It was two weeks ago that President Barack Obama took to the floor in front of the United States Congress to deliver his eighth, and thankfully last, State of the Union address to the nation. If there's one thing about Obama that hasn't changed, it's his arrogant and conveniently selective memory. While he touted the freeing of four American hostages in Iran as a result of our diplomatic progress with them, and a gradual shift towards moderation in the Iranian regime, he somehow forgot to mention that we traded them for seven Iranians convicted of criminal acts on U.S soil. He also forgot to mention that two Americans still sit in Iranian prisons. It should also be pointed out that prisoner swaps aren't even mentioned in the Iran deal. John Kerry, the very man who helped create this miserable excuse of a deal, admitted last week that a considerable sum of the money Iran is receiving as sanctions relief will be used to accelerate Iran's destabilizing actions in the region and fund terrorist organizations. Does the Obama administration not consider these facts important, or did they not know about them? Or do they simply not care about them? I'm sure so many other Americans share these questions with me and I wish I could say with certainty that President Obama actually cares what we have to think, but judging by his past history of shooting down reporters who question his Iran deal, I wouldn't expect any answers from him anytime in the foreseeable future.
Here's a fact: Thanks to President Obama, Iran will now be able to use their new-found wealth by making its military immensely more powerful and will, in essence, eliminate the technological edge held by Israel which has kept it safe for so many years. Iran has openly admitted to funding Hezbollah, a dangerous terrorist group who has both American and Israeli blood on its hands. Now that Iran is going to have almost instantaneous access to over a hundred and fifty billion extra dollars, I can only imagine where a sizable chunk of that money is going to.
But let's not get bogged down in pessimism. Maybe President Obama is right about this. Perhaps this deal of his is going to work in terms of pushing off a nuclear Iran. It'd be great if we could finally put the danger of the imperialistic and dishonest Iranian regime acquiring the worlds' most dangerous weapons behind us. But at what cost does this sense of security come? Is the inevitable uptick in terrorism from Iranian money and lives that will be lost because of it really worth the gamble? In the best case scenario, all that this deal has done is trade one danger for another. President Obama had a choice to make. He could've cranked up sanctions to such a level that it would bring Iran to its knees. Instead he chose to quit while he was ahead.
In 1938, former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact with Adolf Hitler. In return for Hitlers' promise not to take any aggressive actions in Europe, the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia would be handed over to him. He pursued a policy of appeasing Hitler hoping that as Hitler was kept happy, another war in Europe could be prevented. He realized soon enough just how wrong he actually was.
Many people have chosen to compare President Obamas' deal with Iran to the agreement with Nazi Germany. I'd beg to disagree with this comparison though. Adolf Hitler pretended to be interested in peace and fooled us into believing that he didn't want to take over Europe. Iran on the other hand makes absolutely no attempt whatsoever to hide their imperialistic desires nor do they make any effort to present themselves as interested in peace. Think of any Middle Eastern conflict today and you can bet your bottom dollar that Iran is in one way or another involved. Whether it be arming and supporting rebels to overthrow the Yemenite government or sending high tech missiles to Hamas and Hezbollah, the tentacles of the Iranian regime are reaching out farther and farther. This Iran deal only makes it easier for them.
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said that "appeasement is like feeding a crocodile, hoping it will eat you last." We need to stop pretending like Iran is a country with legitimate interests in peace and is ready to enter the world stage. Our leaders need to pull their heads out of the sand and come to the realization that they can push this snowball as far down the mountain as they want but the longer they push it, the bigger it gets. We can only hope that they come to that realization before it's too late.
I have to admit that Donald Trump sure knows how to get a crowd fired up. He says what people want to hear, and his soaring poll numbers as a candidate clearly prove that. I used to support Trump. I believe that America needs someone who isn't afraid to stand up to the political correctness nonsense that has taken our country hostage and can restore the global influence that America once had. As any educated voter should do before they choose a candidate to support, I decided to take the time to contemplate the controversial comments Trump has said and research the policies he plans to implement as President. It didn't take long for me to come to the realization that a President Trump would not only be counterproductive to the U.S-Israel relationship but also undermining to many of the democratic values which the United States stands for. He's nothing short of toxic to the Pro-Israel community, the Republican Party, and the United States as a whole.
When Donald Trump proclaimed on December seventh that not only Syrian refugees, but ALL Muslims should be barred from entering the United States, I couldn't have been more ashamed of myself for formerly being a Trump supporter. Not only are blatantly discriminatory policies like this not what I as a Republican stand for, but as an avid supporter of Israel, a nation where people of all faiths are given equal rights, but his policies and comments are downright repulsive to me. The first Americans were largely European Christians escaping religious persecution back at home. What happened to the principle of America being a safe-haven for those seeking freedom to practice their religion? Does freedom of religion only matter if we're talking about Christians or Jews?
News flash people! Most muslims AREN'T hateful and violent individuals who want to see our way of life destroyed. Every day hundreds of millions of Muslims, whether it be in America, Israel, or Europe, go to work and productively contribute to society. However, thanks to the mainstream media's demonization of religion in general, many people now subscribe to the notion that being a Muslim automatically means that person believes in replacing America with an Islamic caliphate. Trump is taking advantage of the mainstream media and is actively manipulating Americans who believe that notion into supporting him.
Donald Trump is the last person on the face of the earth Israel needs support from. If anything the pro-Israel community and Israel itself should be doing everything possible to distance itself from Trump. A president as xenophobic and islamophobic as Trump would only further isolate Israel in the global community. Think about it: what would it look like if the President of Israels' closest ally just so happened to be a condescending bigot? Israel gets enough bad press as it is and if there's one thing that Israel doesn't need: it's to be associated in any conceivable way with someone as controversial and xenophobic as Donald Trump.
I have full faith that if Trump had called for a halt to Jewish immigration to the United States, it would've been met with a much more negative response from the Pro-Israel community. It's genuinely disturbing how many of us claim to believe in democracy and laud Israel for accepting people of all faiths and the following day adamantly advocate for Donald Trumps' plan to bring religious discrimination into the United States government. For the past three thousand years, every country that the Jews have lived in has at some point persecuted them. We should never be fooled into thinking that couldn't happen in the United States. The moment we allow the democratic values that our nation holds so dearly to be impeded upon, we open up a whole can of worms. Sure, he claims that this ban is only temporary, but German Jews in the 1930s also believed that the Nazi Party's discrimination against them was temporary. Unfortunately, they were wrong.
Whether he knows it or not, Donald Trump is giving Islamic terrorists exactly what they want. They want Americans to be afraid to the point that they start discriminating against peaceful Muslims. It's a powerful recruitment tool to them. If peaceful Muslims begin seeing themselves becoming alienated from western society, Radical Islamist groups will be all too willing to swoop down and take advantage of that. Extremists capitalize on that outcast feeling, giving the alienated a feeling of belonging and purpose that they lack.
Yes, there is unfortunately no shortage of Muslims who preach hatred and support violence against western society. There is also an overwhelming abundance of hate-filled Christians and Jews out there who get far less heat than they deserve for their intolerant beliefs. Vitriolic hatred of a faith group because certain members of that faith happen to be terrorists gets us nowhere. It only makes it easier for radical Muslims to encourage moderates to support their cause.
As a Republican who believes in America being a nation where people from all faiths can live their lives free from discrimination, I say with pride that Donald Trump doesn't represent me. Trump isn't the strong, unifying leader America needs during these turbulent times. He is the divisive, condescending bigot that America DOESN'T need.
My name is Benjamin Jaffe. I was born and raised in South Florida and plan on majoring in political science at Hebrew University in Israel.