The Prime Minister of Israel Addresses Congress: A Just War in the Second Nuclear Age

By Ed Timperlake

The Prime Minister of Israel has addressed a joint session of Congress and outlined the nature of the Iranian threat in the second nuclear age.  He provided a clear statement of how he sees the challenges and provided a solid foundation for questioning whether the Iranian state was really interested in a negotiation that removed the Iranian nuclear threat.

Put in simple terms, negotiation for negotiations sake without removing a threat only provides grounds for a second nuclear age aspirant to acquire nuclear weapons.

In effect, this is what the PM argued.

And what has been the Obama Administration response, other than providing a cold shoulder to the Prime Minister?

“The prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives,” Mr. Obama said.

Put in other terms, if you believe that only a negotiation — any negotiation — is the path to victory, then a head of a nation most directly threatened by a nuclear Iran can only suggest a new negotiating stance?

This circular logic is precisely what the PM believes will lead to the emergence of Iranian nuclear state.

The New York Times Editorial Board also missed the point of the speech completely:

“He offered no new insight on Iran and no new reasons to reject the agreement being negotiated with Iran by the United States and five other major powers to constrain Iran’s nuclear program.”

Israel is a sovereign state directly threatened by Iran and is not a party to the negotiations.

Why do they de facto have to accept it?

And there is a broader question of whether the Arab states involved in the current air campaign against ISIL are any more enthusiastic than Israel about the agreement being brokered without their direct involvement.

Simply put: how can an agreement negotiated over the heads of Israel, or the GCC states for that matter, determine what they will then do if they believe Iran is about to become a nuclear power?

“There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know” attributed to Jonathon Swift.

In effect, the Prime Minister was reminding his audience of what “they already knew” about Iran and what the Administration is conveniently forgetting.

It was a very powerful speech with full transparency to the US Congress, the American people and the world.

In effect, Prime Minister Netanyahu laid down the predicates for the ethical and moral construct of action under “The Just War Theory”.

“Just war theory (jus bellum iustum) is a doctrine, also referred to as a tradition, of military ethics studied by theologians, ethicists, policy makers, and military leaders. The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure war is morally justifiable through a series of criteria, all of which must be met for a war to be considered just. The criteria are split into two groups: “the right to go to war’’ (jus ad bellum) and ‘’right conduct in war’’ (jus in bello). The first concerns the morality of going to war and the second with moral conduct within war.”

He described, not told, the history of both Jewish survival-often a very near thing-and Iranian deadly aggression against Israel, the US and many innocents who are being targeted worldwide.

He presented “-jus ad bellium;” The right to go to war.

The President of the United States a Harvard trained lawyer must surly know the “Test for Relevant Evidence”:

Evidence is relevant if:

(a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and

(b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action.

Prime Minister Netanyehu addressed the most powerful Legislative Body in the World and with sound irrefutable judgment presented the facts under the first guiding principle of a Just War.

The case for Israel doing what it may need to do for its very survival is now made.

Future events that may lead to a combat strike on Iran by the Israeli Air Force are yet to be determined, and may never come to pass.

However, the hard evidence has been presented, and that Mr President is what is new in the debate:

We’re an ancient people.

In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people.

Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther.

We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago.

But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad.

And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

Prime Minister Netanyahu listed very specific examples of Iran doing actual harm to Israel, America and innocents around the world and making no apologies.

In fact the Iranian position is the exact opposite it is bold defiance in stating they want to kill all Jews.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology.

He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets.

You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet.

But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed. 

After presenting irrefutable evidence of Iran’s previous actions and future quest to destroy Israel the PM stated:

“We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.”

Echoes from history under the US Capital dome about very specific justification rang out to the world.

On an unseasonable cold day in early March in Washington DC just like President Roosevelt’s stating that December 7th is “a day that will live in infamy,” an historic speech was given.


Or just like Winston Churchill addressing Congress in World War II

“By singleness of purpose, by steadfastness of conduct, by tenacity and endurance, such as we have so far displayed, by these, and only by these, can we discharge our duty to the future of the world and to the destiny of man”.

The Prime Minister of a nation under threat of annihilation gave his country the right to go to war.


The second pillar of a Just War , it’s conduct, was also presented for all to see.

The conduct of a war by Israel, if necessary, went way beyond “all rhetoric, no action.”

An anonymous White House official gave a pretty stern, if anonymous, quote to CNN’s Jake Tapper, telling him that the speech offered “literally, not one new idea,” and was “all rhetoric, no action.

The anonymous White House Official who made such an ignorant comment obviously never served in the military.

It is very simple, the conduct of the war “jus in bello,” is that the Prime Minister announced to the world a target list.

The Obama Administration and their enablers repeating White House “spin” or talking points fail to see that Israel reserves the right to destroy infrastructure and are not specifically targeting humans.

If the IDF flies people in the Middle East will die, some innocents.

But the focus unlike Iran and their surrogates killing Jews because they are Jewish will be directed at facilities.

His car and plane analogy tell the world that:

Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much.

A racecar driver without a car can’t drive.

A pilot without a plan can’t fly.

Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.

The car and plane analogy works perfectly in targeting technology not the driver or pilot 

Without making any of this a religious war, the Just War theory comes from one of the great theologians in history St Augustine and is described in his epic work “The City of God,” and are perfectly captured in a Catholic Education essay, “Moral Clarity in a Time of War” by George Weigel:

International terrorism of the sort we have seen since the late 1960s, and of which we had a direct national experience on September 11, 2001, is a deliberate assault, through the murder of innocents, on the very possibility of order in world affairs.

That is why the terror networks must be dismantled or destroyed.

The peace of order is also under grave threat when vicious, aggressive regimes acquire weapons of mass destruction weapons that we must assume, on the basis of their treatment of their own citizens, these regimes will not hesitate to use against others.

That is why there is a moral obligation to ensure that this lethal combination of irrational and aggressive regimes, weapons of mass destruction, and credible delivery systems does not go unchallenged.

That is why there is a moral obligation to rid the world of this threat to the peace and security of all. Peace, rightly understood, demands it.

Obama, and all his spinning enablers by saying -“nothing new” and asserting that” negotiations are the only game.” missed the real message.

They do understand “never again” but now the moral and ethical justification for action to enforce “never again” has been expressed by the Prime Minister of Israel with full transparency.

“The greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons.”

Note: The Israeli government has been very clear about the Iranian threat for a considerable period of time and sees this as both enabling and arming militant Islam.

A particularly clear statement was made by the Israeli Finance Minister last year and we published this article highlighting that presentation.

nformation War is of growing significance in determining the outcomes of conflicts and their global impacts.

Because most of what we know is second hand, and the internet and images are proliferating rapidly and manipulated by those who wish to shape a message, fighting in the world of images and words is an increasingly important part of 21st century conflict.

IW is a key non-kinetic element to prevailing in conflict.

In this powerful speech by Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid, which was delivered at Platform 17 in Berlin on August 20, 2014 in Memory of Holocaust Victims, the Minister addresses the IW challenge.

The key point is remembering the Holocaust Victims; both Jewish and Non-Jewish is important.

But fighting evil in the modern world even more so.

What follows are excerpts from the presentation which highlight the IW challenge:

Our moral test is not taking place in a sterile laboratory or upon the philosophers’ page.

In the past weeks the moral test put before us has taken place during intense fighting.

Thousands of rockets were fired at our citizens and armed terrorists dug tunnels next to kindergartens with the aim of killing or kidnapping our children.

Anyone who criticizes us must ask themselves one question: “What would you do if someone came to your child’s school with a gun in their hand and started shooting?”

Hamas, as opposed to us, wants to kill Jews. Young or old, men or women, soldiers or civilians. They see no difference, because for them we are not people. We are Jews and that is reason enough to murder us.

Our moral test, even under these circumstances, is to continue to distinguish between enemies and innocents. Every time a child in Gaza dies it breaks my heart. They are not Hamas, they are not the enemy, they are just children.

There for Israel is the first country in military history that informs its enemy in advance where and when it will attack, so as to avoid civilian causalities. Israel is the only country that transfers food and medication to its enemy while the fighting continues. Israel is the only country where pilots abandon their mission because they see civilians on the ground. And despite it all, children die, and children are not supposed to die.

Here in Europe, and elsewhere in the world, people sit in their comfortable homes, watching the evening news, and tell us that we are failing the test. Why? Because in Gaza people suffer more. They don’t understand – or don’t want to understand – that the suffering of Gaza is the main tool of evil. When we explain to them, time after time, that Hamas uses the children of Gaza as human shields, that Hamas intentionally places them in the firing line, to ensure they die, that Hamas sacrifices the lives of the young to win its propaganda war, people refuse to believe it. Why? Because they cannot believe that human beings – human beings who look like them and sound like them – are capable of behaving that way. Because good people always refuse to recognize the totality of evil until it’s too late.

Time after time we ask ourselves why people in the world prefer to blame us when the facts so clearly indicate otherwise. Across the world fanatic Muslims are massacring other Muslims. In Syria, in Iraq, in Libya, in Nigeria more children are killed in a week than they die in Gaza in a decade. Every week, women are raped, homosexuals are hung and Christians are beheaded. The world watches, offers its polite condemnation, and returns obsessively to condemning Israel for fighting for our lives.

Some of the criticism stems from anti-Semitism. It has raised its ugly head once more. To those people we say: we will fight you everywhere. The days when Jews ran away from you are over. We will not be silent in the face of anti-Semitism and we expect every government, in every country, to stand shoulder to shoulder with us and fight this evil with us.

Other critics, perhaps more enlightened in their own eyes, prefer to blame only us for what happens in Gaza because they know we are the only ones who listen. They prefer to focus their anger upon us not in spite of but because we are committed to the same human values which Hamas rejects – compassion for the weak, rationality, protection of gay people, of women rights, of the freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

Let us not fool ourselves. Evil is here. It is around us. It seeks to hurt us.

Fundamentalist Islam is an ultimate evil, and like the evil which came before it learnt how to use all our tools against us: Our TV cameras, our international organizations, our commissions of inquiry and our legal system. Just as terror uses rockets and suicide bombers, it uses our inability to accept that someone would sacrifice the children of their people just to get a supportive headline or an eye-catching photograph.

Standing here, in this place, I want to say clearly – that the leaders of Hamas, an anti-western, anti-Semitic terrorist organization cannot be safe while they continue to target innocent civilians. Just as every European leader would do, just as the United States did with Osama Bin Laden, so we will pursue every leader of Hamas.

This is the evil which we all face and Israel stands at the front. Europe must know, if we will fail to stop them, they will come for you. We must do everything to avoid suffering and the death of innocents but we stand in the right place from which to say to the entire world: We will not board the train again. We will protect ourselves from total evil.

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One response to “The Prime Minister of Israel Addresses Congress: A Just War in the Second Nuclear Age”

  1. Jim Sandberg says:

    Imagine the outrage if the PM HAD “come up with a new idea” other than negotiations.

    How DARE he! (and rightly so). PM has no business telling Congress WHAT to do, or HOW, but he has EVERY right to tell them WHY.

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