Fundamentally Freund: A reckoning for Congress over the Iran deal

As an Israeli, I fear that we will soon be left with no choice but to tackle the Iranian threat alone.

By
September 9, 2015 22:14
3 minute read.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Rosh Hashana is nearly upon us, a time when the entire world is judged and the fate of creation hangs in the balance. In Jewish tradition, every person and every nation will shortly stand before the Creator, who will examine their deeds and the inner recesses of their hearts.

It is therefore truly fortuitous that the US Congress is now set to vote on one of the most important bills in recent memory, a resolution to disapprove of President Barack Obama’s dubious nuclear deal with Iran.

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Fortuitous because this is a time of reckoning, one when every member of the US Senate and House of Representatives will face a simple, yet fateful choice.

Don’t be fooled by the hemming and hawing of the past few months, or all the supposed hand-wringing and deliberation that some say they have been engaged in. Simply put, the deal struck with the Iranians is so bad that both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his bitter rival Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog are united in their opposition to it. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, then I’m not sure what does.

So let’s make this as clear and straightforward as possible: every senator or congressman who raises their hand in support of the deal with the ayatollahs is raising their hand against Israel. Backers of the Iran deal are endangering the Jewish state, empowering the ayatollahs and undermining America’s national security interests.

Yes, it really is that simple.

If I sound like I’m taking this personally, that’s because I am. As a father raising five children in the Jewish state, I have every right to do so. As an American, I despair that the US would countenance capitulation to the mullahs. And as an Israeli, I fear that we will soon be left with no choice but to tackle the Iranian threat alone.

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Media reports now indicate that Obama has succeeded in garnering at least 41 votes in the Senate, nearly all of them Democrats, which means he can block the deal’s opponents from passing their resolution of disapproval. Hence, it is almost certain that the deal will move forward, thanks in large part to the cowardice of various senators and congressmen.

Indeed, in certain cases the sense of betrayal is particularly acute. Take for example Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. In 2013, he ran for his seat in a special election after Senator Frank Lautenberg passed away in office. During his campaign Booker did the rounds, tapping Jewish donors and supporters throughout the New York metropolitan area, passionately assuring them that he would always stand with Israel, come what may. How empty Booker’s promise now looks after he came out in support of the deal.

And then there is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida’s 23rd district, a Jew who serves as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Yes, she faced a difficult dilemma, torn between her loyalty to the president and her responsibility to represent her largely Jewish district, which overwhelmingly opposes the deal. But Schultz made her choice, and she put party ahead of principle by backing Obama and the agreement with Iran.

Thanks to Booker and Wasserman and a host of other Democrats, the ayatollahs will soon enjoy $150 billion in sanctions relief, in addition to the hundreds of billions they will make by closing trade and other commercial deals with various European and Asian countries. This windfall will enable the Iranian regime to expand its sponsorship of Islamic terrorism abroad, crush its opposition at home and further its missile technology and weapons programs.

Thanks a lot, Cory and Debbie.

There were some Democratic notables, such as Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who had the courage and conviction to oppose the deal. But they are few and far between, and that should give the majority of American Jewish voters something to think about the next time they consider voting for the Democrats.

After all, while virtually every Republican has come out against the Iran deal, the precise opposite is true vis-à-vis the Democrats. Obviously, every US representative has the right to vote as he or she sees fit. But the people too have rights, chief among them the right to punish politicians and vote them out of office.

So I say it is time for American Jewry and all opponents of the Iran deal to put every senator and congressman on notice: we will be watching how each and every one of you chooses to vote. And we will remember those who stand with Israel, as well as those who don’t.

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