Sharansky Calls on US Jews to Stand Up to White House Over Iran Nuclear Deal

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sharanskyJews in America should take a stand against the White House and oppose the nuclear deal recently agreed between world powers and Iran, famed Soviet dissident and now Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said on Friday in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

“Those of us who believe that the nuclear agreement just signed between world powers and Iran is dangerously misguided are now compelled to criticize Israel’s best friend and ally, the government of the United States,” Sharansky said.

Sharansky acknowledged that standing up against the White House in support of “what we think is right” for both Jews and the world, puts American Jewry at odds with the “power best able to protect us and promote stability.” Nevertheless, he said Jews must even risk giving the impression “that we somehow prefer war” rather than join those who believe “peace is on the horizon.”

The human rights activist noted that the U.S. Jewish community similarly stood up to the White House 40 years ago in a historic move that helped secure freedom for Soviet Jews at the time.

In the early 1970s, Democratic Sen. Henry Jackson of Washington spearheaded an initiative to condition the removal of sanctions against the Soviet Union on the allowance of free emigration for its citizens, including Jews. By that time, tens of thousands of Soviet Jews had requested permission to leave for Israel, according to Sharansky.

While President Nixon’s Republican administration furiously objected to the policy, American Jewish organizations actively supported it, though they were conflicted about taking the stance.

Sharansky said, “They were reluctant to speak out against the U.S. government and appear to put the ‘narrow’ Jewish interest above the cause of peace. Yet they also realized that the freedom of all Soviet Jews was at stake, and they actively supported the policy of linkage” between detente with the Soviet Union and its treatment of its own citizens.

Republican senator Jacob Javits, who was “spurred by a sense of responsibility for the Jewish future,” helped put together a bipartisan group that ensured passage of the law.

“By conditioning this assistance on the opening of the USSR’s gates, the United States would not only help free millions of Soviet Jews as well as hundreds of millions of others but also pave the way for the regime’s eventual collapse.”

Sharansky called on Jews once again to actively oppose the White House like they did 40 years ago.

“Today, an American president has once again sought to achieve stability by removing sanctions against a brutal dictatorship without demanding that the latter change its behavior,” he said. “Of course, we are reluctant to criticize our ally and to so vigorously oppose an agreement that purports to promote peace. But we know that we are again at a historic crossroads, and that the United States can either appease a criminal regime… or stand firm in demanding change in its behavior.”

“A critical question is,” he concluded, “who, if anyone, will have the vision and courage to be the next Sens. Jackson and Javits.”

The Algemeiner

{Matzav.com}

4 COMMENTS

  1. This is unfortunately a misleading essay. The sanctions were attached to a trade bill and not to the nuclear arms limitation treaties, which were approved despite inspection provisions worse than are in the proposed deal with Iran. And the USSR was engaging in far more mischief at the time than Iran is today.

    The sanctions described in the essay had little effect, but what did have an effect was Jimmy Carter’s banning the sale of grain to the USSR after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Ronald Reagan blasted Carter for doing something that actually mattered and this helped lead to Carter’s re-election defeat. Americans are fine with sanctions unless it affects themselves.

  2. Are we seeing what Israeli intelligence officials with expertise in this matter are saying? From Wikipedia: Ami Ayalon, former head of the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet and former commander of the Israeli Navy, said that the agreement was “the best option” for Israel, saying that “When negotiations began, Iran was two months away from acquiring enough material for a [nuclear] bomb. Now it will be 12 months.”[80] Ayalon said that opposition to the deal in Israel was “more emotional than logical.” Efraim Halevy, the director of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad from 1998 to 2002, wrote in support of the agreement in Yedioth Ahronoth, arguing that the JCPOA includes “components that are crucial for Israel’s security” and warning that a collapse of the agreement will leave Iran “free to do as it pleases.”

  3. I think it was last winter a group of US congressmen visiting Israel wanted to meet with Israeli intelligence experts in nuclear disarmament to hear what they have to say and Netanyahu tried to stop that meeting because he knew that they agreed with Obama’s approach more than his. The congressmen pushed hard and eventually the PM had to let them meet. Wendy Sherman says Israeli experts were consulted in drafting the agreement and had significant input into it. I suspect Netanyahu is still trying to keep their opinions from being heard and they’re probably afraid of losing their jobs. Most disarmament experts in the world think this is a very good deal and that the consequences of it not going through will be far worse. To my mind it’s worth paying more attention to the experts than the politicians.
    Are we seeing what Israeli intelligence officials with expertise in this matter are saying? From Wikipedia: Ami Ayalon, former head of the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet and former commander of the Israeli Navy, said that the agreement was “the best option” for Israel, saying that “When negotiations began, Iran was two months away from acquiring enough material for a [nuclear] bomb. Now it will be 12 months.”[80] Ayalon said that opposition to the deal in Israel was “more emotional than logical.” Efraim Halevy, the director of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad from 1998 to 2002, wrote in support of the agreement in Yedioth Ahronoth, arguing that the JCPOA includes “components that are crucial for Israel’s security” and warning that a collapse of the agreement will leave Iran “free to do as it pleases.”

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