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Important articles that didn't make the Levitt Letter

Clay Christensen on Religious Freedom — video

March 28th, 2015

In the 90-second clip below, Clay Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, details a conversation he had with a Marxist economist from China, in which the other man said democracy works because people believe that “they aren’t just accountable to society, they’re accountable to God.”

“Christensen then asks: “As religion loses its influence over the lives of Americans what will happen to our democracy? Where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation of Americans that they, too, need to voluntarily choose to obey the laws. Because if you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.”

2015 Technion Passover video

March 27th, 2015

Passover Pesach 2015 Seder Rube Goldberg Machine from Technion in Israel

Israel’s Technion students get ready for Passover–the festival of freedom–and let their imagination run wild. Watch closely as this Rube Goldberg machine, created by students from the Faculties of Mechanical Engineering and Architecture and Town Planning, relates highlights of the Passover story.

Filmed in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in The Sydney & Shirley Gendel and Emanuel Friedberg Family Creative Design Student Laboratory, a Project of the American Technion Society, Cleveland Chapter.

Watch Behind the Scenes to see how it was made.

Muslim Holidays in New York Public Schools: Why Not?

March 27th, 2015

PJ Media
by Robert Spencer, March 9, 2015

New York City officials announced last Wednesday that public schools in the city — the nation’s largest school district — will now be closed for the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Multiculturalist leftists, of course, are thrilled, and tarring anyone who isn’t as a racist, bigoted Islamophobe — but the decision may not have been as wise and commonsensical as its supporters are claiming.

Far-Left New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was, predictably, among those waving pompoms and lighting sparklers to celebrate (champagne, of course, was out of the question). “This is a common-sense change,” he declared, “and one that recognizes our growing Muslim community and honors its contributions to our city.”

What contributions to New York City have Muslims made? De Blasio, alas, didn’t say. He might have noted the sharp new security procedures that have made the simple act of walking into a building a much more complicated procedure than it was before September 11, 2001. He could have mentioned the inspiring new 9/11 Memorial and Museum. He could have pointed to architectural improvements: the new high-rise building that is marginally less ugly than the Twin Towers that it replaced. But on this key question, he was mum.

Others, meanwhile, had their mind on more practical matters. New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said: “Muslim students and their families who observe Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha shouldn’t have to choose between an instructional day and their religious obligations. This new addition will also enable a teachable moment in the classroom for our students to learn about religious tolerance and the societal contributions of various cultures.”

This is absurd, of course. Missing a couple of days of public school is hardly a major catastrophe for any child, and people of all beliefs and perspectives and religions have to keep their children out of school now and again for various reasons, with no harm done. If these children wanted to observe these holidays by staying out of school, they could have done so, without imposing the holiday on the non-Muslim students.

The Muslim population of New York, while it is growing, is hardly large enough to justify this. If it’s discrimination against Muslims to have school on Muslim holidays, why isn’t it discrimination against Hindus to have school on Hindu holidays? Because Hindus don’t have loud, aggressive advocacy groups claiming victimhood status and trying to deflect attention away from numerous mass murder attacks and plots in New York City that were inspired and incited by their religious texts.

Instrumental in bringing this about was Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. She called the decision “a win for our children and for future generations in this country. Muslims are a part of the fabric of this country. We make our country proud, and today, New York City made us proud.”

The centrality of the Islamic supremacist Sarsour, a close associate of de Blasio, to the effort demonstrates what it is really about: an attempt to reinforce the idea that Islam is in all respects the same kind of thing as Judaism and Christianity, completely benign and wholly and in all ways to be welcomed. (It also is an effort to obscure the Judeo-Christian foundations of this nation.) The implication is that there is just a tiny minority of extremists who are twisting and hijacking the real thing, but only “Islamophobes” care about them. This will have the effect of further discouraging any honest analysis of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism, and of stigmatizing those who perform such analysis. And that’s the idea.

Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, etc. should consider flying planes into a couple of New York skyscrapers; then they’ll get their holidays off, too. Because one thing is certain: if Islamic jihadists hadn’t perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, Muslims wouldn’t be getting their holidays onto the school calendar now. Ever since 9/11, Islamic supremacist advocacy groups have labored to deflect attention away from the fact that 3,000 were murdered by people acting in accord with Islamic texts and teachings, and to prevent scrutiny of those teachings and of their communities, by claiming victimhood, claiming that they have been unfairly targeted by law enforcement, claiming that they’re victims of racism and bigotry. Leftist politicians have rushed to accommodate their demands and redress their claimed grievances. This is just another example of that.

Brand New Passover Song Will Have You Groovin’–video

March 26th, 2015’s new Pesach (Passover) song to get you clapping and singing along. For lyrics, click on the “cc” (closed captions) box that will appear at the bottom of the screen once the video begins. Enjoy!

Pesach, four cups cold
Holy Moses, Egyptian gold

This one, for family
The hagada, straight masterpiece

Matzah, marror
Eatin’ it up at the Seder

Got Kittel on with Saint Laurent
Save the Afikoman for later

Now comes blood, all red!
Called for Moses, he’s a Magician

Frogs, lice, on head!
Wild beasts and hail I said

It’s so dark, where’s Fred?
Let us go, Pharaoh got no cred

Firstborn, he’s dead!
Say Hebrews, let’s start running.
Break it down

Jews wrote the hallelujah
Jews wrote the hallelujah
Jews wrote the hallelujah

’Cause Pesach Funk gon’ give it to you
’Cause Pesach Funk gon’ give it to you
’Cause Pesach Funk gon’ give it to you

Passover night and we are living it up
Fill it up the Four cups

Matzah crumblin’ up
Chametz: burned it all up
Afikoman’s wrapped up
Don’t be slaves, just rise up

Pesach funk is what’s up
Hey, hey, hey, oi!

Stop! Wait a minute
Fill my cup with the Maneschewitz
Take a sip, lean your chest
Yankele! Get the stretch!

Say four questions, the four sons,
four cups, not too many
and we thank God for freedom
Headin’ to our land of milk ‘n’ honey

Freedom! Oh man
Gonna live my life the best way I can

Freedom! We can
Make the Jew in you to a hero man
Freedom! I am…

Say goodbye to those shackles and
Freedom! Hot sand!
More matzah in your tummy.

Break it down

Jews wrote the hallelujah
Jews wrote the hallelujah
Jews wrote the hallelujah

’Cause Pesach Funk gon’ give it to you
’Cause Pesach Funk gon’ give it to you
’Cause Pesach Funk gon’ give it to you

Passover night and we are living it up
Fill it up the Four cups

Matzah crumblin’ up
Chametz: burned it all up
Afikoman’s wrapped up
Don’t be slaves, just rise up

Pesach funk is what’s up
Hey, hey, hey, oi!

matzah (matzoh, matza, matzo) — unleavened bread
marror (maror) — bitter herbs
hagada (haggadah) — order of the Passover Seder (dinner)
kittle (kitl) — white robe Jewish males wear on special occasions
Afikoman (Afikomen) — in Greek means “that which comes later”. Many families hide the Afikomen–either the parents hide it and the children search for it, or the children hide it and parents search. A prize is often given to whoever locates this important piece of matzah. The Seder cannot continue until the Afikomen has been located and consumed.
Chametz — food made with a leavening agent. Houses must be purged of all chametz before Passover

Palestinian terrorist gets 18 months for US immigration fraud

March 25th, 2015

Israel Hayom
By News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff, March 13, 2015

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 67, failed to tell U.S. authorities that she had been imprisoned in Israel for two bombings, one of which killed two people • She was sentenced to 18 months’ jail by a District Court judge, and will be deported, likely to Jordan.

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh Photo credit: AP

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh
Photo credit: AP

A Palestinian woman was sentenced to 18 months in a U.S. prison on Thursday for immigration fraud for failing to tell authorities that she had been convicted and imprisoned for two bombings in Israel, one of which — a 1969 supermarket bombing — killed two people.

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 67, will be deported, likely to Jordan, after serving her sentence as a result of last year’s conviction in a Detroit federal court of unlawful procurement of naturalization.

Before sentencing, Odeh told U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain, “I’m not a terrorist. I’m not a bad woman.”

But Drain said the offense was about lying to federal immigration official and under oath, and denied defense claims that the prosecution was political. Drain said the case was not about politics, community service or the Middle East.

“This case is about honesty and being truthful and saying the right thing under oath,” he said. “We in this country expect people to tell the truth about things, especially under oath.”

Drain said Odeh’s history does include some terrorist activities, but also acknowledged her work in the United States in helping immigrant women in Chicago.

Odeh lived almost two decades in the United States and served as associate director of a Chicago-area community organization called the Arab American Action Network.

Federal prosecutors said she failed to reveal her criminal history when she immigrated from Jordan in 1995 and again when she was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2004.

She insists that she believed the questions about a past criminal record on the visa and citizenship applications were related to U.S. crimes, although the forms specified “ever.”

Odeh and members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were convicted by an Israeli military court for the supermarket bombing and for placing a bomb at the British Consulate in Jerusalem.

She was released from Israeli prison in a 1980 prisoner swap deal.

Defenders of Odeh filed dozens of letters in her support and also gathered outside the courtroom on Thursday. Her supporters have protested the conviction, alleging she had confessed to the bombing under torture.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel said Odeh is seen as an “icon” among terrorists and that her work in Chicago was irrelevant.

Odeh’s attorneys had argued that she not be imprisoned at all, citing her age, poor health, and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

“This is a blow, of course, but we have to remember that the government wanted the judge to lock Rasmieh up for half a decade or more,” said Muhammad Sankari of the national Rasmea Defense Committee, in a statement, using an alternative spelling of her first name.

Odeh will be free on bond and will return to Chicago while her attorneys appeal the verdict.

The Israel Law Center, which said it helped U.S. prosecutors in the case, said Odeh received a fair trial.

Israel’s Young Heroes of Protective Edge—video

March 23rd, 2015

Israel’s youth make up a key facet of Israeli military defense that provides national security, often in tandem with Iron Dome missiles. For an inspirational upholding of the heroic dedication behind Israel’s cutting-edge defense, see the six-minute video below. You’ll hear from young Israeli soldiers, men and women alike, who offer examples of dealing with fear and the observation that “Courage comes from the inside.”

If it’s March, they must be honoring terrorists

March 23rd, 2015
By Stephen M. Flatow, March 12, 2015

The charred remains of an Israeli bus that was attacked by Palestinian terrorists in the March 1978 Coastal Road massacre. Credit: MathKnight via Wikimedia Commons.

The charred remains of an Israeli bus that was attacked by Palestinian terrorists in the March 1978 Coastal Road massacre. Credit: MathKnight via Wikimedia Commons.

In various cultures, a particular month, day or time is associated with a certain annual activity. For example, here in the United States, November—every other year—is election time. In Israel, every May brings the solemnity of remembering fallen soldiers, followed immediately by celebrations of national independence. And if it’s March and you happen to live in Palestinian Authority (PA)-controlled territory, then you know it’s time for publicly praising and honoring one of the most gruesome Palestinian massacres of Israelis and Americans in modern history.

That’s because March 9, 1978, was the day that a squad of 13 Palestinian terrorists, led by Dalal Mughrabi, landed in several small boats on Israel’s shore. They were members of Fatah, the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). At the time, Yasser Arafat was chairman of the PLO and Fatah, and Mahmoud Abbas was his second in command. Today, Abbas is head of the PLO, Fatah, and the PA.

At the beachfront spot where the terrorists landed, Gail Rubin, a popular American Jewish nature photographer and niece of American Senator Abraham Ribicoff, was taking photos of rare birds. One of the terrorists, Hussain Fayadh, later told the Lebanese Television station Al-Manar what happened: “Sister Dalal al-Mughrabi had a conversation with the American journalist. Before killing her, Dalal asked, ‘How did you enter Palestine?’ [Rubin] answered: ‘They gave me a visa.’ Dalal said, ‘Did you get your visa from me, or from Israel? I have the right to this land. Why didn’t you come to me?’ Then Dalal opened fire on her.”

Mughrabi, Fayadh, and their comrades walked to the nearby Coastal Road and hijacked an Israeli bus. They murdered 36 passengers, 12 of them children. Mughrabi was killed by Israeli troops. Fayadh survived, was sentenced to life in jail, but then released in a prisoner exchange.

So how was that event remembered in PA territory this week? According to Palestinian Media Watch, the official Facebook page of Fatah—Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah—displayed a color poster glorifying Mughrabi as a heroine, and calling the massacre “a huge self-sacrificing operation in Herzliya, Tel Aviv—80 Israelis killed and over 100 wounded.” (They know the real number of victims, but they prefer to indulge their fantasy of the number they had been hoping for.)

Fatah also announced a public event celebrating the mass murder, to be held, of all places, across from Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Square in Ramallah.

Stephen M. Flatow's daughter Alisa (pictured) was murdered in a 1995 Palestinian terror attack. Credit: Flatow family.

Stephen M. Flatow’s daughter Alisa (pictured) was murdered in a 1995 Palestinian terror attack. Credit: Flatow family.

That’s right, in Ramallah, the capital city of the PA—the same PA that receives $500 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars every year—there is a public square named after the terrorist who personally murdered the niece of a U.S. senator. There are also sports tournaments and summer camps named after Mughrabi. And the PA’s official television network frequently broadcasts programs depicting her as a hero and martyr, especially around the time of her birthday.

And just to poke his finger even deeper in America’s eye, Abbas in 2013 hired Mughrabi’s accomplice, Hussain Fayadh, as an adviser. So American aid, approved by the U.S. Senate, helps pay the salary of a terrorist who murdered a senator’s niece.

America has taken no steps to counter this outrageous PA behavior. Why is there no boycott by elected American officials of Ramallah? Why isn’t the equivalent of Hussein Fayadh’s salary being deducted from U.S. aid to the PA.

And why aren’t we in the American Jewish community speaking out, loudly and clearly, any time the PA honors the murderer of an American? We, and the international community, must not get used to the PA doing such things. It’s not acceptable, and we can’t let it become the new normal.

Jews, too, have annual traditions. My family is no different. This month marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of my daughter Alisa and seven others in the 1995 Palestinian terror attack at Kfar Darom. But unlike the Palestinians celebrating their “martyrs,” we won’t be celebrating how Alisa and the others were murdered by Islamic Jihad—not by a long shot.

Instead, we will join mothers and fathers in Israel by quietly lighting a memorial candle in our kitchen. We will visit a lonely grave in the cemetery and go to synagogue to say the Kaddish—mistakenly thought of as a prayer for the dead—and exalt God’s name.

We will all remember the laughter of the good times of families together, the tears of joy and sadness as we bandaged their scraped knees and watched our children grow into upright human beings.

In my home, we will continue to work in Alisa’s name to help provide a Jewish education for as many students as we can, to advocate for the rights of terror victims to obtain justice against those responsible for so much evil in this world, and to see her memory kept alive in our growing family. And we’ll think of the residents of Neve Eliyahu as they spend a quiet evening in the Alisa Flatow Rose Garden, which was dedicated to Alisa not because of her death, but because of her life.

That’s our 20-year-old “normal.”

[The attack at Kfar Darom took place on April 9 and Alisa died on April 10, 1995, according to the Gregorian calendar. On the Jewish calendar, Alisa’s death took place on the 10th of Nissan, which this year coincides with March 30.]

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is a candidate on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.

Why the Likud Won

March 20th, 2015

Israel Today
By Tsvi Sadan, March 19, 2015

On the morning of Election Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to be interviewed on Israel’s Channel 10, but not before requesting that reporter Ben Caspit leave the studio. “Those defaming me and defaming my family,” he told his hosts, “there is nothing obligating me to honor them … they who disguise themselves as journalists.”

Caspit is one of too many journalists who use their profession to shape public opinion against Netanyahu.

Mingling among the cheering crowd celebrating the Likud victory, Channel 10 reporter Israel Rosner asked one about his feelings. “Tomorrow, God willing, we are going to shut down Channel 10,” the reveler beamed at the stunned reporter. “But I’ll be without a job,” complained the reporter. “Don’t worry,” the interviewee responded, “I’ll get you a job at the post office.”

Channel 10 is not alone. In an unprecedented move Netanyahu told his Facebook followers that the time has come “to put things on the table.” Noni Moses, owner of Yediot Acharonot and Ynet, “is using any means possible to overthrow the government of the Likud under my leadership, shut down Israel Hayom and regain monopoly over the written media.”

Netanyahu and the Likud activist suggesting Rosner work at the post office are not hyper-sensitive. Rather, they tell the story of a biased Israeli media that failed miserably in its scheme to outline the major currents of Israeli society.

If there was ever any doubt, the outcome of these elections is proof that “many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).

It is nothing short of amazing that massive support from the Obama Administration, Europe and Israeli and foreign media proved ineffective in ousting Netanyahu. The best propaganda minds, statistical analysts, campaign geniuses and anonymous donors were powerless in their effort to bring the Israeli Left back to power.

These powers have all failed to understand that these last elections were not about hope for better income, health services or affordable housing. As the Obama Administration revealed in its delayed congratulation to Netanyahu and its threat to impose the “two-state solution,” these elections were about the identity and the future of Israel.

The Likud won in spite of Netanyahu, rather than because of him. Many Israelis are fully aware of the problematic domestic policies of Netanyahu, and they blame him for failing to defeat Hamas. And yet, they are willing to turn a blind eye because of his resolute stand against those seeking to compromise Israel’s security.

The Likud won because the majority of Jews in Israel still prefer a “Jewish” democratic state over just a democratic one. Their healthy senses tell them that the Left’s vision for democratic Israel will end up badly for all of us.

The Likud won because the majority of Israeli Jews want to replace the left-wing elite that still controls the Supreme Court, media and academia.

The Likud won because in reality Israel is not as bad as many would have them believe.

Israelis can see with their own eyes the enormous railway and highway projects. They know about the revolutionary desalination plants along Israel’s coast, and they are aware of the support pouring now into Israel’s south.

The Likud won because many Israelis sense that the leftist “Zionist Camp” has lost its desire to see the fulfillment of Israel’ Declaration of Independence. A party that is willing to cooperate with anti-Zionist forces, they reason, will bring despair instead of hope, strife instead of peace.

Likud’s victory is also an Israeli response to disrespectful Obama and hateful Europe. Likud’s victory, therefore, is a vote for Jewish life, pure and simple.

Pastor Saeed “Shaken” as Iranian Authorities Execute His Six Fellow Prisoners

March 18th, 2015

The Christian Post
By Anugrah Kumar, March 8, 2015

Naghmeh Abedini, wife of imprisoned Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, gives remarks at a vigil for her husband held at Lafayette Square near the White House, Washington, Thursday, September 25, 2014. (Photo: The Christian Post)

Naghmeh Abedini, wife of imprisoned Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, gives remarks at a vigil for her husband held at Lafayette Square near the White House, Washington, Thursday, September 25, 2014. (Photo: The Christian Post)

U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has now been in an Iranian jail for his Christian faith for nearly two-and-a-half years, is “shaken” as six of his fellow prisoners were executed around him this week, his wife, Naghmeh, says.

“Saeed was quite shaken as he had to witness 6 fellow prisoners being beaten and taken to be executed (hanged) that day,” Naghmeh was quoted as saying in a report by American Center for Law and Justice on Saturday.

“It was a hard and dark day having witnessed that and seeing life being taken. The prison visit was also very hard as the families of those who were executed were crying and wailing,” she added.

Naghmeh learned about this after Pastor Saeed’s family members in Iran were able to have a short visit with him at the prison.

“It was also an emotional visitation as it is getting closer to Jacob’s 7th birthday. Last time Saeed saw Jacob he was 4 years old,” she said, urging Christians to continue to pray for her husband “to have the strength to endure in that harsh prison and that Jesus would continue to meet him there and give him hope.”

“Please pray that this will be the year that Saeed is released,” she said.

Pastor Saeed remains in an incredibly dangerous situation, ACLJ says, explaining that summary executions, inmate violence and beatings are commonplace.

Saeed has also sustained prolonged internal injuries due to beatings in the prison.

“The Obama Administration must do all within its power to bring this wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizen home to his family in America,” ACLJ says.

Obama raised the issue of the pastor’s detention during his first phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in September 2013, but authorities in Iran have not responded.

Saeed grew up in Iran before converting to Christianity at the age of 20. He later traveled with his family back and forth between Iran and the U.S. to meet other members of his family and for Christian work.

During one such trip in 2009, Saeed was detained by Iranian officials and interrogated for his conversion. While he was released with a warning against engaging in underground church activities, he was once again arrested in 2012 while working on a non-sectarian orphanage project.

Saeed was sentenced for endangering “national security,” but the ACLJ believes the punishment has more to do with Saeed’s Christian faith.

Netanyahu nails the fundamental problem with Iran

March 11th, 2015

Jewish and Israel news,
By Ben Cohen, March 3, 2015

Federal legislators applaud Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO.

Federal legislators applaud Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO.

I have to confess that I was disappointed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference this year. I felt that it was bland, packed with tired talking points, lacking in strategic direction, and generally uninspiring.

Not so with Netanyahu’s speech to Congress the following day, which was a barnstormer. In its immediate aftermath, there were the standard idiocies in response, but that was to be expected. One that caught my eye was the utterance of CNN’s Gloria Borger that Netanyahu’s reference to the Holocaust was “electioneering”—as insulting as leveling the same accusation towards an African-American politician who mentions slavery. Another came from House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who declared, “I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech, saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States”—a statement that itself insults the intelligence of the U.S., because if Bibi demonstrated anything, it’s that he respects and loves America, and he doesn’t want an error of historic proportions over Iran to drive a wedge through this country’s relationship with Israel.

What Netanyahu proved definitively in Congress, which he didn’t do at the AIPAC meeting, is that the current deal that the Obama administration is so keen to cut with Iran will result in the world’s principal sponsor of terrorism, and the main strategic threat to the entire Middle East, weaponizing its nuclear program. Iran is, as Netanyahu put it, “a dark and brutal dictatorship”—and no more of these regimes should ever possess weapons of mass destruction. (I say “no more” because North Korea—in part because of American diplomatic ineptitude—already has nuclear weapons.)

What’s striking is that Netanyahu had to remind us of the nature of the Iranian regime in the first place. One of the problems with the current public discourse around Iran in this country is the tendency to normalize the regime, and to elide or ignore its fundamental violations of basic human rights. Iran even has its apologists, like the left-wing Jewish pundit Peter Beinart, who outright lied in a column for The Atlantic with this claim that, “Iran isn’t doing truly reckless things like invading a Saudi ally in the Persian Gulf or launching chemical or biological weapons at Israel.” Really? Iran now controls Yemen and, to an ever-greater extent, Iraq. It is the main sponsor of Hezbollah. And it is the primary reason that the Assad regime in Syria, which has used chemical and biological weapons against its own populace, remains in power.

Now, I realize that for those like Beinart and his ilk, who believe that the only human rights that matter are those of the Palestinians, arguments like those advanced by Netanyahu in Congress will never shake their predispositions. But for the rest of us—the vast majority—the reminder that Iran’s regime is fundamentally evil, in the same manner that Saddam Hussein’s regime was evil and the North Korean regime remains evil, is a welcome counterbalance to the myth of moderation being pushed by the White House.

On a philosophical level, Netanyahu also underlined that the notion of trust in international relations does not have a one-size-fits-all meaning. Light years separate the trust that defines American relations with Canada from American relations with Iran. In our bilateral relations with Canada, we begin from an assumption of trust, whereas with Iran, we begin—or, at least, we used to—from an assumption of deep, empirically verifiable suspicion that stretches all the way back to 1979, when the newly established Islamist regime’s thugs seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

There were two other strategic points made by Netanyahu that are worth highlighting. The first concerns the current fight against the terrorists of Islamic State and how that impacts negotiations with Iran. As Netanyahu put it, in this particular section of the Middle East, “my enemy’s enemy is my enemy.” The strikes against Islamic State reluctantly launched by the Obama administration, after thousands of Christians and Yazidis had already been massacred or enslaved, should not mean a de facto alliance with Iran, and should not encourage the belief that a region dominated by Iran is preferable to a region dominated by Sunni jihadis. Yes, there are different schools of Islamism that compete, often violently, with each other, but the foundational worldview stretches across sectarian and theological divides: hatred of America, hatred of Israel, and the conviction that Jewish power is the ultimate enemy is what connects the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood with the Shi’a Basij militia, regardless of whatever else separates them.

The second point is that Netanyahu did not—despite the signs being brandished outside the AIPAC convention by anti-Israel demonstrators, who were at their most insane and vicious level this year—come to the U.S. with a call to wage war on Iran. In fact, you might even argue that what was historic about his speech was that we saw an Israeli leader calling for a negotiated deal with Iran; just not the one that is currently on the table. And this would be a deal that would compel the Iranians to stick by their declared objective of having a nuclear program for civilian purposes only. What that means is proper and unfettered monitoring, the complete unveiling of further clandestine facilities, and appropriate measures to prevent a nuclear weapons breakout—whether now, 10 years from now, or a hundred years from now.

That is the only deal that makes sense for the Arab states, for Israel, for Europe, for the U.S., and for the West in general. It is one that the Iranians are free to agree to. Yet even Obama is now starting to concede that such an outcome is unrealistic; as he told the Reuters news agency, “I would say that it is probably still more likely than not that Iran doesn’t get to ‘yes,’” adding revealingly that a deal two or three years from now is even less probable. (That suggests the president wants to leave office with a deal with Iran— any deal—as part of his legacy.)

Ben CohenIf Obama’s instincts are correct, and we don’t reach a deal, then we will go back to a tough sanctions regime against Tehran. If that happens, our strategy should not simply be to isolate Iran. Those sanctions should be part of a package that will encourage and enable the Iranian people to repeat their heroism of 2009, by rising up against this hated regime and, this time, overthrowing it.

That would be the best deal of all.

Ben Cohen is the Shillman Analyst for His writings on Jewish affairs and Middle Eastern politics have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Ha’aretz, Jewish Ideas Daily and many other publications.

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