Sheffey: Whom Do We Believe?

Don't rely on what others tell you; check the original sources yourself and then see if the reports you rely on are accurate.

President Barack Obama's speech at American University last week contained strong arguments for the Iran deal and powerful refutations of inaccurate criticism. The speech was pro-Israel in form and substance. The U.S. and Israel are better off with this deal than without it.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) did not lobby for the Iraq War, and President Obama did not suggest that it did.

Some of those who oppose the Iran deal do want war, but those who claim not to want war offer no realistic alternative to stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions,  nor do they explain how we will mitigate the harmful aftermath of Congress blocking this deal. The pro-Israel members of Congress who oppose the deal have not addressed these issues.

It's hard to discuss the Iran deal without a common understanding of the facts. I'm old enough to remember when everyone received news from the same three TV networks and the same two or three newspapers. Opinions varied, but we based our opinion on the same facts.

Now we can get our news from Fox or MSNBC, or go online to Breitbart or the Huffington Post. We get the news that confirms our biases. When we talk to each other we can't get anywhere because we are living in different worlds.

Fortunately, the Internet has a solution, which is one of the mantras of this newsletter: Go to the original source. Instead of relying on someone else to tell you what President Obama said, why not read President Obama in his own words, in context? You'll not only know exactly what he said, but you'll be able to judge for yourself whether your sources of information are reliable.

Watch President Obama's speech at American University. It's one of the best speeches of his presidency. 

If you don't have time to watch it, at least take 10 minutes to read it. It's a strong, pro-Israel speech that makes a powerful case for the Iran deal. Some of President Obama's detractors, who have called him every name in the book, were shocked that the president firmly rebutted their arguments. I never knew they were so sensitive. I would love to hear from anyone who can find anything inaccurate or inappropriate in this speech. I can't.

President Obama did NOT say that AIPAC lobbied for the Iraq War (it didn't, according to members of Congress at the time), but the president is right that many opponents of the Iran deal did support the Iraq War, including a private citizen named Benjamin Netanyahu (skip to the two-minute mark).

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) explained last week why "as an American, and as a Jew who is deeply concerned about the security of Israel," he believes that Congress should not block this deal. So far, this is the best congressional statement that I've read if you're the least bit undecided, you should read it.

I too support the Iran deal. Not because it's perfect, but because it's a good deal that is better than any alternative on the table. I love Israel just as much as those who oppose the deal, and I am just as concerned about preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The difference is that I view the world as it is, not as I'd like it to be, and in the real world, there is no better alternative to this deal. Am I uncomfortable disagreeing with Prime Minister Netanyahu? Yes, even though many in Israel's intelligence and military community believe Bibi is wrong to oppose the deal.

But as Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), the longest-serving Jewish member of Congress said when he announced his support for the Iran deal, "the only anchors in public life are to dig deeply into the facts and consult broadly and then to say what you believe." 

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