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I Also Trust Iran

Reflections on the Iran nuclear agreement

    Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • August 20, 2015
  • |
  • 5 Elul 5775
  • Comment

Class Summary:

A Op-ed outlining the details and the consequences of the Iran Nuclear deal.

Dedicated by The Ray Family on the occasion of Naftali Shlomo Ben Zion's hanochas tefillin, and for the speedy recovery of Noami Brocha Mara bas Rochel and Zev ben Brocha. May we immediatly merit the coming of Moshiach.

President Barack Obama may genuinely believe that the Iran nuclear agreement will foster world peace and stop Iran from getting the bomb.

Perhaps he is right; perhaps he is wrong. But if he is making an error, the effects for him are not the same as the consequences for the Jewish people.

A few months ago, President Obama met a number of American Jewish leaders concerning the Iran deal. One of the people present at the White House meeting shared with me the following day that the President remarked: “If Iran attacks Israel, we will defend it.”

To which this Jew responded: “But that initial attack might claim 700,000 Jewish lives. We can’t afford that.”

In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went to Munich to negotiate with Adolf Hitler. He left believing Hitler’s promise of peace in exchange for Germany being allowed to annex large parts of Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain returned to England and announced that he had brought "Peace in our time." Winston Churchill denounced him as a naive appeaser who believed that he could buy Hitler's good will by giving in to his immoral demands: "You were given a choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war."

Today, people mock Chamberlain. But might we not be making the same error?

Many maintain that the agreement with Iran is good as it has the capacity to bring Iran into “the community of nations.” We will no more isolate Iran and will thus be able to influence the Republic to be more peaceful and logical.

If only. The entire state apparatus of the Islamic Republic, from the Revolutionary Guards to the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, genuinely believe that G-d craves “Death to America,” as they have been chanting for decades. The Iranian regime is composed of religious fanatics with similar ideologies to ISIS, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and all the other mass-murdering Islamist movements, for whom human life means absolutely nothing.

We are about to award Iran $150 billion in currently frozen assets, plus the right to keep its nuclear program. Would we do this for ISIS? Would we do this is Iran was just at our border? And Iran is far more dangerous than ISIS. Iran openly calls for genocide, for wiping out six million Jews living in Israel from the map. Its Supreme Leader said a few weeks ago that the destruction of Israel is non-negotiable. No other country in the world is committed to annihilating another country, besides Iran. In Iran you have mass demonstrations, with the participation of its leaders, chanting “death to America”! Iran is the world’s greatest funder of terror organizations. Iran funds and directs the Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah, the most powerful military organization in Lebanon. Iran is the major funder of Hamas, which plans on a daily basis the destruction of Israel. Would we give 150 billion to Hamas?

Trust Your Enemy

Our people endured a long and tumultuous history – perhaps longer than any other People. If there’s one thing that we have learned over the past 4000 years it is this: When a regime or a leader pledges to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth, we should take them seriously. We have been here before.

Within days of signing this agreement, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei couldn’t help himself and strongly reiterated Iran’s mission to annihilate Israel. Just four days after the deal was announced, Iran’s Supreme Leader declared: “Whether the deal is approved or disapproved, we will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. Even after this deal our policy towards the arrogant US will not change.”

Logically he should have waited a few months, till the money started flowing in. But the hate Iran has to Israel is so profound and runs so deep, that it could not be contained even as the world agreed to remove the sanctions.

Should we trust Iran? Of course! Trust Iran when it declares: “The Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain.”

Trust Iran, when it states: “The cancerous tumor called Israel must be uprooted from the region.”

Trust Iran when it proclaims: “The foundation of the Islamic regime is opposition to Israel and…the elimination of Israel from the region.”

Trust Iran as the world refused to trust last century’s Nazi propaganda machine.

The negotiations and deal never required the Iranian leadership to halt its relentless incitement for the destruction of the United States and Israel. Yes, one has to negotiate with one’s enemies. But that is with enemies who demonstrate some good will; not with enemies who continue to seek your demise and will use your money and appeasement to achieve that goal. Even as the talks proceeded, and since they were concluded, the poisonous rhetoric — rhetoric with inevitable violent consequence — has continued unabated.

The negotiations never stipulated that Iran cease its encouragement, training and arming of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Iran promised all of this will continue.

What If?

Since 1945, when the horrors of the Holocaust became known, many good people—non-Jews and Jews alike—asked themselves, “what if?” What if we would have taken Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” seriously? What if we would have believed him? What if we would have done more to stop him?

The people who could have done more to prevent the Holocaust died with guilt, but they could claim ignorance. We aren’t going to have that excuse. We can’t afford to sit around in twenty years and ask: What if we had taken Iran seriously?

If there’s another thing that we’ve learned over the past millennia it is that we Jews tend to agree about almost nothing. The U.S. has 50 states and 2 parties; Israel is 1 state with 50 parties. And yet, on this issue – and I can’t recall another one like it – there is unanimous consensus among each and every Jewish party in the Knesset, from the left to the right. This is not about Netanyahu. This is not about oil or money. The People who stand to lose the most stand united in asking the US leadership not to aid, reward and embolden the enemy.

The Deal

The President maintains that even if Iran will not change, the deal will do the job. It will prevent Iran from getting the bomb.

I fail to see how.

Inspections? As Charles Krauthammer put in in a recent Washington Post article: “Everyone now knows that “anytime, anywhere” — indispensable for a clandestine program in a country twice the size of Texas with a long history of hiding and cheating — has been changed to “You’ve got 24 days and then we’re coming in for a surprise visit.” New York restaurants, observed Jackie Mason, “get more intrusive inspections than the Iranian nuclear program.”

The only type of inspection that matters is “anytime, anywhere;” but that does not exist. If the International Atomic Energy Agency suspects cheating, it gives Iran up to a 24-day notice. What is more, the United States is prohibited from ever sending in its own inspectors.

Plus, no military sites can ever be inspected. Iran can establish or move nuclear facilities to whatever area it wishes and label those areas “military.”

Which brings us to Wednesday’s Associated Press report that one of the side deals reached between Iran and the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency provides for Iran to carry out its own inspection work at the Parchin military facility where the IAEA has long alleged it experimented with high-explosive detonators for nuclear arms. This is beyond absurd. As David Horowitz put it, “It’s akin to having Bernie Madoff scrutinize his own business practices, or Tour de France cyclists conduct their own doping tests… except it has global life-and-death implications.”

Why did Obama not share this with the American People? Olli Heinonen, who was in charge of the Iran probe as deputy IAEA director general from 2005 to 2010, told the AP on Wednesday he could recall no previous instance where a country being probed for nuclear wrongdoing was allowed to conduct its own investigation.

Even if one believes the agreement to be effective, it does little or nothing to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons in 10 years.

During his speech a few weeks at the American University, the President said: “There will be 24/7 monitoring of Iran’s key nuclear facilities.” He left out one detail. There is no 24/7 monitoring of anything Iran doesn’t want monitored 24/7 and no monitoring at all of any facility Iran labels “military.”

Alexander the Great reportedly once said, “I am not afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion; I am afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep.”  We are a nation of lions, but it feels like we are being led by sheep.

A Time To Act

This is a moment that calls on every one of us, particularly people of influence, to contact our representatives in Congress, and ask them to, in the words of the President at his American University speech, “leave behind a world that is more secure and more peaceful for our children.” Ask them to trust Iran.

Churchill once said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

“The Guardian of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep,” said the Psalmist. But we must do our part to deny the crocodile the freedom and money to prepare his next feast.

Please leave your comment below!

  • M

    Marty -8 years ago

    The Alexander quote is backwards. It should read:

    I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.

    Alexander the Great

    So Iran has nothing to fear from the U.S., as you correctly said.

    Just reverse the quote itself.

    Gut Shabbos.

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  • MD

    Mystery Dater -8 years ago

    Am I missing something? The Alexander quote says he feared an army of lions led by a sheep and then the author goes on to say we are an army of lions that feels as if led by sheep (aka Obama). If that's the case then Iran should fear us and they do not with current leadership. Perhaps he meant to say we are an army of sheep because we are led by a shepherd who has no clue regarding foreign affairs, the economy, race relations, and a host of other things we expect from a leader. And this is what you get when you elect a community organizer with horrendous associations to lead. How Jews, who are reasonably smart people, keep electing this ilk is beyond rational thought. If the Jewish state is destroyed by this fiasco, it is for them to blame themselves for being so foolish. Romney would have never put our people in this jeopardy.

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  • HA

    harry abram -8 years ago

    Dear Rabbi YY

    It was great to see you last week at JLI. Your essay makes the presumption that President Obama has good intentions about the nuclear deal. I believe the President is a Muslim out to destroy both Israel and America. Remember that he sat in the Chicago church of Reverend Wright and listened to Anti-Semitic sermons for more than 25 years. Nobody will listen to a preacher for that period out of time if he was not in general agreement with his philosophy. Therefore, I believe that President Obama has made a "scandalous" deal with Iran not out of ignorance but will the full intent of causing future harm to both Israel and America. He is well aware that allowing Iran to build anti-ballistic missile systems is to reach America and not Israel. In order to confront and deal with this President one must understand where he is coming from.

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Rabbi YY Jacobson
  • August 20, 2015
  • |
  • 5 Elul 5775
  • |
  • Comment

Dedicated by The Ray Family on the occasion of Naftali Shlomo Ben Zion's hanochas tefillin, and for the speedy recovery of Noami Brocha Mara bas Rochel and Zev ben Brocha. May we immediatly merit the coming of Moshiach.

Class Summary:

A Op-ed outlining the details and the consequences of the Iran Nuclear deal.

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