After the Iran deal, a call for action

Shimon Koffler Fogel
Shimon Koffler Fogel

The nuclear deal with Iran is a stunning diplomatic failure.

The agreement allows Tehran to maintain its nuclear infrastructure and conduct advanced nuclear research and development. It allows Iran to stall inspectors for 24 days before entering suspected nuclear sites, and red tape could allow Iran to delay access indefinitely. It does nothing to address Iran’s record as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, let alone Iran’s calls for the destruction of Israel. And, in 15 short years, Iran will be free to rapidly enrich limitless amounts of weapons-grade uranium.

In return, Iran will receive more than $100 billion (US) in sanctions relief. Contrary to assurances that sanctions can be “snapped back,” a review of the deal suggests that, under even ideal circumstances, it will take years to restore economic pressure.

Israelis across the political spectrum joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in condemning the deal. Opposition Leader and Labor Party head Isaac Herzog echoed the concerns of many, warning:  “The world doesn’t fully understand the fact that we are left here alone in this neighbourhood, that there is a Shia empire that is trying to inflame the region with a heavy hand.”

For Israelis and Jews around the world this isn’t about politics – it’s about the long-term survival of the Jewish state. No one should expect Jews to ignore Tehran’s declarations of genocidal intent, especially given Iran’s record of funding, training, and arming terrorist groups – including Hezbollah and Hamas, for whom targeting Jews is their primary mission. Even if Iran were to choose not to use an atomic bomb, the regime will possess a nuclear umbrella that will empower it to further export terrorism and its violent Islamist agenda.

Israelis, who know the cost of war perhaps better than anyone, seek a diplomatic resolution to this crisis. This is why they are near-unanimous, along with Jewish communities worldwide, in feeling betrayed by a reckless deal that makes the region even more dangerous. As Jewish Canadians, we must channel our concern, disappointment, and, yes, anger, into effective advocacy.

We have an extraordinary opportunity to do so, given Canada’s strong stand against Iran. Whether severing diplomatic relations or enacting broad sanctions, our federal government has been a leader in holding Iran to account. Moreover, the NDP and the Liberals have both supported sanctions and advocated strong verification measures to ensure Iranian compliance with its nuclear obligations.

However, Canada and Israel alike will face enormous pressures amid international enthusiasm for this agreement. We must call on our leaders to maintain Canada’s position and encourage our allies to adopt a similar stand. We also need to reassure Israelis that they are not alone. I ask you to take four actions today, each of which may be done in a few moments at

First, email Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the leaders of Canada’s major federal parties. Ask them to keep Canadian diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran and to call on the international community to do likewise. Iran should not be let off the hook until it abandons the path to nuclear weapons, ends its ongoing abuse of human rights, desists from sponsoring terrorism, and stops fuelling conflict across the Middle East.

Second, email Netanyahu and Herzog to support their efforts to articulate Israel’s principled objections to the Iran deal. We must reaffirm that Jewish Canadians are unified in our support for Israel in the face of such threats.

Third, sign our petition calling for ongoing Canadian pressure on Iran, which will be submitted to all three party leaders as a collective expression of the community’s concern.

And fourth, ask a friend or family member to join you in taking these steps. Reach out to someone who is otherwise uninvolved in the Jewish community or advocacy. 

Now more than ever, we must translate our love for Israel into action.  

Shimon  Koffler Fogel is CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).