Israel vs. Iran: What Should President Obama Do?

I listened to president Obama’s tough guy act AIPAC speech yesterday, and I must say, the brotha didn’t disappoint. Well, maybe disappoint is an inappropriate choice of word. The fact is: president Obama’s speech was what we all — including Republicans — pretty much expected. OK, lemme rephrase that: Republicans expected him to be a punk and go soft on the idea of going to war with Iran, whereas, lefties like myself expected a heavy dose of pandering with an extra helping of pragmatism on the side. Yes he spoke tough; and yes he let it be known that he “has Israel’s back.”

But much to the angst of my Republican warhawk friends, he pretty much pushed back on the notion that now is the time to , “Bomb! Bomb! Bomb! Bomb! Bomb,bomb, Iran!” According to the president, there really isn’t any evidence that Iran is capable of producing a nuclear weapon. However, just in case they might want to entertain the idea of doing so. For now, the best course of action is to allow current economic sanctions to squeeze them into submission. You know, much in the same way a starving North Korea announced dropping their nuclear program in exchange for the US sending them food last week? Yes, president Obama is of the belief that it will only be a matter of time before his sanctions will have an effect. Check out president Obama’s AIPAC speech below:

So how does this all play out for the Israeli’s? Well, according to The Jerusalem Post:

Israeli reactions to US President Barack Obama’s speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday were divided along party lines.

Deputy Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) criticized Obama for saying that too much bluster played into Iranian hands and suggesting that it led to higher gas prices.

“There is a saying that it’s easier to watch a fire from far away,” Kara said. “We are facing an existential threat, not the US. If Israel doesn’t bluster, the US will also be in danger, because Iran’s missiles will reach them too. Israel is doing everything possible to keep the world safe, and it’s unfortunate that the White House doesn’t see things the way we see them here.”

MK Danny Danon (Likud) mocked Obama’s promises to protect Israel’s security.

He said history had proven that Israel can rely only on itself.

“Looking back at the way the United States criticized Israel for destroying the nuclear reactor in Iraq, Israel must make its decisions based on its own good judgment,” Danon said.

Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich called Obama’s speech unquestionably pro-Israel.

In a speech in Herzliya, she wished Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu well in his meeting with the president.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni blamed tension between Netanyahu and Obama on the prime minister. She predicted that there would be a large gap between Obama’s praise for Israel in his speech and what he would say to Netanyahu behind closed doors.

“Relations between Israel and the US have become political during Netanyahu’s term,” she said. “Netanyahu made Israel an issue in the American election and it’s a mistake. Netanyahu must understand that relations with the US are an essential need.

Our deterrence depends on it. He will be tested on whether he is able to draft the US into our interests or whether he will continue just manipulating internal American politics.”

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that judging from the above piece, politics in Israel sounds very much like here in the US.

So, how do you see it? What exactly is the best approach in handling the situation with the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons? I’d really love to hear from you on this because from where I’m sitting, this isn’t as deep as Israel being blown off the map by Iran. I say this because lost in all the talk is the history of US relations with Iran. Sure we’re all aware of the longstanding love affair between Israel and the United States. But is Israel’s security really and truly in the interest of the United States? Moreover, how many Israelis have died alongside US military personnel in the US’s decades long war on terror in either Afghanistan, or Iraq? I’m not sure of the answers to these questions, so maybe you can help me out.

Awesome breakdown from The Real News Network below:

More at The Real News
Better yet, do me a favor and watch the following video about the history of US relations with Iran before you answer. In yesterday’s speech, president Obama in referencing the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict said that, “Zionism isn’t racism.” Well, he’s right about that; however, the continued oppression of Palestinians by the Israelis being a form of apartheid is quite undeniable, in my opinion. But even so, I can’t help but to think that Israel’s beef with Iran goes beyond their security being compromised by Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, Israel is a bit more concerned about the possibility of retaliation for its sins against the Palestinian people, and the stealing of their land?