By June Neal
Published in the Connecticut Jewish Ledger
Regarding the Jewish Ledger’s editorial of Feb. 11, “Netanyahu Should Pass On Speech Before Congress”: When Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to Congress on March 17, one white-haired, 86-year-old man will take a seat in the audience: Elie Wiesel, the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose name is a metaphor for the conscience of the world. His presence will cast an aura of righteousness that should shame those members of Congress who chose to boycott the speech because of team loyalty over demonstrating respect for the leader of the only democracy in the Middle East. In an advertisement he is running in two major newspapers, Wiesel will cite “the catastrophic danger of a nuclear Iran” and ask our leaders: “Will you join me in hearing the case for keeping weapons from those who preach death to Israel and America?”
People of good will want to believe that diplomacy can forestall a nuclear-armed Iran. But successful diplomacy requires both parties to be honest brokers. Iran is a criminal theocracy that has never moved from its stated goal of destruction of the United States, which it calls The Great Satan. And it is frightening that the only insurance policy we have against Iran’s surreptitious nuclear development is the International Atomic Energy Agency, an arm of the United Nations, with which Iran has played a shell game for years.
Iran signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty but continued to enrich uranium beyond agreed levels. It has ignored United Nations Security Council resolutions.
As the Ledger’s editorial correctly states, “Every single day Iran’s centrifuges are spinning.” So, why ask Netanyahu to cancel his speech? His call to action is needed now, before this bad pact is signed. And how would it be enforced when the agency charged with its oversight can’t do its job? According to the IAEA’s own November 20, 2014 report, Section H: “The Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.” And Section L: “…the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
Just days later, the IAEA Director, General Yukiya Amano, told CNN: “The IAEA has been addressing this issue of Iran nuclear issues for more than 10 years but we still cannot give the assurance that all of the activities in Iran are for peaceful purposes. We have two problems: one is that Iran is not fully cooperating with the Agency to clarify the information that may have military aspects. Another problem is that Iran is not allowing us to implement a more powerful verification tool that is called an ‘Additional Protocol.’ Agreement was not reached.”
I urge all our senators and our representatives to attend Mr. Netanyahu’s speech. In doing so, they will send a strong message to Iran and to all who seek our destruction: this is a matter of conscience, not politics, and the security of the United States of America is paramount. In this we stand together.
Delray Beach, Fla.