April 22, 2024
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April 22, 2024
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Now more than ever, America must support Israel. The world’s only Jewish state is fighting the war of a generation and desperately needs the United States to have its back. That’s why the Senate should reject the nomination of Jack Lew to be our ambassador to Israel. 

Lew is unquestionably the wrong man for the job. He has appeased Israel’s enemies at every turn. If confirmed, Lew will exacerbate tensions between our two countries at a time when the United States must stand unflinchingly with Israel. 

Lew’s record in government is disqualifying. As secretary of the treasury, he was one of the chief architects of the Obama administration’s calamitous Iran policy. Lew and other Obama officials saw democratic Israel, not theocratic Iran, as the destabilizing force in the Middle East.

Their policy’s crown jewel was the nuclear deal with Iran, also known as the JCPOA, which showered the “death to America, death to Israel” chanting mullahs with cash. Lew boasted at the time that this reckless agreement ensured that Iran would “never” get a nuclear weapon. That was hogwash. Under the JCPOA, which the Israeli government vociferously opposed, restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program ended after 15 years, leaving Tehran free to acquire nukes to obliterate Israel. Meanwhile the mullahs used the billions of dollars they received in sanctions relief to sow terror and discord throughout the region.        

Lew went above and beyond to give Iran what it wanted. In violation of assurances to Congress, in 2016 Lew secretly issued a license authorizing $5.7 billion in Iranian assets to be converted into U.S. dollars. So much for his pledges that Iran would never gain access to America’s financial system. When questioned at his Senate confirmation hearing on October 18, Lew didn’t deny it. “We did issue licenses,” he said. Lew constantly conciliated the mullahs in Tehran instead of confronting them. 

Making matters worse, he’s learned nothing from his failed policies. Last week Lew defended the Biden administration’s $6 billion ransom payment to Iran, claiming it will be spent only for humanitarian purposes. He’s either naïve or dishonest: Any money flowing to the mullahs will enrich their state-sponsored campaign of terror. Lew also defended the Obama administration’s shameful non-veto of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which ignored the Jewish people’s historic ties to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. Who is to say that Lew won’t make such terrible decisions again?     

Appointing someone with such a misguided worldview as ambassador to Israel sends exactly the wrong message to Jerusalem. The Israelis are fighting existential threats from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, both backed by Iran and both determined to annihilate Israel. Lew inspires no confidence that as ambassador, he will help the Israelis to whatever it takes to protect themselves from the Iranian menace. 

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will likely bring Lew up for a full vote soon. Should the Senate confirm him, Congress must act with even greater urgency to send Israel the arms it needs to crush Hamas and take on Iran. At the same time, it must stop the Biden administration’s efforts to compel Israeli restraint and to revive the JCPOA.       

It would be even better if we found a better ambassador. President Biden has said that his administration’s support for Israel is “rock solid.” A truly rock solid demonstration of rock solid support would be to send Lew packing and instead appoint someone who will defend our two countries’ interests, not undermine them. 

Daniel J. Samet is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is completing his dissertation on U.S.-Israel defense relations. 

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