Interview: Norman Podhoretz Speaks his Mind

Podhoretz speaks to A7 on Israel, Obama and Iran. "There is nothing Israel can do...Israel will continue to live in a state of siege".

Giulio Meotti ,

Norman Podhoretz
Norman Podhoretz

The United States, Europe and the United Nations raised hopes over the - already failed - Baghdad talks with Tehran on its military nuclear program. Their diplomatic sallies allow Tehran to buy time.

Israel fears Western appeasement and the Iranian attempt to buy time to enrich more uranium for its atomic program.

Norman Podhoretz, founding father of neoconservatism,  editor-at-large of Commentary Magazine, recipient of the Medal of Freedom (the America’s highest civilian honor, to be awarded to President Shimon Peres next month) and prolific Jewish intellectual icon who has authored twelve historic books, gave Arutz7 a succintly phrased interview about Israel, Iran and Barack Obama’s engagement on Iran.

The ideological architect who inspired George W. Bush’s foreign policy still has a brave and rare willingness to speak truths that most columnists and analysts are too timid to espouse.

Meotti: Why would a nuclear Iran be a mortal danger for the Jewish State?

Podhoretz: If Iran gets the bomb, the Israelis would have to decide whether to preempt or to retaliate from the rubble. The Iranians would face the same decision. Each would therefore have an irresistible incentive to beat the other to the punch.

It is hard, if not impossible, to see how a nuclear exchange could be avoided under such circumstances.

Meotti: How do you see Israel’s future in the Middle East?

Podhoretz:  I am not optimistic if Iran is allowed to get the bomb. But even if Iran is stopped, the Arab/Muslim war against Israel will continue.

Since there is nothing Israel can do or fail to do that will bring that war to an end, and since I there is no sign that the Arab/Muslim world will in the foreseeable future give up its evil dream of wiping the Jewish state off the map no matter where its borders are drawn, Israel will continue to live in a state of siege.

On the other hand, Israel has miraculously managed to flourish even under such conditions, and I believe that it will find ways to go on performing the same miracle in the years to come.

Meotti: In Israel there are those who compare Obama’s weakness on Iran to Neville Chamberlain’s capitulation to Adolf Hitler (in 1938 the British prime minister sacrified the Sudetenland to the Nazi Germany)

Podhoretz: I have been saying much the same thing myself about the West in general for the past six years.

Meotti: We are getting closer to the US presidential election and Jewish leftist journalists, such as Jeffrey Goldberg and Peter Beinart, are trying to depict Obama as “the most Jewish President we’ve ever had”. Beinart has a chapter on Obama in his book, called "The Jewish President."How do you judge his legacy vis a vis Israel?

Podhoretz: I would rate Obama as the least Israel-friendly President since Jimmy Carter and the first George Bush.

Meotti: What’s wrong in the US policy on Iran since the Teheran embassy’s hostage crisis under Jimmy Carter?

Podhoretz: Everything.

The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, is a columnist for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. Podhoretz has dubbed him "a righteous Gentile" for his fearless defense of Israel and battle against anti-Semitism.