The world looks on
For the first time in more than 60 years, the world is on the brink of being relieved of the Israel problem, without having to do anything. By letting Iran manufacture an atomic bomb and attack Israel, the Jewish state will cease to exist. All they will have to contend with are a relative handful of Jewish malcontents – a bunch of accountants, doctors and lawyers – and the problem goes away. Granted, Gaza and the West Bank will also evaporate, but who cares about their inhabitants anyway? Part of Lebanon and Syria may be affected, too, but it’s a small price to pay.
We will be left with a smaller world Jewish population than existed after World War II, without the prospect of a country to call our own. I appreciate that many assimilated Jews will cleave to their current adopted homeland, and the self-hating Jews will revel in the outcome but, for the rest, there will remain an emptiness that existed for millennia. The phrase with which the Pesach seder and the Neilah service conclude will revert to the pre-20th-century dream: “Next year in Jerusalem.”
Israel alone cannot possibly eradicate the threat completely. Without help from countries who possess the weaponry to assist in the prevention of Israel’s demise, it will be extremely difficult for it to survive. Canada, a lone voice of reason in the wilderness, does not project the might that would tempt other countries to follow its lead. Sanctions have proved to be a mere irritation to the Iranian government, and any opposition from within is severely punished. While the world, with baited breath, looks on.
Neil R. Nathan
* * *
Iran: should Israel act?
Sheldon Kirshner writes on the pros and cons of an Israeli unilateral bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities in “Civilians will bear brunt of a war with Iran” (Sept. 13). In sum, we are told what we already know: war is horrible, costly and lives will be lost. What the article lacks is a postscript, that being the precious luxury of a choice.
In the late 1930s and early ’40s, another tyrant threatened the existence of Jews and spewed his antisemitic venom, all while the world remained or nodded in silent approval. Jewish leaders pleaded with then-U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt to at least bomb the railway lines leading to the gas chambers to slow down Hitler’s march to the destruction of the Jews. Roosevelt chose not to do so.
And so, we come to the present when another vicious madman, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is fanning the flames of antisemitism and threatening Israel’s existence while the world stands by. And again, Jewish leaders are pleading with an American president, this time to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities and stop Ahmadinejad’s march to the destruction of Israel. Now, however, there is one precious difference: an option.
Nothing was done in the 1930s and ’40s because there was no option. So should nothing be done in the hope that U.S. President Barack Obama will come to the rescue of Israel, or should Israel act like the mighty, moral nation that it is, secure in the knowledge of the justice of its cause and its might?
Cote St. Luc, Que.
* * *
Western governments and Iran
It is not with any intention to be light-hearted that I refer to the 1980s satirical BBC television series Yes, Prime Minister in relation to Iran. However, in my opinion, there is something in the episode A Victory for Democracy, inspired by the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada, a Commonwealth realm, that parallels western governments’ actions, or lack thereof, regarding Iran’s clear intention to develop nuclear bombs.
The episode talks about four stages. In stage 1, we say nothing is going to happen. In stage 2, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it. In stage 3, we say that maybe something should be done about it, but there’s nothing we can do. In stage 4, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it’s too late now.
I very much fear that stage 4 may come about.