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Iran, Israel and Purim - Alf Cengia -
I'm indebted to columnist Jim Fletcher's Facebook post for having first brought to my attention that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to congress coincides with the same week Jews celebrate Purim. Jim was sure others had made the connection. I know it's inexcusable but I hadn't.
Purim commemorates the biblical story of Esther. This was a time when the Jewish people were living in Persia during their exile, and were saved from Haman's plot "annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day."
Ancient Persia is modern day Iran. Mr. Netanyahu sees a contemporary threat to Israel's existence in modern Iran's ambition to attain nuclear capabilities. Like the ancient biblical example, a nuclear armed Iran will have a real potential of destroying Israel in a single day.
Unfortunately, Mr. Netanyahu's mission to drive that concern home to the United States directly conflicts with the Obama Administration's narrative on the Iranian regime. President Obama and his team have been feverishly trying to get Iran on their team as part of their small footprint strategy. The inconvenient reality is that it has never been on the American team, and never will.
Mr. Netanyahu has stepped on some delicate toes.
California Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein was indignant with the Prime Minister. She sees his Congress address as "arrogant" and undermining the president and his administration. She also went on record with CNN as saying:
“He [Netanyahu] doesn’t speak for me [a Jew] on this. I think it’s a rather arrogant statement. I think the Jewish community is like any other community. There are different points of view. I think that arrogance does not befit, Israel, candidly."
Mind you Senator Feinstein also had issues with the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence office. She once strongly objected to its scrutiny of a "prominent Islamic leader" who was scheduled to meet with the Bush Administration. It's an irony that Feinstein deferred to trusting the Islamic cleric but not her own nation's security department. She applies these same standards to Netanyahu.
Another Netanyahu skeptic is British freelance journalist Jonathan Cook. He (correctly) points out that some former Israeli generals aren't happy with the Prime Minister's trip to Washington. The problem lies in his interpretation. Cook operates from an anti-Israel perspective. He thinks Netanyahu is an alarmist who has deceived the U.S. and exaggerated the Iranian danger to Israel.
In fact he's authored a book arguing that “from the early 1980s, it was Israeli policy to subdue the Palestinians, fragment Arab rivals, and foster ethnic and religious discord to maintain unchallengeable regional dominance.” Sounds fair! Of course, whenever a leftist revisionist such as John Pilger praises someone - as he does Jonathan Cook - you can guess what they're both selling.
However, these generals aren't skeptical about the dangers to Israel posed by a nuclear Iran. The concern is the possible damage to the Israeli-U.S. relations. Former General Amnon Reshef warned that:
“When the Israeli prime minister argues that his speech will stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, he is not only misleading Israel—he is actually strengthening Iran...The American people see the rift between Israel and the administration. The Israeli public sees it and more important: the mullahs in Iran see it as well.” (Emphasis mine)
Israel retains many steadfast and influential friends in America. Yet the Obama Administration has done its level best to freeze over that relationship. From its inception, it actively sought to undermine the Israeli leadership. As the song goes, "That's what friends are for."
Speaking of friends, an effigy of President Obama was hung in a Tehran sponsored rally. This was prior to Geneva talks between John Kerry and the Iranian foreign minister. Ali Alfoneh observed:
“The Iranians on the one hand want to get as many concessions as they can from America during the nuclear talks but on the other hand they are not ready to give up their anti-Americanism."
He further warned:
“They’re using their hatred of America and their promotion of hatred of America to take over the mantel of leadership in the Muslim world...This of course to me shows that even if a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and the U.S. it does not necessarily mean that Iran is going to change its ideological fundamental line against the U.S.” (Emphasis mine)
Iran has actively used terrorist proxies against Israel while threatening it with extinction. Why would it suddenly change its principles after getting what it wants? Not only does it not make sense, it is insane.
Predictably, President Obama was an angry man after Mr. Netanyahu's speech. Like Senator Feinstein he doesn't like to be contradicted or having his ideologically-driven plans questioned. This administration will never be a type of Ahasuerus. It has allied itself to a modern-day Haman, and it has two more years to further cultivate that relationship.
Mr. Netanyahu's valiant effort - and it was that - can only delay the inevitable. He knew he was going to Washington to a mixed reception. Yet he was prepared to humble himself for his country. This is a rare trait nowadays and I salute him for his courage.
Israel may be prepared to go it alone, and ultimately it will. However, we also know God is on its side and that He will fight for it (Jeremiah 31:28, 35-37; Zechariah 12:9). It has all been worked out even before the major players act upon their decisions (Isaiah 46:10).
Let's pray that Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel soon recognize who their true Savior is.
I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me." Hosea 5:15