Everyone please get a grip. I have never seen such hysteria over a diplomatic agreement. I am not going to waste my readers’ time by saying how wonderful the agreement is — It is not. I won’t say that this agreement with Iran is a flawless deal — It is certainly not. I was not even going to say that a better negotiator might have gotten a better agreement (though I think that is more than likely true.) Nonetheless, the sense of hysteria that has taken over our politicians — and some of our news media people — is remarkable.
Herzog is even joining with Netanyahu to oppose the deal. Yair Lapid told me in an interview yesterday that he is going to fight in Congress to oppose the agreement. In this publication, the Editor-in-Chief led with a long article citing 16 reasons the nuke deal is an Iranian victory and a Western catastrophe.
What did people think was going to happen? Was anyone under the impression the Iranians would agree to all of our expectations? Did anyone think that once an agreement was signed the Iranians would agree to not get all of their money that the West has confiscated over the past decade? What world was our government living in that it expected the Iranians to concede to give up all R&D? Was an agreement going to last forever?
Is it not enough to say — This agreement is far from perfect, but it achieves our major goal, i.e. putting off an Iranian nuclear bomb for 15 years. Was there a better way to achieve this goal? Is there anyone who thinks that if the U.S. Congress rejects the agreement that the final outcome will be better?
In the last 24 hours, I have heard several people say that you can not make agreements with terror-supporting regimes like Iran. So, what is the alternative? In International Relations you can accomplish things in one of two ways — through diplomacy or by force. Two or three years ago we made the choice not to use force. Now we certainly cannot expect the Americans to go to war, instead of signing an imperfect, albeit still workable agreement.
The Israeli government has decided it is going to fight the agreement in Congress. It appears that most of the Opposition is going along with this approach. Why? Almost every observer believes that in the end there will be no way to override a Presidential veto. So, why do we want to go head-to-head with the Obama administration in a losing battle? Conventional wisdom would suggest — when you are in a hole, stop digging. Yet, Shelly Yachimovich is the only Labor politician who has had the guts to buck the party line and call this attack on the U.S. President simple madness.
If someone can show me a scenario in which Israel ends up safer after a bruising battle with the Obama administration, I am all ears. The next President of the Untied States will most likely be a Democrat. America is in the process of turning less white, and demographically less Republican. Is pushing this burning bolder up the hill the way to ensure a friendly long-term relationship with the United States? Moreover, do we really want to put the American Jewish community in the position of choosing between supporting Israel or defending a popular President?
This agreement with Iran is unquestionably flawed. It does nothing to stop Iran from getting the bomb 15 years from now. However, we are not in 1939. This is not “a dark day for Israel” or “the Jewish people”. Twenty years ago, Israel started to develop the Arrow missile to counter threats from Iran (and at the time, Iraq). Today this state-of-the-art anti-missile system is fully operational.
Anyone familiar with the IDF and the state of R&D in this country knows that we are not standing still. In 15 years we will have a brand new generation of weapons to defend ourselves. We will be fine! We are strong and know how to take care of ourselves. It is time for cooler heads to prevail; to understand that our relationship with the U.S. is our second most important strategic asset. We must say to the U.S. government — We appreciate your efforts. We believe this is a flawed agreement. However, with your continued help we can live with it.