Last week, we noted President Barack Obama’s impassioned defense of the nuclear agreement with Iran during a speech at American University and its clear articulation of the president’s vision. That part of the speech was informative and helpful. But along with his arguments, the president repeated what is now the administration’s mantra that “the choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war — maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon.”
There’s a disconcerting subtext to the way the president, his administration and his supporters go about arguing on behalf of the deal. Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens described the president’s “bald certitude” along with “the naked condescending disdain with which he treats his opponents.” It can be heard not only in the way the White House presents the false choice between the Iran deal and war, but also in how supporters decry anyone against the deal, especially Jewish leaders such as Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, as traitors.
One has to wonder: If the deal is so great, why does the administration — from the president and secretary of state on down — have to rely on dire predictions of conflict and the impugning of opponents’ motives? Why not simply lay out the benefits of the deal and the perceived constructive reasons for it and leave the name calling and character assassination out of it?
As the ADL’s new national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, an Obama administration alum, stated regarding the take-no-prisoners tone of the debate in a recent column, the debate over the deal should proceed “on the facts, without engaging in personal attacks on the intent or character of our leaders.”
The day after Greenblatt’s piece appeared, his organization announced its opposition to the deal. We, too, must join the many Jewish organizations in opposing the Iran nuclear agreement. We do so recognizing and respecting all the sensible, thoughtful people who support it. And we state our opposition fully aware that being against the deal isn’t an end in itself.
Those who are against the deal are duty bound to offer some type of alternative, such as having Congress send the deal back to the White House to be rewritten, just as those who are supporting the deal are duty bound to stick to the merits of the debate. But we all also need to be worrying about what will happen the day after the deal is implemented, which despite all the opposition, seems increasingly likely.
There is no doubt that the deal will leave Israel in a more precarious position vis-à-vis Iran and its terrorist proxies in Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian-controlled territories. It is time that those who oppose the deal also devote attention and energy to ensuring that the Jewish state retain its quantitative and qualitative edge, militarily, economically and strategically, in what could very well be a post-deal world.