Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Natan Sharansky's Powerful Article Against the Iran Nuclear Deal [UPDATE]

Hat/Tip: to @Joelmt from Portland, Oregon, my twitter friend, for sending me this story from the Washington Post.  To me this is a huge story that has gone below the radar.  I am repeating this post from a month ago with an update.

Freedom and Democracy Advocate from Israel - Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky, the Soviet born Israeli, is one of the leading freedom rights and democracy and pro-Israel advocates in the world and is the Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency For Israel.  This great man spent 9 years in the Soviet Gulag as a political prisoner on trumped up charges of spying. 

Natan Sharansky has won these freedom fighter awards: In 1986, the US Congress awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal; in 2006 President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom; in 2008 the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation awarded him the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award. 

On Monday, July 24, 2015, this article in the opinion section of the Washington Post was written by Natan Sharansky: "Jews Stood Up To The US Government 40 Years Ago And Should Again On Iran"

This powerful article by Sharansky begins:   
"These days, like many Israelis and American Jews, I find myself in a precarious and painful situation.  Those of us who believe that the nuclear agreement just signed between world powers and Iran is dangerously misguided are now compelled to criticize Israel’s best friend and ally, the government of the United States.  In standing up for what we think is right, for both our people and the world, we find ourselves at odds with the power best able to protect us and promote stability."

Then Sharansky relates a story from 40 years ago when in the early 1970's President Richard Nixon wanted to grant the Soviet Union removal of sanctions of the "favored nation" status as it related to trade benefits.  Nixon thought the best way to do this was in a clean bill with no amendments.  But Jews in the Soviet Union were being terribly persecuted at this time and not allowed to leave for Israel.  

"Democratic Sen. Henry Jackson of Washington proposed what became a historic amendment, conditioning the removal of sanctions on the Soviet Union’s allowing free emigration for its citizens."

"The Republican [Nixon] administration in the White House objected furiously.  It also claimed that by improving relations with Moscow it would be better able to protect us personally and to ensure that some Jews could emigrate each year."

Natan Sharansky goes on to state that this put Jewish activists in the USSR and American Jewish organizations in a difficult position [the same position as they are put in today]:  "They were reluctant to speak out against the U.S. government and appear to put the “narrow” Jewish interest above the cause of peace.  Yet they also realized that the freedom of all Soviet Jews was at stake, and they actively supported the policy of linkage."

The only way that this amendment [proposed by a Democrat] could pass, was for some leading Republican Senator to go against the president of his party to ensure enough bi-partisan support for the amendment.  

Sharansky says, "It was a Republican senator from New York, Jacob Javits, who, spurred by a sense of responsibility for the Jewish future, helped put together the bipartisan group that ensured passage."

Natan Sharansky ends this powerful article with this important "critical" question: "who, if anyone, will have the vision and courage to be the next Sens. Jackson and Javits?"

To read this important opinion piece in the Washington Post by Natan Sharansky, please click here.

My question is, are you listening Senator Charles Schumer?
Update:  August 25, 2015Since this post was first published, Senator Robert Menendez, D-NJ and Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY have stepped up to the plate and said they will vote against this deal and will vote to over-ride a presidential veto.  

But I give Senator Menendez a lot more credit, then Senator Schumer, as one who is acting like the Senator Javits in the quote above from Natan Sharansky, because Senator Menendez did not just come out against the deal but in a moving emotional appeal to the rest of his colleagues, said: "I have looked into my own soul and my devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course, but if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it."  Wow, now that is calling out his fellow Democrat colleagues, saying in effect, you can vote for the deal if you want, but your name will be on an Iranian nuclear bomb.

On the other hand, you have Senator Schumer, who I first complimented and gave great applause and credit for coming out against the Iran deal, saying that while he opposed the deal he would not caucus his fellow Democrat senators to oppose the deal. Well, what the hell. 

This from the NY Post:  "Many opponents of the pact had hoped that as the presumptive incoming Democratic leader, Schumer would use his political clout to kill the deal.  Instead, Schumer said he would advise the Democratic caucus and leave it up to each lawmaker’s conscience how to vote."  

With the Democrat leader, Harry Reid, announcing his retirement, Senator Schumer will almost surely be the new Democrat leader in the Senate.  His appealing to his colleagues to oppose the deal could have made the difference.  Instead, Senator Schumer is giving his blessing to Democrats who want to stick with the president to support the deal.  And one by one they are, like today [August 24, 2015]  Senator Reid, the outgoing Democrat leader, has come out in favor of this horrific deal.  

What I once deemed a profile in courage by Schumer has turned out to be a shrinking to cowardice by Schumer.  He will have it both ways.  The Democrat president, he supports will get his Iran deal through the Senate [as I believe Schumer actually wants] and at the same time he can say, well I voted against the deal. 

Thank you Robert Menendez, a real profile in courage.  Senator Schumer, not so much.  

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