Wednesday, August 5, 2020 -
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Sen. Charles Schumer, remember Breckinridge Long

Sen. Charles Schumer is a key Jewish Democrat, required to vote on the Iran nuclear deal. He is still sitting on the fence. He is in line for political power as the presumptive replacement for Sen. Harry Reid as the minority leader in the US Senate. Lest the prospects of power influence the way he votes, we would call to mind the example of another leader who once had the same power over the fate of millions of Jews: Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long (1881-1958), who was in charge of refugee affairs during WW II.

“Refugee affairs” meant the millions of Jews under the Nazi hold, whose murders could have been prevented had Breckinridge Long seen things differently, and acted differently. He successfully blocked for a couple of years the creation of a special rescue agency. It ended up saving the lives of a couple of hundred thousand Jews. Its establishment was delayed for some two years, during which millions of other Jews died.

Breckinridge Long had the power in his hands to make a difference. He did not use this power as he should have. Power is not enough.

As a legacy — decades later — his failure is a stain not only on American history, but on himself.

The prospects of power are dangled in front of Sen. Schumer. They should not deter him from voting against this nuclear deal, which, in practice, will never be carried out as designed due not only to the long history of Iranian cheating, but to the present, open, clear declarations by Iranian leaders themselves.

For Sen. Schumer to achieve the political power in the US Senate he has earned by refusing to buck the apparent trend in his party to approve this dangerous deal — which, according to all opinions, at best delays but does not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — could land Schumer in the same history book as Breckinridge Long.

It really boils down to this: Do the right thing. Reject a poorly negotiated deal. Face the consequences —political, diplomatic and possibly military. Let a great power stand up to a relatively small power. Protect millions of Jewish lives in Israel. Protect tens of millions of Arab lives surrounding Israel.

Do the right thing. Kill this deal. Force Iran back to the table; do not hand it sanctions relief in return for — in practice — nothing. Or attack Iran selectively.

Copyright © 2015 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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