Dividing Ourselves in Front of our Enemies

This was to have been a clarifying moment in American foreign policy.

This was to have been a clarifying moment in American foreign policy.

After the distraction of the National Intelligence Estimate of November 2007, years of one-sided negotiations carried out by the EU Three and the IAEA, and hopes against experience that a government gripped by evil can be talked out of its desire and efforts to acquire the means to kill, the IAEA has thrown in the towel on Iran.* Two chilling conclusions stand out of its report: Iran is making “significant progress on developing and operating its centrifuges” (making weapons-grade uranium); and “continues to resist efforts to address substantively its alleged nuclear weapons-related work.”

At this moment, Iran’s president – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the Holocaust denier and inciter to genocide against the Jews of Israel – is coming to the United Nations to address the General Assembly.

It was the perfect time, then for Americans of all religions, parties and political stripes to join together to tell Ahmadinejad that we – as Americans – reject him, his government, his ideology and his threats. Enter the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, long a determined foe of Iranian nuclear aspirations. The Conference of Presidents organized a rally against Ahmadinejad and invited several important American political players – Sen. Hillary Clinton accepted several weeks ago, and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin accepted this week. Upon learning of Gov. Palin’s decision to attend, Sen. Clinton withdrew. The Conference of Presidents, under pressure from the National Jewish Democratic Council, then withdrew its invitation to Gov. Palin.

Sen. Clinton’s spokesman said she was concerned that the rally had become a “partisan political event” – although her own participation would have ensured the opposite. It was a “teachable moment” for Sen. Clinton, and she blew it.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs of Iran are engaged in warfare against the United States and American interests – not Republican interests, not Democratic interests and not President Bush. Iran funds terrorism against Israel, against Lebanon and against American soldiers because its leaders have a worldview that includes regional hegemony, nuclear weapons and a Shiite Islamic revival. It precludes the continued existence of a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Lebanon as well as the continued existence of a democractic Jewish state, and precludes continued American influence in the Sunni arc of the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.

Sen. Clinton’s appearance at a rally with Gov. Palin would have sent a strong message to Ahmadinejad and his cronies – that Americans understand the threat and stand together against it. Instead we have divided ourselves in front of it.

* IAEA Report – “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran”.