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ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Why Is Biden Stopping Israel From Attacking Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program?

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Alan M. Dershowitz Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School, and the author most recently of The Price of Principle: Why Integrity Is Worth The Consequences. He is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute, and is also the host of "The Dershow" podcast.
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Iran declared war on Israel by sending more than 300 bombs in Israel’s direction, aimed at civilian as well as military targets in Jerusalem and other locations. As a matter of law and morality, Israel is entitled to respond to this act of war by overwhelming, even disproportionate, force against Iranian military targets.

Yet, President Biden has warned Israel not to take such permissible action. Biden wants Israel simply to proclaim victory and not respond appropriately. This will only encourage Iran to take further military action against Israel either directly or through its numerous proxies.

Iran claims that Israel acted unlawfully attacking a diplomatic consulate. First, the building it attacked did not have diplomatic immunity, because it was not being used for diplomatic purposes; it was being used to plan military attacks against Israel.

Second, Argentina’s High Court recently found that Iran had attacked Israel’s actual embassy, killing 23 innocent people back in the 1990s. Iran’s attack is an illegal act of aggressive war warranting a lawful military response.

Even if Israel were to respond moderately, Iran would continue to wage war against Israel. As long as the Mullahs run Iran, the Mideast will remain in turmoil from Iranian aggression, either directly or through its terrorist surrogates.

Iran has little to lose by remaining the head of the octopus whose deadly arms do its dirty work. Iran laughs all the way to the bank as mostly others are killed. Why should it stop if it doesn’t feel the pain of significant reprisal?

The only way to bring peace and stability to the Middle East is through regime change and democratization in Iran. Such a result would be welcomed by the majority of Iranians and all the Sunni Arab nations in regions. It would end Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthis and other Iran-sponsored terrorist groups and help bring stability to the region and peace to Israel.

Accordingly, the ultimate goal of any Israeli retaliation should be regime change. The means can include destruction of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, which would considerably weaken the regime. It could begin by taking down Iran’s air defense systems.

It could include attacks on oil-producing facilities that enrich the regime. It could involve cyber warfare and other technological intrusions. Finally, Israel could increase the help it is already giving the growing opposition to the regime within Iran.

It will not be easy to topple the ruthless regime which brutally suppresses all dissent. But if the majority of Iranians support regime change, it is simply a matter of time before it occurs. This is unlikely to occur if the regime develops a nuclear arsenal which can shield it from outside pressures.

If the regime felt endangered, it could attack Israel with its nuclear weapons, as it has threatened to do. That is an important reason why Iran’s potential nuclear arsenal should be destroyed before it can be deployed.

The Biden administration is determined not to widen the war – not to directly confront Iran militarily. This may be understandable, but it is dead wrong. This is precisely the time to confront Iran and to end the horrors of the current regime.

A lesson from history may prove relevant. In the mid-1930’s Great Britain and France had an opportunity to destroy the Nazi regime, because Germany was violating the Versailles treaty by building up its military. Even Joseph Goebbels wrote in his memoir that he fully expected Germany’s World War I enemies to attack before Germany became militarily invincible. He was shocked that they did not.

The result was the death of tens of millions of innocent people in World War II that could have been prevented by the destruction of the Nazi regime. History is never the basis for perfect predictions about the future, but its lessons cannot be ignored.

The failure to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program may eventually produce the death of millions of people, if Iran were ultimately to deploy weapons of mass destruction against American allies, including but not limited to Israel.

This is the time to act. Iran has provided Israel and the United States with a complete legal and moral justification for destroying its nuclear weapons program and for beginning the process toward regime change. If we do not act now, it may be too late.

Alan Dershowitz is professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and the author of “Get Trump,” “Guilt by Accusation,” and “The Price of Principle.” This piece is republished from the Alan Dershowitz Newsletter.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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