- The Washington Times - Friday, September 7, 2012

Israel’s contemplation of an attack on Iran’s nuclear production sites has been harshly criticized, and both Israel and Iran are being urged by the international community to restrain their combative rhetoric. So far, Israel has practiced restraint, but Iran continues to work on its nuclear bomb capabilities. Consequently, the probabilities are quickly shifting in Iran’s favor, while President Obama and other world powers continue to demand Israel’s forbearance.

It is clear that the horrific consequences of a failure to act make decisive action essential for Israel’s survival. Every misjudgment, every failure to prepare or appropriately respond to a mortal threat jeopardizes lives and almost certainly Israel’s very existence. Such pressure cannot continue day after day, year after year without eventually exasperating those living under the threat of a fatal attack — and that makes strong countermeasures from which other nations recoil seem not only reasonable, but essential.

Many of those not directly involved and watching from the comfort of safety see Israelis’ pleas for strong action as a controllable human failing, but survival is clearly a biological imperative common to all human beings. The proper balance between compliance with international decorum and the need to survive depends heavily on the circumstances. If one nation credibly threatens another with violent destruction, whose right to act is justifiable — those who threaten or those who are mortally threatened?

NORTON RUBENSTEIN

Richmond, Va.