May 28, 2009

What Will History Record?

By Stan Goodenough

That in mid-May, 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to the United States to make a priority of stopping Iran from pursuing the nuclear bomb that threatens Israel’s existence.

That the Obama administration refused.

And that just over one week later, America was standing on the edge of a potential nuclear conflict with North Korea, which test-fired an atomic warhead and launched a handful of surface-to-surface missiles in a defiant show of force.

Let me be clear: I do not claim that what I am about to write is “a word from the Lord.” Some of the thoughts I will express here have simply “dropped into my head” over the last 24 hours; they came without any leading from a third party and, while they resonate in my spirit, they have not been confirmed by two or three witnesses; or even one. Nor have I had any dreams or visions about this. See below.*

On May 18, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in the White House with the president of the United States, Barack Obama.

Both the run-up to and aftermath of that much anticipated meeting have been spun every which way by the media, with a solid majority of columnists and talk show hosts focusing in on “the relationship,” on “reading between the lines” and on analyzing the “body language” between the two.

Some harked back to the days when frigid winds blew in the Clinton White House after a Netanyahu visit during the Israeli’s first tenure in office. Would “Bibi” again forget his “place?” Watchers saw a nervous “regional power medium weight” sitting opposite a self-assured “global superpower heavyweight,” and they gave the American kudos for not allowing Netanyahu to “deflect” him from the “real obstacle to peace,” that is, Jewish settlements. To other observers,Netanyahu strongly withstood the not inconsiderable pressures an American administration can bring to bear. He stuck to his guns, refused to subscribe to the “two-state solution” and should have been welcomed home as a hero. (He wasn’t.)

There was more; much more analysis, from serious reporters and from the fringe, underscoring why the profession is often referred to as a media circus.

But let’s put aside the fluff of press predilections and spinmeister speculations, and get to the substance of what’s really taken place.

It’s a matter of gravest consequence.

Netanyahu didn’t go to the White House seeking a photo opportunity. He went to ask for American leadership and support in dealing with the out-of-control Iranian nuclear threat that is primarily directed against the Jewish state.

From the day of his inauguration on March 31, Netanyahu has been looking for Washington to take Iran seriously.

“If you don’t stop Iran, I’ll have to,” he messaged Obama, just hours before being sworn in.

Instead of responding appropriately, the American dissembled. Get going with the two-state solution, Obama shot back, and we’ll be better able to deal with Tehran.

This was Obama’s response too when the two leaders spoke to the press after their May 18 meeting.

Netanyahu said “the worst danger Israel faces is that Iran would develop nuclear military capabilities.”

“Iran openly calls for our destruction, which is unacceptable. It threatens the moderate Arab regimes in the Middle East. It threatens US interests worldwide. But if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, it could give a nuclear umbrella to terrorists or worse, could actually give them nuclear weapons. And that would put us all in great peril.”

Netanyahu’s position was that it was necessary to deal with Iran first, and with the “Palestinian” question later.

But Obama publicly disputed him.

“If there is a linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I personally believe it actually runs the other way,” the American said. “To the extent that we can make peace with the Palestinians — between the Palestinians and the Israelis, then I actually think it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with the
potential Iranian threat.”

The president went on to suggest that he might reassess his “let’s talk” approach to Iran if, by year’s end, there was no sign it was having an affect. Netanyahu expressed his appreciation, but administration officials “close to Obama” later quickly emphasized that no deadline had been set.

What, in fact, do we have here?

Israel’s leader has asked the US to help stop Iran from acquiring the means to inflict a holocaust on the Jews.

America’s leader is not willing to go that way. On the contrary, as The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick reported, the Obama “administration has made its peace with Iran’s nuclear aspirations. Senior administration officials acknowledge as much in off-record briefings. It is true, they say, that Iran may exploit its future talks with the US to run down the clock before they test a nuclear weapon. But, they add, if that happens, the US will simply have to live with a nuclear-armed mullocracy.”

Two days after Netanyahu met with Obama, Iran successfully test fired a ‘Sajil’ surface-to-surface missile with a 1,200 mile range. Israel is less than 1000 miles from Iran.

Two days later, on May 22, a public survey indicated that one in four Israelis is so fearful of the specter of a nuclear Iran that they plan to leave their homeland forever if the mullahs get their hands on the bomb.

On May 24 Iran’s former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezai warned that his country “understands missiles and tanks as well as foreign policy and knows exactly where Israel’s sensitive spots are. It could stop them forever with one strike.”

On May 25, a grim-faced Bibi told his cabinet: If we don’t deal with Iran, no one will.

On May 27, a new poll found that 51 percent of Israelis want the IDF to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities now. This despite Bibi’s warning to expect a large number of Israeli casualties if a strike goes down. Iranians have boasted that they have the capability to destroy Israel within just 11 days.

Also on May 27, Iran deployed six warships and other vessels into international waters in what Fox News called a “saber-rattling” move.

For five days this coming week the world, and specifically the United States government, will watch the Israeli nation ready for full scale war in the largest ever national military exercise since 1948.

Bibi’s appeal for America to step up to the plate has fallen on deaf ears.

Instead, the Obama administration finds the idea of “reaching out to the Muslim world” more appealing just now.

And it knows that one of the most effective ways it can do that is by pushing Israel into compliance with the Arab Peace Initiative.

Thus did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasize Wednesday the American “expectation” that Israel would immediately comply with the Arab demand that it halt any and all settlement activity.

President Obama “wants to see a stop to settlements - not some settlements, not outposts, not ‘natural growth’ exceptions,” Clinton said. “We think it is in the best interests [of the peace process] that settlement expansion cease. That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly. … And we intend to press that point.”

Do they?

How interesting then, that exactly one week after spurning Israel’s appeal, the United States this week suddenly finds itself confronting a nuclear-detonating, missile launching North Korea?

Is it really just happenstance that Hillary Clinton Wednesday evening, at the same news conference, in almost the same breath, was leveling stern warnings at both Jerusalem and Pyongyang?

Or is Someone Else fighting for Israel?

History will tell.

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I gave Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you;
Therefore I will give men for you,
And people for your life.

(Isaiah 43:1-4)

Therefore please hear this, you afflicted,
And drunk but not with wine.
Thus says your Lord,
The LORD and your God,
Who pleads the cause of His people:

“See, I have taken out of your hand
The cup of trembling,
The dregs of the cup of My fury;
You shall no longer drink it.
But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you,
Who have said to you,[a]

‘Lie down, that we may walk over you.’
And you have laid your body like the ground,
And as the street, for those who walk over.”

(Isaiah 51:21-23)

* When, in 2004/5, the Sharon government was preparing to uproot the Jews of Gaza, destroy their homes and hand over that territory to the Palestinian Arabs, I widely - in my writing and in meetings across the United States - expressed my strong feelings that the Disengagement would not happen, that God would not let it take place. I based my position strongly on God’s word through the prophet Amos when He said: “…I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:15). It was also clear to me that God had, in the 1967 Six Day War, miraculously restored Gaza (and Judea and Samaria and “East” Jerusalem) to Jewish sovereign rule after nearly 2000 years. Despite the mounting evidence before my eyes that the plan was going to be executed, I held to the conviction it would not take place. It did, of course. And not long afterwards I was challenged by an emotional fellow believer who told me: “You had better publicly confess that you were wrong when you said God told you that there would be no Disengagement.” In fact, to the very best of my recollection, I had never said that God told me anything of the sort. All along I had expressed MY thoughts; MY sense, MY conviction, even MY belief. But I never said that God had spoken, because He hadn’t.

Following that uprooting I watched, mesmerized, as Hurricane Katrina prepared to unleash its devastating fury on the south-eastern United States. Deep inside I just KNEW that this was the Divine response to years of America’s relentless pushing of Israel that had culminated in the Gaza disaster. Did God TELL me it was Him? Maybe He did - through what I read in the Bible and through the spiritual witness shared by so many others - among them Katrina’s victims - that this was indeed God’s judgment. Even so, what I did as the hurricane roared ashore in Louisiana was ask the question: Was Katrina the ‘fist of God?’ However certain I may be of the answer to that question, I never claimed to have heard from Heaven God saying “the storm is My response.” One day we will know.