“The election on Tuesday will be about one issue — whether this place will remain in our hands or will be handed over to Hamas and Iran,” Benyamin Netanyahu roared to adoring supporters in Beit Aryeh, a small settlement in the West Bank last Friday.
A few days earlier the Likud leader had warned the world’s economic and political leaders gathered at Davos that the risk of a nuclear armed Iran was a greater danger than the economic crisis that currently threatens the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people around the globe.
So, as politicians such as Netanyahu believe that they are blessed with the moral clarity to discern the gravest threats that should captivate Israel’s and the world’s attention, two obstacles have emerged.
First comes President Obama’s willingness to reach out to those who unclench their fists and now from the very direction in which he was looking comes a realistic possibility that the Iranian fist might indeed start to unclench.
The announcement by former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami that he will run against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June’s presidential election should be welcome news to all those who have perceive Iran’s regional dominance as a threat. Right?
A victory by Muhammad Khatami in the upcoming Iranian presidential elections would likely derail international efforts to stop Iran’s race toward nuclear power, a top Israeli defense official involved in those efforts has told The Jerusalem Post…
“People tend to forget that Khatami as president also promoted the nuclear program,” the official said. “If he wins, he would succeed in laundering the program in the eyes of the international community. In comparison to Ahmadinejad, he appears more moderate.”
So what’s this supposed to mean? Every Iranian leader is an extremist but some appear more moderate than others?
If this accords with Netanyahu’s view — and all his pronouncements about the threat Iran, no qualifications required, indicates that it does — then as Iran’s presidential election approaches, Israel under Netanyahu’s leadership, will have a vested interest in the outcome. Better the enemy who is easy to vilify than the eloquent, philosophical, moderate-sounding cleric who has long been a champion of a dialogue among civilizations.