The U.S. and Israel
What to do?

PrIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, March 5, 2012.


Under any meaningful policy toward Israel, Washington would recognize an Iranian nuclear weapon as an existential threat to the Jewish state, and an intolerable danger to the United States, its European allies, and the panic-stricken Sunni countries of the Middle East.

Hans Rühle, who headed the German defense ministry’s planning staff from 1982 to 1988, noted Sunday that “by now, several intelligence agencies assume that North Korea in 2010 indeed performed one nuclear test for Iran.”

The Islamic Republic has waged a low-grade war on the United States for over three decades, killing hundreds of U.S. servicemen in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. While President Obama acknowledges the threat a nuclear Iran would pose to Israel, he does not recognize the gravity of Tehran’s nuclear-missile program for U.S. national security.

Obama’s worry that a more confrontational posture toward Iran will boost oil prices — coupled with his appeal for more diplomacy with Tehran — does not bode well for his chances of tackling the most serious threat since the collapse of the Soviet Union. For three years, President Obama has tried and failed to engage Iran’s leaders. What will it take to convince him that it won’t work?

Obama should make good on his promise to take every action in his power to end Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, and the Republican candidates for president should hold him to it.

Whether on red lines or timetables, when it comes to Iran, there should be no daylight between the United States and Israel.

— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.