Iran (and Obama) vs. Israel (1)

The Islamic Republic of Iran avows its desire to eliminate Israel. It is an avowedly anti-Semitic terror state. To state the obvious, it wars on Israel because Israel is the Jewish state.

Iran’s war against Israel is of course not simply verbal. It has armed Hezbollah with more than 100,000 missiles to use against Israel on demand. It seeks nuclear weapons that will make the elimination of Israel an afternoon’s work. Yet the United States is about to enter into an agreement with Iran that blesses its nuclear program and facilitates its acquisition of nuclear weapons.

President Obama by turns excuses, discounts and rationalizes the avowed anti-Semitic statements and goals of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Obama asserts, for example: “The fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. The fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations.”

And: “They have their worldview and they see their interests. They’re not North Korea.” According to Obama, Iran “use[s] anti-Semitic rhetoric as an organizing tool.” The anti-Semitic pronouncements are not to be taken too seriously; they are simply intended for domestic consumption.

Obama’s comments are so stupid and glib it’s hard to believe that he takes them seriously himself. Michael Oren addresses the substance of Obama’s comments in the Los Angeles Times column “Why Obama is wrong about Iran being ‘rational’ on nukes” (bad headline, excellent column).

Oren concludes his column with this understated observation: “Obama would never say that anti-black racists are rational. And he would certainly not trust them with the means — however monitored — to reach their racist goals. That was the message Israeli officials and I conveyed in our discreet talks with the administration. The response was not, to our mind, reasonable.”

Oren also treats the issue of Iran and Obama in his book Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, to be published on Tuesday. Oren’s treatment of the issue is one of the book’s great virtues.

Oren reveals in the book that Iran plotted to bomb the Israeli legation in Washington, D.C., in 2011. He writes: “The terrorists also targeted Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington, planning to murder him with a bomb while he dined at his favorite restaurant, Cafe Milano.” Oren quotes himself asking Prime Minister Netanyahu on October 11, 2011: “Who will protect the embassy?”

We knew about the plot against the Saudi ambassador; the plot was all over the news when charges against two Iranians were unsealed. The Washington Post quoted then Attorney General Holder saying that “the United States is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions,” but noted that other Obama administration officials indicated that it was not yet clear who in the Iranian government was behind the alleged plot. It’s all a big mystery.

I follow the news. I wondered how I missed the story about Iran’s plot to bomb the Israeli legation. In his interview with us on Friday, Oren implied that information regarding the plot had previously been classified. Going through the Israeli government’s prepublication review of his manuscript, he received permission to reveal what remains about it in the book.

Oren notes that the 2011 plot was the handiwork of “Iran’s elite al-Quds force, in charge of overseas operations directly authorized by the regime’s Supreme Leader.” He continues:

By selling drugs internationally and laundering the profits through used-car dealerships, Iran had financed terrorist attacks in twenty-five cities throughout the world. Now that list included America’s capital. Such brazen aggression should have precipitated an instant U.S. military response. Instead, President Obama called the Saudi king–not Netanyahu–telling him, “This plot represents a flagrant violation of international norms, ethics, and law.” Such abstractions, I assumed, did not appease the desert monarch. And they certainly failed to mollify me. If the administration balked at retaliating for an attempted massacre only blocks from the White House, I asked myself, would it strike nuclear facilities six thousand miles away?

Well, if we were ever in doubt, now we know the answer to that last question. I’ll return to it in part 2. Before leaving off here, however, I want to pick up Oren’s thread on the reality of Iran’s war against Israel. A few pages after his discussion of the 2011 plot focused on Washington, Oren writes:

[V]icious Iranian words soon translated into murderous actions. Starting in February 2012, when an al-Quds force operative blew off his own legs while trying to bomb an Israeli diplomatic target, Iran masterminded a series of terrorist attacks worldwide. Mossad and foreign intelligence networks subsequently managed to thwart similar strikes against Israelis in Kenya, South Africa, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. But not all of Iran’s aggressions could be stopped. A car bomb wounded the wife of Israel’s military attache in New Delhi. Then, on July 18–exactly eighteen years after explosives killed eighty-five people at a Jewish center in Buenos Aires–Hezbollah terrorists struck a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Burgas airport in Bulgaria. A bomb planted in the luggage compartment blew burning bodies out of the bus, killing seven and wounding thirty-three.

That’s quite a crew that President Obama has us crawling into bed with, on a tissue of rationalizations and deceptions and betrayals. Oren’s book sets off a potent alarm. We’re going to hate ourselves on the morning after.