About the author  ⁄ Sarah Stern

Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

Photo: loavesofbread.swiss-image.ch

When I was a little girl growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust, I often asked my parents a troubling question: Why did the international community do nothing to stop Hitler?

They would usually answer with a bewildered shrug.

I was named after my Aunt Sarah, who was murdered by the Nazis. Apparently, she never got the chance to march under the notorious gates of Auschwitz marked with the duplicitous message, Arbeit Macht Frei (“Work Makes You Free”). When the Einsatzgruppen, the group of Nazis specifically trained to hunt down Jews, first invaded Poland, they went to my aunt’s shtetl, the village of Borschchtav. There, together with her neighbors, she was asked to strip down naked and dig a hole. These Nazis were so lustful in their passion to exterminate every Jew from the face of the earth that they would line them up, summarily shoot them in the backs of their heads and watch as they fell into the ditch the Jews themselves had just been forced to dig.

According to Father Patrick Desbois, a French Catholic priest and professor at Georgetown University, who has made it his personal mission to uncover these unmarked graves that dot the European landscape, there are at least 1.5 million Jews lying in ditches under cornfields of houses in unmarked graves that have not been recorded. That makes 7.5 million Jewish souls snuffed out during the Holocaust.

Some 74 years after the Holocaust, the European landscape is once again dotted with unabashedly shameless and foul signs of anti-Semitism.

The newly elected chairman of the European Union, Josep Borrell Fontelles, recently said in an interview in Politico, “We are not children following what they [the Americans] say. We have our own prospects, interests and strategy, and we will continue working with Iran. It would be very bad for us if Iran wants to develop a nuclear weapon. … Iran wants to wipe Israel out, nothing new about that. You have to live with it.”

In other words: As long as Iran is not aiming their nuclear warheads directly at Madrid, it’s perfectly acceptable.

He seems to be saying that we can live with another 7.5 million dead Jews (which, chillingly, is roughly today’s Jewish population of Israel).

He, along with many other world leaders, appears exceedingly resentful about the role that America has longed played as a moral leader in foreign policy and believes strongly in multilateralism. On Nov. 6, shortly after America had imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran, the Spanish Foreign Minister said, “We reject any kind of position that resembles an ultimatum from anyone, and also from the United States.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran has found a particularly soft spot in his heart. On the recent advent of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, Borrell tweeted, “Today marks 40 years of the Islamic revolution of #Iran. The regional power has changed a lot during this time. In 1976, the literacy rate was 35%, now it is 84%.”Iran is a key country in the Middle East region. He has had an essential role in the #Siria (sic) war, helping Assad while the Americans are pulling out.”

He then compared the relationship that America has had with Iran to that it has had with Vietnam. These are two regions of the world that the newly elected head of the European Union feels have had an indelible effect on America’s psyche, with the Vietnam War ending in 1975 and the Iranian revolution occurring in 1979. He seems to find it difficult to understand why three American Presidents have visited Vietnam, and none have visited Iran since the revolution.

This is a preposterous analogy. I may be missing something, but I haven’t heard any recent reports of the Vietnamese holding Americans hostage, working on a nuclear bomb, arming and equipping Hezbollah and Hamas, attacking shipping vessels in international waters or regularly leading their people ins chant of “Death to America.”

If this is what the European Union has elected for its leader, we are in for some very tough sailing ahead. The Iranians are blazingly defying the limits imposed upon them by the Joint Comprehension Plan of Action (JCPOA), as they are assiduously stepping up their time to have enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb. According to a July 10 report by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Iranian nuclear plant at Fordow, which was according to the JCPOA, supposed to have been converted into a “nuclear physics and technology center for international collaboration,” very little or nothing has been converted. It houses a tunnel complex with gas centrifuges, and it has been bolstering a support area to protect the facility from aerial bombardment.

The Iranians are masters of double speak and have brazenly manipulated most of the international community into blaming the United States for violating the terms of the deal. That is because the Trump administration had the courage to break away from a deal that was far too weak to begin with and about which we have ample evidence to believe that the Iranians were cheating.

In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, “He who appeases the crocodile is only eaten last.”

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/lessons-in-the-appeasement-of-iran/

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It is interesting to observe that the moment Iran decided to withdraw from the nuclear deal, on Monday, leaders of the European Union became the pro bono defense attorneys for the Islamic Republic.  The news that Iran has followed through on its threat to violate the limit imposed on its stockpile of enriched uranium was greeted by the European Union with the response of  “let’s do anything to keep this deal alive.”

When this deal was negotiated, we had been assured of immediate, “snap back sanctions”  by President Obama, if Iran violated the deal. Yet, instead of holding Iran accountable for its violations, the top European nations are seeking to give Iran a second chance.

The international community can use a refresher course about just what sort of a regime we are dealing with here.  Iran is governed by an apocalyptic, tyrannical, theocracy that believes that they will bring their Messiah,  the  12th Imam,  by converting the entire world to Shia Islam and obliterating the non-believers. In their religious zeal, they hang gays, publicly lash women who have been raped, and arbitrarily sentence political prisoners and religious minorities  to  exceedingly harsh  prison sentences.

The day that Iran decided to step up its production of highly enriched uranium to exceed the limits of the nuclear deal, a senior Iranian official, Mojtaba Zonour, said that “if the United States attacks Iran, only one half hour will remain in Israel’s lifespan”.

Yet, in some sort of Kafkaesque inversion, many of our European allies see the United States as the culprit, here, because the US kept careful tabs on Iranian violations of a deal, and Iran as the hapless  ictim.

The truth is that Iran has – despite what has been reported – not been complying with the deal. To be certain, it is correct that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not found Iran to be in material breach of the JCPOA. But that’s more because the IAEA has not been looking too carefully at what Iran has done.

There is evidence that Iran has carried out military nuclear research at Parchin, but the IAEA, charged with assuring Iran’s compliance with the deal, refused to even ask for access. This is shocking given that it is precisely sites like Parchin where Iran has conducted illicit nuclear weapons research.

It would be more accurate to say that the IAEA has not found any Iranian violations because it hasn’t looked for them. For example, in 2017, an IAEA official said that his organization would not demand that Iran grant it access to military sites “We’re not going to visit a military site like Parchin just to send a political signal.”

In addition, as Michael Doran pointed out about the nuclear archive that Israel spirited out of Iran last year in an article published last month in Mosaic magazine:

The archive reveals, among other things, that Iran never abandoned its nuclear-weapons program but simply restructured it, emphasizing dual-use activities that have allowed Tehran to claim with a modicum of plausibility that its nuclear activities are “peaceful” and “civilian.” The JCPOA helped advance this deception by bestowing international legitimacy on facilities like the Fordow bunker.

While Zarif is very good in his role of spokesman for an aggrieved Iranian regime, reality is quite a bit different from the way he presented it.

But Zarif is not acting alone. He is helped by what Doran describes as a “coalition of open minds” dedicated to preserving the nuclear deal. Members of this coalition, he observes, “agree with the Europeans that Trump, not Iran, is to blame for the military escalation in the Gulf.”

This belief is false.

As noted previously, Iran was never in compliance with the nuclear deal. The U.S. withdrawal just ended the sham that the deal was actually preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. For one thing,  the Iranians closed off military sites to the International Atomic Energy Administration inspectors

Furthermore, the JCPOA called on all parties “to refrain from any action inconsistent with the letter, spirit and intent of this JCPOA that would undermine its successful implementation.” Surely the ballistic missile tests violated the spirit of the agreement.

In violation of UN Resolution 2231, the United Nations has found evidence showing that Iran was the source of weapons shipped to the Houthi rebels. According to the resolution Iran is barred from exporting weapons for at least eight years after implementation of the deal.

Taken together, Iran has violated both the JCPOA itself and the UN resolution that implemented the deal. Its stockpiling of enriched uranium above the deal-imposed limit is Iran’s latest show of contempt for international law and norms.

It’s time for the world to stop making excuses for Iran and snapback all international nuclear sanctions on the Islamic Republic. It is only this kind of severe economic measure that can hope to force Iran to stop enriching uranium and open up all of its facilities to international inspectors.

The crisis can be defused. Iran can abide by the terms of the deal it agreed to and then there will be no need to reimpose sanctions. Or it can refuse and suffer the consequences.

Originally published: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/why-is-the-e-u-behaving-as-the-defense-attorney-for-iran/

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Photo: BILAL HUSSEIN AP PHOTO

The late Israeli diplomat, Abba Eban, is famously quoted with saying, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Of course, at the time he said this, after the 1967 War, there was no such entity as the Palestinian people, but this adage is particularly germane to the Palestinians today.

This week, the “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” convened in Bahrain. The Trump administration’s long-awaited peace plan for the Palestinians was rolled out this week. Ahead of the conference, the Trump administration released a 40-page document describing a 50 billion dollar investment plan in the region, more than half going directly to the Palestinians, and the other half going to Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

Senior White House advisor, Jared Kushner, opened up the conference by calling the plan “the deal of the century” that the Palestinians should take advantage of, “What we have developed” he said, “is the most comprehensive economic plan ever created specifically for the Palestinians and the broader Middle East. We can turn this region from a victim of past conflicts into a model for commerce and advancement throughout the world.”

Unfortunately, once again, the Palestinian leadership chose victimhood, rather than prosperity for their people. Rather than taking responsibility for their own fate, they continue to play the “victim card.”

This has been the response of the Palestinians ever since the Peel Commission Plan of 1937, then of the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947, the Rogers Plan of 1969, the exceedingly generous Clinton plan presented at Camp David in August of 2000, and the even more generous Ehud Olmert Peace offer of 2008.

The most recent plan put forward by Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinian leader Ehud Barak 98% of the land they wanted, (with land swaps around the Jerusalem corridor for the Negev), a division of Jerusalem and a “right of return” of approximately 150,000 refugees into Israel.

How did Mahmoud Abbas react to this? By initiating a renewed intifada.

The Trump administration had decided to “think outside the box” and rather than go back to that same, tired old refrain of “land or peace” they focused on trying a different route, the economic route, of “peace through prosperity”. However, I am sorry to say that their understanding of the Palestinian leadership is profoundly flawed. The premise underlying the Trump plan is that peace can be bought through economic prosperity.

However, as John F. Kennedy had said, “Peace does not depend on signed documents and charters alone, but in the hearts and minds of the People.” As long as the hearts and minds of the Palestinians have been so inebriated with a culture of hatred, they will prefer for their people to starve, rather than accepting living a peaceful life alongside Israel.

The response from the Palestinian leader has been an indignant one. “We Palestinians cannot be bought off.” The leadership of the Palestinian Authority refused to show up at the conference. And as I write this, there are hordes of Palestinians in the streets of Gaza and Judea and Samaria burning pictures of President Trump in effigy.

There comes a time when we in the West will have to realize that we have got to take “no” for an answer.

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Photo: Sean McCabe for POLITICO

On July 23, 2015, when the Obama administration was in the throes of trying to push, what they considered their signature, landmark, foreign policy achievement, the Iranian nuclear deal, through Congress, John Kerry testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and gave the members a stark choice: “It is either this deal or war”.

As it turns out, Congress never really had the opportunity to vote on the nuclear deal. The Obama administration in order to avoid the constitutionally -mandated Senate approval with a foreign power, simply used a linguistic trick, and avoided calling the agreement a “treaty”, but a “deal”.

Rather, the United States, leading the charge, injected itself as only one of six nations, so the international momentum for this deal would take on a life of its own. Then, before Congress even had the opportunity to vote on it, the Obama administration did an “end run” around Congress and took it to the United Nations for a vote.

In an incredibly revealing,  New York Times of May 5, 2015 article by David Samuels of Obama’s Deputy National Security Council Advisor, Ben Rhodes, Mr. Rhodes was very upfront about how the Obama White House orchestrating a campaign to manipulate the news media by generating  false stories to paint Iran as more benign, to a team of newly-minted, guileless reporters.

Rhodes admitted to Samuels that this campaign was manufactured by “legions of arms control experts (who) began popping up at think tanks and on social media”, and who became “sources for clueless reporters.” According to Rhodes, “We created an echo chamber. They were saying things and validated what we were giving them to say.”

Most people have ignored the profound and deeply consequential immorality of what the Obama administration had done here. Many historians have written critical analyses of  how  the Sulzberger family, the publishers of the New York Times, buried the stories f the holocaust on its back pages. However, they did not create false narratives about the Nazis regarding the holocaust.

Iran might shortly have the ability to create a nuclear holocaust, and the Obama administration is guilty of manufacturing stories to whitewash the Islamic Republic, and  kicked the can of what was  then an emerging  danger down  the road. It is quickly, however, becoming a clear and present danger.

We are now approaching 2020. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, (JCPOA) which was agreed upon in July of 2015 has 8 to 10 year sunset clause. Tha sunset is not in the too distant future.

So even if the Iranians were keeping to this extraordinarily generous deal, we would have a problem in a few years.

The truth, however, is that they are not keeping to the deal. When they were intent on selling the deal to a skeptical public, we were told by President Obama that there was going to be “anywhere, anytime inspections”.

Subsequently, we were told that the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA) would have 24 hours to get into a nuclear site. Then the Iranians succeeded in pushing the 24 hours to 24 days.

Ultimately, however, the Iranians were able to convince John Kerry and his team of negotiators that “military sites were off limits”.

If I were an Iranian nuclear scientist, and was working on something that I would like to hide from the IAEA, I would simply work on it on a “military site”.

Technically, according to the JCPOA, Iran is in violation of the deal if the IAEA formally requests access to a suspicious site. However, according to an August 31, 2017 Reuters report, the IAEA has not visited a military site since the deal was implemented “because it has no reason to ask”.

Said the official, “We are not going to visit a military site just to send a political signal.”

By not inspecting the military sites, however, they are sending a clear political signal. They are sending a signal that the agency that is set up for the sole purpose of monitoring illicit nuclear activity is asleep on the job because of their political cowardice.

They are sending a signal of vitiation and of appeasement

We all know that Iran has become vastly more enriched, emboldened and empowered in the region because of the nuclear deal, and that they have created a land bridge from Tehran, to Baghdad, to Damascus to Beirut and are involved in military adventurism throughout the region, in Yemen, Iraq, Syria  and  Lebanon.

On May 13th,  Iran  attacked four shipping vessels in the Persian Gulf, two carrying the flag of Saudi Arabia, one of Norway and one of the United Arab Emirates. They are obviously trying to flex their muscles by attacking our allies.

John Kerry, I am afraid you were wrong. Dead wrong. Because of your administration’s policy of Iranian appeasement, this might ultimately become an issue of this deal and war.

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Last week, Germany’s Bundestag – or legislature – passeda non-binding resolution condemning the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as anti-Semitic. While the resolution may not have the force of law, it is an important recognition that BDS has little to do with Palestinian rights, and everything to do with isolating Israel, and, more generally, Jews. 

Poignantly, the motion described the BDS campaign as “reminiscent of the most terrible chapter in Germany history” recalling the Nazi slogan, “Don’t buy from Jews.”

The singular focus of the BDS campaign on Israel betrays its intent. As legal scholar, Eugene Kontorovich hasobserved, of the numerous ongoing territorial disputes in the world, only the one between Israel and the Palestinians is deemed serious enough to spark calls for a boycott.

The BDS campaign is not only anti-Semitic in its intent, it is also anti-Semitic in its effect. For example a 2015 Amcha Initiative studyshowed that there exists a “strong correlation between anti-Zionist student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and antisemitism.”

What Germany has learned through its painful history, and what America has yet to learn, is that words matter,

In recent years there have been numerous examples of how anti-Israel activism morphs into anti-Semitic actions. Many students across the country report feeling intimidated, bullied and threatened because of their Jewish identity or pro-Israel feelings.

A recently settledsuit against San Francisco State University (SFSU) was precipitatedby the exclusion of the school’s Hillel chapter from a “Know Your Rights” fair. According to one of the organizers, Professor Rahab Abdulhadi of the General Union of Palestine Studies of SFSU,  explained that Hillel -was disinvited from the event because Hillel was deemed to be “a privileged white group.” (This is exceedingly ironic, because in the 1930-s there were quotas against the admitting “ Jews and other inferior races” into the United States.)

In April, Rebecca Thau, a student at Harvard and president of the Hillel’s Undergraduate Steering Committee – releaseda statement saying that the campus’s Israel Apartheid Week was “vilifying students for their commitments and even their heritages, turning students away from — rather than toward — one another, and preventing meaningful conversation.”

Jewish students at Emory University in Atlanta were targetedwith “eviction notices,” posted on their dorm rooms as a means of protesting Israeli policy by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). SJP is one of the most prominent campus groups promoting BDS.

Golda Daphna, a student a Columbia University wrotethat the marginalization of Jews on campus through events like Israel Apartheid Week have the effect of making her and others conclude that they “do not feel at home in America because of our anti-Semitic college experience.”

Many university administrators claim that they do not know where free speech ends, and harassment, intimidations and threatening language begins. Our constitutionally inscribed first amendment rights are extremely precious to us all.  However, educational settings have a very fine line to walk.  While ensuring freedom of speech, they also have an obligation to protect students from psychological and emotional harassment so that the environment is conducive to learning.  

There are many protections for many minority groups within the educational setting. However, the one group that has been more singled out for abuse than any other, (according to national data), Jews, and most particularly Jewish students, have absolutely no legal protections.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that university administrators say they have no definition of anti-Semitism, so they cannot recognize it when they see it.  In order to answer this need  Sen. Tim Scott (R – S.C.) introduced the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2019in March. 

The goal of the bill is to extend  the same Title VI protections  to Jewish students as most other  minority groups have on college campuses.  The definition that the bill provides is the very same definition that our State Department uses when instruction our diplomats as to how to recognize and call out anti-Semitism.

The bill uses the  definitionpublished in 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as the relevant one for the legislation. Imortant to note is that within this definition is “denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming the the state of Israel is a racist endeavor. “

Given the growing problem of anti-Semitism on campus, it’s time for the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead and introduce a companion measure to the Senate bill. Such legislation would protect Jewish students who are threatened by BDS-inspired intimidation and discrimination on U.S. college campuses.

If the House can follow the Senate’s lead and get this legislation passed, it would be because it took a lesson from Germany on how to define and fight anti-Semitism.

It is about time we follow Germany’s lead on this long overdue legislation, before we are forced to learn their lessons of history.

Photo: AFP

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During his recent appearance on Fox News last Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sounded a conciliatory tone towards U.S. President Donald Trump, blaming tensions between the United States and Iran on a so-called “B team.”

Zarif described this group, which is comprised of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, as seeking to “lure President Trump into a confrontation that he doesn’t want.”

While he bashed Trump in other parts of the interview and insisted that Iran would never negotiate with him, Zarif also characterized Trump as being manipulated by others into war—a seemingly transparent effort to portray the U.S. president as a reasonable partner for diplomacy.

There are very good reasons why Zarif would seek to portray negotiations with Trump as palatable for Iran. The maximum economic pressure being applied against Iran by the Trump administration, including the reimposition of nuclear sanctions and the recent designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization, are hurting Iran’s economy.

Most importantly, Zarif knows that there is no way that Iran can possibly win a war in which the United States will be supporting our national security interests in the region, as well as those of our allies in the region. And he wants to avoid it at all costs.

But Zarif is wrong if he thinks that he is fooling anyone. Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal not just because it failed to dismantle Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, but also because it fueled Iran’s regional aggression. When he announced the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal last year, Trump observed that “since the agreement, Iran’s bloody ambitions have grown only more brazen.”

The conflicts in the Middle East—in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen—have all intensified in the wake of the nuclear deal and been fueled by the money Iran received because of the deal. The “B team,” as Zarif derisively calls them, isn’t pulling the wool over Trump’s eyes and leading him blindly into war. Rather, these nations agree with Trump that Iran’s aggression and destabilization have worsened since the nuclear deal was concluded. Like Trump, Bolton, Netanyahu and the Gulf princes all agree that Iran is the source of the aggression, and that it must be rolled back.

By accusing others of seeking confrontation when it is Iran that has been fueling the violence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, Zarif whitewashed his country’s role in fomenting instability throughout the Middle East.

This wasn’t the foreign minister’s only lie.

Fox News host Chris Wallace challenged Zarif point blank, saying, “The IRGC has killed more than 600 American soldiers in Iraq.” Zarif denied the charge, replying that the “IRGC has never killed Americans. IRGC is there to fight terrorism.”

Of course, it was Iranian-made weapons that have killed at least 600 Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, of course, the newly sanctioned IRGC doesn’t fight terrorism; it is a major source of terrorism. Whether it’s Hezbollah threatening Israel from Lebanon and Syria; the Houthi rebels threatening Saudi Arabia, the UAE and international shipping; or Iraqi Shi’ite militias threatening Iraqi Sunnis, the IRGC is arming and otherwise supporting them.

When Wallace pressed Zarif on the IRGC’s role in killing U.S. service personnel, Zarif replied, “I mean, that’s a new charge that the United States—and it’s a very dangerous accusation.” That’s not exactly a denial. In any case, what’s new is the number; a report a few weeks ago put the number of U.S. soldiers killed with the assistance of the IRGC at more than 600.

Throughout the interview, Zarif portrayed Iran as the wounded party. He said that the United States was not trustworthy because it had withdrawn from the deal. What he did not say was that information contained in the nuclear archives that Israel recovered from Tehran last year raised doubts about any semblance of Iranian compliance with the deal.

In addition to his dissembling over Iran’s foreign adventures, the foreign minister pretended to speak for the Iranian people. Sanctions, according to Zarif, are intended to “put as much pressure as it can on the Iranian people.”

But the Iranian people were protesting prior to the reimposition of the nuclear sanctions. They saw that the windfall that the regime reaped from the nuclear deal go towards foreign military adventures rather than to build a crumbling civilian infrastructure.

That’s why last year, instead of chanting “death to America,” protesters against the regime were saying “death to Palestine,” registering their disapproval of the regime’s generosity in destabilizing the Middle East.

Zarif is quite skilled at evading questions and lying. His performance on Fox News Sunday this week will surely reinforce that reputation. However, nothing he presented is likely to convince Trump, who understands the threat that Tehran poses to the Middle East. That is precisely why the United States just deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf.

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/mohammad-zarifs-b-team-delusions/

Photo: AP Photo / Petr David Josek

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When my father was a little boy growing up in Poland, there were signs that read, “Jews: Get out of Europe. Go back to Palestine.” On today’s college campuses there are shouts of “Jews: Out of Palestine. Go back to Europe.”

These past two weeks have been difficult ones for American Jewish college students. It  has been Israel Apartheid Week, and across many American college campuses, most of our Jewish students are confronted with “mock die ins”, with student actors dressed as menacing Israel soldiers “brutalizing” other student actors dressed as hapless, “innocent” Palestinian civilians, and  “apartheid walls”.  Jewish students at Emory University have had “mock eviction notices” placed in residence halls, that say “Palestinian homes are destroyed as part of the state’s ongoing attempt to ethnically cleanse the region of its Arab inhabitants”. At Columbia University, Students for Justice in Palestine created a poster of an IDF soldier with horns. At Harvard University, one of the speakers for Israel Apartheid Week, Omar Barghouti, supports the “euthanasia of Zionism.”

Many Jewish students do not have the knowledge to be able to respond to these horrific distortions. The few who have both the knowledge and the backbone to fight back, do. However, most put their heads down in shame. It is no wonder that Natan Sharansky has called American Jewish college students, “The new Jews of silence”.

The problem is that many university professors have used their desks for one-sided political propaganda rather than giving them a solid education about the region. A tenured professor at Columbia, Hamid Dabishi, for example has tweeted that “Every dirty, treacherous, ugly and pernicious act happening in the world just wait a few days and the ugly name Israel will pup.” (sic). Marc Lamont Hill, a tenured professor at Temple University in Philadelphia called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea.”  Unfortunately, these statements are no longer the outliers, but have become very much the norm in many classrooms that study the Middle East.

I long to equip our students with some basic facts, if I could only teach them for one semester. I would teach them about how the Palestinian Liberation Organization, whose membership is the same as the Palestinian Authority,(PA) was established in 1964, 3 full years before the 1967 War, and before there was any “occupation” to resist. I would teach them about the Oslo Accords, and how Yitzchak Rabin had reluctantly agreed to negotiate with Yassir Arafat on the one condition that he give up terrorism. I would tell them that after the Accords were signed there was a sharp rise in Israeli civilian victims of Palestinian terrorism, which is now over 1,000 fatalities.

I would tell them how Israel withdrew from all the major Palestinian population centers, putting 90% of the Palestinian population under the PA’s control. I would tell them about the enormous offer Prime Minister Ehud Barak had made to Chairman Arafat in July of 2000, which would eventually have given the Palestinians 91% of the West Bank, Gaza and shared sovereignty of Jerusalem, yet Arafat walked away from the offer and launched an intifada. I would tell them that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, an even more generous offer in November 2008, including making all of Jerusalem an internationally controlled city. And yet again, this Palestinian interlocutor walked away from the negotiating table, launching a renewed intifada.

I would tell them about the Gaza withdrawal in 2005, and how the Israelis trained their soldiers not to feel pain as they uprooted Jewish residents from their homes. And about how Israelis had left the greenhouses to give the nascent Palestinian state some sort of economic infrastructure, and the synagogues to be turned into mosques. And how these greenhouses and synagogues, along with every remnant of a Jewish life had been destroyed in a frenzied atmosphere of chaos and hatred. I would tell them how now Gaza has become a simmering sea of hatred which is unleashed every Friday when mobs try to penetrate the fence and kill as many Israeli civilians as possible. 

I would tell them about the innocent looking balloon bouquets and kites, meant to attract young Israeli children, launched with incendiary devices attached to them, that have destroyed thousands of acres of Israeli agricultural land near Gaza and have created an ecological disaster. I would tell them that over 1,000 missiles have been launched from Gaza, giving neighboring Israeli men women and children just 15 seconds to run for shelter.

Before anyone casts blame on the democratically elected government of Israel, I would ask them to walk a mile in their shoes. 

I know they will not, however. Because anti-Zionism is just the 21stcentury form of ant-Semitism. And as Jean Paul Sartre had said, “The anti-Semite has chosen hate because hate is a faith.” Anti-Semitism is hatred, and hatred is an emotion, and one, unfortunately cannot reason with an emotion.

A version of this recently appeared in the Washington Jewish Week.

Photo: Uriel Heilman

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On April 9, Iranian President Rouhani boasted that “today and throughout the past year, we have launched 114 new technologies via the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. This is the message to the world: You have not succeeded, and you will not succeed in preventing the progress and development of the Iranian people and their nuclear program. If yesterday you feared our IR-1 centrifuges, well, here you go!”

He has reason to boast. The 2015 Iranian nuclear deal brokered by former President Barack Obama was extremely weak, but yet, given its weaknesses, the agency that was established to monitor Iran’s compliance has been exceedingly lax.

On April 4, The Wall Street Journal reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspected a warehouse in Tehran that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year said housed nuclear equipment and materials. When negotiating the Iranian nuclear deal, we had been assured constantly by President Obama of “anytime, anywhere inspections.”

Six months elapsed from the speech until the inspection. The question is what took the IAEA so long?

David Albright and Andrea Stricker of the Institute of Science and International Security noted in a paper published earlier this month that the IAEA inspection took place only after the Islamic Republic had the opportunity to empty the site and clean it up. “In short,” they wrote, “the IAEA visits in March 2019 are like looking for a horse when the barn door has been left open for many months.”

But this is far from the only failure of the IAEA to ensure that Iran was complying with the deal.

In his statement announcing the implementation of the nuclear deal in January 2016, President Obama said, “On January 16, 2016, the IAEA verified that Iran has completed the necessary steps under the Iran deal that will ensure Iran’s nuclear program is and remains exclusively peaceful.”

The problem is that we have learned subsequently that the IAEA did not, then, have full knowledge of Iran’s past nuclear-weapons work. In January of 2018, Israeli intelligence recovered a half-ton of material documenting the advances Iran made in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Subsequent examination of the archives by weapons’ experts at the Institute of Science and International Security, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), found that Iran’s nuclear-weapons program was more advanced than previously thought.

In a paper published in February, Albright, Stricker and Olli Heinonen of FDD, wrote that “this new information in the archive indicates that Iran might still be in breach of its nuclear nonproliferation undertakings.”

Yet the IAEA still has not acted upon the information contained in the nuclear archive that was obtained by Israeli intelligence, even though it would give them greater insight into the full scope of Iran’s nuclear-weapons research.

The IAEA didn’t just fail to pursue the information in the archives. Even before Israel recovered the documents, the nuclear watchdog failed to verify other elements of Iran’s compliance.

An IAEA official told Reuters in August 2017 that the agency saw no need to demand access to Iran’s military sites. Following talks with then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, the IAEA official said, “We’re not going to visit a military site like Parchin just to send a political signal.”

By refusing to inspect military sites like Parchin, the IAEA is sending a much different political signal than what the official thinks. It signals a policy of appeasement.

These failures of the IAEA—the failure to follow up on the nuclear archive, the refusal to demand access to military sites and others—show that the agency that is supposed to verify Iran’s compliance with the deal has given too much leeway to the Islamic Republic.

It would appear that the IAEA’s role in the nuclear deal is to validate it—ensure that nothing, not even Iranian violations, undermines it—not to verify it.

In announcing the implementation of the deal, President Obama guaranteed that Iran would be “subjected to the most comprehensive, intrusive inspection regime.”

The record over the past three years is that the IAEA, the agency charged with the inspections, has been anything but “comprehensive” and “intrusive.” It has refused to investigate certain suspicions and, in the case of the warehouse, taken its time allowing Iran plenty of time to clean up illicit nuclear sites.

With all of these lapses, how can the IAEA be an effective force in preventing Iran’s development of nuclear weapons?

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/the-iaeas-blind-spots-on-irans-nuclear-program/

Photo: Getty Images

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By Sarah N. Stern

“There are 194 nations in the world. Out of those, precisely 193 acquired their territory through the use of military force. That is how borders have traditionally been drawn. Most of these campaigns were offensive. I have asked many military experts, historians and scholars about this, and they have, to a person, told me that there is only one nation in the world who gained territory through the use of force that has been sued, time and time again to relinquish that territory. You guessed it: the state of Israel.”

Read the full post here.

Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images

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