Ambassador Yoram Ettinger (ret.) was on Capitol Hill recently where he joined “The Endowment for Middle East Truth” (EMET), a pro-Israel think tank and policy shop, for lunch, to address congressional staffers and policy makers working at Washington think tanks.
Ettinger gave a two-part presentation focusing on what he said were two misconceptions surrounding Israel: the belief that the Iranian nuclear threat is directed toward Israel rather than the U.S., and the notion that Palestinian demographics ensure a Jewish minority in the near future unless Israel surrenders Judea and Samaria.
On Iran, Ettinger said it was a grave error to use the diplomatic route. The Iranian definition of engagement, he said is “engage the party you cannot vanquish at this time, but [only] until the point when you’ve assembled the muscle that can overcome your counterpart.”
It is Ettinger’s view that Iran has a widespread network of sleeper cells in the U.S. that could initiate attacks at the same time Iranian nuclear missiles may be launched from Iran’s ally, Venezuela against U.S. mainland as they, too, openly declare their anti-American intentions, already have uranium missiles on the ground and can easily transfer that to any U.S. metropolis. He said, “Then engagement ends and devastation begins for the very naïve western interlocutor.”
Ettinger repeatedly stressed, the threat Iran poses is not directed toward Israel, “Once the U.S. will understand they are the primary target, the order of priorities takes a different shape.” Iran’s goal, he explained, is to dominate the Persian Gulf and then dominate Sunni-Islam as a prelude to further expansion of the Iranian empire, “In order to advance that mega-goal, Iran has to deal with a mega-obstacle,” he said, “which is the US power projection in the Persian Gulf, in the Indian Ocean, in the Middle East at large, and throughout the world.”
Furthermore, Ettinger predicts a nuclear-armed Iran will cause a ripple effect that puts the U.S. economy at Iran’s mercy. Ettinger explained how American oil producing countries will be forced to join with, or be conquered by Iran, causing havoc to the supply and price of oil. He said, “Nuclear capabilities will further erode that which is left of America’s posture of deterrence as no American president will dare the Iranians in a ‘who blinks first game’ and say, ‘If you dare launch one, let alone three nuclear war heads at NY, Philadelphia, and Washington, we are going to transform Iran into a parking lot through our hundreds of nuclear warheads launched at Iran.’ ” Rather, he foresees Iran having the upper hand, “They will submit their ultimatum and the U.S. will have to abide.”
Military pre-emption is the only way to avoid a nuclear confrontation, Ettinger said. A pre-emptive strike “must be done with overwhelming disproportionate force” and with “no boots on the ground” in order to communicate this is not about occupying Iran, or annexing Iran to any other country, but rather, “we do what we do because we want to free the world of the rat, of the apocalyptic vision, and state of mind of the Ayatollahs.”
Turning to the issue of Arab demographics in Judea and Samaria, Ettinger said it is a fallacy that Jews will become a minority in Israel due to a high Arab birthrate. He stated the present numbers are incorrect because Israeli Arabs in East Jerusalem are counted twice, once as Israelis and then again as part of the West Bank. Therefore, the actual number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria is 1.7 million Arabs, not 2.3 million.
He also noted that due to such variables as an increasing higher education rate for girls, women choosing careers, a rise in the cost of living, and gradual population shift from rural areas to urban centers, the Arab birthrate is trending down. Meanwhile, he says the birthrate in the Jewish sector, has been increasing exponentially. Therefore, he said, the Jewish majority of the country would not be diminished should Israel maintain control over Judea and Samaria.
The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) is a think tank and policy shop operating in the U.S. capitol, Washington, D.C., dedicated to preserving and defending the national security of the United States, and its ally Israel, in their joint struggle against the forces of radical Islam.