposition is also why he has been a DISASTER as a foreign-policy advisor. Case in point of course is the Oslo Fiasco and all the kissy krap with yasser arafat which he initiated and brainwashed the public into believing, AND STILL BELIEVES IN.
    Now his new gospel is that Obama will save Israel, no matter what. As Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Comics would say, what, me worry?

    Point #2 is to always remember Point #1.

  • Ida Wax

    As much as I respect Pres. Perez, I believe it is way time for him to retire.

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