The Tragic & Troubling Support of Cory Booker for the Iran Deal — A Statement by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Nearly 25 years ago, I introduced Cory Booker to the Jewish community and had him serve as President of our Jewish student group at Oxford University, the L’Chaim Society. Ever since then, I have been proud to share a stage with him at countless synagogues and Jewish communal events and we have studied thousands of hours of Torah together amid a mutual commitment to universal Jewish values. The substance of our exchange often revolved around the shared suffering of our two peoples and the horrors visited upon them due to irrational hate.

Cory is my soul-friend and no matter of policy will ever get personal or come between us.

But in his statement today, supporting a deal which he himself calls “dangerous” and “deeply-flawed,” Cory never even once condemns the Iranian promise to exterminate the Jews of Israel or distance himself from a deal which he admits will legitimize a genocidal regime. Indeed, he acknowledges Iran’s “determination to destroy the United States and our ally Israel.” How then can he vote for a deal that gives Iran the means by which to achieve this evil objective in just 10-15 years?

His statement of support is riddled with logical inconsistencies, such as condemning the fact that the deal was negotiated at all — as he writes, “With the JCPOA, we have now passed a point of no return that we should have never reached” — and then, astonishingly, electing to embrace it.

Cory says that “the deal will establish the most robust monitoring and inspections regime ever negotiated,” a claim which he surely knows has zero credibility after the recently exposed secret side-deals between Iran and the IAEA allowing for self-inspection at Parchin, making a mockery of verification.

Most troubling is Cory’s statement that, “With this deal, we are legitimizing a vast and expanding nuclear program in Iran.” How on earth could he participate in making Iran’s nuclear program kosher amid their never-ending pledge to carry out a second holocaust?

Equally stupefying is his admission that “even under the deal, we should expect that Iran will cheat when it can… that it will continue or even ramp up its destabilizing activities and sponsorship of terrorism with the additional resources provided by increased sanctions relief.”

Is Cory admitting that the deal is worthless because the Iranians are liars and cheats, and is he further admitting, against all his efforts as Mayor of Newark to get guns out of the hands of criminals, that he will now vote for a deal which will give Iran weapons by which to murder innocent men, women, and children, and especially American soldiers?

Cory references his visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, when he was 25, a trip that I arranged, trusting that he would absorb the never-ending Jewish struggle for survival in a world inhabited by the kind of evil represented by the Iranian regime. He had just completed his term as President of the Oxford University L’Chaim Society. I subsequently introduced him to Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and the three of us even held a public speech together in NYC in 2009.

I realize that amid his troubling and tragic choice to support this agreement, Cory pledges to be “united with all who are determined to ensure that we never again see genocide in the world.”

But I remind him about the famous and prophetic words of Elie Wiesel, whom I had asked Cory to meet with to discuss this deal: “We have learned to trust the threats of our enemies more than the promises of our friends.”

About the Author
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the founder of This World: The Values Network. He is the author of Judaism for Everyone and 30 other books, including his most recent, Kosher Lust. Follow him on Twitter@RabbiShmuley.
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