Israel, Iran, and the Middle East

Israel, Iran, and the Middle East

My guess is that an attack on Iranian nuclear sites is coming closer to reality. I hope not, but I don’t really see a way around it. In my view, Obama’s Iran strategy is flawed (by the way, Bush’s was no better). The Iranian government sees Obama as weak, especially in light of the recent anti-government protests in Iran. Many Iranian protesters are very upset with Obama’s diplomacy, as it gives credibility and authority to a government that stole an election. And, in the Middle East, if you use a carrot, you’d better also use a stick—Obama has not done that. You have to be tough. Sanctions may have been the way to go, but the time may be too late now. What worries me is that the U.S. and many other countries (in Europe, maybe even Russia, and in the Middle East, including Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc.) are going to let Israel do the work that they do not have the courage to do–most of them will quietly (in spite of what they say publicly) give Israel intelligence and tactical military support. Sadly most of the pain will fall on Israel, which will face the fury of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, and Iran. The other nations will get some of the venom, but nothing compared to Israel.

The reality is that, for Israel, this is an existential question: the Iranian government will have no hesitation in obliterating Israel and slaughtering every Jew it finds. So what is Israel supposed to do? Jews cannot allow a second holocaust only seventy years after the first one (which itself culminated a 2500-year history of persecution).

Israel may have no choice. This would be a tragedy, but it would be an even greater tragedy to allow a nuclear attack on Israel. Sometimes there are only bad choices; you just pick the one that’s less bad.

I pray that this does not happen, and every day I envision a world in which peace and healing prevail. Everyone should come together at this time to do what they can to bring a vision of healing and peace to the current crisis. I have no idea what the solution is to avoid the need for a military strike, but I would call on all to do whatever they can to bring wholeness/shalom to a deeply fragmented world. For those who cannot imagine what they might do, a simple smile, a kind thought, or breathing out compassion has a way of spreading healing energy which all of us genuinely need. That’s a start. It doesn’t matter as long as we bring our energy to focus on healing, particular in the Iran-Israel-Middle East context. To quote Rabbi Hillel: “If not now, when?”


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