Nuclear Deal Delusions
Two pieces published on Monday illustrate the depth of the cognitive dissonance with which Western liberals are afflicted in relation to the nuclear agreement with Iran. One is a report in the Fars News Agency, a semiofficial mouthpiece of the Iranian regime; the other is Roger Cohen’s column in The New York Times, titled “Iran and American Jews.”
The Fars article covers Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s address to the so-called 8th International General Assembly of Islamic Radios and Televisions Union about the nuclear deal.
“Washington imagined that it could use this agreement whose fate is not clear yet … to find a way to wield influence in Iran, and this was their intention,” Khamenei said. “But we closed this path, and we will definitely keep it closed. We will not allow the U.S. to influence our economy, or politics or culture. We will stand against such penetration with all our power — that is, thank God, at a high level today.”
He went on to say, “[The Americans] seek to disintegrate the regional states and create small and subordinate countries … but the territorial integrity of the regional states, Iraq and Syria, is highly important to us.”
Elaborating on his own policies, which include “never yielding to excessive demands of the enemies, while safeguarding Iran’s defensive and security capabilities,” and not changing its stance toward the U.S., Khamenei stressed, “Iran fully supports resistance in the region, especially the resistance in Palestine, and supports anyone who fights against Israel and strikes at the Zionist regime.”
He also made clear that whether or not the Majlis, Iran’s parliament, ratifies the text of the nuclear agreement, Iran would continue supporting “the oppressed Palestinian nation, Yemen, Bahrain, the governments of Syria and Iraq and the honest warriors of Lebanon and Palestine.”
In other words, whatever the outcome of its bogus contract with the P5+1, the Iranian regime will proudly remain the greatest state sponsor of terrorism. And it will have lots more money at its disposal for this purpose than it had before its American, European, Russian and Chinese appeasers begged it to accept cash for signing the contract they so desired.
Precisely because of Khamenei’s openness about his aims of Islamist hegemony and hostility to the West, U.S. President Barack Obama has had his work cut out for him trying to persuade skeptics that the world will be safer as a result of the current deal. He knows that Republicans are a lost cause. And he wouldn’t care about that if vetoing a congressional vote against it didn’t require a larger majority of Democrats than he is certain to convince.
So his main target is his own party, particularly its Jews. This, too, is why they are the focus of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign to prevent the deal from passing.
It is an unfortunate situation, because blocking Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is not an Israeli or a Jewish imperative. It is crucial for the free world as a whole. And, until Obama came along, America was the leader of that entity.
This brings us to the second article in question, in which Cohen defends the nuclear deal. Coming from Cohen, a liberal Jew, a Democrat and a New York Times columnist, his acceptance of Obama’s arguments in favor of the agreement — and against all things Netanyahu — is humdrum. The artillery he deploys, however, would be merely hilarious if it weren’t so disingenuous.
Referring to Netanyahu’s webcast earlier this month, in which he appealed to U.S. Jewry to take a stand against the agreement, Cohen cites two individuals — Sandra Lippy, a retired health care executive in Florida, and Roland Moskowitz, a doctor in Ohio — who tuned in to it.
“Lippy was not impressed,” writes Cohen. “She felt all the doomsday lines were tired.”
Here is how she put it to Cohen: “It’s not a great deal, but it’s enough of a deal to postpone the nuclear situation and maybe give us time to work things out. While they’re being sharply reduced in their nuclear capacity, we can sit down again over the next several years and talk about the Holocaust, Israel and human rights, and that is why I go along with it.”
Rather than guffaw at the incomprehensible idiocy of this remark, Cohen agrees with it.
“She’s right,” he says. “A merit of this deal is that it would condemn the United States and Iran to a relationship — hostile, but still a framework for airing differences and doing business — over the next 15 years. Most young Iranians no more believe in ‘Death to America’ than they believe the Hidden Imam is going to show up tomorrow.”
Cohen, it seems, would do well to spend more time listening to Khamenei, and observing typical mass demonstrations in Tehran, than hearing from avid readers of his newspaper. Still, he goes on to describe the reaction of Moskowitz, the second Jew he interviewed, who was “left feeling uneasy” by Netanyahu’s warnings.
“He thinks the deal is worrying, but not worrying enough for the United States to walk away,” Cohen writes. “Nor does he want family strife. His wife, Peta Moskowitz, is a firm supporter of the deal and a member of J Street, the largest Jewish organization to back Obama’s Iran diplomacy.”
Instead of quipping that Jewish men are more afraid of their spouses than nuclear bombs, Cohen takes this as a cue to cast Netanyahu as a pushy interloper in affairs that don’t concern him.
“Netanyahu’s performance was of a piece with his habit of intervening in American politics,” Cohen spews. “He tries to circumvent Obama, often in clumsy ways, further undermining the relationship. It’s enough to imagine Obama calling thousands of Israelis to encourage them to oppose a piece of sensitive legislation in the Knesset to gauge how inappropriate Netanyahu’s behavior is.”
Cohen must not be aware that the Obama administration did, in fact, actively insert itself into the last Israeli election, attempting to defeat Netanyahu. It was a wholly partisan ploy. And a covert one, to boot.
Netanyahu’s overt lobbying against the nuclear deal is a legitimate plea to an ally. But he might be as delusional about his chance of success as his detractors are about the advantages to sealing the deal.
Ruthie Blum is the web editor of Voice of Israel talk radio (voiceofisrael.com). This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.