Nearly 25 years ago, I introduced Cory Booker to the Jewish community and had him serve as President of our Jewish student group at Oxford University, the L’Chaim Society, at the time the second largest student organization in Oxford’s history. Since then, I’ve proudly shared a stage with him at countless Synagogues and Jewish communal events. We have studied thousands of hours of Torah together amid a mutual commitment to universal Jewish values. The substance of our exchange often revolved around the shared suffering of our two peoples and the horrors visited upon them due to irrational hate.
Cory is my soul-friend and no matter of policy will ever get personal or come between us. But in his announcement on Thursday that he will support President Obama’s nuclear Agreement with Iran which shocked Jewish America to its core, Cory offers confused and inconsistent logic which makes us question the larger happenings behind the scenes.
Cory goes on to endorse provable fallacies. He says confidently that “the deal will establish the most robust monitoring and inspections regime ever negotiated.”
First, he releases the statement as a way of announcing his support for a deal which he himself describes as “dangerous” and “deeply-flawed.” Moreover, he never once condemns the Iranian promise to exterminate the Jews of Israel or at least distance himself from those elements of the deal which he admits will legitimize a tyrannical and genocidal regime. On the contrary, he openly admits that “with this deal, we are legitimizing a vast and expanding nuclear program in Iran.” Worse, he does so even while acknowledging Iran’s “determination to destroy the United States and our ally Israel.” If this, Cory, is the case, how then can you vote for a deal that gives Iran the means by which to achieve this evil goal in just ten to fifteen years?
From there, his statement of support descends into convoluted and contradictory reasoning. For example, he astonishingly condemns the fact that the deal was negotiated at all. In his own words: “With the JCPOA, we have now passed a point of no return that we should have never reached.” Yet, he elects to embrace it.
Cory goes on to endorse provable fallacies. He says confidently that “the deal will establish the most robust monitoring and inspections regime ever negotiated.” But Cory knows this claim has zero credibility. And he knows it better than most. After all, so many of the gaping holes in the inspection regime were kept secret from the public and were made known only to members of Congress voting on the deal. For example, he is certainly aware of formerly-classified information that Iran will be providing its own samples to the IAEA for inspection. We only know this because Cory’s Senior colleague from New Jersey, Robert Menendez, disclosed it publicly during a Senate hearing in July. He was harshly scolded by John Kerry for releasing this “classified” information, but did so because of his outrage at seeing the “fox guarding the chicken coop.”
Cory also knows that any suspicious Iranian activity can only lead to an investigation after going through an endless obstacle course of bureaucratic votes and committee-meetings — giving Iran an astounding twenty-four days notice before any inspection. And with regard to President Obama’s commitment to verifying that there are no military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program, the system is just as flawed. Recently exposed secret side-deals between Iran and the IAEA have uncovered that Iran will be allowed to — get this — self-inspect its most suspicious military facility at Parchin. This is all atop the fact that no American official will ever be allowed to take part in any of these inspections, but will have to rely entirely on a UN agency. Taken together, these details betray what is in truth a complete mockery of verification.
Coupled with reckless confidence in a deeply-flawed inspections regime is Cory’s concession that “even under the deal, we should expect that Iran will cheat when it can.” It’s one thing to exaggerate the effectiveness of an inspections-system with reliable partners. But if you openly declare your partners to be outright liars and cheats, shouldn’t you be a bit more cautious in embracing such weak means of preventing their subterfuge?
Cory goes on, telling us that “[Iran] will continue or even ramp up its destabilizing activities and sponsorship of terrorism with the additional resources provided by increased sanctions relief.” Is he further admitting, against all his efforts as Mayor of Newark to get guns out of the hands of criminals, that he will now vote for a deal which will give Iran the resources and weapons by which to murder innocent men, women, and children, and especially American soldiers? Is it moral to give guns to people whom you admit to being terrorists and cold-blooded killers?
Cory references his visit to Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum in Jerusalem, when he was twenty-five — a trip that I arranged, trusting as I did that he would absorb the never-ending Jewish struggle for survival in a world inhabited by the kind of evil represented by the Iranian regime. He had just completed his term as President of our Oxford University L’Chaim Society. I subsequently introduced him to Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. The three of us would even hold a public speech together in New York in 2009.
I realize that, amid Cory’s troubling and tragic choice to support this agreement, he pledges to be “united with all who are determined to ensure that we never again see genocide in the world.”
But I must remind him about the famous and prophetic words from none other than Wiesel himself: “We have learned to trust the threats of our enemies more than the promises of our friends.”
Shmuley Boteach served as Rabbi at Oxford University for 11 years, where he won The London Times Preacher of the Year Award. He created The Oxford University L’Chaim Society, which had Cory Booker as its President in 1993. Rabbi Boteach will shortly publish The Israel Warrior’s Handbook. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.