I opened up the Santa Monica Daily Press recently and was horrified to read Jack Neworth’s column. To say it was in bad taste is a huge understatement.
Whether or not one agrees or disagrees with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to speak before the U.S. Congress (and thoughtful people come out differently on this issue), no knowledgeable person should dismiss Iran’s efforts to obtain a nuclear capability and the vow by Iran’s Supreme Leader to destroy the State of Israel.
Instead of the frivolous questions raised by Mr. Neworth, he should be asking:
Why do the Iranians, who have plenty of oil, need nuclear power?
Why do they need ICBMs?
Why do they need a heavy water nuclear plant at Arak?
Why do they need any centrifuges at all?
None of these things would be necessary if Iran were not determined to become a nuclear power.
This issue is not about protocol — it is about whether President Obama is on the verge of finalizing a deal with Iran that will allow a country that has threatened to destroy Israel to have nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu — as the leader of the only Jewish nation on earth — has the responsibility to prevent a second Holocaust in the past century. Had there been an Israel during the 1940s, the United States and Great Britain would have done more to save large numbers of Jewish lives. For example, from July 1943 on, we were flying over Auschwitz en route to bombing a German chemical factory. Our pilots returned from some of these missions with unused bombs and requested permission to destroy Auschwitz. Although everyone in authority knew what the Nazis were doing at Auschwitz, the U.S. government denied our pilots the permission to bomb Auschwitz and possibly save hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives.
This issue is about “NEVER AGAIN” having meaning, and that’s a lot more important than protocol.
Before you jump to the erroneous conclusion that I’m a far-right Republican, let me set the record straight.
I am a very liberal Democrat who voted for and supported President Obama twice; in fact, I have never voted for a Republican. I served as a senior White House aide in a previous Democratic administration and actually appointed the first U.S. Secretary of Education. I have devoted most of my professional life to working to ensure that low-income and minority students have equal educational opportunities. I ran the national Head Start program, played a significant role in changing the nation’s student financial aid system by placing the priority on funding the lowest-income students, and with The Children’s Defense Fund ran national campaigns to prevent two different administrations from essentially destroying the Head Start program.
At the present time, I am running one of the nation’s most successful nonprofit college access organizations. We get 52 percent of our low-income students into Ivies or Ivy-equivalents like Stanford, Wellesley and Amherst and 97 percent into top-tier colleges. Ninety-five percent of our students graduate from college. We will work with 475 low-income students in 18 inner-city high schools in 2015.
And I don’t understand why a liberal who cares about other people in need should turn a blind eye to the possibility of a second Jewish Holocaust in the past 75 years.
About a year ago, Obama promised that Iran would not be allowed to keep any of its centrifuges; now, he’s on the verge of sanctioning a deal that will allow the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world to keep at least 6,000 of them. Obama’s policy on Iran has changed since his three top aides — Tom Donilon, Dennis Ross and Gary Samore — all left and were replaced by people who are far less knowledgeable on these issues. Since then we have caved to the Iranians on most of the vital issues and our policy has taken a 180-degree turn.
When British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain appeased Hitler at Munich by giving away Czechoslovakia to the Nazis, he excluded the Prime Minister of the country he was sacrificing from attending the Munich negotiations. Fast forward 77 years, and we are excluding Israel from having a role in these negotiations. That’s the primary reason, in my view, why Prime Minister Netanyahu felt compelled to speak out despite enormous pressure from us — Israel’s most important ally — not to do so. As the leader of the only Jewish nation on earth, he feels he has to try to prevent Iran from obtaining an existential weapon that could destroy his very small country.
This might be a laughing matter to Mr. Neworth; it certainly is not to me.
Harley Frankel is a Santa Monica resident.