There’s an old Jewish lesson (of sorts) that goes something like this: if you haven’t had a drop to drink, yet two Rabbis tell you you’re drunk, go home and sleep it off. The message is simple: no matter how confident you are in your belief or position, if two learned friends tell you you’re wrong, take some time to reconsider. President Biden would do well to bear this lesson in mind in the days and weeks ahead.

The Two Rabbis

Whether or not they all have the courage to say so publicly, there is widespread bipartisan Congressional concern with the details emerging about the impending nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.

While many Democrats are keeping their powder dry, some have sounded the alarm that this deal falls short of what was promised to them by the administration.  Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the Democratic chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said earlier in the summer that President Biden needs “a comprehensive strategy to address Iran and the threats it poses - Iran as it is, not the Iran we might hope for.” More recently, Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee correctly stated, “This proposal, as it stands, fails to address key challenges. Under this proposal, Iran would benefit from immediate sanctions relief in return for getting back into a flawed deal that expires soon. The U.S. must demand a stronger agreement to prevent the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Likewise, several Senators who spoke at the recent CUFI Washington Summit were similarly appalled by the Biden administration’s weakness in the face of Iranian demands. Put simply, top leaders of the legislative branch of the United States Government – a co-equal branch to the executive – are saying they are concerned.

The second Rabbi is coming to Washington at the end of this week. David Barnea, the chief of Israel’s famed intelligence agency, the Mossad, will brief lawmakers on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and administration officials, including our own CIA, about Israel’s view of the impending deal.

Barnea will provide these leaders with far more information than we’ll ever know about Iran’s current nuclear weapons program and support for terror around the world. What’s clear from his public statements is that Israel is deeply concerned about the current terms of the deal and will likely be imploring the U.S. to take a harder line – while clearly reserving their own right to act unilaterally.

Two Rabbis, the U.S. Congress and Israel’s Mossad, are telling the President to rethink his approach, we humbly recommend Mr. Biden go home and sleep it off.

Avoiding War

But what if he doesn’t? What if the President proceeds down the present path? We are loathe to ever predict conflict, but one does not need a crystal ball to see where this is going. The current deal’s shortcomings all but ensure Iran will have a nuclear weapons capability in a few short years (at best). Such would be untenable for Israel (as it should be for the U.S., but we digress).

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid recently noted, “We can reach such an agreement if a credible military threat is put on the table, if the Iranians realize that their defiance and deceit will have a heavy price.” The Prime Minister went on to note that he has instructed Israel’s military and intelligence services “to prepare for any scenario.”

On the other side of the divide, mass-murderer and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday that if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear program, “[we] will see if anything from the Zionist regime will remain or not.”

The overarching goal of diplomatic resolutions between nations is to avoid conflict, but sadly, President Biden’s approach is likely hastening it. Either way, if the President persists in his current course, Congress is the only possible counterbalance.

The first thing policymakers should do is listen to Barnea’s concerns without any partisan prejudices and as Sen. Menendez pointed out, see “Iran as it is, not the Iran we might hope for.” Failing that, the other thing Congress should do is heed Prime Minister Lapid’s warning and ensure Israel has an independent, credible military option against Iran should this deal move forward and the Iranians either invariably cheat or simply wait the few short years until they will be able to complete their nuclear program once all restrictions are lifted.

When the Biden Administration gave up on their goal of a longer and stronger deal, the answer was not to cave but to return to a pressure track until Iran would come to the table on their terms. Instead, we are heading towards a weaker, more narrow, and shorter deal whose end result will be a Middle East living under the cloud of the world’s leading sponsor of terror possessing the world’s deadliest weapon.


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