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An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

September 1, 2015

President Obama Owes Americans—and Israelis—Answers to 10 Tough Questions

Dear Friend of FLAME:

This last week has brought out more opposition to the Iran Deal—200 former U.S. military leaders sent the President a letter in which they outline their reasons for opposing the Iran Deal—and more support for it. What's clear is this: The majority of Americans now oppose the Iran Deal, and a bipartisan majority of Congress now opposes it.

What's also clear, however, is that the declared opposition in Congress so far is not sufficient—a two-thirds majority—to override a Presidential veto even if both the House and Senate defeat the Iran Deal, which they likely will. It's also a fact that declared support is not yet enough to affirm that veto. In other words, it's not yet a done deal.

However, we in the opposition have two weeks in which to convince hold-out members of Congress to oppose the Deal—and to keep pressure on those who have come out in favor of it. Supporters of the Deal should know our passion and know that we will remember their votes come next election.

In the meantime, to strengthen your fortitude on this issue—as well as your understanding of President Obama's contradictory positions—I urge you to review this week's brief FLAME Hotline featured article, excerpted from journalist Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic, in which he lists 10 tough questions posed to President Obama by Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the highly respected Washington Institute of Near East Policy.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Mr. Obama to answer these questions.

But back to the matter: As you know, we've argued that the Iran Deal is fundamentally a bad deal for the United States, and that's why our Congressional representatives—Democrats and Republicans both—should oppose it.

The Deal, of course, is even worse for Israel, our closest ally, which is also Iran's nearest and most hated target for terrorism. If Iran ever uses the nuclear weapons it most certainly will build in the next 10-15 years—thanks to the Iran Deal—Israel's name will surely be on the first bombs launched by the Islamic Republic. No wonder opposition to the Iran Deal is near 80% among Israelis.

If ever there was a reason for pro-Israel advocates to mobilize, the Iran Deal is it. For this reason, I urge to take action now. If you already have taken action, I urge you to take action again, now, over the coming two weeks, at the end of which Congress will vote on the Deal.

First, call and write your U.S. Senators and your Representative expressing your opposition to the Iran Deal—especially since the Associated Press just revealed, outrageously, that as part of the Deal the world's greatest cheater on nuclear agreements, Iran, will be conducting nuclear inspections on itself ! Please also thank the Senators, especially Democratic Senators Schumer and Menendez, who have already lined up against it. You can reach your elected officials by calling Congress at 202-225-3121. You can email them very easily by going to Contacting the Congress. Tell them you oppose the Iran Deal because a) it doesn't prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, b) it allows Iran to investigate itself and c) it makes war more likely. Do this today.

Second, please send a pledge of support to FLAME as we launch a new hasbarah initiative in media nationwide. Our editorial message is titled "A Cheater's Dream: Can't Trust, Can't Verify" and has already begun to run in media nationwide. This message outlines Iran's long pattern of lying and deceit in the face of nearly every international agreement, especially those related to its nuclear activity. With your help, we will double the media in which we run this ad and we will help convince the American people—and Congress—to reject this deadly deal. Please go to donate now .

In the meantime, I thank you for your support of Israel—and FLAME—during this critical time.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Vice President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)


As you know the U.S. Congress will vote on the deadly dangerous Iran Deal before September 17—just a few weeks away. Therefore, it's critical that we communicate to the American people and our elected representatives that we oppose the Deal. That's why FLAME has begun publishing a paid editorial message on this topic in media nationwide, including college newspapers-reaching at least 10 million key influencers—plus all U.S. Congressional Senators and Representatives. To review this hasbarah effort, please, go to " A Cheater's Dream: Can't Trust, Can't Verify" now. Because this matter is so critical to our country and to Israel, we intend to double the number of media into which we place this ad. If you agree that FLAME's bold brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to help us trumpet this message, so Americans will realize that the proposed "Iran Deal" fails to fulfill Mr. Obama's 2012 promise to stop Iran's nuclear program. In fact this deal will surely pave the way for our worst enemy—and that of Israel—to continue developing nuclear weapons technology. Please help us spread the word by giving a donation now, as you're able—with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To contribute online, just go to donate now . Today more than ever we need your help to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs-from the U.S. Congress and from the American people.

Robert Satloff's Ten Questions for President Obama about the Iran Deal

By Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, August 27, 2015 (excerpt)

1. You have argued that the Iran deal enhances Israel's security and those of our Arab Gulf allies. At the same time, your administration has offered the Gulf states a huge security package by way of compensation and you have expressed frustration that the government of Israel has not yet entered into discussions with you to discuss ways to bolster its security. But isn't this a paradox? If the Iran deal bolsters their security, shouldn't their security needs be going down, not up?

2. It is surely legitimate for you to argue that the Iran deal enhances U.S. security but it certainly seems odd for you to claim to understand Israel's security needs more than its democratically elected leaders. Are there other democracies whose leaders you believe don't recognize their own best security interests or is Israel unique in this regard?

3. Constructive, respected, well-informed observers, like your former [National Security Council] Iran policy advisor Dennis Ross, have urged you to propose transferring to Israel the "mountain-busting" Massive Ordnance Penetrator as a way to boost Israel's independent deterrence against Iran. But you have not done so. Instead, in your letter to Congressman [Jerrold] Nadler, you highlighted your administration's plan to send Israel a much less capable weapon. Why are you reluctant to send Israel the best item we have in our inventory to address this profound threat?

4. You have said that the Iran nuclear agreement provides a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the threat of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Would you agree, therefore, that the pursuit of an independent nuclear option by another Middle East country—say, Saudi Arabia—would be clear evidence that the Iran deal had failed?

5. In your letter to Congressman Nadler, you refused to spell out the penalties Iran would suffer for violations of the agreement, saying that "telegraphing in advance to Iran the expected response for any potential infractions would be counterproductive, potentially lessening the deterrent effect." On the surface, this is difficult to understand—after all, as a constitutional law professor, you can appreciate that having clarity in terms of penalties for lawbreaking is a basic element of our legal system. If you aren't willing to publicly spell out this approach to penalties, can you guarantee that the United States and its European partners have already agreed, in writing, on precisely what actions they will collectively take in response to different types of infractions? Will you share these details with at least the leaders of the relevant committees in Congress? Or is the real reason you aren't willing to "telegraph" these penalties in advance [is] because we and the Europeans can't agree on them?

6. In your letter to Congressman Nadler, you also said you "reserved the right to deploy new sanctions to address continuing concerns." Can you spell out what sort of new sanctions you have in mind? Specifically, wouldn't it make sense for you to ask Congress to articulate new sanctions now that would come into effect if our intelligence agencies reported that Iran was using its sanctions-relief windfall to transfer large sums (or expensive weapons systems) to its allies and terrorist proxies?

7. You have argued that the global sanctions regime falls apart if Congress rejects the Iran deal. But the key variable here is not Europe, China or some other foreign country—it's the United States. Specifically, the sanctions regime only collapses if the U.S. stops enforcing the sanctions with the same vigor it has enforced them [with] in recent years, and instead goes back to the policy of the Clinton and Bush administrations, which refused to enforce ILSA [Iran and Libya Sanctions Act] despite overwhelming votes for that law in Congress. In the event of a "no" vote, can you promise that your administration will expend the same effort and resources to enforce U.S. sanctions laws against Iran as has been the case the last few years? And if that's the case, what's your explanation for how or why sanctions will collapse?

8. The supreme leader clearly wants the benefits of the deal—both in terms of sanctions relief and the international validation it brings for Iran's nuclear program. Yet you seem to bend over backwards to be wary of saying things that might upset him. (Given the supreme leader's continued hostility toward America, this is a characteristic that he doesn't seem to share.) Specifically, in your letter to Congressman Nadler, why did you resort once again to the "all options are on the table" formulation in the event Iran dashes toward a bomb? Since a "dash" implies Iran would be hell-bent toward achieving its goal, why not state bluntly that we would use force to stop them? If they are dashing, haven't they already violated the core commitment in the Iran agreement not to pursue a weapon? If they are dashing, the threat of renewed sanctions surely isn't an effective deterrent. Wouldn't candor produce more deterrence than subtlety?

9. In your American University speech , you said the Iran agreement produced a "permanent" solution to the threat of the Iranian nuclear bomb. But just a few months ago, you told an NPR interviewer that Iran's breakout time toward a bomb "would have shrunk almost down to zero" when restrictions on centrifuges and enrichment expire in after 10-15 years. Can both statements really be true?

10. In your final debate with Mitt Romney in October 2012, just before you came before American voters for the final time, moderator Bob Schieffer asked you specifically what sort of Iran deal you would accept. Your response was: "The deal we'll accept is that they end their nuclear program." Notwithstanding the significant achievements of the Iran agreement, it clearly falls short of "ending their nuclear program." Moreover, you and your spokespeople regularly disparage as warmongers those who advocate what you once called for. Why did your own position in 2012 become warmongering by 2015?


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