Recent media reports had it that Cory Booker and I have reconciled over Iran when we were both in Israel. Let me be clear: my dispute with Cory was never personal and was always about policy. There is no need for us to have any personal reconciliation as there was never any personal animus.
People who know and love each other for a quarter century, and who have shared everything, like Cory and I, have a bond that may bend but is never broken.
But on the principal source of my disagreement with Cory – his ill-advised and dangerous vote for the Iran nuclear deal – there can be no reconciliation.
Frankly, I’m shocked to see a man of such principle and intelligence continue to defend a deal that began to unravel even before it was signed.
It pains me to know that his loyalty to his party surpassed his commitment to the security of this nation and its allies, because it will forever mar his public legacy.
While visiting Israel Cory gave an interview in which he justified his vote on the Iran deal: “It was affirming to me to meet security experts over there, former military commanders who fought in wars, who confided in me that the nuclear threat has been removed for the near future and how much that is freeing up resources and energy to focus on the common threat of terrorism in the region.”
A senator votes to give Iran $150 billion which they’ll use to kill people and argues by doing so he is fighting terrorism? Are you serious? I am in Israel right now. Nothing could be further from the truth than Booker’s claim. My son is an IDF soldier stationed in the Golan Heights. Cory has known our son since his birth and his life is directly imperiled, God forbid, by the funding Cory voted to give Iran and, by extension, Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy terrorist army on Israel’s northern border.
Would Cory care to tell us which Israeli security experts he spoke to? There can be no anonymity on issues like these and Cory owes it to the people of New Jersey to name exactly whom he is referring to.
Surely it was not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who continues to proclaim to the world that Iran remains the single greatest threat to Israel’s survival.
Even more disappointing is the head-in-the-sand approach Booker has taken since his vote while Iran engages in the same behavior it did before the agreement. Here are a few items he may have missed while underground: The agreement at best is said to extend the breakout time for Iran to build a bomb from three months to one year. One year is the blink of an eye in the Middle East and, worse, Obama admitted that “in year 13, 14, 15, they [Iran] have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”
The Washington Post noted that “not one of the country’s 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled,” and that, contrary to Obama’s 2012 pledge, “enrichment will continue with 5,000 centrifuges for a decade, and all restraints on it will end in 15 years.”
Iran announced it is deploying sophisticated missiles around the Fordo plant. If this plant is only going to conduct science research as specified in the agreement, why does it need to be defended? And here’s another mystery: Why did Iran announce in August plans to build two additional nuclear plants? This is a country awash in oil with no need for nuclear power.
Iran has been lying and cheating on nuclear-related agreements for years; why should we believe this one will be any different? German intelligence services reported just two months ago that Iran continues to procure nuclear weapons technology and materials all over Europe.
The entire agreement’s credibility depends on verification, but Cory accepted Obama’s concession to give up the demand for “anywhere, anytime” inspections. The Iranians insist inspectors will not have any access to military facilities and barred them from the Parchin site where it is suspected that Iran engaged in research and testing related to building a nuclear weapon. This loophole is big enough to fire a nuclear missile through.
Speaking of missiles, the agreement did nothing to halt Iran’s development of more sophisticated missiles, which have little military use unless tipped with nuclear warheads.
Even Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has said “Iran does not face any insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon,” contradicting the administration’s claim that the nuclear deal blocks all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb.
The agreement has allowed Iran to reap billions of dollars in payoffs that allow Iran to continue its nuclear and missile research, intervene in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and support Hezbollah and other terrorists. Most embarrassing is the revelation that Obama paid a $400 million ransom for the release of five American hostages, but left two behind, including a Jewish former FBI agent. Obama, with Cory’s acquiescence, has now made every American citizen or soldier abroad a potential kidnap victim.
Iran’s supreme leader continues to spew vitriol against the United States; Iran captured and humiliated a group of our sailors; Iran’s navy has repeatedly engaged in provocative maneuvers around our ships in the Persian Gulf and Iran continues to work against our allies in the region.
Cory has had nothing to say about these disastrous outcomes from the Iran deal he supported.
More disheartening, however, has been his silence in the face of Iranian threats to annihilate Israel.
Genocidal intent is a crime according to the 1948 UN Anti-Genocide Convention. Cory had the perfect opportunity, not only morally, but politically, to denounce Iran’s genocidal threats while he was in the Holy Land. He chose to remain silent.
Cory did talk about the terrible humanitarian disaster of Syrian refugees, but did not criticize Obama’s failure to back up his red line and take military action against Syria after it used chemical weapons. Instead, Obama bought another Brooklyn Bridge from Russian President Vladimir Putin and told the American people all of Syria’s chemical weapons would be destroyed. We know from recent chemical attacks that this agreement was also a catastrophe.
From the outset of the civil war, Iran, to which Cory supports giving $150b., has financed Syrian President Bashar Assad’s war and backed him with troops. Nearly half a million Arabs are dead and millions of refugees displaced.
While in Israel Cory should have called out the Iranians for aiding genocide in Syria. Once again, he chose to remain silent.
Cory knows the truth. The Iran nuclear agreement achieved none of its objectives and is an unmitigated disaster. The deal emboldened Iran to emerge as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism and allowed Iran to continue to illegally seek more nuclear material, all while destabilizing the Middle East and brutalizing its own people.
The time has come for Cory to admit he made a catastrophic mistake by choosing political expediency over morality. It’s absurd for him to come to Israel and profess a commitment to Israel’s security while ignoring Iran’s commitment to Israel’s annihilation.
Cory does not owe me an apology as he did not offend our personal friendship. But he does owe the people of New Jersey an explanation as to why he continues to defend the Iran deal nightmare.The author was the founder of The Oxford University L’Chaim Society where, in 1993, he appointed Cory Booker student president. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley
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