Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hawkish and exceptional speech at AIPAC tonight will no doubt set off days of speculation about whether or not he’s moving toward a strike on Iran’s nuclear program. There’s plenty of fodder to support either side of the argument. But these two quotes seem to indicate that Netanyahu is at least strongly leaning toward going it alone on an Iran strike:
“Unfortunately, Iran’s nuclear program continues to march forward…We’ve waited for diplomacy to work. We’ve waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer. As prime minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation.”
No diplomacy and no sanctions leave just one other option on the table. And the line at the end shows that Netanyahu hasn’t made Obama any promises against taking unilateral action.
Later in the speech, Netanyahu spoke about how America declined to bomb Auschwitz in 1944, out of concern that “such an effort might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans.”
“The American government today is different,” continued Netanyahu. “You heard that from President Obama’s speech yesterday. But here’s my point. The Jewish people are also different. Today we have a state of our own. And the purpose of a Jewish state is to secure Jewish lives and a Jewish future. Never again…We deeply appreciate the great alliance between our two countries. But when it comes to Israel’s survival, we must always remain the masters of our fate.”
Being a “master of its own fate” seems to suggest that Israel cannot let its window of opportunity run out without taking action. Netanyahu doesn’t appear willing to cede this power to the U.S. If that’s the case, an Israeli strike on Iran may not be far off.