Casino mogul and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson suggested earlier this week that the American administration detonate a nuclear bomb in Iran as a method of deterrence to convince Tehran to abandon its controversial nuclear program.
Adelson made the remarks during a panel conversation with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at an event titled "Will Jews exist? Iran, Assimilation and the Threat to Israel and Jewish Survival." The event was held at Yeshiva University in New York.
At the event, Adelson proposed launching an American nuclear device into the Iranian desert where it "doesn't hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever," to show the Iranians what will be done to them if they don't take the nuclear talks seriously.
Adelson, an enthusiastic supporter of Israel who takes every opportunity to warn against the dangers of the Iranian nuclear program, wondered during the discussion "what are we going to negotiate about?" He also criticized the negotiation tactics implemented by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Adelson's proposal was as follows: "I would say, 'Listen, you see that desert out there? I want to show you something.' … You pick up your cellphone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, 'OK, let it go.' So there's an atomic weapon that goes over, ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn't hurt a soul. … Then you say, 'See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business."
Later in the panel, Adelson directly addressed the Iranians, saying "You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes.'"
Criticizing Obama's approach, Adelson said that his was "the worst negotiating tactic I could ever imagine, my entire life."
Asked why, Adelson replied: "Because you can't get anything. He's not saying to them, 'Roll back your entire program and show that you're willing to be peaceful. So, roll it all back … and we'll roll back the sanctions.' What is that, a game of chicken, who is going to blink first?"
An audience of 400 people crowded the auditorium at Yeshiva University earlier this week. The panel included Pulitzer Prize winner and Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens as well as Yeshiva University President Richard Joel.
Stephens said that a regime that stones women to death and hangs homosexuals in the streets of Tehran should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict also came up during the course of the debate. Adelson said that in the 19th century, when Mark Twain traveled from Jerusalem to Haifa, he said that he saw nothing but goats and sheep and Bedouin. "There is no such thing as a Palestinian people," he said.
"If they truly want peace, it's very simple to say to all their henchmen, lay off the terrorism for five years. And they'll come to the Jews and say, for five or 10 years there will be no terrorism, there will be no violence or no incitement against... We'll throw out the books that teach the three-year-old children that Jews are descended from swine and apes, and that we're not going to teach anymore in the curriculum to kill the Jews, that the Jews are very bad people," Adelson said.
"So if you really want peace, it's very simple to send a message to your opposition. Just be peaceful," he concluded.
Full disclosure: Sheldon Adelson is one of the owners of the company that is the primary shareholder of Israel Hayom.