By Stephen E. Lipken
An overflow crowd of over 180 citizens from Westchester and outlying Jewish communities poured into Reception Hall One at Temple Israel Center, White Plains (TIC) on Sunday, February 26 to hear Dr. Eric Mandel, Director and Founder, Middle East Political and Information Network (MEPIN) discuss “The New Administration, Iran Agreement and Changing Middle East.”
The Breakfast Seminar was sponsored by Five Synagogues of White Plains Israel Action Committee (IAC) and TIC Brotherhood.
Mandel began by emphasizing that although everybody wants things to be in simple sound bites, “None of this stuff in the Middle East is simple,” showing a complex map representing all the different interests in the Middle East. “Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya no longer exist. They are warring ‘statelets’ based on ethnicities and sectarian divides.
“UN Resolution 2334 was a ‘dark cloud’ with American abstention,” Mandel continued. “It is not as terrible as it could have been, because it was adopted under Chapter Six, (of the UN Charter), not legally binding. This will be impetus for Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) plus encouraging Europeans and Palestinians to bring Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“Everything up to this point was based on Resolution 242. Israel was never supposed to go back to the ‘Auschwitz Line,’ pre-1967 borders according to Abba Eban. A UN official told us off the record, that Resolution 2334 will make a two-state solution much harder.
“What are the options for Congress and the new President? To create sanctions if any entity uses 2334 to impose BDS on Israel. I would hope the new administration reaffirms Resolution 242. They should reaffirm the 2004 letter from President George W. Bush to Ariel Sharon that Israel is not expected to leave their settlement blocs. We should pressure nations by withdrawing funding if they bring Israel to ICC.”
“Iran Agreement is two separate documents, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and what was supposed to be a comprehensive companion in the UN called 2231, reducing Iran’s number of centrifuges by 2/3rds along with uranium stockpiles.
“Although Iran is currently using slower IR 1 centrifuges, they are researching faster ones, which, within two months could produce 90% enriched uranium, with no single American inspector in sight,” Mandel stressed.