". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Iran Attack on Israel Sparks Global Response

April 14, 2024

On Saturday, startled Americans watched as news anchors broke into their regular programming for a special report: Iran had begun a full-scale attack on Israel. After decades of using terrorist proxies like Hezbollah and the Houthis, Tehran took direct aim at the Jewish nation for the first time in 40 years, launching more than 300 missiles and drones at its enemy to the east.

Iran’s offensive was a shocking twist on an already explosive situation in the region, as Israel continues its march against Hamas over the international pressure to end the war. And while Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced that it had intercepted as many as 99% of the rockets fired from Iran, the assault marked a new and dangerous chapter in the Middle East tensions.

In Washington, President Joe Biden rushed back to the White House, calling for a G7 meeting to “coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.” Together with Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, Biden applauded Israel’s measures at self-defense but privately urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against retaliation.

“The president’s been clear,” White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby told NBC Sunday morning. “We don’t want to see this escalate; we’re not looking for a wider war with Iran,” he said before adding, “I think the coming hours and days will tell us a lot.”

In the weeks leading up to the strike, Netanyahu had “been preparing for the possibility of a direct attack from Iran.” He reassured the country that its “air defenses are deployed. We are ready for any scenario, both in attack and defense.” Here at home, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin backed up the prime minister, telling the press corps, “We do not seek conflict with Iran, but we will not hesitate to act to protect our forces and support the defense of Israel.”

The initial wave caused “very little damage,” Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant wanted people to know, but it did manage to accomplish something else: revealing Iran’s real intent. “Overnight, the whole world saw the true face of Iran — a terrorist state that attacked the State of Israel from a distance of 1,500 km and in doing so also attempted to employ all of its proxies.”

Iran’s political and military leaders celebrated the largely unsuccessful mission, calling the operation a “historic, powerful, victorious operation against [the] Zionist regime.” Meanwhile, Israel was carrying out its own counter-offensive, pounding Hezbollah targets in Lebanon early Sunday. “A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck a number of military structures in a complex belonging to Hezbollah’s Radwan Forces in the area of Jbaa in southern Lebanon,” the country’s forces announced. “Earlier during the night, IDF fighter jets struck Hezbollah military structures in the areas of Khiam and Kfarkela.”

As the weekend wore on, reaction from U.S. lawmakers poured in. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) insisted that “America must show our full resolve to stand with our critical ally. The world must be assured: Israel is not alone.” He put the blame for the weekend’s conflict, at least in part, at the president’s feet. “I will continue to engage with the White House to insist upon a proper response. The Biden Administration’s undermining of Israel and appeasement of Iran have contributed to these terrible developments.”

While the president is desperately working to keep Israel from engaging Iran directly, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) called for more forceful action from the U.S. “We must move quickly and launch aggressive retaliatory strikes on Iran,” she urged.

Members of Biden’s own party joined the chorus for a stronger show of support for Israel after weeks of publicly abandoning our Middle East ally with calls for a ceasefire. Asked by CNN’s John Tapper if he agreed with Blackburn’s strategy, Senator John Fetterman (D-Pa.) said no, but reiterated, “I just think we should follow and have Israel’s back in the situation. I don’t agree with the president.” He’s “entitled to his own views and whatever he decides to do,” the colorful senator explained, “but I would never capitulate to the fringe [of the Democratic Party]. … [T]hat empowers Hamas, and Hamas is actually convinced they’re winning the PR war. And they’re never going to negotiate at this point.”

Over in the House, the weekend’s conflict is prompting leadership to pivot to crucial legislation on Israel. Legislation, several conservatives have pointed out, that Democrats refused to consider four months ago. “… The House will move from its previously announced legislative schedule next week to instead consider [aid proposals] that support our ally Israel and holds Iran and its terrorist proxies accountable,” Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) announced. “[T]here must be consequences for this unprovoked attack.”

An attack, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shook his head, that never should have happened. “So much for don’t,” the Trump official tweeted, referring to Biden’s one-word admonishment to Iran. “Don’t isn’t a national security policy,” Pompeo said last year when Biden made the comment. “It’s not even a deterrent.”

“When your Secretary of State declares near moral equivalence between good, our ally Israel — and evil, the Islamic Republic,” Pompeo pointed out over the weekend, “you get bad guys wreaking destruction.”

Former Israel Ambassador David Friedman was equally outraged by the administration’s tepid soundbites. “About six months ago, Biden looked Hezbollah and Iran in the proverbial eye and said ‘Don’t.’ Since then, Hezbollah has attacked Israel daily, almost 100,000 Israelis have been displaced from their homes in the North with no idea when they will return, Iran has received $26 billion in sanctions relief and the US carrier strike forces have sailed away. US policy here is weak, confused and unproductive,” he argued.

And the Democrats’ confused messaging doesn’t help matters. After calling for the overthrow of Netanyahu last month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) dared to say he “stands” with Israelis. “… [T]he United States will do everything we can to support Israel’s defense against Iran,” he claimed.

This constant wavering on the Left, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said, has given the entire world the impression that the president’s party “tacitly supports Israel’s opponents.” Perkins, who was in Israel three weeks ago meeting with Netanyahu, agrees that “what happened [Saturday] was the result of the Biden administration vacillating back and forth in its support of Israel.” As the prime minister told him last month, “If we are not decisive in our victory against Hamas, it’s going to incite Iran directly to attack us.”

Like other military experts, Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Bob Maginnis believes Iran anticipated that Israel would be supported by the U.S., yet launched the operation anyway. “That means the present deterrence in the region failed,” FRC’s senior fellow for National Security told The Washington Stand. For 40-plus years, Maginnis has written about Iran, including in his book “Never Submit,” which addresses the tragic history of the Islamic Republic and its tyrants. He believes, “They no longer fear the U.S. — and unless the U.S. and others increase their presence and demonstrated willingness to use force, much worse is likely on the horizon.”

The reality is, Maginnis warned, “Iran has the capability to reach out and damage Israel. Jerusalem is no longer safe in spite of separation provided by the Arabian landmass and the Persian Gulf. It also appears some of the Iranian weapons platforms used Iraqi airspace, a consequence of our disengagement with Baghdad.” As he put it, “The mullahs in Tehran are now out of the closet and openly engaging, threatening Jerusalem.”

And the price to Israel is steep. One of Iran’s goals is to exhaust Israel’s arsenal of “expensive anti-missile systems like Iron Dome Patriot, Arrow, and David’s sling,” he pointed out. “In other words, Iran is trading cheap drones for anti-drone, ballistic missile rockets fired by Israel and her Western allies.”

In other words, Perkins said, “Israel is fighting for its survival.” Preaching at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Sunday, the FRC president acknowledged that “we live in times of great uncertainty — both abroad and here at home. But we’ve been given clear instruction on how we as followers of Jesus Christ are to respond, “We’re to stand firm in the truth of God. Jesus warned us that these days would be coming. … God does not want us to be anxious. He does not want us to be worrying about this; He wants us to go to work.”

“This is the greatest threat that this nation of Israel has seen since its founding almost 76 years ago,” Perkins insisted. “And if we depart from our commitment to stand with Israel, I fear for our country’s future.” He announced that FRC and several churches around the country are declaring May 19 “Pray for and Stand with Israel Sunday.” It’s his goal to have churches all across America praying for the Jewish nation.

“While we may not have the political authority to negotiate and make decisions for our government … but as believers, we’ve been given the keys to the kingdom. And we need to exercise those keys. … We need to pray that God would show Himself mighty to save.”

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.