Jenny Aharon

Thank you J Street

How low can an organisation and its supporters sink when they claim full responsibility for the biggest failure of human history.

Track record
Iran has been on its way to become a nuclear power since the fall of the Shah.

In 2003, the IAEA concludes Iran has breached the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it had ratified in 1968. In addition, Iran denied access to Natanz facility in that same year. While France, UK and Germany (EU3) initiate diplomatic efforts, Ali Khameini briefly suspends the uranium enrichment, until Ahmadinejad gets elected in 2006 and authorises the resumption of the nuclear program. Meanwhile, Russia, China and the US join the EU3 with the aim of pressuring Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. By 2010 there are 6 UN resolutions on Iran and there is evidence Iran is pursuing to build a nuclear warhead. Furthermore, the IAEA is denied access to a facility south of Tehran.
This is Iran’s track record when they were losing 4 to 8 billion every month as a result of the sanctions. This is their track record when they believed previous administrations’ unambiguous statements on preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by all means.

Unfortunately, the military option hasn’t  been emphasised strongly enough by Obama. As much as I want to share Jstreet’s  enthusiasm  for achieving the deal of the century, I will have to listen to Obama’s own words and conclude there is nothing to be satisfied about. The contrary is true: Obama has never claimed this was a full proof deal. Instead, he kept insisting this was ‘the best possible deal under the circumstances’ to prevent or at least delay Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Obama never pretended that this is a great deal but always presented it as ‘a no other choice deal’. He even went as far as admitting that after the expiry date of the deal, the breakout time will be 0.

Yet, Netanyahu has been portrayed as a very unreasonable man for opposing this deal. He was given the impression that he has no legitimacy to even criticise the deal while Israel has been threatened relentlessly by Iran on a daily basis. Moreover, Netanyahu was blamed for jeopardising the Israel and US long lasting relationship by both pro Obama democrats and Israel’s opposition leaders Herzog and Livni. Netanyahu was accused of deteriorating the fragile relationship with the current administration for something as benign as a speech at the congress while everything pointed out the US was about to conclude a bad deal with Israel’s most dangerous enemy.

In reality, Obama failed to negotiate an acceptable deal. Israel’s former intelligence official, admiral Ami Ayalon who strongly believes that a deal is better than no deal,  has criticised Obama’s strategy by saying: “He (Obama) doesn’t have the right combination of the language of peace and the language of war. This made Iranians believe that the US will not use force in case of no deal.”  Obama failed to use America’s leverage over Iran by making 3 important concessions: first, he took the military option off the table. Secondly, he took the tough sanctions off the table by acknowledging that many of US’ allies will start to reduce sanctions on Iran regardless of any deal. And last and most importantly, he took off the option of rejecting the deal which leaves Iran to believe the Americans need the deal more than they do.

J Street’s vice president concludes that the opponents of the deal have no alternative. If anything, Obama has put the US in a position with no alternatives. After hearing the views of Netanyahu and also of many US lawmakers (also democrats!) that opposed the deal, I can only conclude that Obama has ruined the possibility for a better deal.

J Street
Instead of unifying forces and keeping the free world’s leverage over Iran’s tyranny, J street’s supporters decided to use this opportunity to undermine Netanyahu and picked their battle at a wrong time. Instead of fighting Iran with a clear voice, J street divided us and together with Obama ruined every opportunity for a better deal. Today, Iran develops a nuclear bomb with J street’s blessing. On top of that, its supporters are expecting Netanyahu’s ‘thank you’ letter for making Israel safer. Who knows, maybe it got lost on its way to their mailbox.

About the Author
Jenny Aharon, political analyst and advisor at EP.
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