Daniel Tilson: Resisting knee-jerk negativity on the Iran nuclear deal

salute you

Political opportunists and wannabes worldwide are working their mouths and typing fingers overtime this week, trying to turn American public opinion against the Iran nuclear deal in hopes Congress refuses to approve it this summer.

And they’re not all seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination either — not yet anyway. In fact, the leader of the pack of peace-busters is a foreigner, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The controversially conservative hard-liner infamously angered many peace-loving American Jews, Democrats and countless others in March, when with two weeks left in his re-election battle and delicate diplomatic talks underway between Iran and America’s P5 + 1 coalition (USA, Britain, France, China, Russia plus Germany), he accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s hyper-partisan invitation to raise hell with an anti-Iran speech to Congress.

Most other Florida Jews I know who aren’t under the sway of conservative organizations like AIPAC were upset by that — as were millions of Israelis who long for peace, and saw their prime minister’s move as dangerously counter-productive and shamelessly self-serving. But Netanyahu still squeaked out a victory in full-throttled “hawk” mode, claiming he no longer supported “two-state” peace and a Palestinian state. Election won, he rescinded the flip-flop.

In opposing and interfering with in-progress diplomacy, he and a loyal assortment of conservative American Jewish organizations failed in their mission to sabotage the historic accord. But they succeeded in emboldening 47 Republican senators to send a letter to Iran that undermined President Obama, threatened the peace process and, in the minds of many, was treacherous communication with an enemy.

Yet negotiations continued, and succeeded. Now we have a roadmap for limiting Iran’s nuclear capacities and preventing weapons development, easing economic sanctions punishing the Iranian people, and the potential for  turning Iran into a constructive if not “friendly” ally in the Middle East, a bulwark against radical Islamic fundamentalists region-wide.

But of course, Netanyahu and allies are pushing the rest of the world’s panic buttons. His education minister understated it best: “Today a terrorist nuclear superpower is born, and it will go down as one of the darkest days in world history.”

As a proud American Jew, a supporter of a two-state peace plan and ongoing diplomacy with every other country in the Middle East, I have to say, that’s just plain meshuggeneh — crazy.

Hardcore conservative Israeli politicians and officials rely on fear-mongering and disinformation to motivate and control most of the public, just like in the USA. And many in both countries appear mixed up with private military contractors in perpetual, very profitable war-mongering.

Make no mistake, the Iran deal isn’t perfect. But it’s worthy of support, and full of positive outcome potential. If Jeffrey Lewis, one of America’s leading nuclear arms control experts, says of the deal “I would give it an A.”…then I’m in.

The preference was for an agreement that left Iran with virtually no nuclear program whatsoever, including for potential electric power. Iran was never going to accept that. What nation would?

 And there was hope economic sanctions wouldn’t be rolled back too far or fast. But, there’s built-in capacity to re-impose sanctions if Iran doesn’t fully cooperate with weapons inspectors and enforcement protocols. Isn’t that enough to move forward?

Egged on by Israel’s hard-liners and the prospect of millions of donation dollars and votes waiting to be won from conservative Jewish groups and their members, Republicans in Congress (and some Democrats) are already answering, “No!”

We the American people must now insist, “Come on the Peace Train.”

 Daniel Tilson is a communications consultant and media producer specializing in online written and video content for nonprofits, small businesses, and political candidates/organizations/campaigns. You can follow him on Twitter @danieltilson. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Daniel Tilson


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