What a real American Jewish leader looks likeattacked Prime Minister Netanyahu for his refusal to roll over and play dead to help President Obama's Iran deal gain acceptance in the United States.
Benjamin Netanyahu carpet-bombed the Sunday chat shows again, spouting the kind of invective designed to scare the eyebrows off anchormen, calling the Iranian framework agreement "a bad deal" and refusing to say that he "trusts" President Obama to make a good one.
He has since issued a laundry list of improvements designed to "ratchet up the pressure" and make the accord "more reasonable." Some are legitimate, such as defining what "anytime, anywhere inspections" entail - because while the inspection regime of Iran's nuclear fuel supply chain will endure for 25 years, it hasn't been specified what happens if Iran blocks a site. But they have three months to work that out.
Other suggestions, however, are not rooted in reality - such as the demand that Iran "cease all nuclear research and development activity," which ignores its right to use energy for civilian purposes, with assurances that keep it exclusively peaceful.
Such suggestions are unrealistic and destroy Netanyahu's credibility, as only he can make something as sober as nuclear war sound transparently phony: With 80 to 200 nukes, Israel faces an existential obliteration from a country with zero? Yes, Iran is run by theocratic mad men who make war throughout the region. But the "Iranian bomb" feels more like election pretext than fact, when you listen to Netanyahu's rhetoric.
You don't have to believe the 2007 findings of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, which unequivocally stated that "Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program" in 2003. And you don't have to read the memoirs of George W. Bush, who wrote, "How could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?"
But if the opposite were the case - even if Netanyahu truly believed that Iran has a robust, burgeoning nuclear arms program - why would he assume that more sanctions would satisfy his zero-tolerance aims? How is it that years of sanctions have done so little to curtail it, exactly?It actually gets worse and the attack becomes more personal....
I found out about this editorial when Mark sent me his response last night when it was still under embargo (I was told that I could not post this until it's morning in the US). Here's the response from Mark and his organization's executive director, Jacob Toporek. The response appears in Thursday's Star Ledger (no link yet).
The Ledger editorial assailing the credibility of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu itself lacks credibility by minimizing the nuclear threat of a proven untrustworthy Iran and omitting reference to the continuing calls for Israel’s destruction from the highest levels of Iran’s government. The latter is particularly noteworthy - the calls are the clearest expression of Iran’s objectives as to the future of Israel’s statehood and the security of its citizenry, both of which the Prime Minister and Israelis has uppermost in mind as they view the Iranian threat and the negotiations.So let's hear it for one (really two) of the good guys among the American Jewish leadership. If I had the time before the Holiday begins again, I would Fisk the entire editorial for you. There's just so much wrong here.
The editorial cites the author’s “tedium” with respect to the Prime Minister’s responses to the negotiations, but, if true, it is dwarfed compared to the overwhelming weariness of Israel citizens menaced not only by Arab violence at home and from enemies on their borders, but also the menacing expressions of destruction from Iran, the number one sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East.
The editorial’s credibility comes into further question with a gratuitous and totally inaccurate reference to “Israel apartheid in the Occupied Territories.” The fact is that the Palestinians govern themselves, the victims of South African apartheid did not; and Israelis just elected 13 Arabs to the Israeli Knesset.
Mark S. Levenson, President
Jacob Toporek, Executive Director
NJ State Association of Jewish Federations