Three speakers had strong words against the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran at a forum hosted by Temple Hillel in North Woodmere on Sunday, where two prominent Jewish activists and the only Jewish Republican in Congress addressed a packed house.
“When the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the biggest supporter of Islamic terrorism, who arms and funds the murder of innocent Christians and Jews around the world, makes such a statement of deep gratitude and appreciation about the Iran deal, we must all shudder in fear and unite against this disastrous deal,” said Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America. He referred to a statement praising the deal made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whom Klein denounced as a terrorist.
Klein’s critique of the deal, which was agreed to on July 14 and backed by the United Nations Security Council and the European Union on Monday, included pointed remarks about President Barack Obama. “Because of this, people will die,” Klein said. “Why is Barack Hussein Obama doing this?”
He noted the support that the deal has around the world, contrasting that against the position of Israel and many in the worldwide Jewish community. “The whole world is wrong,” he said. “We are right.”
Rep. Lee Zeldin, who defeated six-term incumbent Tim Bishop for New York’s 1st Congressional District in the 2014 midterm elections, told the crowd that now is a “sad time for American foreign policy,” and criticized the Obama administration for not including Congress in the negotiations with Iran.
“Iran has been overthrowing foreign regimes, unlawfully imprisoning Americans and calling for death to America and death to Israel,” he said.
Zeldin downplayed the access of international inspectors to Iran’s nuclear program that Obama has touted, saying that the deal is “more convoluted.” He rejected the notion that war would be the only alternative. “There is another alternative other than war. It’s a better deal,” he said, adding, “America got played.”
He dismissed the deal’s promise of limiting Iran’s installation of its 20,000 centrifuges to 5,060 of the oldest and least efficient ones for the next ten years, and the reduction of Iran’s uranium stockpile by 98 percent to 300kg, or 660lbs, for 15 years. The centrifuges separate out the most fissile isotope, U-235, which can be used to enrich uranium to the 90 percent concentration needed to produce nuclear weapons. Low-enriched uranium has a 3 to 4 percent concentration of U-235 and can be used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants. Zeldin said that experts told him that uranium could be enriched rapidly at the end of the 10-year period.
He urged the crowd to use their relationships with local Democratic representatives to sway Congress’ vote, and vowed to keep fighting.
“He’ll sell out,” muttered a man in one of the pews. “As sure as I’m sitting here, he’ll sell out.” His neighbor asked if he really thought so, and said he disagreed.
“I guess we’ll see,” the neighbor said.
Democratic State Assemblyman Dov Hikind spoke last. “There is no doubt in my mind that in Iran — the number one terrorist regime in the world,” — he leaned into the microphone and roared — “that they are laughing at us!”
Hikind likened the deal to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s failed Munich Agreement in 1938. “The Nazi’s were laughing at Chamberlain, and the Iranians are laughing at the United States of America.”
He mentioned that his parents were sent to Auschwitz in 1944. “That’s part of my legacy,” he said.
Hikind told the attendees that they were an army, and urged them to call Sen. Chuck Schumer, who has announced that he has not decided whether to vote for or against the deal. He asked for everyone who planned on calling Schumer’s office to raise their hands. Almost every hand in the room went up.
The speakers were followed by a question and answer session, during which Klein said that it was his opinion that Obama is sympathetic to radical Islam.
“He’s a double agent!” a man called out from the audience. “He’s one of ‘em!”
One man, who said his grandmother was a Holocaust survivor, said that he disagreed with the overall assessment of the deal, saying that the “P5 plus 1” world powers — the U.S., Great Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany — negotiating together was “phenomenal.” Several voices rose from the audience in disagreement, and one called out to him to sit down.
Rabbi Steven Graber said he thought the presentation was powerful. “It was bipartisan, yet everyone seemed to agree that we disagree with this plan.”
This article was published by the Long Island Herald and may be found here.