Hillary’s Deadly Iran Deal
By Shmuley Boteach 8-9-16
Let’s focus for a moment on two major headlines that appeared on the same day last week. The first claimed that Donald Trump was continuing to feud with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of murdered American war hero Humayun Khan. The second said that President Obama last January sent the Iranian regime $400 million in cash, which in all likelihood will be used to fund terrorism.
Now, I will never defend Trump’s gratuitous insults to so many groups, especially the grieving parents of a fallen American soldier. It’s unforgivable and Trump must apologize. The same is true of his immoral proposal to temporarily ban Islamic immigrants into the US, which I have repeatedly denounced.
But for all that, which is worse? Trump’s utterly offensive insults, or Obama secretly giving a terrorist regime nearly half a billion dollars in cold cash?
Hillary Clinton has vowed to continue Obama’s policies on Iran, handing over to the mullahs $150 billion and honoring the nuclear agreement that in about 10 years will make it legal for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.
Are Trump’s unforgivable verbal put-downs of Mexicans, Muslims and parents of fallen soldiers — disgusting as they are — worse than Hillary’s actions in funding a state sponsor of terrorism and facilitating the Iran nuclear agreement, which she proudly lists as an accomplishment?
There is the age-old Jewish question of whether words or actions are more consequential, to which the answer is clear: while words are always important, actions are infinitely more so.
Hillary’s participation in, and stated commitment to, continuing the funding of Iran — which will use the money to make orphans and widows, with Americans and Israelis at the top of the list — is the far greater danger.
There is no excuse for Trump’s appalling insults, whether about John McCain, a Mexican-American judge or — especially — the Khans. But, however reprehensible, these are still words.
The money that the President Obama is giving to Iran is not offensive; it is deadly. Hillary Clinton’s plans to continue to give Iran cold, hard cash will not just offend sensibilities. It will kill people.
In saying this, I accept that my argument only applies if Trump’s words are never translated into action. And I expect that they cannot be.
There is no reasonable way for Trump to enforce a ban on Muslim immigrants, a position that he might now, in any event, be retreating from. And while Trump may indeed build a wall between the United States and Mexico, I don’t see that wall, which I understand offends many, leading to the murder of innocents. Likewise, if Trump continues to insult the parents of fallen American war heroes, he will continue to invite the contempt and scorn of a large number of Americans, myself included. But it will not lead to American soldiers dying. President Obama’s plane-load of cash to Iran will.
Hillary allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon by continuing with the catastrophic Iran nuclear agreement, which Iran has repeatedly violated, can be potentially genocidal, as Ayatollah Ali Khameini, the Supreme Leader, has made clear.
I wish I could sit Trump down in a locked room and tell him I’m not going to let him out until he understands that I have a son serving in the IDF on the Israel-Lebanon border right across from Hezbollah, Iran’s terror proxy army. If Hillary wins the election, Hezbollah will get billions more money funneled from a Clinton administration that can, God forbid, further endanger my son’s life. “Can you therefore, Mr. Trump, rein in your gratuitous insults, so as not to hand Hillary the election? Have you no self-control?”
Sadly, I don’t have that kind of relationship with Mr. Trump, and I’m not sure he would listen to me if I did.
As an American Jew who believes that stopping genocide is the foremost issue of any age, my number one concern today is stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and stopping its weapons flow to terrorists. But senior Obama adviser Ben Rhodes revealed to the New York Times that the administration, with Hillary as secretary of state, was negotiating with Iran even when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was president.
In Christianity, personal salvation always comes before communal redemption. It’s the righteousness of the man that matters. In Judaism, however, communal salvation is paramount. A person’s character is subordinate to his actions and the mark he leaves on the world.
I could not care less about Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. While others condemned him for demeaning the office of the presidency, I always maintained that his failure to stop the 1994 Rwandan genocide was infinitely worse. What Clinton did behind closed doors had no impact on our lives. But what he did not do to stop the Rwandan slaughter meant that for a period of three months, hundreds of Africans were being slaughtered every hour without anyone to save them.
What would the world look like if Franklin Delano Roosevelt had not been president, despite the fact that he died with his mistress in Warm Springs, Georgia — even though he had in Eleanor Roosevelt a wife who was universally admired?
John F. Kennedy saved the world from potential nuclear Armageddon during the Cuban missile crisis, even as he humiliated the world’s most glamorous woman with repeated affairs.
When it comes to leadership, it’s not personal morality that we look for, but public contribution to the world’s improvement. Hillary Clinton has promised to fund a government that hangs gays and stones women — which speaks to a general unwillingness to confront evil.
In 2010, she gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu what’s been described as a 43-minute tongue-lashing on the issue of Israeli settlements and boasted to the Washington Post, “I was often the designated yeller” of the Obama administration to Bibi. Hillary wants to reward Palestinian kleptocracy and terror with the creation of a Palestinian state, even as PA President Mahmoud Abbas incites the murder of Jews in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Can Donald Trump change his behavior and stop the insults? Perhaps not. If he continues, he is almost certain to lose the election. But Hillary’s pledge to continue to fund Iran must be even more strongly resisted.
Shmuley Boteach, whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America” is the author most recently of “The Israel Warriors Handbook.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.