The specter of the Iranian nuclear threat continues to hover over Israel like a dark, foreboding cloud. It is an existential threat the likes of which Israel has not experienced since the early days of the fledgling state. Not since the late 30's has the Churchillean notion of "a gathering storm" posed such an imminent danger to the Jewish people. Iran's explicit call for the elimination of Israel coupled with the Islamic state's unceasing efforts to acquire nuclear weapons puts the Jewish state in an untenable--and unacceptable--situation. With the memory of the Holocaust burned into the psyche of Israelis, even those who veer more left in their worldview cannot countenance the idea of a nuclear Iran.
President Ahmadinejad promotes the idea that the faithful can hasten the return of the Hidden Imam, ushering in a new era of Shia Islamic dominance in the Middle East and the world beyond. The destruction of Israel would serve as a clarion call to millions of Muslims worldwide that such an apocalyptic vision can indeed be realized. While internally, the Iranian state may be imploding and poised for regime change, this may take several years, more time than Israel can likely afford.
Ahmadinejad has cleverly set the stage for a second Holocaust. First, he has questioned whether there even was a first Holocaust, erroneously--but effectively--casting doubt on the justification for the Jewish state's existence (in fact, Israel exists and was created not because of the Holocaust, but despite it). And second, he has followed the path of Nazi propagandists by dehumanizing Jews in his characterizations, thereby paving the way to the realization of a judenrein Middle East.
Will Europe, Russia and China join America and Israel in imposing and upholding sanctions on Iran that have real teeth? If the international community fails to act now, it will be responsible for leaving Israel with no choice but to take matters into its own hands at the moment of truth, before Iran reaches a nuclear capability of no return.
As the authors of "Israel's Worst Nightmare," Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael Oren conclude,
"If it fails, then Israel will have no choice but to uphold its role as refuge of the Jewish people. A Jewish state that allows itself to be threatened with nuclear weapons--by a country that denies the genocide against Europe's six million Jews while threatening Israel's six million Jews--will forfeit its right to speak in the name of Jewish history. Fortunately, even the government of Ehud Olmert, widely criticized as incompetent and corrupt, seems to understand that, on this issue at least, it cannot fail." See their poignant essay below.
For more on Iran and its military weaponry, click here.Yossi Klein Halevi is a contributing editor to The New Republic and a senior fellow of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. Michael B. Oren is a contributing editor to The New Republic and a senior fellow of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. He is the author most recently of Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Posted by David Brumer at 12:52 PM