Not For the Faint of Heart

As an American, I see myself opposing [America’s] policy toward Israel as strongly as I did our policy in Vietnam. But because I am a Jew, my motives are questions when I speak out. Among those leading the attack on my loyalty are other Jews … who fear that the opposition of Jews like me will engender questions about their loyalties. (Alan Dershowitz, Chutzpah, p. 14)

Dershowitz wrote this in 1991, imagining that there would come a time “when American foreign policy turns against Israel and Israel’s very survival is at stake.” Appalled at the details of the recent Iran nuclear agreement, Dershowitz, the fire-breathing Democrat and usually a member of the Left’s amen choir, felt compelled to write The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran From Getting Nukes? The self-described “liberal Democrat” admits voting for Obama twice. But maybe there’s hope for the master of sophistry who admits to helping to get O. J. Simpson acquitted for slaughtering two people. I’ve met Dershy twice, and neither time was impressed with his drivel. But sometimes, a person can do the right thing if triggered by the right stimulus. So for Dershowitz to take a stand against the Iran agreement, as Obama excoriates its critics, does say something positive.

In his Case Against the Iran Deal, he writes, “I make arguments that I believe are honest, fair and compelling. I recognize some advantages in the deal, but strongly believe that the disadvantages considerably outweigh them and that the risks of failure are considerable.” Concerned about what happens after the agreement expires, Dershowitz writes, “Will American policy remain that Iran will never under any circumstances be allowed to develop nuclear weapons? … Were the deal to collapse at any point, how long would it take Iran to produce a deliverable nuclear bomb? … Does the deal reflect a reversal in policy from President Obama’s pre-reelection promise [lie] that ‘My policy is not containment; my policy is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon’? Is it still the policy of the United States that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon? How exactly will the inspections regime work? … What will President Obama do if Iran is caught cheating…? When exactly will sanctions prohibiting the sale of weapons, and particularly missile technology, be lifted? … The answers to those questions may profoundly affect the future of the world.” (Jerusalem Post, 08/05/15) Profundity upon profundity. Does Dershowitz really believe that once the sanctions are lifted and Iran gets its hands on all those billions, and once the European economy “snaps back,” the sanctions will be re- imposed? More fundamentally, does Dershowitz really believe Iran will live up to any of the agreement’s terms – both known and hidden – as it self-inspects its own facilities? In secret side agreements, the IAEA has outsourced the inspections of Parchin to Iran itself, reportedly because the IAEA has run out of money! Seriously!

But let’s try another compulsively unabashed Obama supporter who was less nuanced: Haim Saban. An Israeli-American liberal leftist billionaire whose wallet has very close ties to the White House, Saban has had enough. “Saban appears to be calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop being a ‘chickensh*t’ if Obama strikes a nuclear deal with Iran… The long-time Democratic donor said that Israel should ‘bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches.’ ” (Noah Rothman,, 11/10/14) There may be hope for a few of these lefties after all.

Thank you, Presidents Obama and Rouhani, for performing the miracle of unification! Some on the Left have put down the Kool-Aid, taken off the rose-colored glasses, and a few are actually seeing Iran for what it is—an untrustworthy thugocracy. Forget about Israel – the Sunni Arabs are hiding in their gold-plated bathrooms. On July 17, 2015, the Sarid Institute in Israel – lefties by political persuasion – found that 75 percent of Israelis oppose the Iran deal. Pew Research Center found that 68 percent of Americans are against the Iran deal. Thankfully, non-Jews believe what the ayatollahs in Iran are saying about destroying Israel. They’ve decided that regardless of what Obama and Kerry and their Democratic water-carriers in the House and Senate pontificate about the deal, this time, if we are to err, the error should be on the side for live Jews and Arabs. Unfortunately, some Americanized Jews have bought the “Gruberized” version of the Iran deal and Israel has slipped even further down their priority list. Man, did you see the Chicago Cubs swept the San Francisco Giants!… or… Did you get a 5 or a 6 on that last hole? Iran who?

Recently, 340 lemming-like Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis of America, checking their soft support for Israel at the door, signed a letter in support of the Iran agreement. Forget about that “only when convenient” nonsense about the separation of synagogue and state. The spiritual leader of these Obama disciples, the Reform movement’s Rickie Jacobs, believes the U.S. is on the edge of letting Israel become a partisan issue. Dividing the country along party lines, Israel has become a divisive issue even within the Jewish community, pitting the sane against the gullible and servile liberals. According to recent surveys, Republicans vote pro-Israel 2 to 1 over Democrats, yet liberal Jews vote Democratic. That’s just the math. Any other equation is a violation of common sense. But in response to the 340 genuflecting rabbis, well over a thousand American rabbis (and counting) of all denominations have signed a letter urging Congress to reject the Iran deal.

Former New York City mayor Ed Koch tells a story about a judge he knew who had been beaten and robbed while walking home in New York City. After his release from the hospital, he was asked by a reporter if having been mugged might change his views from the bench when a plaintiff who had been mugged comes before him in court. Without hesitation he responded, “Absolutely not!” Whereupon someone in the gallery, hearing the judge’s response, yelled out, “Mug him again!” I can only surmise that the judge was Jewish!

These times are truly not for the faint of heart. Fareed “the sorta plagiarist” Zakaria, reporting on CNN (08/09/15), led his program with the words, “Senator Chuck Schumer, the Jewish senator from New York…[blah, blah, blah]” will vote against the agreement. I thought it strange for the Muslim Zakaria to begin the story with Schumer’s religion. I don’t remember him introducing Dick Durbin as the Catholic senator from Illinois; Harry Reid as the Mormon senator from Nevada; or Nancy Pelosi as the Catholic congresswoman from California. Then again, you can take the Muslim out of Mumbai, but you can’t take Islam out of the Muslim. In Zakaria’s words, “I do know a lot about the world of Islam in an instinctive way that you can’t get through book learning.” (Joy Press, Village True, since he was raised as a Muslim and his father was a prominent Muslim scholar. Just a chip off the old Kaba block.

But these are sensitive times. After all, when the president refers to “lobbyists with all kinds of money” trying to defeat the Iran deal, who could he be talking about? Do Islamic groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) or the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) have “all kinds of money” to come to lobby Congress? I thought lobbying was a legitimate part of the American democratic system. Seems like he’s questioning only Jewish lobbying – like his IRS gofer Lois Lerner questioned the tax status only of conservative groups. Yes, lobbyists need money in order to lobby, as he addressed his ever-ready Jewish “blocking backs” – the J Streeters: “In the absence of your voice [J Street’s], we will see the forces that got us into the Iraq war forego the historic opportunity and put us on the path to a potential military conflict.” (Abraham Miller, Washington Times, 08/10/15) Now I must have missed President George W’s conversion to Judaism while in office, when he sent U.S. troops into Iraq. But in these times of making it up as you go, facts don’t really matter. It’s “bringing a gun to a knife fight,” as the commander in chief once said. He is from Chiraq a.k.a. Chicago.

Setting the record straight, the Times points out that it is “manifestly untrue that American Jews and pro-Israel groups who are now rallying to stop the Iran deal are the same people who mobilized to push America into…the war with Iraq. … Despite the president’s revival of this canard, none of the major Jewish organizations supported America’s entry into the Iraq war. Indeed, they strongly opposed it. … Moreover, the Israeli government opposed the war in Iraq because the preservation of the balance of power between Iraq and Iran was vital to Israel’s security. America entered the war in Iraq over Israel’s objections—not with its support. Mr. Obama knows this.

But the president, being a serious fellow, expressed to Zakaria in an interview that our goal should be to “prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.” But he left out the words “on my watch.” Ten years from now, or two years from now, it will be a different president’s problem, and Obama will be collecting $100,000 per teleprompter reading. Clearly, in the best case scenario, at the end of ten years Iran goes merrily on its way to nuclear – if it waits that long. Continuing with the Zakaria interview, our patriotic president solemnly invokes the U.S. Constitution, proclaiming, “As much as people may complain about the United States, they still recognize that we have been able to operate on the basis of principles and values…” (Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva, 08/10/15) — and secret side agreements that Kerry initially refused to show Congress until AP reported it had copies. The Keystone Cops could have done a better job of negotiating and hiding side agreements.

As Fareed’s interview progressed, the president, continuing his head fakes, unleashed a real whopper, singling out Israel “as the only country who opposed the agreement.” (Ibid) But what about the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council – when did they become Israelis? Facts can be nasty, stubborn realities. I told you this is not a season for the faint of heart – or for vacationing on a golf course. While the prez was in the middle of his backswing, Obama’s very own Secretary of Energy, the guy with the everyday bad hair day, nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz, revealed that “the administration anticipates an increase in terrorism as a result of the agreement.” (Jonathan Tobin, Commentary, 08/14/15)

And then there’s that exemplar of ineptitude, Secretary of State John “the Gruberizer” Kerry, who lashed out (or maybe just whined to the press), “The ayatollah constantly believed that we are untrustworthy, that you can’t negotiate with us, that we will screw them. … This – congressional rejection – will be the ultimate screwing. … America is not going to negotiate in good faith.” (Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, 08/05/15) Now, some may remember that Iran was to have stopped its enrichment program 14 years ago, denying that its nuclear program was for military use—and then the heavy water, nuclear, military facility at Parchin was discovered. And Iran repeatedly chants “Death to America” and declares, on the record, its goal of wiping Israel off the map, which is not very peace- loving. So who is the ally whose back the U.S. claims to have? What’s on John-boy’s mind? Been away from home too long? Whose side is he on? No, these are not times for the faint of heart.

As Plato once said, “The only sound way to ensure people’s happiness is to let them sip on sweet lies rather than bitter truths.” But our prophet Amos may have said it more clearly: “They hate him who rebukes…and abhor him that speaks uprightly.” (Amos 5:10) With heavy water in the forecast, this truly is a season not for the faint of heart.

Shabbat Shalom, 10/16/15 Jack “Yehoshua” Berger * * Back issues are archived at The Times of

About the Author
Educated as an architect with a Masters in Architectural History, Jack Yehoshua Berger became a practicing architect and real estate developer. In his late 30's he met a Rabbi who turned him on to the miracle of Israel and he began learning how the amazing country, against all odds, came to be the miracle of the modern world.
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