by Joel B. Pollak
NEW YORK – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave one of the finest–and most important–addresses of his career Monday at the United Nations General Assembly, laying out a simple case against “militant Islam” that seems self-evident to many, but is anathema in elite foreign policy circles.
Netanyahu expanded on his recent claims that ISIS and Hamas are essentially part of the same global effort, adding the Iranian regime to the equation.
Don’t be fooled by distinctions between Sunni and Shia, between local attacks and transoceanic terror: these are important differences in other contexts, Netanyahu seemed to say, but all share the common revolutionary aim to impose a radical version of Islam on the world.
Not all Muslims are militant, not all militants are Muslim, he said, but the major global threat comes from the phenomenon of militant Islam and its imperial ambitions.
And what they share in common, all militant Islamists share in common:
Boko Haram in Nigeria;
Ash-Shabab in Somalia;
Hezbollah in Lebanon;
An-Nusrah in Syria;
The Mahdi Army in Iraq;
And the Al-Qaeda branches in Yemen, Libya, the Philippines, India and elsewhere.
Some are radical Sunnis, some are radical Shi’ites. Some want to restore a pre-medieval caliphate from the 7th century.
Others want to trigger the apocalyptic return of an imam from the 9th century. They operate in different lands, they target different victims and they even kill each other in their quest for supremacy. But they all share a fanatic ideology.
They all seek to create ever expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance–Where women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated, and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice: convert or die. For them, anyone can be an infidel, including fellow Muslims.
Israel’s struggle, Netanyahu argued, is the struggle of civilization.
He blasted the UN, and the Human Rights Council in particular, for criticizing Israel in the recent war in Gaza while Hamas’s used Palestinians as human shields. “The Human Rights Council is thus sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere: Use civilians as human shields,” he said. “Use them again and again and again. You know why? Because sadly, it works.”
Netanyahu implored the world to stand against Iran in particular: “Ladies and Gentlemen, Would you let ISIS enrich uranium? Would you let ISIS build a heavy water reactor? Would you let ISIS develop intercontinental ballistic missiles?
Of course you wouldnâ€™t. Then you mustn’t let the Islamic State of Iran do those things either.”
Such logic may be foreign to Turtle Bay–and Foggy Bottom–but is self-evident to many Israelis and Americans.