Friday was the second anniversary of the Iran deal. According to the Arms Control Association, it's working. Former Shin Bet head Carmi Gillon writes that "the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon is more remote than it has been in decades. Thanks to the agreement, Iran's nuclear program has been defanged and all its pathways to a bomb blocked." He also notes that:
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after leading a vociferous international campaign against the agreement, now remains mostly silent on the subject. And while the majority of my colleagues in the Israeli military and intelligence communities supported the deal once it was reached, many of those who had major reservations now acknowledge that it has had a positive impact on Israel's security and must be fully maintained by the United States and the other signatory nations.
Does Iran still engage in other nefarious activities? Yes, and Gillon says that "it is for precisely these reasons that the nuclear agreement is so important. By ensuring that such a dangerous regime can never possess nuclear weapons, the deal makes it easier for Iran to be confronted for its other malign behaviors."
And what would happen if the Iran deal collapsed? British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson writes that "Iran -- not the United States or Britain -- would regain the most freedom of action. Without the constraints on their nuclear program, Iran's leaders could bring back the centrifuges and rebuild the uranium stockpile."
Some of the Iran Deal's restrictions expire after 15 years, but many last much longer, and some are permanent--including the prohibition on acquiring nuclear weapons. If at some point Iran decides to violate its commitments, we will be in a much better position to respond militarily as a result of intelligence gathered through the most intrusive inspections regime any country has ever submitted to and, presumably, the planning we will have done in anticipation of that scenario.
Congress should not jeopardize the success of the deal. A July 12 open letter to Trump from retired generals and admirals noted that "Congress is currently considering legislation designed to politicize our national security rather than make meaningful contributions to it." The letter also stated that the Iran accord "focused on one goal: preventing an Iranian nuclear weapons program. The effort paid off."
A Jewish state must by definition have a strong and secure Jewish majority, a reality that remains elusive if Israel does not achieve an eventual and much needed divorce from the Palestinian territories. An indefinite military occupation of the West Bank with no end in sight will have erosive and catastrophic effects on Israeli democracy that will be irreversible if not addressed from a security perspective now.
If we as passionate Zionists cannot identify this issue as a major demographic and moral challenge facing Israel, then we have forgotten the sole mission of Zionism: to empower Jews with the ability to control their own destiny. The current Israeli government is allowing the pervasive terror and instability in the region and the divided, corrupt Palestinian polity to shape its own future. This is the antithesis of Zionism and contrary to what Israel's founders envisioned for the country.
We must also distinguish between the State of Israel and the government of Israel. As I explained in February, pro-Israel does not necessarily mean pro-Bibi.
Radiohead stands up to BDS. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke delivered a blistering reply to British filmmaker Ken Loach, who supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel and is among those, along with Roger Waters, pressuring Radiohead to cancel its concert in Israel.
Yorke explained that "Music, art and academia is about crossing borders not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression. I hope that makes it clear Ken."
And what a surprise: the Scottish BDS activists who protested Radiohead also promote Holocaust denial and traffic in anti-Semitism.
How to convince Republicans. We don't have to. The Trump voters who see Trump's bigotry and misogyny as a feature, not a bug, are beyond persuasion. But good people who previously voted Republican are realizing that today's Republican Party is the party of Trump and no longer shares their values. Bob Schneider, a staunch Republican for 44 years, explains why he is now a Democrat -- and it's not only because "[Bruce] Rauner is Trump in a more presentable form."
It's not just Republican activists who are seeing the light. Peter Beinart explains why conservative Jewish intellectuals are no longer comfortable in the Republican Party. Conservative writer Jennifer Rubin (a strong backer of Mitt Romney in 2012) writes that the problem is not the Trump family, but the GOP's "inner moral rot."