The leader of the free world spoke to a joint session of Congress today. Barack Obama refused to attend, refused to speak with him, and would admit only to “looking at” a transcript of his speech. He, of course, is Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.
I’m not going to quote extensively from the speech. Anyone wishing to read it–and it is a speech that will rank among the most important in history–may do so here. A video of the speech–a bit more than 40 minutes–is available here.
Before I present a variety of views from around the Internet, it may be worthwhile to review where we–America–are in relation to Iran in 2015.
We have been in a declared war with Iran–declared by Iran–since 1979 when Islamists seized control of the nation and our embassy, holding our people hostage for more than a year. Since then, Iran’s hostility to America has been unremitting, and Iran is responsible, directly or indirectly through active support of terrorist organizations, for the deaths of thousands of Americans.
The Iranian leadership are an apocalyptic death cult determined to obtain nuclear weapons to bring about the return of the 12th Imam, which they believe will usher in Islamist dominance of the world with Iran doing the dominating. President Obama believes he can enlist Iran in combatting ISIS. PM Netanyahu has a view based on reality:
Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America. Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.
In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.
We know all of this because the Iranians tell the world who they are and what their intentions are on a daily basis. The American government admits that Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, not that such designation means anything to Mr. Obama. All Islamists, following their scripture, lie to infidels. By the very definition of their faith and belief, one cannot believe anything they say, other, of course, than their promises to murder Jews, Americans, etc. that also reflect their faith.
Iranian leaders have said, in absolutely clear language, over and over again, that they intend to use nuclear weapons against Israel and against us. Even while “negotiating,” in Geneva with the feckless John Kerry, they staged the destruction and sinking of a mock American aircraft carrier. Such displays are not normally thought to demonstrate good faith or respect for the nation with whom one is negotiating.
It is not a matter of whether the Iranians will use nuclear weapons against Israel or America, but when. Throughout the negotiations, the Iranians have been repeatedly caught cheating.
Benjamin Netanyahu is the only statesman on the world stage willing to speak the truth, and willing to do what is necessary to preserve his people, yet American democrat politicians boycott his speech, and during that speech, the execrable and idiotic Nancy Pelosi, repeatedly rose and turned her back on Netanyahu.
The Iranian leadership are lying madmen who cannot be trusted, who cannot be deterred from using nuclear weapons, and who will do whatever is necessary to get them, and our government attacks Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel.
This was a historic speech. In the heart of his speech Netanyahu hit many of the themes we have hit here. He also anticipated and addressed the Obama administration’s criticism of his appearance before Congress. Netanyahu’s moving peroration drew on the history of the Jewish people, linking it to Israel and Israel to the United States.
To say that Netanyahu’s welcome was warm would be an understatement: it was rapturous. President Obama has never gotten such an enthusiastic reception for a State of the Union speech before the same audience. And the enthusiasm was bipartisan: Democrats were on their feet cheering, just like Republicans. True, some Democrats stayed away, generally those who either have safe seats or will not soon face the voters. Their absence reflects the fact that there are, indeed, partisan differences between Democrats and Republicans on the Middle East and Israel. One suspects that more Democrats would have liked to stay away. But those partisan differences were not on display this morning.
Why is that significant? American support for Israel has always been bipartisan, a fact that Netanyahu emphasized. Enemies of Israel insinuate that Congress’s consistent support for that country is a function of lobbying by AIPAC, or of campaign contributions by American Jews. But that is myopic at best. Congress supports Israel because the American people support Israel. The polls have shown this for decades. It isn’t a matter of political clout; as we have noted before, some of the states where Israel is most popular have almost no Jewish population. Americans support Israel out of ideological conviction, as well as religious affinity in the case of many Christians and Jews.
Steven Hayward, quoting from Nancy Pelosi’s statement on the speech:
“That is why, as one who values the U.S. – Israel relationship, and loves Israel, I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech – saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.
Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated something we all agree upon: a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable to both our countries. We have all said that a bad deal is worse than no deal, and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons is the bedrock of our foreign policy and national security. As President Obama has said consistently, all options are on the table for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. [Emphasis added.]”
It was widely suggested, ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu’s spectacularly controversial address to Congress on Tuesday, that the prime minister would have to deliver the speech of his life in order to justify the damage he would inevitably be causing to relations between his government and the Obama Administration. In the event, Netanyahu did deliver the speech of his life… and caused devastating, presumably irrevocable damage to his relationship with President Barack Obama. [skip]
Although diplomatic in tone — and complete with deliberate Churchillian flourishes — “some change, some moderation,” he intoned of Iran under Hassan Rouhani — Netanyahu’s speech was in essence a devastating assault on Obama. He began, dutifully, with expressions of appreciation for the president, and for everything the president has done for Israel. But he continued, for the vast majority of his address, to explain the profound misjudgment of Iran — its ideology, its goals, and the immense danger it constitutes to Israel, the region, the United States, and the world — that lies at the heart of the “very bad deal” emerging from the US-led P5+1 negotiations. And thus, by extension, he was explaining the profound misjudgment of Iran at the core of Obama’s worldview and policies.[skip]
But Netanyahu’s address had a clear practical goal as well. He was lobbying Congress, and lobbying the American public watching at home to pressure Congress, to assert its maximal capacity to thwart the progress of the deal that Obama has cooked up. While 50 or 60 legislators elected to absent themselves, the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats were there to nod sagely at Netanyahu’s elaboration of Iran’s rapacious, religiously driven ideology and territorial ambitions, to applaud, to jump to their feet, to be won over.[skip]
And the cardinal fact is that the prime minister is convinced, in his heart of hearts, that the Islamist regime in Tehran is bent on the destruction of Israel. Ayatollah Khamenei ‘tweets that Israel must be annihilated,’ Netanyahu wailed, repeating: ‘He tweets! You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.
MONTREUX, Switzerland (Reuters) – Iran rejected on Tuesday as ‘unacceptable’ U.S. President Barack Obama’s demand that it freeze sensitive nuclear activities for at least 10 years but said it would continue talks on a deal, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Iran laid out the position as the U.S. and Iranian foreign ministers met for a second day of negotiations and as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a stinging critique of the agreement they are trying to hammer out.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met a day after Obama told Reuters that Iran must commit to a verifiable halt of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear work for a landmark atomic deal to be reached.
‘Iran will not accept excessive and illogical demands,’ Zarif was quoted by Fars as saying.
‘Obama’s stance … is expressed in unacceptable and threatening phrases,’ he was reported as saying, adding that talks with Kerry in Switzerland would nonetheless carry on.
And consider this from Mark Steyn, on the Monday speech of National Security Advisor Susan Rice before AIPAC the day before Mr. Netanyahu’s speech:
We are bedeviled by what Joe Biden would assuredly call ‘but buddies’. I’m wearily familiar with all those civilizational sell-outs who begin ‘Of course, I’m in favor of free speech but…’ Whatever follows the ‘but’ means the bit before the ‘but’ is not true.
Still, it’s a riskier rhetorical device to try before a live crowd. At AIPAC yesterday, Susan Rice acknowledged that there were those who wanted Iran to forgo all domestic nuclear enrichment capacity. At which the crowd cheered and indeed rose to its feet. The huzzahs lasted long enough for TV viewers to study in some depth the expression of amused condescension on the National Security Advisor’s face, and their volume was sufficient to drown out the first of her three ‘buts’.
And then she resumed: ‘But… But… But… as desirable as that would be it is neither realistic nor achievable.
A sampling of Democrat blathering from Fox News:
After the address, some Democrats continued to hammer his invitation and his message.
‘I resent the condescending tone,’ Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said during a lengthy press conference where House Democrats sounded off over the speech Tuesday afternoon. Democrats are angry in large part over the process — Boehner invited Netanyahu without involvement from the White House, which is considered a breach in protocol.
Yarmuth also accused Netanyahu of ‘fear-mongering’ and said: ‘Now he can go home.’
Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., leveled the same accusation.
‘If you can make the people afraid, you can make them do anything,’ he said. ‘That’s what Prime Minister Netanyahu was doing. He was trying to make people afraid.
There are those who think that Muslims would never use such weapons against Israel because innocent Muslims would be killed as well, but Saddam Hussein did not hesitate to use poison gas on his own people. During the war in Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah did not worry that rocketing cities with large Arab populations such as Haifa and Nazareth would kill non-Jews (and 24 of the 52 Israeli casualties were non-Jews). Muslims murder each other every day in Iraq. And Iran fought a ten-year war with Iraq in which as many as one million Muslims were killed.
Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani explicitly said he wasn’t concerned about fallout from an attack on Israel. ‘If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession,’ he said ‘the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.’ As even one Iranian commentator noted, Rafsanjani apparently wasn’t concerned that ‘the destruction of the Jewish State would also means the mass killing of the Palestinian population as well.
Susan Rice is correct: under Barack Obama, it is impossible to prevent the Iranians from enriching uranium to weapons grade status. It is impossible because despite Mr. Obama’s repeated statements that Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons, despite the same from Susan Rice and other administration officials, there is only one thing that can accomplish that absolutely necessary goal: military force. The Iranians know that Barack Obama is a fool and a coward, perhaps even a fellow traveler. They know he will never use force against them and they are betting he will do whatever is necessary to prevent the Israelis from using force. Absent the credible and demonstrated threat of force, what incentive do they have to do anything Mr. Obama wants, particularly when he is desperate to make an illegal treaty with Iran–any treaty on any terms?
Mr. Obama will do anything, even hasten the destruction of Israel and the deaths of millions of Americans, to avoid war with Iran, a nation that has been at war with us and killing our people since 1979. Pundits and politicians act as though we must give the Iranians any deal Mr. Obama wants rather than go to war. Given the nature of the Iranian regime, the question is not can we avoid war, but under which circumstances will we go to war. Leaving that to the Iranians will result in far more deaths, Israeli, American and Iranian, than we can easily imagine.
So Mr. Netanyahu was trying to make people afraid? We should be afraid. In Iran, we face the most dangerous, fanatical, medieval threat of our lives, and our President wants to give them whatever they want, including the nuclear weapons necessary to spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, destroy Israel and complete a second holocaust, and kill millions of Americans.
Even if Democrat politicians are too stupid to be frightened by that reality, I’m more than willing to admit it scares me.
In parting, consider this passage from Mr. Netanyahu’s speech, and as you read it, reflect on what this says about the man, about his statesmanship and integrity, and what the fact he had to say this says about Barack Obama.
My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.
Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.
And by the way, if Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reaching corners of the Earth, including to every part of the United States. So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.
So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?
Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would only whet Iran’s appetite for more.
Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?
Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both worlds: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?
This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors, Iran’s neighbors, know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb. And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.
This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.
If anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.
Ultimately, it’s not a good idea to stand against God’s chosen people. It has, however, become not only a badge of honor, but mandatory for honorable people of good will to stand against Barack Obama and his Democrat allies.