September 28, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu came to the UN General Assembly Thursday and laid it all on the table.  Bibi presented two visions for his country, the Middle East and the world as a whole when it comes to fighting radical Jihad. He talked about the battle between modernity and medievalism, arguing radical Muslims want to take the world back to a time of intolerance, violence and hate.

He praised his country as the opposite of what Jihadists want, pointing out how much Israel has overcome through wars, fighting enemies, rebuilding after the Holocaust and how the Jewish people are living in a thriving modern state. He addressed the Isreali-Palestinean conflict, pointing out that every year thousands of Palestinean Arabs are treated in Israeli hospitals by Israeli doctors.

But despite Israel’s generosity toward Palestineans who feel like enemies much of the time, the threat from terrorist groups in the region persists. Some ask why, others like Netanyahu understand why.

“It’s because Israel cherishes life that Israel cherishes peace and seeks peace,” he said, addressing the ongoing attacks on U.S. embassies. “They want to extinguish freedom.”

Netanyahu’s criticism of radical Jihad was in reference to long time foe Iran as well, going so far as saying al Qaeda and Iran have the same goals and same ideology when it comes to how they see the world.

Turning to Iran, Bibi held up a stylized drawing of a bomb, explained to the nations of the world the three stages of enriching the uranium required to produce a nuclear weapon, took out a red marker and drew a red line across the chart.  

The red line – the stage after which Iran can no longer be stopped from getting a nuclear bomb.

The step Iran must not be allowed to cross, if we are to eliminate this perilous threat to our way of life.

And the red line which President Obama refuses to draw.

As Secretary of State Hilary Clinton told Bloomberg News from Russia on September 9: “We’re not setting deadlines.”

Ironically, her message was confirmed by the President to Netanyahu on the evening of September 11.  So around the same time the President was pretending the deadly terrorist attack in Libya was a video problem, he told Netanyahu he was not going to get tough with Iran. The New York Times quotes an unnamed “senior administration official” describing the conversation: “President Obama rejected an appeal by Prime Minister Netanyahu to spell out a specific “red line” that Iran could not cross in its nuclear program.”

Netanyahu went out of his way to be bipartisan – referring to what he said were common goals of “Democrats and Republicans alike.”  But the two leaders appear to be on a collision course and there is nothing Netanyahu can do about it – short of failing to defend his people.

Netanyahu pressed hard to make the case that “red lines don’t lead to war; red lines prevent war.”  He argued that faced with red lines Iran would “back down.”  He urged listeners to be realistic: “today, a great battle is being waged between the modern and the medieval…The forces of medievalism seek a world…in which not life but death is glorified.”

But President Obama spent his time earlier this week at the General Assembly repeatedly conjuring up images of harmony and telling UN members “people everywhere long for” freedom, dignity, and justice.

Perhaps exemplifying the distance in judgment between the two governments was the behavior of their respective ambassadors.  When President Obama spoke, the Ambassador of Israel Ron Prosor, was seated respectfully in the Israeli General Assembly seat.  When Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke, the Ambassador of the United States Susan Rice was absent.  She is said to have had more important things to do.

When Americans decide on their next commander-in-chief, they will not be able to say they haven’t been warned.  Netanyahu told all who would listen:  “Iran is the world’s most dangerous terrorist regime.” “Imagine the world with a nuclear-armed Al Qaeda.”