Two Jewish congressmen on the post-deal environment

One of us supports the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the other opposes it. Putting aside our differences in opinions as to the merits of the Iran deal, it’s now clear that the JCPOA will go into effect. To opponents and supporters of the deal, we must now join together to call on Congress and the administration to work together and focus on what happens the day after this deal goes into effect. 

Many of our colleagues in Congress, administration officials, nuclear experts, and even our constituents have weighed in on what a post-deal environment will look like. We don’t know what a post-deal world will look like, but after thorough discussion and analysis it is clear what a post-deal world should look like moving forward. One of the bedrock principles shared by both opponents and supports of the deal is that we must ensure Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, and that we guarantee a safe and secure Israel. So where do we go from here?

{mosads}First, we must reaffirm the vital importance of the U.S.-Israel partnership. While we have weathered turbulence this year, no one can argue with the numbers. Currently, Israel is receiving the most robust U.S. investment it has seen in the history of this critical defense, security and economic partnership.  We must continue to do more work together, regardless of party or policy opinions, to strengthen the U.S.-Israel alliance, and remain steadfast in our commitment to our greatest friend and ally in a post-deal environment.  

And beyond that, while we each may vote differently on the House floor this week, we are unreservedly united against the rhetoric surrounding this deal. Damaging remarks and hate speech from both sides this summer has been nothing short of shameful and disappointing. Not only has it not been constructive to the conversation, but as human beings we’ve found comparisons to the Holocaust completely unacceptable. It’s past time for this to end.

Third, we must reaffirm our commitment to continue and strengthen the many facets of joint cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.  From intelligence and security to science and agriculture, we must lead the effort to enhance the strategic nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship. That means robust missile defense and continued collaboration on all options for defending our critical ally, including the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

We can agree to ensure Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) and strength in the region remains steadfast.  This means we must sign a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on Foreign Military Financing (FMF), which Israel uses to purchase defense articles to keep its people safe. We should also increase the level of FMF Israel receives and discuss additional defense articles that Israel may need to ensure the safety of its citizens. 

We should continue to work together on joint missile defense ventures, including providing additional resources for Israel to continue to field the Iron Dome, and accelerate co-development of the Arrow-3 and David’s Sling missile defense systems.  

Additionally, our two nations must make it a shared mission to detect and destroy terrorist tunnels, which plague Israel’s borders.  These efforts benefit both Israel and the United States and cooperation on these fronts should be enhanced.

Finally, we must be mindful that Iran remains a leading state-sponsor of terror and we must step-up our efforts to interdict illicit weapons shipments to and from Iran. We must impress upon other nations to enhance compliance with Security Council prohibitions on transferring weapons and ballistic missile technology to Iran.

The deal between the P5+1 Nations and Iran has unleashed many opinions, emotions, fears, hopes and opportunities. Now that its passage in Congress is all but assured, it’s time for us to move forward together and live in the reality of what needs to happen the day after, in a post-deal environment. The partisan rhetoric we have seen throughout this debate needs to come to an end.   We are in a stronger position to lead the world and to reassure our allies when Congress comes together on critical security matters affecting the Middle East.  Good friends and colleagues can disagree, but our alliance with Israel is too important to let this disagreement threaten our long-term relationship or the global consensus that Iran shall never possess a nuclear weapon.

Israel represents New York’s 3rd Congressional District and has served in the House since 2001. He sits on the Appropriations Committee. Levin represents Michigan’s 9th Congressional District and has served in the House since 1983. He sits on the Ways and means Committee. Levin supports the Iran nuke deal. Israel does not.

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