Yesterday, in a post called “Why Netanyahu Should Part Company With Obama,” I suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu would be well-advised to speak more forcefully than he has in support of the protesters in Iran. As of today, by virtue of an interview just published in the German newspaper Bild, Netanyahu has done so.
Asked whether a victory for Hossein Mussavi would be good news for Israel, Netanyahu replied: “What would be good news for Israel is a regime that stops crushing dissent, stops supporting terror and stops trying to build nuclear weapons.” He went on to say: “There is no conflict between the Iranian people and the people of Israel and under a different regime the friendly relations that prevailed in the past could be restored.”
According to Netanyahu, the protests, and the way the Iranian regime is suppressing them, have “unmasked” the true nature of the Iranian regime. He added that if the Iranian people had a free choice, he had no doubt they would opt for a different government. As Netanyahu explained:
What we have seen in Iran is a powerful desire on the part of the Iranian people to be free. Don’t forget, Iranian elections are not like elections in Europe or Israel. First of all, the regime vets candidates. They eliminate those who are unacceptable to them in advance. This is a theocratic, totalitarian and brutal state that doesn’t really give free choice to the Iranian people.
Whatever the merit there might be to President Obama’s ultra-cautious comments about the Iranian regime — and I see very little — it makes no sense for Netanyahu to mince words about an implacably hostile regime or to be merely lukewarm towards those who are trying to topple it. Fortunately, that’s how Netanyahu now seems to view the matter.