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Coffee House

Israel still needs diplomatic support, even if Iran seems less aggressive

4 October 2013

5:45 PM

4 October 2013

5:45 PM

Israel’s Prime Minister revealed a crucial truth about the foreign policy of the United Kingdom and our allies in his speech to the United Nations, the gravity of which is difficult to overstate.  His speech affirmed once more that when it comes to Iran, we and all our allies are negotiating under the cover of Israel’s credibility alone.

Mr Netanyahu rightly dispensed with diplomatic charades to speak explicitly about Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.  If you believe President Rouhani’s lies from the same podium that there isn’t one, no Western or Arab government agrees with you.  This is not Iraq or even Syria.  As it happens, these country names evoke something rather different when viewed from Jerusalem than from London: Little talk, precision strikes, nuclear programmes ended before they posed a threat to Israel – or us.  There’s a piece of credibility for you.

This is not an unconditional endorsement by any means, nor is it particularly a sentiment about Mr Netanyahu per se, though he deserves unreserved admiration for his steadfastness in attempting to head off the unfathomable calamity presented by Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  Especially since he has a set of allies that bring to mind the question as to why he would need an adversary.

As a friend – scream the Europeans – let us tell you, you, the only democracy in the Middle East, you, the only nation with cultural and moral affinity to our world, you are the real danger.  Yes, and if only he made peace with the angelic Palestinians, everyone would finally possess ploughshares.

Set against the grave failures of our political and thought leaders, it is a sober – thankful, frankly – recognition that Mr Netanyahu alone now carries the mantle of history as the guarantor of our red lines, truly credible red lines, the kind of red lines that have the ability to focus the mind of a brutal and dangerous adversary such as is the Islamic Regime in Tehran.

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For let us be clear, following his speech, Mr Netanyahu’s Israel now stands as a small, unfairly burdened but potently consequential last straw between our own security and Tehran terrorising us with nuclear weapons for generations to come.

The reason the illegitimate rulers of Iran are doing whatever they can to acquire nuclear weapons, is because this will guarantee they stay in power for said generations.  It is also one reason why we must never allow this to happen.

Mr Netanyahu speaks about Tehran’s murderous terror in the region and further afield.  And he speaks about its weaponry, designed to bring this terrifying menace to our own British doorstep.  You do not build Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to put a small explosives charge on them, as he rightly says.

A nuclear Iran is unacceptable for the interests of the United Kingdom and our allies.  But Iran’s illegitimate oppressors will only be dissuaded from their striving for nuclear weapons if they genuinely believe their rule is in danger – as they do now due to the popular discontent the sanctions their bellicose policies have earnt them have created.

Indeed, it was the credibility of Israel alone – alone, alone, alone – that got these effective sanctions installed.  Though President Obama likes to take credit, his America is nothing but a joke in the Middle East credibility stakes – a disaster for global security, as it happens, but in particular for the Iranian problem.  It was Mr Netanyahu’s credible red line – much made fun of when he literally drew it from the same UN podium a year ago – that focused President Obama’s and every other mind.

And now that the sanctions have worked – to the extent that they have forced a more moderate face onto a regime which happily murders the women and children of Iran it oppresses – now it once again falls to Mr Netanyahu to return to the UN and bring his credibility to bear to expose the Rouhani sham – for that is what he did yesterday.

Mr Netanyahu’s justly belligerent speech presents the best opportunity to avert the need for military action to persuade the Iranian regime to change course.

Not an iota of sanctions relief if his conditions are not met.  They are all our conditions. Show yourselves, those of you who are serious about stopping Iran.  The rest, you’ll answer to history.

Bob Blackman is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Harrow East. Davis Lewin is the Political Director of The Henry Jackson Society.

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