"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson

I Witnessed a Speech That May Change History

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 10
Publish Date: 
Thu, 03/12/2015


“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare penned, and last week I was fortunate to behold a performance for the ages, one that moved its standing-room only audience.


Sitting in the gallery above a joint session of Congress, and feeling history’s weight at our civilization’s fateful crossroads, I watched Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enter the House chamber to thunderous bipartisan applause before delivering a gracious, credible, and consequential speech.


Defending our common heritage and interests, Netanyahu received 43 ovations from ideologically diverse lawmakers, reflecting our countries’ durable bond – for which he expressed fervent gratitude – and our mutual desire for lasting peace and security.


In an era starving for leadership, moral clarity and courage, Netanyahu served a feast. With the Iranian nuclear negotiation deadline looming, he implored us to Think Again about the reported concession-laden deal that would make a nuclear-armed power out of the planet’s most lethal terrorist state -- the one jailing journalists, hanging gays, stoning women, dominating sovereign nations, and inciting violence responsible for American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Speaking before legislators entrusted with upholding America’s founding ethic, Netanyahu contrasted it with the Iranian theocracy’s principles – “death, tyranny and the pursuit of jihad” – disputing the notion that the “Death to America” regime could become a responsible power among nations.

Of the Iranian theocracy’s apocalyptic mindset, Bernard Lewis, one of the great scholars of Islam, observed, “Mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it’s an inducement.” Hence, Netanyahu’s warning: “The greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can't let that happen,” he declared to strong applause.


Despite promising repeatedly to prevent Iran’s radical regime from ever obtaining nuclear weapons, the Obama administration is reportedly near an agreement that would allow just that. The administration also aims to skirt Senate ratification, extraordinary given the far-reaching international security implications.


In addition to accepting Iran’s massive nuclear infrastructure and the region’s largest ballistic-missile inventory, it ratifies what even the UN wouldn’t – Iran’s uranium enrichment rights. Most worrisome, the proposed deal lifts restrictions after only 10 years, allowing Iran’s unconditional development of nuclear weapons and undoubtedly sparking a nuclear arms race in a great tinderbox. 


Rather than averting war, the deal advances it. Immunized from internal revolution and external challenges, would Iran “fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash,” Netanyahu asked, or “change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both worlds: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?"


Herein lies Netanyahu’s essential truth: The free world isn’t stuck with only two choices, this deal or war, as some argue. A better deal can be negotiated with Iran’s vulnerable regime, a deal that protects the world’s security interests by denying Iran an easy path to the bomb, and with which Israel and its Arab neighbors “could live, literally,” as Netanyahu put it.   


“If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country,” Netanyahu proclaimed, “let it act like a normal country.” Until it stops inciting regional violence, supporting global terrorism and threatening Israel’s annihilation, he argued, it must remain isolated.


Obama’s former Iran advisor, Dennis Ross, wrote in USA Today that Netanyahu “made a strong case” about why the potential agreement with Iran “is a very bad deal,” calling on his ex-boss to answer Netanyahu’s concerns. Disagreeing with Obama, Ross contended Netanyahu did offer “the alternative of insisting on better terms and increasing the pressure on the Iranians until a more credible agreement is reached.”


To Mideast allies scrambling to counter radical Islam, America’s perceived indifference to their security interests amid our engagement with Iran’s expansionist theocracy prompts this frightening concern: does America respect its enemies more than its friends?


Rarely have we diverged so dramatically from America’s bipartisan peace-through-strength tradition, best articulated by President Kennedy: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”


That’s what struck me as I stood to applaud Netanyahu’s pledge, “Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”


Upon leaving, I noticed with hope the marble relief of Maimonides, the Jewish philosopher who said, “You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes.” Maimonides’ profile is one of 22 sages adorning the gallery wall whose ideas underpin our democracy. Each looks toward the relief of Moses who faces the podium, above which is etched “IN GOD WE TRUST.”


Think Again – may the truths reverberating around our leaders inspire in them Moses-like determination to deliver us to the land they promised, one free of Iranian nukes.

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Read the Economist this week.

Read the Economist this week. Two cover page very good and scary articles about nuclear proliferation.

Most scary of all is Iran starting a nuclear race in a region where, except for Israel, Mutual Assured Destruction is an incentive, not a deterrent as you point out. Missing the good old days of the Cold War…

I guess Obama can now have his legacy (G_d forbid): out of control nuclear proliferation.

Bobbie and I watched his

Bobbie and I watched his speech with an intensity normally reserved for Presidential Election debates. As he concluded we were both teary eyed and we agreed that we had witnessed a signal historical event. I am old enough to remember

Churchill and the effect of some of his more compelling speeches on the British people (I was a child in England at the time). We may well, when referring to the speech you were fortunate to have attended, say that Churchill’s speeches were Netanyahuian.

Just read the column. Moving,

Just read the column. Moving, inspiring and TRUE. I just hope that our country and government see the LIGHT,
I really liked the line about respecting our enemies more than our allies.

If I were a publisher, I'd be

If I were a publisher, I'd be lining you up for "The Collected Essays of . . . ."

I especially liked the Bernard Lewis statement about the "inducement" of mutually assured destruction. Secularists seem unable to comprehend that.

Even if Bibi loses the election, he will have done us all some good. If we persist.

The most direct path toward

The most direct path toward neutralizing Iran/Isis/Islamic terrorism-extremism, a threat to Israel and the rest of the world, seems like the best approach to me. I wish we could just blow the f----rs off the planet!

I’m glad you got to hear Netanyahu’s speech. I’m sure it was a thrill, even for a worldly, politically astute young woman such as yourself. : - )

I cried my eyes out watching

I cried my eyes out watching the speech last week and may have fallen in a swoon if i were there....so jealous

Let’s hear it for Benjamin

Let’s hear it for Benjamin Netanyahu; the Real Leader of The Free World. Even if the leftists succeed in getting Bibi voted out of position, I think his influence will continue to be felt for years. His influence will be evidenced through his many supporters, who will continue to raise issues of appropriate concern.

This may just be the "Blood

This may just be the "Blood tears and sweat..." speech of our generation. Hats off to PM Netanyahu.

I don´t see how the speech

I don´t see how the speech can change history (as the article headline says it may) when the speech won´t even have the effect it was intended to have on the negotiations.

A good speech but not

A good speech but not completely honest about the alternative. He said the alternative to a bad deal was not war but a better deal. Easier said than done. I think a better deal can only be obtained by war or the next thing to it.

We could declare a state of war without bombing or sending troops. This would make actions taken by the NYT and left wingers in general treasonous. We could blockade them. We could say anyone trading with them could no longer trade with the US. Not even this "bloodless" war would find support. People just want to complain about Iran but not do anything about them.

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