Rarely do remarks on polarizing topics open people’s minds these days, as our nation becomes ever more divided along political fault lines. Yet this month, Rabbi Moshe Hauer connected with nearly 2,000 people who gathered at Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion, an Orthodox synagogue in the heart of Baltimore’s Jewish Community.
He reached people intellectually and emotionally on the difficult subject of the Iran nuclear deal. Although the deal may appear to be done, given the recent approval of the six major world powers and the U.N. Security Council, Congress will vote on it mere days from now. Weaving together biblical references, the Holocaust and modern-day threats to the Middle East, the rabbi reminded everyone of the challenges to the State of Israel, which he described as “the nation that dwells alone.”
Israel was certainly alone during the last six years of secret negotiations. The U.S. now finds itself on the threshold of approving what amounts to a treaty with Iran, a country that wants to destroy our most important ally in the world’s most volatile region. Israel was also alone, when at the 11th hour, Iran successfully negotiated lifting the embargo on the purchase of conventional weapons systems. Israel was again alone when the demand for “anytime, anywhere” inspections somehow gave way to allowing multinational bureaucrats to set terms and conditions for such inspections.
While acknowledging their importance, Hauer steered clear of these details. Instead, he focused on the consequences of excluding key stakeholders from decisions about “deals” that determine their future. Noting as an example a conference intended to determine the fate of Jewish refugees in 1938, the rabbi noted that only one Jew, Golda Meir, was invited to observe, but not speak. That’s more than we can say about the Iranian negotiations. Not surprisingly, the refugee conference accomplished nothing and allowed murderous dictators to determine the fate of Jews by default in that critical year.
The infamous Munich agreement, the hopeless attempt at appeasement in 1938 that bought Hitler time to build his killing infrastructure, is the other deal the rabbi cites as an example. Negotiated between the German chancellor and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, that deal was sold to the public as “peace for our time” and instead led to World War II and the Holocaust. Some are now making a far more outrageous claim that 99 percent of the world supports the Iranian
Some members of Maryland’s congressional delegation say they will be studying the Iran deal. What they should be studying is Hauer’s straightforward explanation on the basics of negotiations and determine for themselves whether conditions were met that account for the interests of Jewish people and Israel.
The public record on Iranian animosity toward Israel is clear. Israel will either get lucky and Iran will become peaceful, flush with oil revenues and weapons, or history will repeat itself.