A Maddening Decision

During the Holocaust, the Nazis continued to divert trains and soldiers from the front lines in order to take more Jews to the ovens.

During intense sanctions, the Iranians continued to divert funds from basic necessities in order to support Hamas, Hezbollah, and other organizations devoted to the murder of infidels, but especially Jews.

It is obvious to everyone, including the Administration, that Hamas and Hezbollah will be major beneficiaries of sanctions relief. The Administration acknowledges this, and says that since the Iranians are doing that anyway, it can’t be worse.

This seems to this observer to be beyond any defensible logic — and a path to the murder of innocents.

Iran continues to call for “Death to Israel” and invests money in the murder of Jews. Netanyahu opposes any form of sanctions relief when that money will be spent upon murdering Jews.

The President has decided that it is Netanyahu who is being unreasonable.

[OK, updated. It has been called to my attention that for assorted reasons (a double-standard high among them), we have to speak more respectfully of this particular President than of all previous presidents (and I, for one, would have still less complimentary things to say about Past President Jimmy Carter). So despite “hail to the thief” and far worse hurled at George W. Bush, we have to bypass the town crier test and play nicely. If this turns out to be not a double standard, but rather an impartial new standard, that would be for the best — but should a Republican be elected, I for one won’t be holding my breath waiting to see this new standard maintained. And no, btw, Rabbi Adlerstein was not the one who enabled me to see the error of my ways.]

Clearly, the President is not evil. But the idea that Netanyahu is the unreasonable one sounds crazy to me! We hope that he and all his colleagues in our national government will see the Israelis as indeed not unreasonable, and very justified in their approach… and that they will, in the end, reject a “deal” that enables Iran to fund terror and sidestep inspections.

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15 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    Who knows? If you had been nurtured and mentored to be a communist or Shiite, you might be agreeing now with this dangerous nonsense, yet still be clinically sane.

  2. Aaron says:

    Why associate the innocent mentally ill with a man who may be choosing to engage in evil? The insane deserve sympathy.

    Judge him by the company he has always chosen to keep: Ayers, Khalidi, Said, Wright, Pfleger, Sharpton…

  3. Maya Fiss says:

    This kind of irresponsible talk is undermining Rabbi Shafran’s important diplomatic initiatives. Your lack of hakaras hatov to the President jeopardizes matters of great urgency currently under discussion between Agudath Israel of America and the White House, possibly even including invitations to the Chanukah party. Did you consult with Gedolei Yisrael before posting this?

  4. Shua Cohen says:

    Aiding and abetting Iran, a mortal enemy of the United States, is treason…and clearly an impeachable offense which surpasses the constitutional threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But, we live in a totally insane world, and the U.S. (and indeed the entire western world) has become a country governed by inane politicians. The last (absurd) act of impeachment was initiated against a president for his personal peccadilloes. Now THAT’S earth-shatteringly important for the welfare of the republic. Enabling genocidal tyrants? Not so much. But, being that the Ribbono Shel Olam rules the world and is the guiding “hand” behind all of these events, we can only hope and pray that this is a further indication that history is in its final act (culminating in World War III, which the Chofetz Chaim zt”l frighteningly foretold would make the previous two seem like child’s play) and that the g’eulah shleimah is imminent.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    Shua, as I recall, the “child’s play” was WW1 in relation to the then-upcoming WW2.

  6. Avraham says:

    I read this post, and then some of the follow up remarks, and I am simply embarressed as an Orthodox Jew. The only way I can be “dan l’kaf zchus” the writers is to assume that your legitimate concern for Israel and Am Yisrael has clouded your judgement and has caused you to write vile and simplistic comments. One can debate and discuss whether the Iran deal is ultimately going to work and what is the healthiest way for us to respond (even if we think that it is a bad deal) – topics that the leading military experts in Israel are actually very conflcited about – but to say that the president is either evil or insane is repulsive and foolish.

    Let us review some key facts: The only issue that united the US and the key players in Europe and Asia to impose sanctions was the concern that Iran – a rouge nation – would build a nuclear bomb. That was what Prime Minister Netanyahu has been warning about for years and which he famously spoke about at the UN. While we can all agree that Iran supports terorism and is hostile to Israel, quite frankly that has never been the issue for the other nations. (Particularly not China and Russia.) That may make us uncomfortable and upset but it is the harsh reality. The objective of all the negotiations was to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and you can debate if the deal accomplsihed those goals. Moreover, you can respectfully question the president’s wisdom and suggest that he is being naive but that does not mean that he was not sincere and it is simply disrespectful to therefore call him insane. The US has no ability to control what Iran does internally with their money and that was never the point of the negotiations. It is simplistic and wishful thinking to believe that we can magically change Iran all on our own. (Even waging war – which the country has zero interest in doing – would cost untold dollars and countless lives and we would wind up with another mess like we have in Iraq.) We need to show a modicum of sophistication and not engage in name calling becuase our unrealistic expectations are not met.

  7. Avraham says:

    I wish to add one additional point: The real world is rather messy. Countries that we deal with every day do many evil things but geopolitical realities make us trade with them or support them non the less. Does anyone think that Russia and China have clean hands? Does not Israel align with Arab Countries as needed even if those same countries have (and likely still do) fund terrorism? I could give numerous examples but the point is the same. Please do not look at complex matters with simplistic glasses; it just does not work and makes Orthodox Jews look foolish.

  8. Yaakov Menken says:

    I just want to clarify one point.

    I did not refer to the President as insane due to the Iran deal itself. I did say the callous disregard of Iranian use of funds in order to murder more people is morally repugnant — again, not the entire deal, but saying it’s an acceptable consequence that we might see, as Rabbi Adlerstein put it, “many more Chattanoogas.”

    But what is beyond the limit of acceptable discourse is for the Iranians to continue to call for “Death to Israel,” for Netanyahu to oppose this “deal” that gives the Iranians more funding with which to actualize its call, and the President to say that Netanyahu, rather than the Iranians, are being unreasonable.

    It may well be true that Netanyahu would accept nothing short of “capitulation.” He may indeed feel that any sanctions relief remains inappropriate until Iran entirely and permanently gives up on funding terror. What, precisely, makes that unreasonable?

    Calling such concern for terrorism and human lives “unreasonable” is a sentiment befitting the government of Qatar or, perhaps most aptly, Cuba — and utterly beneath the President of the United States of America.

  9. Shlomo r. says:

    I would like to commend Maya Fuss on her accurate and biting sarcastic point. Well done. Although it is trivial when discussing a matter of pikuach nefoshos, the credibility of the Agudah and many other mosdos is certainly at stake from this matter. If the congressman (Schumer,Cardin,Booker ect) that the Agudah and others have shamelessly been mechanef for many years, (while getting zero in return other than the embarrassment of honoring those who represent the antithisis of Jewish values,) do not vote and work tirelessly against this travesty, it will be to the eternal shame of those frum mosdos. In response to Avraham, I would kindly recommend that you broaden your information sources as you are clearly influenced from propaganda of the left wind media. Giving terrorists access to money to be used against Soneyhem shel Yisroel is not some squishy, opaque, grey issue, it is inherently evil and unjustifiable.

  10. Aaron says:

    Neither Russia nor China have open rallies with chants of “Death to Israel!” and “Death to America!” Neither nation has a religious or secular weltanschauung that elevates suicide in the pursuit of openly expressed genocide as an ideal.

    The conception of modern Islamic violence started with Lawrence of Arabia and the introduction of unprecedented thoughts of nationalism to the Arab world. The abrogation of the Balfour Declaration was the ripping up of the Anglosphere’s growing commitment to Jews which had resulted in much of Genesis 13’s blessings. Within less than a quarter century, the UK collapsed from an “Empire upon which the sun never slept” into a military backwater that would have succumbed to the Germans had North American forces not entered the European theater. This took less than a quarter century.

    G-d save us from diplomats whose only honest role is to dictate benevolent terms to the defeated who have already unconditionally surrendered. The only thing that diplomats do well is to prolong conflicts and seek to enrich oligarchs and politicians at the expense of their civilians. Should Allied diplomats have sought armistice in Europe circa 1943, allowing the Nazis to have dealt with civilians under their control as an “internal affair” without Allied interference? G-d save us from those who believe in diplomats. Ever read the US State Department’s own website? https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/short-history/accomplishments The opening sentence is self-condemnatory: “Despite the atmosphere of corruption surrounding diplomacy, some members of the foreign services developed special competence and achieved distinguished careers.” Only “some” members of the foreign services have made achievements despite the “atmosphere of corruption surrounding diplomacy.” QED. Aside from the Alaska Purchase, one would be hard-pressed to find 5 positive accomplishments of the US State Department since then.

    When a nation openly declares genocidal intent, the ONLY moral option is to nip it in the bud and to render its ideology anathema to its one-time believers. A policy of non-preemption is both immoral and suicidal. It assures that the genocidal have the opportunity to develop a fatal first blow. There is nothing in Islam that is an alternative to “dar al Islam” and “dar al Harb”. There is no “dar al LeaveMeAlone”. At best there is “hudna”, a temporary truce designed for Islam to regroup, recover and re-arm for a subsequent attempt to annihilate the opposition.

    It is NEVER kinder to delay inevitable confrontation.

    Midvar sheker tirchak. Rationalizing injustice and endangering innocents due to “messiness” is incomprehensibly morally and intellectually indefensible.

  11. Avraham says:

    I am sorry but you can’t take back what you wrote, or the tone in which you expressed it, and you still miss the point. Despite Iran’s terrible rhetoric everyone – including the Prime Minister – knew that the focus of the discussions were only about nuclear capability and not about terrorism. That was what Netanyahu expressed as the real existential threat to Israel and that was the problem they were trying to solve. The President believes that he has a solution that is not perfect but that will deal with that problem and that the Prime Minister has continuously acted in a manner that will scuttle that solution making it easier, ultimately, for Iran to get the very capabilities everyone fears. He thinks that the Prime Minister keeps “moving the goalposts” and that is what he considers unreasonable. Please read today’s Haaretz that explains exactly why he feels that way.

    Once again, you can disagree with President but there is an appropriate way to do so and it can not come merely because you see things from one perspective.

    [At no time did I take back my statement. Reasonable people can disagree, including Rabbi Adlerstein and myself.

    There were several targets for a “good” deal with Iran. The President feels we have reached a “good enough” deal. But no, the connection between sanctions relief and terror is not a new item.

    What I find completely bizarre — yes, insane — is for anyone to decide that Netanyahu is the party being unreasonable when he opposes sanctions relief while the money will benefit terror. There are many ways to stop Iran from getting the bomb, up to and including war. If Iran is the one blackmailing the international community, it is not unreasonable for Netanyahu to object to a “solution” in which the casualties will be Israeli rather than Iranian.

    Perhaps I am hyper-sensitive, having just read Oren’s book, Ally. “Unreasonable” is hardly the worst thing Obama called Netanyahu and his government, and I somehow think he can deal with being told that this attitude towards Netanyahu is evidence of insanity. Lev Melachim B’Yad H’, and H’ should give Obama a change of heart. — YM]

  12. tzippi says:

    I like the reference to the Town Square Test. I don’t plan to try this at home 😉
    But while this didn’t occur to me there are alternatives being floated:
    – The president firmly believes that weakening America is good for the world and America. Apparently this is a legitimate political science viewpoint. As I only took poly sci 101 I wasn’t aware of it.
    – There are secret agreements that are only starting to come out, as per Sen. Tom Cotton. I’m curious what’s in it for America.
    – Rabbi Shafran is on to something.

    Does anyone have an angle that won’t make my head explode?

  13. Aryeh Lev says:

    Enough. I’m done reading articles about Israel and Iran on Cross Currents.

    95% of the readers of this site share the same basic beliefs about the Middle East–that Israel is an honorable democracy that seeks peace even as its enemies seek its destruction, that Iran is a state-sponsor of terror and will grow only stronger as the result of a bad nuclear deal, and that the greatest danger to the region and to the United States is radical Islam.

    I count myself in the 95% of readers who share these basic beliefs. But there’s gotten to be a problem on this site. The same handful of authors post the same arguments time and again, which are read by readers who already agree with them. After a while, we forget why other people might think differently. So we decide that President Obama is insane, or anti-Semitic, or stupid.

    President Obama is misguided, I believe, but he is not insane, anti-Semitic, or stupid. He thinks that this Iran deal is the best one he could have gotten. He thinks that if he’d insisted on “anytime anywhere” inspections, or an end to Iranian terror, there would have been no deal. He thinks that this deal is preferable to no deal.

    I disagree with both of those assumptions. And so do 95% of the people reading this. So instead of marinating ourselves in views we already agree with, let’s organize and engage with people who think differently. Let’s get involved with AIPAC, contact our members of Congress, or elect new members of Congress who share our beliefs. Let’s reach out across the Jewish and non-Jewish communities to find political allies. Let’s listen to people who disagree with us, so that we can learn to better address their concerns.

    Let’s do something more productive than preach to the choir, in ever more self-assured tones.

  14. Bob Miller says:

    Aryeh Lev wrote:
    “President Obama is misguided, I believe, but he is not insane, anti-Semitic, or stupid.”

    Would an unbiased observer have this belief, given the total picture of Obama’s positions, statements, and actions?

    Whatever informational campaign we launch to lobby for our people’s lives has to factor in the true nature of the adversary.

  1. July 23, 2015

    […] thank my friend Rabbi Menken for a vivid demonstration of American democracy at its best. He took Natan Sharansky’s Town Square Test and emerged with […]

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