(July 21, 2015 / JNS)
Despite years of our warnings, the United States and the P5+1 powers reached a nuclear agreement with Iran. As we had feared, the deal is indeed extremely dangerous. Billions of dollars will soon flow into Iran and quickly make their way to the rockets and missiles of Hamas and Hezbollah. At the same time, the arms embargo that has stopped Iran from further developing its ballistic missile program will be lifted, threatening not just Israel, but also Europe and the U.S.
Most importantly, in 10 years, when my daughter is called up for duty in the Israel Forces Forces, and the nuclear inspections will end, Iran will be fully within its rights to restart its nuclear program from the exact place it is at right now, without any repercussions from the international community. Until that point, Iran is of course likely to continue to violate this agreement, just like they have done for so many international accords in the past.
From the minute the agreement was signed, my colleagues and I in the Israeli government began to hear from our friends around the world. It has been touching to be reminded of the love and support that exists for Israel in both the Jewish and Christian communities across the U.S. and worldwide. Many of those reaching out to us are worried that we are seeing a repeat of 1938, when the Western powers capitulated to Nazi Germany.
Let me be clear—this is not a sensible analogy. While it is true that we are saddened to see liberal Western democracies again appease a rogue regime, there is no comparing the Jewish people of the 1930s to the State of Israel today. There is simply no analogizing the stateless Jews of the pre-Holocaust Diaspora with the strong and independent Jewish state so many of us are blessed to live in today.
Today, we have all the wonderful young men and women of the IDF, who defend our country so valiantly every day. They are joined by the brilliant—and brave—analysts and operatives of our intelligence and secret services. Since joining the current Israeli Cabinet, I have also had the honor of overseeing much of our scientific, technological, and space-related capabilities. When I finally get home after a long day at work, I sleep very soundly with the knowledge that my family and my country are well-protected.
In addition to relying on ourselves for our own security, there are a number of practical steps that supporters of Israel around the world can take to make this bad situation slightly better. While the nuclear accord may have been signed in Vienna, the agreement now moves to the U.S. Congress and to the court of public opinion. There is much our friends can do to influence the agreement’s implementation, or perhaps even the deal’s actual content.
Our friends in America are blessed to live in an open democracy. I am sure that many will make their voices heard about why this deal is so dangerous, not only to America’s closest ally in the Middle East, but to the U.S. heartland. Iran does not seek to build and acquire intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to threaten Israel—their current arsenal already does that. Rather, the Iranians aim to reach North America with those missiles.
Similarly, on a local level, there are many opportunities for friends of Israel to speak out on this important issue. Many U.S. states have their own sanctions in place to ensure that the Iranians cannot make economic gains as long they continue to threaten the stability of the Middle East and export terrorism throughout the world. Municipal leaders in the U.S. can also influence their local chambers of commerce, which play a crucial role in investment overseas.
Finally, each and every person can influence the people around them—their co-workers, friends, and family members—and make sure they know the facts about this dangerous deal and how it will soon affect the entire free world. They, in turn, will become part of a critical mass that may still bring about some positive changes to the agreement.
In Israel, it is rare to have near-consensus on any single issue in the Knesset. It is even more uncommon for our Arab neighbors to agree with the stated policy of Israel. When both of these unlikely scenarios play out, it is clear that there is much to be worried about regarding the Iran deal. Our defense forces will do all that is necessary to defend our country, but at the same time, this type of unity should inspire all citizens and supporters of Israel as we continue to strive for a Middle East that is safer, more stable, and perhaps one day even peaceful.
Member of Knesset Danny Danon (Likud) is Israel’s Minister of Technology, Science and Space.