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Should the US Go to War for Israel?

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the annual AIPAC conference earlier this week. He also held a private meeting with US President Barack Obama.

In his AIPAC speech, Netanyahu evoked the Holocaust as the source of Israel's special privileged status that permits Netanyahu to do whatever he decides to do to "control Israel's fate."

That, of course, includes bombing Iran's nuclear facilities.

Netanyahu drew a parallel between the exchange of letters between  the US War department and the World Jewish Congress in 1944.

The Wall Street Journal described the scene at the AIPAC conference:

Netanyahu got out copies of two letters he said he keeps in his desk, between the World Jewish Congress and the War Department in 1944, when the WJC called on the United States to bomb the extermination camp at Auschwitz, and the War Department refused.

The refusal included the argument that attacking the camp might unleash even more "vindictive" behavior.

"Think about that," Netanyahu said. "Even more vindictive than the Holocaust!"

During his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu elaborated further:

"Israel must reserve the right to defend itself. After all, that's the very purpose of the Jewish state, to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny.

That's why my supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains master of its fate."

In an editorial comment, the British Economist responded:

News flash: Israel is not master of its fate. It's not terribly surprising that a country with less than 8 million inhabitants is not master of its fate. Switzerland, Sweden, Serbia and Portugal are not masters of their fates.

These days, many countries with populations of 100 million or more can hardly be said to be masters of their fates. Britain and China aren't masters of their fates, and even the world's overwhelmingly largest economy, the United States, isn't really master of its fate.

What gives this leader of a foreign nation the license to speak in Washington with such confidence that he expects the US to join him in an attack on Iran, a nation that poses absolutely no threat to the US or its citizens?

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)
 

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