Science-Denying Right-Winger Perfect Choice for Trump's VP

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Donald Trump's vice presidential choice, is an extreme right-wing Republican who signed an anti-abortion law that mandated funerals for fetuses. According to the Jewish Week, Pence's positions on Israel "are more in line with the GOP's religious right and evangelical base than with the overwhelming majority of American Jews."

On other issues, Pence has a terrible record on LGBTQ and choice issues, going so far as to signing a law permitting businesses to refuse to serve or hire gays, lesbians and others based on their gender identification or religious beliefs. 

Pence disagrees that smoking kills, refuses to say whether he believes in evolution, disseminated misinformation about the Iraq War, pursued a vendetta against Planned Parenthood, and called global warming "a myth." In other words, he is perfect for Donald Trump.

One year later, the Iran deal is working. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action entered into on July 14, 2015, peacefully prevented Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, thereby removing an existential threat to Israel and enhancing the safety and security of the United States and its allies. President Barack Obama said:

During the past year, Iran has implemented its nuclear-related commitments, as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Iran has shipped out 98 percent of its enriched uranium, dismantled two thirds of its centrifuges, filled its plutonium production reactor with concrete, and adopted the most intrusive inspection and verification program ever negotiated for a nuclear program. IAEA reports have confirmed that Iran is complying with its commitments. As a result, all of Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon remain closed, and Iran's breakout time has been extended from two to three months to about a year. The United States and our negotiating partners have also fully implemented our commitments to lift nuclear-related sanctions, and we will continue to uphold our commitments as long as Iran continues to abide by the deal.

Read this letter to the president from 75 national security leaders on the anniversary of the nuclear agreement with Iran.

So why are we reading about Iran violating this and that agreement and resolution? Because the Iran deal had only one goal: to remove the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. Iran continues its nefarious activities, but is no longer on the brink of acquiring nuclear weapons. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said last week that "We remain clear-eyed that the JCPOA did not resolve, nor was intended to resolve, concerns outside of the nuclear arena, including Iran's support for terrorism and its ballistic missile program, and we will continue to leverage our various tools - including sanctions - to counter this behavior."

Yet nearly every Republican member of Congress seeks to undermine or dismantle the Iran deal. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)  wrote on Thursday:

Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives remain determined to undo all of [the Iran deal's] progress. This week, they are bringing a series of bills to the floor that are designed to undermine and undo the agreement that made us safer. They are wasting our time on wrongheaded legislation in the last week before the House takes a seven-week break. At a time when the country faces significant challenges from gun violence to Zika, Republicans are refusing to act on issues of importance. Instead, they are dangerously politicizing our safety and the safety of our closest allies, while ignoring their responsibility to the American public.

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it is time for Republicans to stop playing games with our safety. The JCPOA is working - preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. It's time for the Republicans to start working too.

Reps. Steny Hoyer (Md.), a staunch friend of Israel who supported the deal, as well as three Jewish Democrats who opposed the deal, Eliot Engel (N.Y.), Nita Lowey (N.Y.) and Ted Deutch (Fla.), wrote a letter opposing partisan Iran legislation introduced by the Republicans "in the dead of night."

The Republican platform: not so pro-Israel this time. It's not what the Republican platform says. It's what it doesn't say. Why would the Republicans omit language from their previous platform supporting the only solution under which Israel can remain Jewish and democratic? Support for a two-state solution is a bedrock pro-Israel principle.

From the Anti-Defamation League:

We are disappointed that the platform draft departs from longstanding support of a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict - and the shared vision of successive American presidents and prime ministers of Israel, including the current leadership in both countries, who believed it was the only viable way to secure Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state. We hope the delegates will reconsider and reaffirm this pillar of U.S. policy toward Israel in the final platform.

JWeekly noted that the omission of two-state solution language is not only a "break from longtime U.S. foreign policy and Israeli government policy, it also goes against AIPAC's position - despite the organization's protestations to the contrary - and contravenes the opinion of most American Jews." 

The Israel Policy Forum also opposes the omission of support for a two-state solution.

Jane Eisner of the Forward is right: "Sadly, this isn't the Old Republican Party anymore. While a party platform is a largely symbolic document, this development puts to rest the notion that a common vision of what's best for Israel's future is shared across the political spectrum."

Conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin condemned the Republican Jewish Coalition for its hypocrisy and irresponsibility in supporting Donald Trump. She noted that the RJC is sticking "with someone whose views are as noxious as they are ignorant."

Sign up for Steve Sheffey's Pro-Israel Political Updates here.