Through the Looking-Glass With Obama on Iran

04/14/2015 05:20 pm ET | Updated Jun 13, 2015

It would be a grave mistake to ignore the Holocaust in any serious discussion of the P5+1 Iranian nuclear "deal."

Let's be clear. Godwin's law is not applicable here for one simple reason: this isn't an apples-to-oranges situation, in which the bludgeon of the Holocaust is used to try to make an unrelated point (though apples and oranges both are fruits and comparing fruits to each other makes more sense than comparing fruits with, say, baseball cards). This is an apples-to-apples situation. The Iranians have openly stated that they want to finish up what the Nazis failed to do: they want to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth.

Iran continues to find new ways to express its pathological desire to annihilate Israel, as well as to kill Jews, including calls from the Iranian side for all the world's Jews to move to Israel -- so the Iranian regime can be spared the tsuris of having to hunt all of them down.

The Israeli cabinet, led by Israeli PM Netanyahu, has suggested that as part of any nuclear agreement with Iran, Iran should recognize Israel's fundamental right to exist.

Can you blame them?

However, in rejecting this provision as an element of any deal, President Obama characterized it as "a fundamental misjudgment." It would be, according to Obama, tantamount to rejecting any agreement "unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms."

In attempting to bolster Obama's rejection of trying to get Iran to acknowledge Israel's right to exist, White House press secretary Josh Earnest referred to an article written by ex-Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy.

Writes Halevy: "Clearly, Iran is not going to change its spots; therefore, anyone who voices such a demand is signaling that he doesn't want the agreement and has his eyes on an aggressive solution."

Halevy: "The demand from the Muslim world to recognize Israel's right to exist is almost like asking them to change their religion."

Talk about negotiating for the other side. And yet, Israel was indeed able to sign an agreement with its historically greatest enemy, a giant in the Muslim world, in which Egypt recognized Israel's right to exist. And yet, Israel was able to establish relations with its Muslim neighbor Jordan.

If Halevy and Obama really are right and the Iranian regime won't change its spots, then that means we are dealing with a regime which - as it has repeatedly stated - wants to destroy Israel and perpetrate genocide on all the world's Jews.

And yet, we're not even prepared to bring the subject of Iran's acknowledging Israel's right to exist to the table because we already know what Iran's answer will be. Mind you, this isn't just a zinger intended to thumb Obama's nose at Netanyahu, since Netanyahu's opponent Isaac Herzog, leader of Israel's Zionist Union, also had suggested that this should be a prerequisite for any nuclear deal with Iran. Seems reasonable, particularly from Israel's perspective. One of the main purported aims of the negotiations is to stop Iran from getting nukes which they could use to destroy Israel, not to mention for other nefarious misdeeds. Why wouldn't we insist that as a part of a diplomatic solution, Iran should acknowledge Israel's right to exist? Oh, yeah. We wouldn't do so because we know that Iran wants to annihilate Israel. And then no deal. Sucks, but there it is. Nazis will be Nazis. What can ya do?

Yep, for the Obama administration, it seems that the deal really is the thing.

And just how safe does that really make the region and Israel? How is this a sustainable solution?

We really need to go back to basics and ask ourselves what the goals and endgame are for nuclear negotiations with Iran. What is the point of this attempt at diplomacy? What is the point of diplomacy in general?

Is it for Obama to create a much-needed "win" in foreign policy to add to his "legacy," such as it were? Do we just want to stop the nuclear threat from Iran? Or do we want to prevent a rogue nation that can't be trusted from further destabilization of the region? Is the aim of negotiations simply to postpone the inevitable or are they a serious attempt to create a path which attempts to change the entire narrative?

And yet, if we really wanted to change the entire narrative, everything - including Israel's right to exist and Iran's support of regional terrorism - would and should be on the table.

Clearly, the Obama administration mistakenly thinks an "a la carte" approach is the way to go.

Said State Department spokesperson Marie Harf: "If you try to deal with every regional issue that we had problems with that Iran was doing, I'm not sure how long those negotiations would take, but the nuclear issue is tough enough as it is. But on those other issues, we have other ways of combating and countering that, whether it's sanctions, whether it's increasing security to our Gulf partners, whether - there's a variety of ways we can do that."

Halevy: "One of the arguments being voiced against the continuation of the talks is that Iran has a history of lies and cunning, and can thus be expected to breach the agreement and deceive the world. True, the Iranians have a tendency to deceive, but they could do so even if they agreed to zero centrifuges, the closure of all their nuclear facilities, and supervision on the part of the Mossad itself. Loopholes can always be found, so there is no such thing as a 'good agreement.' The Iranians will uphold an agreement only if it is worth their while."

There are some fundamental problems with Harf's statements and the cold, hard realities of the proposed nuclear agreement; Halevy's remarks underline this. They key incentive for the Iranians to even sit at the negotiating table is an end to the current economic sanctions. There is already some dispute about the timetable for such lifting, with the Iranians suggesting the sanctions would be eliminated much sooner rather than later. And yet Harf is seriously suggesting that additional sanctions would remain an option for Iran's non-nuclear hijinks, such as, say, support for terrorist organizations throughout the region?

Remember, Iran isn't "changing its spots." And it will only adhere to an agreement if "it's worth their while." So it is simply implausible, to put it mildly, to think the world would lift its sanctions to reward Iran for the nuclear deal, and then slap right back with new sanctions for Iran's continuing support of terrorism.

In fact, Iran is most certainly reckoning that once the sanctions are lifted, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to get a unified world to reinstate sanctions for any reason other than a direct violation of the nuclear agreement, if that. Effectively, Iran can use the threat of backing out of the nuclear deal as a way to stave off any new sanctions, thereby giving it free reign to create as much mischief as they want in the region scot-free. There are plenty of other weapons the regime could work to develop in a limited-scope accord, including biological ones. And this doesn't even take into account the likelihood that Iran as a non-spot-changer will attempt to cheat and develop nukes on the side. The administration would argue that the agreement would provide for airtight controls that can't be circumvented. Good luck with that...

Logically and inevitably, it's not just about what's in the agreement: it's also about what's not in the agreement. It has to be.

Forget the self-contradictions and lack of logic from the Obama administration, which could be written off to naiveté or simple cluelessness. The utter hypocrisy and double standards concerning an assessment of statements from the respective leaders of Israel and Iran seem to indicate that the Obama administration has fallen into some sort of Wonderland, where Iran is our "friend" and Israel is the "enemy." It's almost unbelievable, but then again it may be the looking-glass which reflects the Obama administration's true views on the Middle East.

The administration strictly and repeatedly rejects Netanyahu's clarification regarding a two-state solution with the Palestinians, trying to nail down Netanyahu's campaign rhetoric as his true intentions and "inner feelings," while downplaying the Iranian supreme leader Khamenei's statements regarding not only Iran's goal to annihilate Israel, but also about the terms of the current nuclear negotiations (the ayatollah's take on what was negotiated differs significantly from what the administration is saying). Interesting how Obama gives the ayatollah a pass, by suggesting the ayatollah is playing to a "domestic" crowd, while Netanyahu, who was in the middle of an election campaign and who since moderated his own comments, doesn't receive the same consideration.

I, for one, thought that part of our foreign policy was not to negotiate with terrorists. If we make exceptions for state-sponsored terrorism, then we must at least look towards comprehensive negotiations with Iran which aim at curbing all of the regime's dangerous behavior. A la carte simply doesn't work when there are so many ways for the Iranian regime to feed its Todessehnsucht.

The Obama administration's current attempt to limit Iran's nuclear capacity is akin to negotiating with Nazi Germany to try to reach an accord which would limit its breakout time to create stockpiles of Zyklon B. It would not change the narrative and ultimately it would not make the world a safer place.

In its ardor to reach an agreement as a legacy "achievement," the Obama administration's Middle East foreign policy unfortunately seems to be based more on Lewis Carroll than Santayana.