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Reader Post: The Speech Netanyahu Ought to Make

binyamin netanyahuThe speech Netanyahu ought to make

The State of Israel was founded so the Jewish people would have a state.

The theory was simple: if the Germans had a state and were not persecuted, and the French had a state and were not persecuted – then the recipe to end thousands of years of persecution was to create a state for the Jewish people. In some way, we would join the community of nation-states. We would return to our ancestral homeland, we would build a state, and the world would stop hating us.

After World War II, the remnants of European Jewry joined their brethren here. They were followed soon after by hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim lands. With that, in some fundamental way, the mission of the State of Israel changed. The role of the State was no longer to make the Jews a people like other peoples; it was now to protect the Jewish people and ensure that they could survive in a world that hated them and had ever greater tools with which to harm them.

Today, the State of Israel is still the ultimate refuge for the Jewish people. It is the place where Jews can run to – so when Jews need to flee, they will never again be greeted only by closed doors. The State is a refuge, it is a home and it is a sanctuary. As antisemitism again rears its ugly head around the world, Israel is a place of hope and an island of escape.

But survival is not the only goal of a people. Survival is not and cannot be our only mission.

As is so typical in our history, even as we face existential threats, we are flourishing. The State exists to protect against those threats, but the People whose state it is exist to accomplish so much more. Israel is not here simply to continue to be here. We are here to bring life and hope and opportunity and blessing to the world. We are here to be the polar opposite of the hate and destruction that is consuming so many people in so many places.

Tonight, I want to announce a major change in the international policies of the State of Israel. I recognize that many will see risks in what I am about to propose. But our purpose as a nation is not just to stop terrorist infiltrators who cross under our borders or missile attacks which sail over them. We can do so much more to reinforce good and limit evil in our world.

The wars which surround us are ideological wars. Beyond the wars between Sunni and Shia, there is a more fundamental conflict. There is a war of ideas between the secular Europe and the religious Middle East. And as it always has been, the land of Israel is a crossroads. Despite our incredibly small size, or perhaps because of it, our own ideological conflicts are brought into sharp contrast.

But despite our conflict, Israel is not at war with Israel and secular Jews are not at war with religious Jews. We have our differences and our conflicts – but throughout our society we treasure life and creation and we decry death and destruction.

It is, I believe, our mission to share and spread these values.

Amsterdam was a refuge from the sectarian wars of Europe and Hong Kong was a refuge from the Communist spasms of China. They were places that offered not only hope for those who were running – but opportunity for those people to live lives of fulfillment.

We have an opportunity to create such a place. Israel can create a city – a small place – where people can run from the Islamist spasms which surround us. It will not be a refuge camp – people will be made citizens of this new place and given the rights to remain. It will not be a charity case – the place will need to stand on its own feet in short order. And it will not be a risk – the city will be administered by Israel until it has achieved peaceful stability. We are imperfect masters of integrating those who have come with nothing. Perhaps we can share our gifts.

Just as East Berlin represented a thorn in the side of Communism, our little place can represent a thorn in the side of destructive Islamism. With a small investment, we can build something better – something that leverages the best of our people and of theirs. We can rob ISIS and its ilk of their most important fuel – productive people who want to build with their lives.

We know the reality of closed doors. We have opened one for our own people. By opening another, we can extend our friendships and spread our ideals.

More than anything else, we can build hope.

But hope and creation are not enough. Improving the world is not only about building. Sometimes, it is about destruction.

I had a friend explain to me that if a nation is driven by a desire for pride, pleasure, money or territory – and they are attacked by another nation driven by a desire for pleasure, money or territory – then the war that results has strict rules. The rules exist so that the horrible destruction that accompanies war is limited in some way.

But if one nation is driven by a desire for pride, pleasure, money or territory – and they attack another nation that has no desire for war – then the rules change. The nation which is attacked has an obligation not just to defend itself, but to make an example of the attackers. The nation which has been attacked must punish the aggressor. It is how we teach those who are aggressors that there are costs in such aggression. Just as punishing murderers is key to discouraging violence, punishing murderous nations if key to build a more peaceful world.

And so, for these wars, the defenders’ rules of engagement are relaxed.

When Germany cities were bombed at the end of World War II – the German people and others who might have become like them were being taught a lesson. The bombing taught that such aggression came with a tremendous cost. And it taught that the nation as a whole faced responsibility for allowing genocidal killers to govern them.

This lesson was a success. Decades passed before another genocidal conflict scarred the face of Europe. It was understood that war for the glory and spoils of war would be met with overwhelming destruction.

When dealing with an aggressor, such destruction is both just and morally imperative.

Today, the Jewish people face another genocidal aggressor. That aggressor is the Government of Iran.

We have no territorial dispute with Iran. And we seek no glory, wealth, pleasure or territory in conflict with them. Churchill promised only “blood, sweat and tears” to the people of Britain. World War II offered nothing else. Likewise, our path to conflict with Iran offers us nothing. War offers only horror and loss. But we know – as Churchill did – that somehow the cost of failing to resist an aggressor like Germany or Iran can come at even greater cost. It opens the world to uncontained corruption.

I have spent every ounce of my political capital fighting the so-called Iran deal. And I have lost. Diplomatic victories now will only be achieved at the margins – slowing that government down just a bit as it pursues its wars of conquest and slaughter. With sanctions lifted and cash unlocked, both the Iranian militias in our region and the destabilizing Iranian allies in South America and Asia will be fundamentally strengthened.

The world has given them not only weapons, but courage. They now know they can embrace their most audacious dreams and the world will yield to them. They have learned the lessons that encourage murder and war and destruction.

If the war comes, we will suffer. We will face a threat to our basic survival. Today, I am putting the world on notice. If the Iranian government launches a genocidal attack – whether or not they succeed – the ancient and proud Persian people will also suffer terribly.

For the community of nations not to devolve into unchecked conflict, those who allow genocidal governments to thrive must pay the consequences.

And so I am announcing – without ambiguity – that Israel can launch nuclear weapons from the air, land and sea. And in recent years, we have greatly expanded our stockpile of weapons and our capacity for second strikes. With hundreds of warheads ready to launch, we can and will respond to a genocidal assault with overwhelming and deadly force.

The Ayatollah’s may or may not care about the death of their people in their Messianic calculus. But I am begging the Persian people to do so in their calculus. Because if the war comes, and the Ayatollahs attempt to wipe us off the face of the map, the people of Persia will be culpable. And they will suffer.

If a genocidal assault is launched, Persia will cease to exist. Thousands of years of peace and cooperation and friendship will be replaced by war and death.

This is not the road we want to follow. Israel and her people want peace. We do not want “blood, sweat and tears.” We do not want suffering and death. We want peace. And we want friendship.

Fundamentally, I believe that the people of Iran do as well. This is why they have tried, again and again to overthrown their government. But they have never succeeded. They have been outgunned and out-muscled and out maneuvered. And in the process they have been brutalized.

While the people of Iran have a moral obligation to remove their government – we too have a moral obligation. We have an obligation to help. We have an obligation to short-circuit the war of the Ayatollahs.

For that reason, our military industries will be mass manufacturing small arms – arms to be distributed to the Iranian people. Instead of cruise missiles loaded with bombs to kill the people of Iran, we will fire cruise missiles loaded with guns so the people of Iran can free themselves.

We will give the people of Persia a last chance to reject the blood-lust of their rulers.

They may not respond. They may not choose peace over their genocidal government. But if they choose war, they must understand that this war will have no winners.

I want to offer peace, prosperity and lives of fulfillment to both the people of Israel and our ancient friends – the people of Persia.

I want to offer it unconditionally.

But sadly, death and suffering are still waiting in the wings.

May G-d bless us and may G-d bless Iran.

And may the Persian people join us this holiday season in choosing the Book of Life.

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