Saturday, December 16, 2006

Interview: Sharansky Blasts Baker-Hamilton Report As “Appeasement”

Former Israeli deputy prime minister Natan Sharansky– who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Friday [December 15]–today blasted “The Iraq Study Group Report” as an act of “appeasement.” “I am extremely concerned by the Baker-Hamilton report,” Sharansky told a conference call of political bloggers sponsored by his organization,, a call in which I participated. “It’s very difficult to understand how these outstanding politicians could write a report that is so out of touch with the rest of the world. This report perhaps could have been written on the 10th of September, 2001, but after?”

The report, he said, is guilty of “appeasing Iran and Syria” and proved that its authors “don’t share President Bush’s vision of democracy in the Middle East.” Sharansky wondered aloud how anyone at this point in history could believe in appeasing Middle Eastern dictators, or how anyone could honestly believe that Iran and Syria would see it in their interests to help the United States create freedom and stability in Iraq. “Appeasement comes from fear,” Sharansky noted. Those who pursue it “don’t have the strength to defend [their] own ideas.” The message of the Baker- Hamilton report, he said, was a message of encouraging Iran and Syria to continue supporting terrorist organizations because no one is going to stop them.

I asked Sharansky how much time the West has to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Sharansky noted that in 1997 he was the first Israeli Cabinet minister to travel to Russia and warn the Kremlin about leakage of nuclear technology to Iran. At the time, he made the case that “ten years from now Iran will have both nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them if leakage from Russia and others doesn’t stop.” Sharansky said it took four or five years for the Central Intelligence Agency to agree.

But by 2007, Sharansky said, Iran will reach the point of no return, where they will have all the technology, scientists, bomb-making plans, and highly enriched uranium that they need, and where it will almost be impossible to stop them from getting nuclear weapons. The time we have is “very limited,” Sharansky noted.

On Friday, Sharansky will become the fourth foreign- born individual ever to receive both the Congressional and Presidential Medals of Freedom. Sharansky recently retired from the Knesset [Parliament] to invest more time working with and the Shalem Center. His book, “The Case for Democracy,” became an international best seller and was strongly praised by President George Bush as a guide to his own thinking on the future of the Middle East.(By Joel C. Rosenberg, December 12, 2006)

• Thank God for a man like Sharansky. Pray that the recognition he will receive in the United States will allow him a platform to speak his views and that the US government will listen. • “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.” (Proverbs 10:11)

[Reported by: Bridges for Peace]