Jan 24, 2012

Is Netanyahu's Patience with Iran Running Out?

Joel C. RosenbergBy Joel C. Rosenberg

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Does Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu think the West is taking decisive action to stop Iran from getting the Bomb, or does he think the West is fiddling while Tel Aviv runs the rising risk of burning? That’s the Big Question as tensions continue to mount in the epicenter this week.

Iran is making new threats to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil shipments, just days after test-firing missiles over the Strait. The U.S., Britain and France are sending additional naval forces to the Gulf. The European Union is taking new steps to impose an oil embargo on Iran. The U.S. is taking steps to sanction Iran’s third largest bank—though dragging its feet on actually sanctioning Iran’s Central Bank.

Will such Western moves be enough to stop Iran from building an arsenal of nuclear weapons? Personally, I’m not convinced. Such moves would have been good a few years ago. Now they strike me as too little too late, especially after the Obama White House disastrous decision recently to cancel joint military exercises with Israel for fear of being “too provocative” towards Iran. But it doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is what Netanyahu thinks. If he decides the West isn’t doing enough and Iran is going to get the Bomb, then he is going to hit Iran hard, soon, and without warning.

Benjamin NetanyahuIn that context, it’s worth noting a speech Netanyahu gave today warning his nation that the world has not internalized the lessons of the Holocaust. ”Speaking at the Knesset just days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27), Netanyahu reasoned that the Jewish people must not put their fate in the hands of the international community,” reported the Jerusalem Post. “Posing a rhetorical question, Netanyahu asked, ‘How does the world react to the calls for genocide against the Jews today? Seventy years after the shoa (Holocaust), Iran is calling for us to be wiped off the map, Hezbollah is calling for our extinction, as are many in Hamas…. The Jerusalem Mufti (Sheikh Muhammad Hussein) called on Sunday for Jews to be killed wherever they are…echoing his predecessor Haj Amin Al Husseini, who actively helped Hitler and Eichman,’ he said. ‘I do not hear the international community condemning this. I hear them condemning buildings in the West Bank. But I don’t hear them condemning this incitement,’ said Netanyahu.”

Could Netanyahu be signaling that his patience—and that of the Israeli government and military—is running out?

Related Links

'World has not internalized Holocaust lessons' • Jerusalem Post
West Displays Gulf Military Power to Defiant Iran • ABC News
Israel to UN: Tomorrow will be too late for action against Iran • Haaretz
Iran says sanctions to fail, repeats Hormuz threat • Reuters
Netanyahu: World Silent on Threats to Destroy Israel • Arutz Sheva