Dear Friends,

Was it wise or foolish to pull out of the Iran deal? While I have not read the details of the agreement, I am convinced that it was a bad deal and that Iran was not living up to the conditions that had been set forth. I also believe that Iran is an untrustworthy rogue country, determined to further its own nefarious objectives, including an attack on Israel through one of its proxy “messengers.”

Yes, we have alienated our allies, at least for the immediate time, and that is no small matter. But for me, the question boils down to “is the world a safer place with or without the agreement?” Were I a prophet, I might know the answer to that question. But I am not, and so I turn to my friend, David Harris, whose response strikes me as informed and wise.

“…In addition, despite repeated Obama Administration predictions, which we ourselves heard more than once, that the JCPOA would moderate Iranian behavior and lead to greater focus on domestic growth and development, Tehran has expanded its regional aggression, repeatedly flexed its military muscle, continued its calls for Israel’s annihilation and “Death to America” and flaunted its expanding missile program.

And Israel’s remarkable intelligence coup in Iran further underscored the longstanding Iranian pattern of deceit, deception, and disinformation, and served as an additional warning to the international community about the true intentions of Iran’s leadership.

President Donald J. Trump never hid his disdain for the JCPOA or his threat to withdraw the United States from it. But he also left open the possibility that if our European allies would be willing to address seriously the core weaknesses, then there was an alternative to “nixing” the deal. Regrettably, however, despite efforts on both sides of the Atlantic, full agreement on a path forward has to date eluded the Americans and Europeans.

That is profoundly regrettable. Despite our many reservations, we had nonetheless hoped to see the deal “fixed,” not “nixed,” at this stage of the game.

We can only hope that today’s action by the President, significant as it is, will not end the effort to find common ground. The last think anyone should want is a wedge driven between the U.S. and our European partners, as Iran would inevitable become an unintended beneficiary. And given Iran’s current and future threats to regional and global security, that should be an outcome no one in the U.S. or Europe wants.”

Shabbat Shalom

         Rabbi David Greenberg