"Let Them Come to Berlin"

William Kristol, writing in the New York Times, usefully reminds us of what Jack Kennedy actually said in his famous 1963 speech in Berlin:

… When President Kennedy spoke to a huge crowd in front of West Berlin’s city hall in June 1963, victory in the cold war seemed a distant hope. The Soviets had crushed the East German uprising of 1953 and the Hungarian rebellion of 1956. Castro had taken power in 1959. The Berlin Wall had gone up in 1961. The Cuban Missile Crisis had brought the world to the brink of war less than a year before. There were many, in Europe and elsewhere, who wanted to find a way out of the struggle.

Speaking on behalf of “the world of freedom,” Kennedy challenged the anti-anti-Communists and the peaceniks. He chastised the “many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world.” He rebuked those “who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists.” To all of them, Kennedy memorably said: “Let them come to Berlin.”

And in a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Kenneth J. Bialkin gets to the heart of the question of Israel and the Iranian bomb:

John Bolton’s analysis of “Israel, Iran and the Bomb” (op-ed, July 15) is brilliant, incisive and correct. There is another factor which is implicit in his article but it is important that it be made explicit.

It lies within the DNA of Israel that “Never Again” is a fundamental precept of Israel and every thinking Jew, and ought to be part of the DNA of all decent people. Israel’s leaders have made it clear that there is a limit to the uncertainty Israel will endure before taking action to eliminate the threat that Iran might acquire a nuclear weapon. No one should be confused about the factors in the equation faced by Israel and the free world or surprised at any action that may be taken.

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