It has been an incredible few weeks for lovers of Israel.
After eight years of tension with the Obama administration, Israel now has a partner in the United States which has killed the Iran deal, defends the Jewish state at the United Nations and has moved the American embassy to from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
US President Donald Trump has rid America of the shame of the Iran nuclear deal, which completely overlooked all of Iran’s sins and its promises to annihilate Israel’s six million Jews.
In so doing, Trump has created the potential for reining in the vile regime in Tehran, curbing the ascendance of radical Islamists and advancing a foreign policy that recognizes evil and holds belligerent governments accountable. Former president Barack Obama’s foreign policy had elements of Kissingerian realpolitik.
America was prepared to engage tyrants so long as it was in America’s interest to do so. Trump, by contrast, has put enormous pressure on tyrants like Kim Jong-un of North Korea and Bashar Assad of Syria.
To be sure, Trump has emerged as a great champion of the Jewish people and a protector of Israel, but globally, he has emerged as an American leader who is willing to condemn rather than excuse evil.
The Iran deal was traumatic because it was catastrophic.
It allowed a government which mows down its own citizens in the streets to pocket billions of dollars to finance terrorism, ballistic missile development, and intervention in its neighbors’ affairs in exchange for biding its time before building nuclear weapons. Obama promised Iran’s behavior would change. Instead Iran’s aggression got worse and its threats to US and global interests escalated. President Obama ignored Iran’s lies and threats in search of a foreign policy achievement to attach to his legacy.
Personally, it was difficult to accept that my president would overlook repeated Iranian promises to annihilate Israel and perpetrate a second Holocaust. I lost friends in politics whose ambition, unwillingness to stand up to president Obama, and naiveté toward Iranian intentions allowed them to support the Iran nuclear agreement.
As an American and as a Jew I feared we would be forced to live with the prospect of a nuclear Iran Trump, by contrast, saw Iran for what it is: a brutal government that lied to the world about the intention behind its nuclear program. He made it clear to European companies that if you do business with Iran, you will not be doing business with the United States.
Liberalism has many positive virtues that have moved the world forward, but it suffers from a fatal flaw: a refusal to hate evil. Too many on the Left prefer to excuse monsters when they make genocidal threats, because confronting them might require action rather than appeasement.
President Obama watched Assad gas Arab children and did nothing. As in the case of Iran, Obama preferred to take the easy way out, and made a deal with Russia to remove Assad’s chemical weapons. Today, that deal has been exposed a total sham as Assad continues to use his arsenal of poison gas to murder children. Assad lied and did not dispose of the weapons. He undoubtedly took the measure of Obama’s naiveté watching him get played by the Iranians.
President Obama’s legacy will forever be tarnished by his failure to act when Syrian children were being murdered with sarin gas. Trump, who is daily called an Islamophobe, watched the same thing and said, “The evil and despicable [poison gas] attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children, thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead.”
President Obama refrained from ever using language like this, preferring instead to use neutral language that would not call out evil.
Supporters of the flawed Iran deal downplayed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent revelations about Iran’s past nuclear activities, as if was no great surprise that Iran had been lying all along. But if they knew Iran was lying all along, why didn’t they speak up? If they knew about Iran’s intentions, why didn’t they insist that all Iran’s nuclear research data be destroyed and close the loopholes that will allow Iran to ultimately reduce its breakout time – in Obama’s words – “almost down to zero” when the nuclear deal expires? TRUMP RIGHTLY pointed out that Iran is a threat to the United States. Let’s not forget, as most people have, that the largest number of Americans murdered by terrorists other than on 9/11 were killed by Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah. That organization continues to attack our allies in Syria.
Commentators have been quick to attack Trump’s decision based on the opposition of our European allies to withdrawing from the deal. They have largely ignored the Middle Eastern allies who are directly and immediately threatened by Iran.
The Saudis have been calling for tougher action against Iran for years. In fact, they are the only ones to suggest publicly the need to use military force.
Iran not only threatens the Gulf states: it also targets other moderate, pro-Western states. Recently, Morocco cut ties with Iran because Hezbollah sent missiles to the Polisario Front, which is engaged in a terrorist campaign against the kingdom.
There is only one country, however, that Iran has threatened with annihilation, and that is Israel. The mullahs have repeatedly made genocidal threats against the Jewish state.
Iran has also helped Hezbollah amass more than 100,000 rockets in Lebanon, and financed and armed Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Iran is trying to establish bases in Syria from which to threaten Israel, and recently launched a drone from Syria that targeted Israel.
The Trump administration is proving to be Israel’s great defender, especially at the UN where morality has seldom had a home since its founding. While the whole world condemned Israel for defending its border against Hamas terrorist assault, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, “I ask my colleagues here in the Security Council: Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and chief Middle East negotiator Jason Greenblatt stood up to the despicable antisemitism of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when he said that the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves by charging interest and being bankers. Seldom has anyone so desecrated the sacred memory of the six million.
What emerges from all this is a radical departure from the amorality of Obama foreign policy and an insistence on a new path forward which demands a moral accountability by state actors.
Trump’s decision to tear up the Iran deal was bold and courageous. More important, it demonstrated a moral clarity that his predecessor lacked.
One can only hope the Europeans will sacrifice their desire to advance their economic interests in Iran for the greater good of imposing sanctions on a regime that brutalizes gays, stones women to death and swears it will one day an enact a second Holocaust.The author, “America’s rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America” is the international best-selling author of 31 books including his most recent, The Israel Warrior. Follow him on Twitter @ RabbiShmuley.