2015-09-16 / Home

JCRC event brings together Dershowitz & Beinart to discuss merits of Iran Deal and ‘the day after’

By DAVID PORTNOE
Voice Editor


At the Iran Nuclear Deal Community Forum were (from left), Amy Clayman, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council; Event Moderator Linda Maizels, director of Israel and International Concerns, Jewish Council for Public Affairs; guest speaker Alan Dershowitz; guest speaker Peter Beinart; and Vicki Zell, president of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. The JCRC event was one of only two forums nationally where Beinart and Dershowitz appeared together to discuss the Iran Nuclear Deal. At the Iran Nuclear Deal Community Forum were (from left), Amy Clayman, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council; Event Moderator Linda Maizels, director of Israel and International Concerns, Jewish Council for Public Affairs; guest speaker Alan Dershowitz; guest speaker Peter Beinart; and Vicki Zell, president of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. The JCRC event was one of only two forums nationally where Beinart and Dershowitz appeared together to discuss the Iran Nuclear Deal. By the time Alan Dershowitz and Peter Beinart spoke to a packed house in the auditorium of the Weinberg Jewish Community Campus, the discussion had turned from mustering the votes to pass or stop the Iran Deal in Congress to what happens on the “day after.” Earlier in the day, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced her support, giving President Obama enough votes to override any Congressional attempt to block the deal.

“The deal will go through, and then the struggle begins…making sure Iran does not get nuclear weapons,” said Dershowitz, a retired Harvard Law professor vehemently opposed to the Iran Nuclear Deal. He urged the audience at the JCRC event to continue to contact their senators and congressmen to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons.

Peter Beinart, an associate professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York and a contributing editor of “The Atlantic,” said the Iran Deal would make it harder for the Iranian regime to develop nuclear weapons. He said that without a deal, Iran would be free to develop nuclear weapons with no inspections at all.

“If we reject this deal, the sanctions regime will collapse… and if the sanctions regime collapses, we will have less leverage over Iran. I believe this deal, flawed as it is, is better than the alternative,” said Beinart.

Dershowitz said that the sanctions regime collapsed as soon as the deal was struck. He said that Sec. of State John Kerry was “out-negotiated.”

“I believe this deal itself gives Iran the green light to begin to develop nuclear weapons in eight years,” said Dershowitz. He said that the U.S. chose to “play checkers with the people who invented chess.”

Dershowitz said that the Iran Deal makes war more likely. He said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as any of his successors, would not preside over a nuclear Iran.

Beinart said that going to war always has unintended consequences. “You can start a war, but you never know where it will end,” he said.

Dershowitz said that the U.S. treated Iran as an equal instead of dictating the terms like a superpower. He also suggested that there are side deals with the Iranians that the public does not know about.

At the end of the program, Beinart and Dershowitz took questions from the audience. Dershowitz suggested that Congress enact legislation insisting that it is the U.S. position that the part of the Iran Deal that states that Iran is not to develop nuclear weapons be binding, and gives the President the authority to enforce that.

Beinart responded by saying that the U.S. tried to enforce “red lines” during the George W. Bush administration, when Iran went from a few hundred centrifuges to 19,000.

Beinart said that Iran will continue to be a “bad actor” in the Middle East, but the Iran Deal will mean it will be further away from nuclear weapons. He said that it is because Iran cannot be trusted that the deal is much better than no oversight at all.

Dershowitz, on the other hand, quoted Holocaust survivor, author, and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel’s advice, “Always believe the threats of your enemies more than the promises of your friends.”

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