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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rabbi Kaufman: AIPAC, Iran, America and Israel

AIPAC, Iran, America and Israel

Posted on by Rabbi Kaufman


This week’s AIPAC Policy Conference was all about one concern, Iran. There appears to be agreement between the Israeli and American governments on most of the major issues related to Iran.

  1. Iran is a threat to the peace of the region, not just to Israel for which it is an existential threat.
  2. Iran is already both a threat to American interests and to American security within our borders and across the globe.
  3. Iran has directly and indirectly, through its proxies- Hamas, Hizballah, and insurgents in Iraq, already caused the death of thousands of Americans and injured tens of thousands more.
  4. Containment of a nuclear armed Iran is not an option. If Iran is doing all of the things that it is doing now without the cover of nuclear weapons, surely its harmful activities would only increase with them.
  5. The IAEA and intelligence sources both have confirmed that Iran is pursuing technologies and nuclear enrichment in quantities that only make sense in the context of a nuclear weapons program. On this see Sen. McConnell’s speech.
  6. Israel has the right to act on its own to ensure its security.

The problem is in the timeline for action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program. There is a capability gap. Israel’s ability to disrupt Iran’s nuclear plans is not as strong as America’s. America can wait longer to use military action. I wrote about this in an article for the Times of Israel in which I explain the issue in detail today.

The most important thing to understand about The Capability Gap is that the time at which Israel can no longer act militarily with any effectiveness against Iran’s nuclear weapons program is much nearer than that of the United States. For Israel to hold off on any action, it will have to receive strong enough assurances that the United States will act that it can cede its own defense to the United States.

Trust in the words or the President or in those of members of Congress may not be enough. There may need to be legislation, passed by the Congress and ratified by the President, that mandates action should certain boundaries be crossed. Without that, Israeli military action may not be far off.

No one wants war. Not AIPAC, not Israel, not America, not the President, not his Republican opponents. No one. But sometimes, to quote the Rolling Stones, “you can’t always get what you want.”