An unintended consequence of the massacre of innocent civilians by Hamas is the forging of unity, along several fronts, in opposition to Hamas and its state sponsor, Iran.
We now see the Israeli public, which this year had been divided as never before in the history of the country, coming together as one nation to deal with the horror that has hit the country. This is reflected in the huge numbers of reservists reporting for duty, in the numbers of Israelis abroad quickly returning to serve, and in the amount of people giving blood and volunteering for all kinds of support groups.
American Jews have similarly come together. A community increasingly divided by issues at home and in Israel is now demonstrating support at levels that we haven’t seen in years. This manifested itself in a very large community rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza opposite the United Nations. For nearly two decades, when the community thought there was a need for some kind of rally to stand with Israel, the response has been that we won’t be able to attract a crowd, so better not to do it. This time, thousands came.
Finally, the vast majority of Americans support Israel and its right to respond to protect its citizens against further jihadist violence.
There is another area, however — the most existential issue of all — where it is vital that a common understanding and determination be reached in light of the Hamas massacre. That is Iran’s undying commitment to develop a nuclear capability and its willingness to use it.
Of course, it has been the position of the U.S., the European Union and others that Iran must not achieve a nuclear capability. The rhetoric is fine, but on the ground, that determination has been largely breached. Most nuclear and intelligence experts agree that Iran is getting closer and closer to achieving its goal.
The absence of a true sense of urgency here was of serious concern before Oct. 7 — now, it is appalling.
The two main characteristics of the Hamas terrorist atrocities are the irrationality of its violence and the vicious hatred of Jews underlying it.
Irrationality? Hamas had to know that a massacre of this kind would entail a response from Israel that they have never seen before and would lead to massive civilian deaths, even though Israel will seek to avoid civilian casualties. More significantly for Hamas, the deaths of all or most of its leaders and the elimination of the organization’s control of the Gaza Strip will be likely, if not inevitable. But they did it anyway.
And that speaks to the challenge with Iran. With all the claims and sanctions on Iran to prevent them from gaining nuclear weapons, it is not as if the world is particularly focused on the issue. Indeed, the international community goes about its daily business as if there were no nuclear threat from Iran. But the irrationality at the heart of Hamas attack must now be seen as likely to apply to Iran as well.
Underlying the lack of urgency on the Iran nuclear issue is the belief that the Iranians, as destructive as they can be, are governed by a significant degree of rationality. That is why — it is argued — that Iran is not rushing to break out on the nuclear issue. There is an unstated belief that it is unlikely Iran would ever use a nuclear weapon if it ever got it because it knows that Israel has an extensive nuclear program, and an Israeli response to a nuclear attack would bomb Iran back to the Stone Age.
Whatever comfort Western defense and diplomatic officials may have drawn from this thinking must end right now. The level of irrationality combined with obsessive hatred of Jews must lead all of us to recognize that we cannot assume an Iran with a nuclear bomb would not, at a moment, deploy it against the Jewish state, recognizing that Israel is a tiny state in a tiny area that such a bomb could destroy.
And so, a new sense of urgency should be a major priority for the international community, but particularly for the United States. U.S. and Israeli leaders will need to coordinate even more closely, and American sophisticated weapons should be available to Israel to make a military option more realistic.
It is not for us to focus on the specifics of what needs to be done militarily. It is for us to see to it that a new sense of urgency prevails after the Hamas massacre and as the West’s Middle East policy moves forward.
Source : The Hill