As the ancient Jews go into exile following the destruction of their kingdom, the prophet Jeremiah urges them to “build houses and settle down” and, what’s more, to “seek the peace and prosperity” of their new homes. Jonathan Sacks finds in these words the “revolutionary” notion that Judaism’s values can endure despite political collapse and geographical relocation. Revisiting a lecture he gave in 2013, Sacks discusses how the Jews’ success not only in preserving their religion, but in rebuilding after repeated cataclysms, can provide a lesson and a model for contemporary Western society. Moreover, he urges Jews not to choose isolation but to play an active role in today’s needed process of renewal. (Interview by Eric Cohen. Audio, 35 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)
The Jews’ Role in Renewing the Vitality of Western Civilization
Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear
In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:
[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.
On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.
Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.