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Iran: A Bipartisan Issue

March 8, 2012
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One of the major strengths of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has always been its ability to cross political lines and demand that Israel remain a bipartisan issue. The same must hold true when it comes to the matter of Iran.

With so much at stake, it does no one good -- least of all Israel, but also the United States -- for the issue to fall prey to political football.

This year's annual policy conference of the pre-eminent pro-Israel lobby drew a record 13,000 individuals, some 400 from our region, reflecting the urgency that many Jews and other pro-Israel activists feel about the Iranian threat.

As Jewish Exponent staff writer Bryan Schwartzman found on the ground at the Washington Convention Center, the aura of fear and foreboding engulfed delegates across the political spectrum. It doesn't matter whether you're a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, it should be clear that policy must trump politics when it comes to preventing Iran from attaining nuclear capability.

It's nearly impossible to prevent all politics from inserting itself in the annual AIPAC event, especially in an election year. But as the election season intensifies, the depoliticization of the Iran issue must prevail.

In reality, there is little divide about the seriousness with which every Israeli and American leader takes the Iranian threat. The major differences revolve around the question of how much time is left before it becomes too late to stop Iran from acquiring the capability to build a nuclear bomb.

President Barack Obama's speech at the conference drew praise, even from some of his usual critics, for his clear stance that containment is not an option and military action is.

"Iran's leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States, just as they should not doubt Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs," Obama said in his Sunday speech.

Howard Kohr, AIPAC's executive director, spoke for many when he said there is still time to avoid a military solution, using a combination of tough diplomacy, crippling sanctions, disruptive measures and a credible threat to use force.

"And all four, taken together, offer the best chance to avoid a war that no one -- not the United States, not Israel -- seeks."

Amid all the speculation over when and if Israel should or would make a pre-emptive strike, what often gets lost is that key point. No one, including Israel, is seeking a war.

But as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear this week: "Israel must have the ability always to defend itself by itself against any threat."

On that, no matter our politics, we should all agree.

 

With so much at stake, it does no one good -- least of all Israel, but also the United States -- for the issue to fall prey to political football.

This year's annual policy conference of the pre-eminent pro-Israel lobby drew a record 13,000 individuals, some 400 from our region, reflecting the urgency that many Jews and other pro-Israel activists feel about the Iranian threat.

As Jewish Exponent staff writer Bryan Schwartzman found on the ground at the Washington Convention Center, the aura of fear and foreboding engulfed delegates across the political spectrum. It doesn't matter whether you're a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, it should be clear that policy must trump politics when it comes to preventing Iran from attaining nuclear capability.

It's nearly impossible to prevent all politics from inserting itself in the annual AIPAC event, especially in an election year. But as the election season intensifies, the depoliticization of the Iran issue must prevail.

In reality, there is little divide about the seriousness with which every Israeli and American leader takes the Iranian threat. The major differences revolve around the question of how much time is left before it becomes too late to stop Iran from acquiring the capability to build a nuclear bomb.

President Barack Obama's speech at the conference drew praise, even from some of his usual critics, for his clear stance that containment is not an option and military action is.

"Iran's leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States, just as they should not doubt Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs," Obama said in his Sunday speech.

Howard Kohr, AIPAC's executive director, spoke for many when he said there is still time to avoid a military solution, using a combination of tough diplomacy, crippling sanctions, disruptive measures and a credible threat to use force.

"And all four, taken together, offer the best chance to avoid a war that no one -- not the United States, not Israel -- seeks."

Amid all the speculation over when and if Israel should or would make a pre-emptive strike, what often gets lost is that key point. No one, including Israel, is seeking a war.

But as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear this week: "Israel must have the ability always to defend itself by itself against any threat."

On that, no matter our politics, we should all agree.

 

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