Religion Magazine

What If There Were Sounds of Silence?

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
A Guest Post by Dr. Harold Goldmeier
Did you ever wonder about your life’s path? What if you learned to play piano or violin like your mother wanted? What if you paid more attention in math class and biology? What if you asked that pretty girl in the second row to a movie?
What if Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu replies to questions about the Iran nuke deal negotiated by the world’s six most powerful countries with, “No comment”? 
What if he lets the Arab Gulf states take center stage disparaging and denigrating the deal, while Israel’s Prime Minister focuses on the raggedy domestic crises? What if the handsome and well-groomed leader removes the perpetual scowl from his brow, smiles more often, and cuts the strident tone and tenor of his speech? What if Netanyahu ceases proclaiming he is the only Israeli who can protect and safeguard Israel, and tells Israel when its people are going to live safe and secure?
What if Naphtali Bennett stops running for Prime Minister (or is it president of the United States?) every time a camera shines a light his way? What if Bennett stops thrashing around in search of the limelight pontificating on foreign affairs at whips of news about Israel?  What if he concentrates on being the Education Minister instead of the Foreign Affairs Minister-want-to-be? What if he is adamant about reducing school class sizes and reforming the crumbling education system, as he is about publicity?
Ah, the what if’s of life. If you’re a pessimist those are the regrets.  If you’re a happy person, what ifs are sweet dreams.
Following President Obama’s speech announcing the nuke deal with Iran was it necessary for Netanyahu to again tell the world how bad the deal is, how vehemently he opposes it, and not so subtly hinting he expects Congress and the Republicans to fight it to the death? Didn’t he make that crystal clear in the speech to Congress and every press opportunity since then? What if Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hollande, Putin, and Xi Jinping already know Israel’s position?
What if MK Bennett had not opened the Pandora box in his embarrassing BBC interview threatening Israel will use its nuclear arsenal against Iran?  Bennett went into a free fall when the BBC interviewer poignantly questioned him if he is in fact making such a threat. Bennett might have avoided his scabrous tap-dance making him appear a blunderer. His interview was brutal to watch. Bennett clearly lost control of the message. What if he lies low once in a while?
What if Israel’s leaders do not huff and puff and harrumph, cap their threatening bluster, and follow American President Theodore Roosevelt’s advice to “speak softly and carry a big stick”?  What if they stop sabre rattling and the fractious talk?  
Israel’s political sway in American and European politics is severely weakened by loss after loss when going up against Obama.  The former Chairman of the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee once told me, “I have no real power, but people respect and listen to me because I give the appearance of having power.” 
It’s about images of modesty and empathy not force and coercion in the age of visual news and social media. Israel spent much of its political cache trying to out-elbow Obama in Congress and the media. Recent studies and my own observations in Arutz Sheva articles confirm Israel is losing the long war, the war for the hearts and minds and souls of Europeans, young Jews and American Democrats.
None of this is to say the misology of those critical of the Iran/P5+1 nuclear deal is misplaced. It may be bad for Israel, other Arab states, the West, and the future of all mankind as some charge. I am neither a military strategist nor a soothsayer, but what do Netanyahu and Bennett achieve by repeatedly poking the bear?  
What if they took to heart Dr. Seuss’ warning, “I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.”
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