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Comparing Jor-El and Netanyahu

Updated on March 4, 2015

Warnings through comic-book allegory and political reality

Listening to Benjamin Netanyahu deliver his speech to the U.S. Congress yesterday, I was inspired to make an instant connection with a similar message that I read during my youth in the Superman comic books of the late1950’s era.

In the origins of Superman, it is explained that his father Jor-El went to his planet’s council to warn them of an impending disaster. Specifically the destruction of his planet, as a result of a chain-reaction of cataclysms relating to nuclear sources. Jor-El was met with incredulity and dismissed as a madman. The planet exploded.

Netanyahu’s speech, had a similar content that warned the U.S. and in effect the world, that the impending offer of a deal from President Obama to Iran was tantamount to the beginning of nuclear proliferation in the warring middle-east and consequently create the threat of nuclear annihilation for the rest of us on this planet.

But there is a huge difference between the certainties of physics and the nebulous calculations arising from the unpredictable human condition. And it’s interesting to note that even though physics should be verifiable in terms of formulas and repeatable results, there are still dissidents to its conclusions. For example, many people do not accept that global warming is taking place, nor that we humans are responsible for it. Yet there is physical evidence from the arctic regions of our globe which shows that the ice caps are melting. Other data shows that weather patterns are more intense and destructive, water levels are rising world-wide, and volcanic activity is more frequent –just to name a few planetary factors. Much of this data is correlated to the post-industrialism era and its subsequent polluting effects.

But Netanyahu is not a scientist –he doesn’t have to be. He is the Prime Minister, the elected leader of Israel. Both written and visual history has proved that Israel has been threatened by its neighboring countries to be “wiped off the map”. Netanyahu is not only warning all of us of the imminent nuclear threat to Israel but like Jor-El, he is warning that there is a threat to the entire world. Various scenarios abound:

Scenario #1- Upon completing the construction of a nuclear bomb and an intercontinental ballistic missile delivery system, Iran launches an attack on Israel. Fully knowing that the U.S. and other appeasing countries will not respond; it will also threaten its other neighboring countries with immediate surrender to its oppressive regime.

Problem: Israel will retaliate with a nuclear missile of its own and the middle east gets inundated with radioactive material that will eventually cause tremendous physical, ecological, political and economic upheaval for the entire region. Millions of humans and animals will perish; those that remain alive will suffer greatly and their progeny will be affected by the changes to their genetic structure. Religious beliefs on all sides will decompose into survival instincts. The rest of the world will wait for the profuse radioactive cloud to eventually circulate their region –creating problems in the food chain and the uncertain survival of the human race and the civilized world as we know it.

Scenario #2- A pre-emptive strike occurs to Iranian nuclear facility (can be either domestic or foreign).

Problem: The facility goes into meltdown and a local pollution disaster ensues. Yet another nuclear disaster causes the planet to react negatively (food/water chain poisoning results). Neighboring countries will avoid products from countries with nuclear poisoning to their environment. This would be a worse result than a multi-nation sanction against the country.

Scenario #3- Iran trades its nuclear development program for developing peaceful relations among all its immediate neighbors –including Israel… Oh never mind. This will never happen!

Perhaps the only remaining item is the solution: i.e. Don’t get started with building nuclear bombs. They will inevitably cause your own demise either via nuclear accidents (e.g. 3-mile Island-USA, Chernobyl-Russia, Fukushima-Japan, and several other nuclear disasters: ) or from unexpected pre-emptive strikes or direct retaliation.

I suppose there is some hope of restraint after “the bomb” is built. Pakistan and India have not wiped each other out –even though they both possess nuclear weapons. The old cold-war enemies, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were able to hold off mutual annihilations. North Korea is altogether another story. They’ve held off on aggression only because of China’s influence in the region. And the rest of the nuclear powers in the European nations are for the most part, deterrents to mutual destruction.

But then Jor-El never offered a solution. There was none. His world was on an inevitable course to destruction. Ours is not. At least not “inevitably”. For our world, the warning has been issued by Netanyahu and hopefully heeded rather than dismissed like Jor-El’s was.

Jor-El could only save his son, but we can save our world.


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