What Netanyahu should say to Congress

On the assumption that our Prime Minister will, in fact, appear before a Joint Session of Congress in Washington later this spring, what should he tell them?

Sad as it may be to admit, there is probably nothing he can say there that will change the mind of President Obama nor have any real effect on the policy of the United States when it comes to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

It seems that everyone in the know assumes, and probably correctly, that Iran will develop its nuclear weapons capability once they have completed the work related to having a reliable delivery system for such weapons.  They probably already have all the technology they need to get to that point and if they are lacking anything specific most likely the North Koreans will willingly provide them with the missing pieces of the puzzle.

As for the “talks,” those of who live in this part of the world know all too well that the talks themselves are a weapon which governments here use to buy time.  So, even if the talks end in some kind of agreement that will then be praised by the west, by that time the Iranians will have achieved all they need to vis-à-vis nuclear weapons capability.  It is disappointing of course to admit this but smarter minds than mine have made the analysis and have come to this conclusion.

But if this is all true why should Bibi bother addressing congress?  Does he still have a purpose in going there?  I believe he absolutely does.

What he should do is spend the time allotted to him to speak about what the world will be like if Iran has nuclear weapons which can reach us in 10 minutes and the US in less than an hour.  In such a world Israel is not simply an ally of the US, it is a neighbor.

He should discuss what the world must do to get ready for such an eventuality and how to react should the Iranians engage in more than simply saber-rattling.  He should speak about the nuclear arms race that will be unleashed throughout this region and the impact that will have on an already unstable world where ISIS is now dictating the diplomatic agenda of the west.  And he should raise the concern of what happens when Islamist fundamentalists in any country come to power and have their fingers on a nuclear weapons stockpile.

The world needs to be reminded of the fact that while during the Cold War both the US and the USSR had nuclear capability, in principle neither party wanted to use this and understood the retaliatory devastation that would occur if it was used.  But in today’s world we are dealing with countries whose leadership is motivated by religious zeal promising entry to paradise when dying for the cause.  Under such conditions the west needs to be reminded of the dire consequences of failure and that will be Bibi’s job in Washington, nothing less.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon  once said:  “What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you – what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind – you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.”  While he was referring to business the words are no less true in politics.  Bibi needs to help people understand the head winds.

About the Author
Sherwin Pomerantz is a native New Yorker, who lived and worked in Chicago for 20 years before coming to Israel in 1984. An industrial engineer with advanced degrees in mechanical engineering and business, he is President of Atid EDI Ltd., a 33 year old Jerusalem-based economic development consulting firm which, among other things, represents the regional trade and investment interests of a number of US states, Ontario and Hong Kong. A past national president of the Association of Americans & Canadians in Israel, he is also Chairperson of the Israel Board of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. His articles have appeared in various publications in Israel and the US.