By Alex Newman
JERUSALEM – Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin of the ruling Likud Party contends the Israeli strategy for dealing with Iran is “a mistake.”
In an interview with WND, he said the Iranian regime should be considered Israel’s problem – not the world’s – and must be dealt with as such.
Feiglin, who leads the Jewish Leadership (Manhigut Yehudit) faction of Likud, also argued that Iran’s nuclear program is not the biggest threat to Israel.
The larger threat, he said, is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his regime’s rabid anti-Zionist rhetoric, which is part of a plan to delegitimize the Jewish state.
Feiglin noted that when Ahmadinejad first proposed the destruction of the Jewish state, the world was expecting an immediate military reaction from the Israeli military.
“When it was not done, the result of it was that the delegitimization of the state of Israel all over the world rose up, because when you are not willing to pay a price to keep your existence, when you show dependence on others to do the job for you, you lose your legitimacy to exist,” he said. “It is true with every state, but much more than that with the state of the Jews.”
The delegitimization of Israel in the world is a bigger threat than any atomic bomb, he continued.
“We should learn from our own Holocaust 70 years ago,” the lawmaker said. “The Holocaust did not start in 1939; it started with the speeches in the Reichstag of the Third Reich in 1933 until the war. Those speeches led to delegitimization, to a question mark, to rise about the right of the Jew to exist.”
The same phenomenon is happening with the Iranian regime and its rhetoric, Feiglin said.
“Those speeches of Ahmadinejad led to the question mark above the right of the state of Israel to exist,” he explained. “You can see the connection between Ahmadinejad, the fact that Israel did not react, and this question mark above our legitimacy to exist, and you can see that it comes altogether; that’s the connection.”
When the Nazis in Germany were able to cast doubts on the right of the Jewish people to exist, the Holocaust became possible, the liberty-minded lawmaker said.
As such, he sees Ahmadinejad’s speeches – “the fact that the leader of a big country, a member of the U.N., speaking like that and not being punished by us right away” – as a greater threat to Israel than a nuclear weapon.
“Now, if you ask me how Israel should react – what Israel should do, should we bomb Iran, what kind of reaction we should have – I think the answer is that we should think outside of the box,” Feiglin said.
“We got used to the idea of soldiers and people paying the price for the cruelness of leaders, and this is the wrong way to look at it,” he continued.
“I think that when a leader is saying that Israel, the Jews, don’t have a right to breathe the air on the globe, he himself should lose that right.”
In essence, then, Feiglin does not believe Iran as a nation is not the problem. Even the nuclear reactors themselves are not the primary issue.
Instead, the deputy speaker said he thinks the real target should be the Iranian regime – its leaders and Ahmadinejad himself.
Still, Feiglin acknowledged that the nuclear problem would have to be handled.
“Obviously it’s going to be very hard and complicated to deal with that also, and it’s going to cost a big price in Israeli soldiers and pilots,” he said.
The key, however, is placing the blame where it belongs: On the regime itself.
“We should ask ourselves how many millions would not have lost their lives if the Western world would have understood that concept with Hitler and acted at the right time,” Feiglin said.
Meanwhile, the party responsible for dealing with the Iranian threat should be Israel, he continued.
“I think our prime minister is probably the most capable man to do what needs to be done, but I have a different point of view on the strategy that needs to be taken over here,” Feiglin told WND in his parliamentary office.
“It seems like today Israel is focusing on making the issue a problem of the whole world, not only Israel, and I think it’s a mistake,” he added. “I think we should do exactly the opposite. It should start and end for us as an Israeli issue that is our responsibility to solve.”
The army veteran-turned-activist-turned-political leader, who remains controversial but has developed a strong following in Israel, pointed out that the Jewish people are no longer spread around the world in the diaspora.
“We are a sovereign country,” Feiglin noted. “When somebody is threatening a new Holocaust on the state of Israel, it is very important to make it very clear that we are those who are taking responsibility for our own security, and we are those who are going to solve the problem by ourselves.
“It is a crucial message,” he added. “In the past Israel knew, but somewhere along the way we forgot it.”
While much of the political debate surrounding Iran in both Israel and the United States has focused on U.S. military support, Feiglin is not convinced that it is needed.
Indeed, the independent-minded statesman even questions the wisdom of American foreign aid to the Jewish state, especially as the U.S. economy continues to struggle so badly.
“I’m totally against this aid,” Feiglin said. “To get any kind of aid from America when, economically, we are in a much, much better position doesn’t look moral to me.”
On top of that, Feiglin argues that the U.S. government’s assistance does not help Israel economically or militarily.
“This aid serves psychological purposes, not anything else,” he explained.
Even considering all of the threats Israel faces from all sides, Feiglin also said he was more worried about the future of America than of the Jewish state.
“I know it sounds maybe a little bit crazy,” he said. “However, we are a nation of 3,300 years. We have our little ups and downs over our history, but it seems like physically we are stronger than ever.
“History shows that big empires fall, and it doesn’t look like America today is on the rise,” Feiglin said.
Plus, according to Feiglin and a growing segment of Israeli public opinion, the Obama administration is not helping much anyway.
“It was obvious in the first years of Obama diplomacy that the strategy was to throw your dice on the Muslim side – it was very obvious,” the deputy speaker told WND, adding that it was no longer clear whether there even is a real American strategy.
The U.S. government-backed “Arab Spring,” meanwhile, threatens to turn the entire Middle East into what Feiglin described “as one big Gaza all around us.”
“There will be no return address for the missiles that will fall here from Syria, or from Jordan, or Iraq, or from anywhere else,” he said. “It’s going to be exactly the same as Gaza.”
In Feiglin’s view, there are three potential forces that could step in to deal with the growing chaos in the region: The Iranian regime, the Turkish government or Israel.
“But the Israelis don’t have those kinds of ideas anywhere in the horizon of their mind … so we’re stuck with these two options,” he said.