Speak Out against a Nuclear-Armed Iran
I'm writing to you from Israel where I'm participating in a wonderful mission led by Gideon Argov, the co-chair of our Israel Advocacy Executive Committee. We've been attending Boston-Haifa Steering Committee meetings and will soon attend an innovative Port City Conference held in conjunction with the City of Haifa, the Technion and Northeastern University.
All of us are on this mission because of our deep love and affection for Israel.
I've been listening to Israelis -- from cab drivers to security experts, from Likud supporters to those who feel passionately about the new Zionist Union Party -- about Iran.
Many are supporters of Prime Minister Netanyahu and applauded his powerful speech to a joint session of Congress. But there is also great fear that the process leading to it was flawed, that it might have damaged Israel's critically important relationship to the United States. They fear that, for the first time in its history, Israel has become a wedge that divides Democrats and Republicans.
There is widespread agreement here, however, that Iran is the foremost purveyor of state-sponsored terrorism in the world, and it acts as aggressors throughout the Middle East.
Israelis understand that Iran's religiously motivated aggression and genocidal intent toward Israel will not likely change, regardless of any agreement. Most support the American search for an agreement as long as it effectively ends Iran's nuclear ambitions. However, they are deeply concerned that the agreement currently being negotiated might leave them dangerously exposed.
Amos Yadlin is the likely Zionist Union Party choice for Defense Minister if that party wins the upcoming elections. He is also a friend, who many of us met with when he served as head of military intelligence under Prime Minister Netanyahu. He outlined his ideas for the minimum requirements of an acceptable deal:
- Breakout time - or how long it would take to have enough material to create one nuclear weapon - of no less than two to three years.
- The highest possible inspection protocol level, including the highest certainty by intelligence and nuclear experts that Iran's nuclear program is "stuck in cement."
- Iran must have a clear understanding of the consequences that would accompany failure of the negotiations or cheating once a deal is concluded. This might be accomplished, in part, by a bilateral agreement between the United States and Israel that describes the expected responses.
- Continued alertness to other threats posed by Iran.
Dennis Ross, who served as an envoy to the Middle East for three U.S. presidents, expressed similar concerns in a recent USA Today Op-Ed.
This is a crucial moment in history. However you view these dangerous times, silence is not an option.