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November 21, 2013 2:41 pm

Israel’s Oren in LA Times Op-Ed: ‘Netanyahu is Merely Doing His Job’ in Warning Against a Nuclear Iran

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Israel Ambassador Michael Oren talks to Stephen Colbert. Photo: Screenshot.

Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, took to the pages of the Los Angeles Times on Thursday to defend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against his critics.

Netanyahu “has been labeled a warmonger, a wolf-crier and an opponent of peace at any price because of his policies on Iran,” writes Oren. “Critics can call him militant or intransigent, but Netanyahu is merely doing his job. Any Israeli leader who did less would be strategically and morally negligent.”

Oren notes that Netanyahu’s policies usually reflect the viewpoint of the Israeli intelligence services, rather than just his own opinions.

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“Netanyahu may at times appear to stand alone on Iran, but he is backed by a world-class body of experts,” writes Oren.

As if to defend this statement, Oren demonstrates how Netanyahu has been ridiculed for his public stance, only to be vindicated later on.

“In 2011, these same analysts predicted that the Arab Spring…would be hijacked by Islamic radicals. They foresaw years of brutal civil strife. Netanyahu publicly expressed these conclusions and was denounced as a naysayer by many of the same columnists who are now lambasting him on Iran,” Oren said.

“Top-flight intelligence helped Israel grapple with the challenges posed by the Arab Spring, but the stakes regarding Iran — the lives of 8 million Israelis — are vastly greater. Pundits may posit that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is a moderate, but Israelis cannot indulge in speculation. Our margin for error is nil,” writes Oren.

Netanyahu “is obliged to stress that the choice is not between sanctions and war but between a bad deal and stronger sanctions. And as the prime minister of the Jewish state, Netanyahu must assert Israel’s right to defend itself against any existential threat,” he concludes.

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