Why Prime Minister Netanyahu should address the U.S. Congress on Iran

For the last several weeks, the American and the Israeli national press, as well as the American Jewish press, have debated the wisdom of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to accept House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint session of Congress concerning the Iranian nuclear program.  President Obama has indicated quite clearly that he is most displeased by this prospect and has applied quite some pressure on Israel in an effort to force PM Netanyahu to cancel the speech – all to no avail.  We might want to ask why Obama desires to scuttle such a presentation on the part of the prime minister, and what drives Netanyahu to resist all this pressure.

Clearly Prime Minister Netanyahu and the bulk of Israel’s security apparatus view the threat of a nuclear Iran as an existential threat to the State of Israel; for thirty-six years the Islamic Republic of Iran has issued threats against Israel’s existence.  Both of Iran’s supreme leaders – the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and current reigning Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – have called for the destruction of Israel and the liberation of Jerusalem.  Former Iranian presidents Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have indicated their desire to see nuclear weaponry used against Israel.  Given the animosity of the current Iranian regime toward Israel and its long history of supporting any and all terrorist movements attacking Jews and Israelis, the Israeli assessment of danger in Iranian possession of nuclear weaponry capability is both prudent and warranted.

On the other side of the equation is President Obama’s desire to strike a grand bargain with Iran.  Faced with the threat of Sunni radicalism in the form of al-Qaeda and now the Islamic State, Obama and his administration hope that Iran’s Shiite animosity for the Sunnis will aid the United States in bringing the radical Sunni threat to an end.  And indeed, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah-e Pasdaran) and its Qods Force (Sepahe-Qods) units have bolstered the Iraqi Shiite militias allowing them to counter the military forces of the Islamic State in Iraq.

But the White House and its supporters are deluding themselves if they believe that Iran is prepared to abandon terrorism, its desire for hegemony in the Persian Gulf, and ultimately its aim to spread its revolutionary Islamic message worldwide.  President Obama may think that he is repeating Roosevelt’s deal with Stalin against Hitler, but he’s got the characters wrong.  Iran is the new Nazi Germany – as any moderate Iranian ex-pat can testify, and permitting Iran a nuclear threshold capability is as wise as it would have been to allow Hitler a similar capability. Recall that the Allies destroyed the German heavy-water plant in Norway during World War II to disrupt the fledgling Nazi nuclear program.

The facts speak for themselves.  Iran has been violating all the interim agreements concerning its nuclear program, refusing to grant free access to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor its nuclear facilities, to the point that last week the IAEA inspectors suggested that Iran probably has more hidden facilities.  The dissident, anti-regime National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has revealed the existence of such hidden facilities several times over the last decade and a half, including the revelation of a new site – Lavizan-3 – in the  north Tehran suburbs just last week.

So, too, the Iranian regime has been engaging in a thirty-five-year war against the United States and Israel by using proxies that it trains, arms, and supplies: Hezb’allah in Lebanon (with cells around the world), Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian territories (as well as Hamas), the Houthis in Yemen, the Badr Brigade in Iraq, and the Jaish al-Mehdi, Saraya al-Salam, Asa'ib [Ahl al-Haq], [Harakat] al-Nujaba, the Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Iraqi Shiite militias.  Iran has supplied weaponry to the Islamist rebels in the Sinai and supports and supplies weaponry and training to both the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, and the regime of Sudan’s strongman – President Omar al-Bashir.

Given Iran’s lousy track record in adhering to restrictions, cooperating with inspections by the IAEA, ending support for terrorism, and ending its bellicosity toward the West – see its latest videos of attacks on a mockup of an American aircraft-carrier this last week – the prudence demonstrated by PM Netanyahu in questioning Iran’s sincerity makes more sense than Obama’s quest for a very flawed treaty.  Congress deserves to hear directly what Netanyahu has to say, and should be directly involved in overseeing the terms of any treaty proposal.  Our founding fathers knew what they were doing when they designed a tri-part government.