American Jews Should Stand Firm against the Iran Deal as They Did 40 Years Ago against a Deal with the USSR

In 1974, as the Nixon administration was about to grant generous trade benefits to the USSR, American Jewish organizations—and Soviet Jewish activists—criticized the move and urged the U.S. government not to turn a blind eye to the fate of Soviet Jewry. Thanks in part to their intervention, Congress passed the Jackson-Vanik amendment linking economic concessions to changes in Soviet behavior, crucially including the free emigration of Soviet citizens. Natan Sharansky reflects on the implications for today:

American Jewish organizations . . . faced a difficult choice. They were reluctant to speak out against the U.S. government and appear to put the “narrow” Jewish interest above the cause of peace. Yet they also realized that the freedom of all Soviet Jews was at stake, and they actively supported the policy of linkage. . . .

The decaying Soviet economy could not support an arms race or maintain tolerable conditions without credit and support from the United States. By conditioning this assistance on the opening of the USSR’s gates, the United States would not only help free millions of Soviet Jews as well as hundreds of millions of others, but also pave the way for the regime’s eventual collapse.

Today, an American president has once again sought to achieve stability by removing sanctions against a brutal dictatorship without demanding that the latter change its behavior. And once again, a group of outspoken Jews—no longer a small group of dissidents in Moscow but leaders of the state of Israel, from the governing coalition and the opposition alike—are sounding an alarm. Of course, we [in Israel] are reluctant to criticize our ally and to oppose so vigorously an agreement that purports to promote peace. But we know that we are again at a historic crossroads, and that the United States can either appease a criminal regime—one that supports global terror, relentlessly threatens to eliminate Israel, and executes more political prisoners than any other per capita—or stand firm in demanding change in its behavior.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: Barack Obama, Iran nuclear program, Natan Sharansky, Politics & Current Affairs, Refuseniks, Richard Nixon, Scoop Jackson, U.S. Foreign policy

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy