Get PJ Media on your Apple

Barak to AIPAC: Political Will to Stand Up to Iran Failing the Syria Test

Israeli defense minister: "All options must remain on the table... and we expect all those who say it to mean it. We mean it."

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

March 3, 2013 - 4:16 pm

Outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak cautioned that a world promising to step up and act in defense of Israel and against Iran if need be isn’t passing the test well as another crisis nears its second year.

“Look at Syria. You don’t need classified intelligence, it’s on your screens,” Barak said of the evidence of the slaughter by President Bashar al-Assad. “Over 70,000 Syrians killed, yet still there is no sense of direction and no political will to act.”

The onetime IDF commander told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington tonight that an “extremely relevant lesson” is found in the Syrian conflict: People say that the “root cause of all problems” in the Middle East is the lack of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, but “that’s not true.”

Even if an accord had been inked to create a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel, he said, “the Muslim Brotherhood still would have come to power in Egypt, Syria would still be mired in a bloody civil war, Iran would still be pursuing nuclear capability.”

Barak opened his address thanking President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — omitting any reference to Panetta as “former” — “for their resolute backing of Israel.”

He extended more carefully worded congratulations for new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “I wish Secretary Hagel all the best in his new role as Secretary of Defense. He will no doubt serve his country with the same honor he served both on the battlefield and in Congress.”

His words to Hagel received a smattering of tepid applause in the huge conference hall. Barak will become the first defense minister to meet with Hagel when the two sit down for talks on Tuesday.

“It is no secret, and I’ll repeat it again, that we live in a tough neighborhood where there is no mercy for the weak,” Barak said.

Calling the Iranian nuclear crisis the “greatest challenge in region today,” the defense minister admitted that “while exhausting all diplomatic means is understandable” he does not believe it will lead to the mullahs giving up.

“Therefore all options must remain on the table,” Barak said. “We have stated this time and again and we expect all those who say it to mean it … we mean it.”

Giving his opinions on the region as an outgoing cabinet member, he advocated a regional security framework built around the threat of Islamic terrorism and guided by the United States.

Barak said a “daring peace initiative vis-a-vis the Palestinians” is needed for a long-term two-state solution.

“It is a compelling imperative for us,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though, “has taken courageous steps” toward attempting to bring the Palestinians to the table, so Mahmoud Abbas and company “clearly bear most the responsibility,” Barak said.

Even if an interim agreement is unattainable, he added, unilateral demarcation action should be taken to avoid a “slippery slope” toward a binational state and preserve a “solid Jewish majority for generations to come.”

Barak said he’s sure Netanyahu “will lead with the same dedication” in the crises facing the region.

“We are at a decisive juncture in our history,” he said.

Vice President Joe Biden addresses AIPAC tomorrow morning, but the White House got off on the wrong foot by getting the name of the group wrong in this evening’s daily guidance: they called it the “American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Mr. Barak, you were willing to give away the heart of the Land of Israel and to re-divide the city of Jerusalem. Israel was saved from your suicidal folly only by the intransigence of the late, unlamented Yasser Arafat.

Have the grace to shut the hell up and go quietly. Israel should unilaterally recognize Jordan as the only legitimate "Palestinian Arab" state---which it is---and announce that it is willing to discuss a timetable for the Arabs who call themselves "Palestinians" to exercise their "right of return" and relocate there.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (4)
All Comments   (4)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Too many years, since the Six-Days in 1967. Understandable though that Israel seeks recognition by the Arabs and land occupied is returned. But things didn’t happen that way, right? And it didn’t that for many years now. The situation is altered in the region. PA is corrupted in more than one way Hamas and Hezbollah call for Israel’s annihilation. It leaves Israel with another perspective on the whole matter. It’s time to include, officially, the Judea and Samaria, and the so-called “Palestinians” are free to leave. The Kingdom of Jordan is the Arab Palestinian land. If they are reluctant, offer every family a sum of money to start a new livelihood in their brother-nations. The Gaza-strip is another severe case with no obvious solution for the time being.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I love Israel. I love my country as much as a man can.

But we are no friend to Israel at the moment. Frankly, we aren't a friend to America at the moment.

Never, in my 59 years...have I seen such utter lack of competence in EVERY key position running this land of ours.

The Vice President is such a dolt, that he makes a dictator look like the better choice, an Emperor surrounded by fools.

The Secretary of State is proving that you can be stupid...and arrogant at the same time.

The nominations of Hagel and Brennan are simply frightening in their crass political agenda, without regard for talent, skill or brains.

The antipathy toward Israel has escalated to near open hostility. Robert Malley meeting secretly Hamas was the canary in the coal mine. The dinners with Rashid Khalidi, the spoutings of Jeremiah Wright, the tributes by Wright's pew-sitters to Farrakhan, the blurtings of Ali Abunimah...all point the weather vane in the same direction. With a chill wind blowing behind it.

If Israel is looking around this place for a friend, they will find that the neighborhood just got a little rougher in DC as well. And Valerie Jarrett has a homeland or two in the mix to consider. Neither one of them, is a friend to Israel.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
History is against the survival of the Jewish people as a nation state. The prognosis for the 21st century does not appear to be good as many of the "democracies" abandon Israel in order to curry favor with the Islamists. I hope for Israel's sake that they are working on a "Manhattan Project" of their own, not a nuclear weapon which they already possess, but perhaps some kind of cyber weapon unkown at this time. If Israel's leadership is as pragmatic as they have been all along, they now realize they are already alone.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. Barak, you were willing to give away the heart of the Land of Israel and to re-divide the city of Jerusalem. Israel was saved from your suicidal folly only by the intransigence of the late, unlamented Yasser Arafat.

Have the grace to shut the hell up and go quietly. Israel should unilaterally recognize Jordan as the only legitimate "Palestinian Arab" state---which it is---and announce that it is willing to discuss a timetable for the Arabs who call themselves "Palestinians" to exercise their "right of return" and relocate there.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
View All

2 Trackbacks to “Barak to AIPAC: Political Will to Stand Up to Iran Failing the Syria Test”