>> Please register now for the “Israel, The Church and the Middle East Crisis Conference” at Biola University in southern California on March 23-24 — Joel will be speaking several times, including on the geopolitical and prophetic implications of the Russian-Iranian alliance.

President Obama on Sunday addressed the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee saying, “There is too much loose talk of war.” He defended himself against mounting criticism that he is not doing enough to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons or being a strong and faithful enough friend of the Jewish State. He said he will keep the military option “on the table” and is not pursuing a policy of “containment” (ie, letting Iran get the Bomb, but then making sure they don’t use it.) But he said he believed so much talk of possible war is benefitting Iran, in part by driving up oil prices which helps fund the regime in Tehran. And he made it crystal clear he does not want Israel launch a preemptive, unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, at least any time soon. Now, if you live in a cave and just stepped out to attend the AIPAC speech, I’m sure the President sounded convincing. But to those in the real world, Mr. Obama’s speech was astonishing in its obliviousness to the seriousness of the moment. The President and his administration has dragged its heels for years, refusing to take decisive action to neutralize the Iran nuclear threat.

Keep in mind, the stakes could not be higher. “The Iranian government, through a website proxy, has laid out the legal and religious justification for the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of its people,” reports Reza Kahlili, a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officer who became a double agent for the U.S. and is now a consultant to American intelligence agencies. “The doctrine includes wiping out Israeli assets and Jewish people worldwide. Calling Israel a danger to Islam, the conservative website Alef, with ties to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the opportunity must not be lost to remove ‘this corrupting material. It is a ‘jurisprudential justification’ to kill all the Jews and annihilate Israel, and in that, the Islamic government of Iran must take the helm.’”

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Panetta says Iran could have the Bomb by the end of 2012, yet Obama is proposing more diplomacy, and more “international pressure.” It hasn’t worked yet. Why do we believe it will work now? Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his team believe time has nearly run out for anything but decisive military action. Netanyahu knows that the regime in Tehran is run by fervant believers in Shia eschatology who hoped to destroy the U.S. and Israel and usher in the coming of the Twelfth Imam. From Netanyahu’s perspective, he is not engaging in “loose talk” of war; he is prudently preparing his nation and the world for what may soon be Israel’s only option. The Prime Minister believes the time to protect the Jewish people from a Holocaust is running out. I suspect when he meets today at the White House with the President, Netanyahu is going to ask for full U.S. support for an Israeli strike, if need be. How Mr. Obama replies will be the real test of his support for Israel.

 Here is the full text. Here are a few key quotes:

  • “As President and Commander-in-Chief, I have a deeply held preference for peace over war….We all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically. Having said that, Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States, just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power: A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.”
  • “Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.”
  • “Moving forward, I would ask that we all remember the weightiness of these issues; the stakes involved for Israel, for America, and for the world.  Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program.  For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster. Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built.  Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt:  Speak softly; carry a big stick.”

We need to pray for President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Lord gives them both wisdom to know the right thing to do, and the courage to do it. If there is a peaceful way to stop Iran’s nuclear program and bring down the Iranian regime so the Iranian people can live in freedom and all the region can live in peace and security, let’s pray the Lord shows them how to achieve this — and soon. “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

Please pray especially for Mr. Netanyahu and his advisors, that they would be like the sons of Issachar, “men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” (I Chronicles 12:32).

UPDATE AT NOON Eastern, Monday:

>> Help Christians bless needy Israelis and Palestinians now and be ready for a possible major new war in the epicenter — please consider a generous, tax deductible financial contribution to The Joshua Fund.

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