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September 27, 2012 4:46 pm

Israel and Iran: The Basic Truth and the Red Line

avatar by Chas Newkey-Burden

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Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: screenshot.

Back in April, I wrote an article for Ynet which touched on the Iranian nuclear issue. I argued that only a handful of people have sufficient insight into Israeli military capabilities and civil defense structure, and the minutiae of the Iranian nuclear program, to make a truly informed call over whether the Israeli government should resort to military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

I believe that the Israeli government has not just a right but a duty to do what it must to defend its country against the threat of nuclear aggression from the Iranian regime. Speaking in practical terms, should that include military action? I don’t have enough information to say.

A lack of information does not stop a daily herd of people offering their definitive, unsolicited advice to Israel. We hear from western armchair generals, who call excitedly on Jerusalem to unleash the dogs of war, assured by a belief that they themselves are unlikely to be in the crossfire of any immediate Iranian or Iranian-proxy response. We also hear from all manner of other self-appointed authorities including ironically-titled ‘peace activists’, Google-toting ‘experts’, and more.

Amid all this noise, it is easy to lose sight of the basic truth of the issue. The Spectator puts it well in today’s edition: ‘Historically, when tyrants talk about killing Jews they are seldom taken seriously, but they do tend to mean it…No one can expect [Israel] to wait for a new holocaust.’

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What to do about Iran’s nuclear ambitions is probably the biggest decision to date in Israel’s history. It is arguably one of the biggest decisions in the history of the Jewish people. Rarely in my lifetime can I remember a world leader facing such a huge dilemma and responsibility as Benjamin Netanyahu is now.

And what a few days he has had. Yesterday, a 25-hour fast for Yom Kippur. Overnight, a 12-hour flight to America. This evening, a barnstorming ‘red line’ speech at the UN General Assembly. Epic stuff from Bibi.

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