An Update from CUFI Action Fund
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This week’s Action Update is being written just hours after CUFI’s founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee, the CUFI Action Fund’s Chairwoman Sandra Parker, and several other CUFI staff were at the White House witnessing leaders fromIsrael, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signing peace agreements. History is being made, and we’re in the midst of it.

A Brave New World

Arabs and Israelis are signing peace agreements which are not precipitated by war, but rather motivated by a desire to see peace and prosperity sweep across the Middle East. Arab leaders interested in moving their countries forward have accepted that Israel is not only here to stay, but relations with the Jewish state present significant economic opportunities and an important bulwark against Iran’s regional threat.

This is not just the future but it is now the present. And despite our elation at seeing the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael come together in harmony, there remain those who would rather see the Jewish state destroyed than see the Arab world prosper. Some of those people are terrorists or their sponsors. Others subscribe to the BDS movement. And still others sit in the leadership of the Palestinian Authority or once allies such as Turkey. They have all underestimated both Arabian pragmatism and Israeli optimism. And unless they change quickly and dramatically, they will be relegated to ash heap of history.

Pastor Hagee had this to say following the ceremony, “The historic agreements signed today show that peace is on the march and the so-called Arab- Israeli conflict is increasingly an anachronism. Israel is strong and flourishing, and the Arab world is coming to see the Jewish state not as a foe, but as an ally against Iran and a partner for peace and prosperity. It is my sincere hope and prayer that other Arab nations will follow the UAE and Bahrain’s lead and that the Palestinian leadership in particular will accept that peace with Israel is the only path forward.”

Peace Through Strength

At the CUFI Action Fund we advocate in support of positions that strengthen the Jewish state, enabling it to survive and thrive. As a result of the position in which Jerusalem presently finds itself, Arab leaders are normalizing relations with Israel. Peace and stability will continue to progress in the Middle East only if our leaders in Washington – from both parties – recognize that Israel is always willing to make peace with partners who want the same, and the key to moving that ball down the field is a strong and prosperous Jewish state.

As Parker noted after the ceremony, “The dramatic and historic shift in the Middle East has been made possible by strong American leadership and longstanding bipartisan support for Israel. I hope these momentous agreements serve as a reminder to our elected officials that Israel’s foremost foreign policy priority is living in peace with its neighbors.”

Back to the Future

As the rest of us were looking forward, unfortunately, Vice President Biden penned an op-ed that showed his policy towards Iran would be a throwback to the past. Neither the Action Fund nor CUFI advocate for one candidate or the other in 2020. We are nonpartisan entities that focus on policy – not politicians. And just as we have been very open about our concerns with current policy towards Turkey or unconditional support for the Lebanese Armed Forces, we will make our position known on Iran as well.

The Vice President’s stated approach to Iran would once again bring us back to a situation where Tehran’s nuclear program would be legitimized, its malign activities financed, and the regional breakthroughs we see before us challenged. Surely, Iran’s continued nuclear violations or discoveries such as the nuclear archive would give anyone pause about Iran’s true intentions.

In 2018, Secretary of State Pompeo laid out 12 requirements to which Iran would have to agree (and implement) in order to have a new nuclear deal. These requirements, such as providing the International Atomic Energy Agency unrestricted access to all Iranian nuclear sites and end the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ support for terror, are so basic that we would ask any administration that sits down with the Islamic Republic, which of them is a bridge too far? Is it coming clean about its past illicit nuclear activities? Is it ending support for Hezbollah? We must deal with the regime in Tehran as they are, not as some want to imagine them to be.

The Vice President’s op-ed is sadly, rife with intellectual acrobatics. We can’t list them all, but to name a couple:

“At the United Nations, Trump could not rally a single one of America's closest allies to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran.”
It was President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal and the accompanying UN security council resolution that created the sunset of the arms embargo to begin with. This was a feature, not a bug of the failed 2015 agreement. One can argue that more needs to be done to extend the embargo, but not if you played a central role in its lifting.

“[President Trump] ignored our closest allies and walked away -- alone, without a plan -- from a deal that put the world's eyes and ears inside Iran's nuclear program and was verifiably blocking Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon.”

If we are going to talk about ignoring allies, the Prime Minister of Israel went before a joint session of Congress and pleaded with the Obama administration not to make a bad deal. And several Arab nations, including the Saudisand UAE, likewise made clear that the Iran nuclear deal would be a disaster. Furthermore, it has been crystal clear that we did not get a complete understanding of the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program and IAEA inspectors have been repeatedly denied access to key sites for. So even the best elements of the 2015 deal never lived up to the promises made.  

Obviously, we could go on. But suffice it to say that the Vice President’s op-ed lays out a vision that will lead to more nuclear proliferation across the Middle East, not less. Similarly, the Trump administration should continue on its path of maximum pressure, guided by the 12 demands Secretary Pompeo has laid out.  

In the meantime, we’ll keep standing up for a strong US-Israel relationship and advocating for policies that combat anti-Semitism and curtail the malign influence of bad actors like Iran. And we’ll be able to do that because people like you have taken the time to learn about these issues and support our efforts.


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