Despite Prime Minister Netanyahu’s valiant effort this week to educate President Barack Obama on the meaning of Purim and the centuries-old tale about the triumph of moral leadership and courage, the painful reality is that his message fell on deaf ears. The president does indeed “have Israel’s back” — up against a wall.
Over the course of a week in which the president spoke frequently on the subject of Iran, one message stood out. By vociferously arguing that his administration’s brand of diplomacy is realistically capable of ending Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, and that views to the contrary are irresponsible war-mongering, Obama is attempting to undermine the legality of an Israeli strike.
In fact, self-defense in international law depends on the assessment that the threat posed to one’s civilian population is real and sufficiently imminent as to justify the use of force to prevent the impending harm. Given the catastrophic nature of the danger, it is not necessary for Israel — or America — to wait until the genocidal Iranian mullahs and President Ahmadinejad have their hands on the nuclear trigger.