JINSA in the Washington Post: Congress should “conduct an intervention”

Obama’s anti-Israel blitz has gone too far
By Jennifer Rubin

Obama’s anti-Israel blitz has gone too far
By Jennifer Rubin

At times President Obama sounds almost incoherent on Iran. On one hand he says, like the Israeli prime minister, that he does not see a peace deal in the near future. (“What we can’t do is pretend that there’s a possibility for something that’s not there. And we can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen at least in the next several years.”) So they are on the same page? Nope. Obama insists, “We believe that two states is the best path forward for Israel’s security, for Palestinian aspirations, and for regional stability. And Prime Minister Netanyahu has a different approach.” Netanyahu has repeatedly said that is not the case, but Obama is determined to be disagreeable with Israel and overly solicitous toward Iran.

Meanwhile, the president chooses to ignore evidence that Iran is already refusing to comply with its obligations. The Post reports:

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran has failed to provide the information or access needed to allay the agency’s concerns about the weapons potential of the country’s nuclear program.

With the deadline nearing for international talks on constraining Iran’s nuclear program, Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA, said in an interview that Iran has replied to just one of a dozen queries about “possible military dimensions” of past nuclear activities.

Amano said that Iran has provided only “very limited” information about two other issues, while the rest have not been addressed at all.

“Recently, the progress is very limited,” he said.

If the Iranians are behaving this way now, imagine how they will flout their obligations once they have pocketed concessions and sanctions relief. Since the White House has caved on allowing Iran to keep thousands of centrifuges, a deal must rely more heavily on inspections, which Iran has consistently thwarted. It also becomes doubly important to disclose past nuclear activities so that inspectors will know where to look. That has not happened either.

The disparity between the president’s treatment of Israel and his rush to embrace our enemy is so evident that even the mainstream media are forced to acknowledge it. The Hill reports: “Congress is growing hostile to the emerging nuclear deal with Iran, leaving President Obama with little political cover as he approaches a critical deadline in the talks. . . . But as details of the still-evolving talks have dribbled out of Geneva, where Secretary of State John Kerry is leading the process, lawmakers are amplifying concerns that the administration is granting too many concessions to Tehran.” And when the New York Times starts raising the red flag that Obama may be “overplaying” his hand, you know things have gone way beyond anything we have seen in any prior administration. The Times agrees with many critics’ assessment of what is going on:

Israeli analysts are now suggesting that Mr. Obama and his aides might be overplaying their hand, inviting a backlash of sympathy for Mr. Netanyahu, and that they may not have clearly defined what they expected to gain diplomatically by continuing to pressure the Israeli leader.

The president’s harsh words have been deemed by some to be patronizing and disrespectful not only to Mr. Netanyahu but also to the voters who rewarded his uncompromising stances with a resounding mandate for a fourth term.

The president is known to be vitriolic toward those who cross him, but what is going on here is more than peevishness. Obama is on the cusp of achieving his grand design, remaking the Middle East so as to reconcile the United States with Iran and gain him a legacy-building achievement. But the idea is so preposterous – that we would kick Israel to the curb, allow Iran to run rampant in the region and ignore the mullahs’ support of terrorism – that he must do backflips (sustaining a narrative to paint Netanyahu as a racist while conceding virtually every key point to Iran) that rightly alert both the media and lawmakers that something is very, very wrong here. And if that was not bizarre enough, the administration keeps hinting it may not reveal the contents of the deal until everything is sealed and delivered. Huh?! Only Obama and our fellow negotiators will know what is in it, but not allies, Congress or the American people? We’ve gone from the ridiculous to the absurd. Well, with a deal as bad as the one Obama is cooking up, I suppose keeping it secret is the best option. But wait, how will we know if Iran is abiding by – oh, never mind.

Both parties should call a halt to this circus, express strong bipartisan support for the original aims of the negotiations, issue a declaration in support of Israel, admonish the administration and see to set a new bar for talks with sanctions designed to wring more concessions out of Iran. Michael Makovsky, chief executive of JINSA, remarks, “The alternative is no deal for now, and working to apply more pressure and gain more leverage against Iran to try to get a better deal later.” The president will claim it is this deal or war, but that’s another false Obama choice. “Obama can begin to [regain leverage] by reversing course and supporting tough new sanctions. He could also gain more leverage by starting to coordinate closely with our close regional allies, Israel and the Sunni Arabs, and presenting a common front with them. That could begin by his stopping his Administration’s verbal attacks and threats against Israel and its democratically elected prime minister,” says Makovsky. “Also, he should begin to confront Iran in the region instead of suggesting non-opposition or support to Iranian enlargement of its influence across the Middle East. And he could seek to restore a credible military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities, by the United States or through support for Israeli military action. If Obama took these steps, he could enhance the chance of reaching an acceptable nuclear deal with Iran.” But he will not, and hence it is up to Congress to, as Makovsky put it, “conduct an intervention.” Perhaps lawmakers can invite the leaders of France and Saudi Arabia, whose displeasure with the deal is now public, to speak to Congress.

Click to reading in the Washington Post