Armstrong Williams with Alan Dershowitz and Frank Gaffney

Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney joined the Armstrong Williams show alongside famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz to discuss the ongoing drama of the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Dershowitz held his fellow liberals’ accountable, challenging Senator Chuck Schumer, other Democrats, Jews and the Congressional Black Caucus.


ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: “Death to America.” What impact have those explosive words from Iran’s supreme leader had on delicate nuclear talks as they approach a significant deadline? I’m Armstrong Williams and this is The Right Side Forum. Welcome to The Right Side Forum, I’m Armstrong Williams Thank you so much for joining us. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ameni – Khamenei agreed with a man in the crowd who shouted death to America while he was speaking to, one week ago today. The Ayatollah went on to reject America’s bullying of Iran, a framework deal for these nuclear negotiations is due in three days and this type of language from one of the main negotiating partners isn’t the only thing putting a nuclear court in jeopardy. Joining us to discuss the latest developments are legal scholar, author and activist and my friend, Alan Dershowitz, who is with us via Skype from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Welcome, Mr. Dershowitz, thank you for joining us.


ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: It’s good to see you. And you look good.


ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: You’re welcome. And Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy. Gentlemen, welcome to the forum. Mr. Dershowitz, let us start with you. When you hear those words, death to America, shall we ignore them? Do they really have meaning? As the White House has said, it’s just meant for a certain public audience in the United States and we should sort of ignore them?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No. We can’t ignore them. I think history has proved that when dictators call for death, whether it’s death to the Jews in the 1930s or death to America and Israel today, you have to take them at their word. What if it’s only a twenty or thirty percent chance that they would use their nuclear weapons to destroy Israel or to attack American troops or to ultimately destroy the United States with their intercontinental ballistic missiles? Can we take a twenty to thirty percent chance? Would anybody get on an airplane if there were a twenty percent or even five percent chance? So I think we have to assume that Khamenei means it. Right now, he doesn’t have the ability to bring it together, but once he gets his nuclear weapons as this deal would allow him to do in ten years, he would have the motive, the capability, and the opportunity to do it and we ought to stop that. The president himself has said that a nuclear armed Iran is a game changer and apparently he’s allowing the game to be changed.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Frank Gaffney, I don’t think you would disagree with Attorney Dershowitz, but what should be our response to these chilling dictates from the Ayatollah?

FRANK GAFFNEY:  Not only don’t I disagree, I completely concur. Let me just add, though, this mantra that the Ayatollah spoke of is something that has been consistently, not just the kind of thing that the regime encouraged its population to cite at every rally going back to 1979, but it is part and parcel of the policy of the regime. So much so that another sort of variation on the theme is something that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the previous president used to say, that a world without America was not just desirable, but achievable. And the reason I mention this, Armstrong, is because what Congressman Trent Franks, one of the great leaders on national security in the congress these days, has pointed out is in a recent military doctrine that was translated from Persian, Farsi, recently, there is a reference to something called electromagnetic pulse. Twenty more – or more times. And why that’s so important is a single nuclear weapon detonated by a ballistic missile over our country could in fact take out our electric grid and create a world literally without America. Certainly America as we have known it. America as it exists today. So this is so important that I believe, to answer your question directly, we must stop this negotiation. We must not pursue further this deal on these terms that John Kerry just said, inshallah, we will complete. Now that’s a further indication of how far off the dime we are in this government now.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Let me, Mr. Dershowitz, you know, it does seem as though what you both are saying is lost on world leaders, is lost on the global public, especially here in America. Why is it that we’re not hearing these words and other words and activities of people like the Ayatollah and ISIS and everyone else and we seem to be nonchalant about it?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think president Obama is looking for a foreign policy accomplishment. He hasn’t had very many. He’s had some, in my view, good domestic accomplishments. But he’s looking for a foreign policy accomplishment. A deal with Iran, even not a very good one, is an accomplishment. There will probably be some Nobel prizes handed out if it happens. Because we’re kicking the can down the road, perhaps six years, seven years, ten years. But as Winston Churchill told Neville Chamberlain when he accepted the deal that dismembered Czechoslovakia, he said you had a choice between our honour and war and you sold our honour and you will have war. And I think it’s inevitable that this is going to push us closer to war. First of all, Israel is not going to accept this. This deal – this deal endangers its very existence. Remember that the head of Hezbollah, who’s an Iranian surrogate, said he wished all the Jews in the world would move to Israel so that they could all be destroyed at the same time and he wouldn’t have to go after them one by one. So you can’t expect Israel, who’s been excluded from the talks, to simply sit back and say, all right, you, the French, the Germans, the Chinese, the Americans made a deal to put our country at risk and we’re expecting – expected to accept it the way Czechoslovakia accepted their dismemberment which led to its destruction in the 1930s? No. It’s just not going to happen. I think this makes war more likely. It makes nuclear proliferation more likely. Already the Saudis are trying to get nuclear weapons. The Emirates will try to get nuclear weapons. President Obama said he became president in order to impose nuclear non-proliferation and the legacy he will leave will be to increase nuclear proliferation in the most dangerous region in the world.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Alan Dershowitz, Frank Gaffney, we’re devoting the entire show to this very important conversation with Mr. Dershowitz and Gaffney about the nuclear talks and the death to America sentiment in Iran when The Right Side Forum continues.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Welcome back with our guests Frank Gaffney and Alan Dershowitz. Mr. Dershowitz, obviously if Iran is behaving this way and they don’t have nuclear weapons, imagine what they would become if they are able to secure them. Does it concern you how they’re ignoring the IAEA, they’re doing everything they possibly can to make people believe that they’re someone that you can negotiate with and you got the president supporting them in their fight against ISIS in Iraq and you got Saudi Arabia and Turkey and Egypt and all these other Arab nations who have declared war in Yemen to protect their interest there and the United States seems to be lost in the shuffle? What do you make of this latest development in Yemen and the role of the United States?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: It’s very confusing. We seem to be on both sides of the issue. That is, we’re supporting Iran in Iraq and we’re opposing Iran in Yemen. This president, tragically, has managed to alienate not only Israel, but all of its other allies in the Middle East. It’s alienated Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, and I think many of the Palestinian authorities as well. Because it’s not doing a good job of protecting and preventing the region from becoming an Iranian hegemony. Iran is now in Syria, Iran is now in Lebanon, Iran runs Iraq. It basically is in control certainly of the Shia portion of Iraq. It’s trying to take over Yemen. And the idea that with a nuclear weapon, it would be uncontrollable. Remember, Israel stopped Syria from getting a nuclear weapon by destroying its nuclear capacity. Imagine if Assad had a nuclear weapon today that it would use on its own people? And perhaps on the Golan Heights? Imagine if Iraq had a nuclear weapon. Israel destroyed Iraq’s nuclear weapon in Osirak back in 1981. If it hadn’t done that we would have a nuclear armed Iraq today. And so with its green light, apparently, saying to Iran, you’re going to be a nuclear power in ten years, for purposes of its hegemony, it’s already a nuclear power. All the countries in the Middle East are going to start acting as if Iran is already a nuclear power since the United States and the other nations apparently are giving it a green light within ten years.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: So help us understand, Frank, how is it that the United States finds itself in this situation? Trying to show support to Iran. Iran is using it to exploit – we’re alienating our allies all over the world. Is it ill-advised, do they really believe that there’s the potential that Iran can come to the table and forget about its ambitions of a nuclear program

FRANK GAFFNEY: I think you have to go back to the very beginning of the administration, Armstrong. And I think it will broaden the lens a little bit. This president came to office with the conviction that he was going to set right what had been a series of mistakes by previous administrations, Republican and Democratic, by the way, in terms of their close alignment with Israel and their relative indifference or distance from various Muslim nations. One of his first foreign – well, his first foreign call was to the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas. He said very explicitly, this is an indication of a change we’re making. We’re going to have more daylight from Israel. He went to al-Azhar University in June of 2009 to go and basically talk to a Muslim Brotherhood populated audience at his insistence. To demonstrate to them that he was going to try to improve relations not just with the Muslim world but with the Islamists. He was silent – as Alan has sort of alluded to, he was silent when those in Iran who wanted to get rid of this horrible, despotic, Islamist regime there were seeking at least some indication that he stood with them. So in every respect, he has been aligning us, I believe, with the wrong side. This business about a legacy is just one piece of it. It’s part of a larger, well, to use his favourite phrase, fundamental transformation not just of the United States but the world. Starting with probably the most dangerous part – I certainly agree with Alan about that, and doing it in a way that is making it vastly more dangerous by the day.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Mr. Dershowitz, explain to us around the country and especially in the political capitol of the world, what is at stake for all of us?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: What’s at stake for all of us is Iran, a country that knows no limits, a suicide country, a country that is prepared to sacrifice millions of its own citizens in order to bring about some Islamic apocalyptic result, we’re arming it with nuclear weapons when it already has intercontinental ballistic missiles. And I agree with Mr. Gaffney that the potential for an attack on the United States is there. Of course, we have great power and great deterrent force and they would have to be literally suicidal to try to attack us, but remember, they’ve attacked us in the past. They attacked our Marine base, they’ve attacked American institutions. They have encouraged terrorism against the United States. They are essentially at war with America and have been for many, many years. So I think the stake is very great. I think also a Middle East that will blow up. And I think, look, the vast majority of Americans support Israel and want to see it thrive. Israel exports more life saving medical technology than any country in the world per capita. It does so much good in terms of its high technology. It helps everybody in the world. And the idea of seeing Israel placed at risk of nuclear destruction by a country that has said its goal is to destroy Israel I think affects all of us.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Alan Dershowitz and Frank Gaffney are staying with me [UNCLEAR] Right Side Forum on the nuclear talks with Iran. Join us right after this. [MUSIC] [CUT]

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: And welcome back and thank you so much for joining us. I’m Armstrong Williams. We’re back with our guests, Alan Dershowitz and Frank Gaffney. Mr. Dershowitz, listen, congress is not pushing back on what the president is trying to do with Iran. Especially with the sanctions. The congressional black caucus, which is a swing vote, are enabling what the president is doing, you have many leading Jews in this country who are enabling the president in doing what he’s doing. You have the media, who seems to vilify anybody who challenges the president on Iran. They’re making Netanyahu and Israel to be a villain and the enemy of every state. Where is the support? Where will the voices rise to make Americans realise that it’s not just a threat against Israel, but it’s the threat that can happen here in the United States that you so eloquently discussed in the last segment?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Well, the tragedy is that Israel used to always be a bipartisan issue. And in many respects it still is. Of course, there’s much stronger support among Republicans for Israel. Recent polls demonstrate that conclusively. And Republicans are virtually, to a person, against this deal. And some Democrats are, too. Senator Menendez, who now has some of his own problems, has been a stalwart in trying to make sure that congress has some input on this. We’re going to see now whether or not Senator Schumer steps up. He’s the heir designate to the majority leadership now that Harry Reid has indicated he’s not going to run again. And let’s see if he steps up and does what he ought to do as both the senator from New York and potential national leader. He has to know that this is not a good deal for the United States, for world peace and for Israel. I’m deeply disappointed at the black caucus. I have many friends within that caucus and I spent a lot of time talking to Congressman Charles Rangel who I’ve known for years and I think I helped to persuade him not to boycott the Netanyahu speech when many others in the black caucus did. I don’t ever want to see this become a conflict between the Jewish community and the black community. We’ve worked together so long and so hard and on so many issues and, you know, I am so deeply involved and so many other Jews are in the civil rights movement, I would expect at least some support from many within the black caucus for Israel’s literal survival when it comes to the Iranian threat. So I hope that some members of the black caucus will reconsider and not become just part of the chorus of opposition to everything that Israel seeks because what Israel seeks in this regard is good for America. It’s good for America regardless of your race, regardless of your religion, regardless of your ethnicity. And speaking of religion, the people who are at least of great risk of being killed if Iran gets nuclear weapons are the Palestinians. Nuclear weapons don’t distinguish between Jews and Arabs, between Muslims and Israelis. There is going to be risk to everybody. And I think everybody in the world ought to unite around the checks and balances that our Constitution requires before a deal like this is finalised. Congress must have some input and right now congress is not supportive of the deal as we now know it. The other thing I’m worried about is this, the administration is telling us, don’t complain about the deal now. It’s too early. But once the deal is signed, they’re going to say don’t complain about the deal, it’s too late. But when is the right time? Now is the right time.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: I want to switch real quickly here. Obviously, we cannot ignore what happened with that flight coming out of Germany, headed to Dusseldorf, was it a terrorist attack? It just seemed – It has made all of us who fly the world feel a little eerie that not only do we have to worry about terrorist themselves, but pilots in the cockpit?

FRANK GAFFNEY: Yeah, as best we could tell from the evidence that’s been presented so far is that you had a disturbed individual who shouldn’t have been in the cockpit, who was being treated for mental illness that should have disqualified him. Can that happen again? Of course, it can. I think that the industry and the, you know, regulators have tried to institute procedures that minimize the chances of that. But yeah, this is the possible problem and we never had an explanation for what happened to that Malaysian jet where it seems as though some effort was made to do violence to the passengers from the cockpit as well. Is this part of a pattern? Is this a couple of anomalous situations? It’s hard to say. But clearly the combination of terrorism that we do know is targeting passengers in planes and these kinds of human problems or vulnerabilities at least make all of us nervous and I think require redoubled effort to try to insure the security of those passengers and that means basically all of us these days, doesn’t it?

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Yes. Mr. Dershowitz, we have less than a minute. Listen, if someone decides that they’re a mental case and they hide their behaviour and they get in the cockpit and the pilot goes to the restroom, I don’t care what kind of policy you put in place, it’s going to be very difficult to avoid what just recently happened.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No, I agree with that. It’s difficult. But there are some technological fixes that we can impose and also the requirement that when somebody has written a letter saying that you’re not fit to fly that day, you would think that the law should require that the employer be notified of that. Also I think some video cameras in the cockpit, some other technological fixes, can reduce the likelihood. Nobody’s ever going to eliminate it completely. We know that. Flying is safe. Living is unsafe today in the world. You never know when you can be a victim of a terrorist attack or just of a complete person who’s not suited to flying. So we have to do everything we can to increase safety, but we’ll never get perfection.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Listen, it was terrific having Frank Gaffney and it’s just a pleasure having Alan Dershowitz join us via Skype. I want to give some love out to his wife for making it all work for us. Thank you both for joining us and when we come back, Marcus Mullins [PH] will be featured among our young leaders. [MUSIC] [CUT]

MARCUS MULLINS: Hello, my name is Marcus Mullins. I’ve always been a free spirit in the pursuit of making dreams a reality. I’ve developed the patch for people and culture, understanding norms and values has allowed me to understand what is important to them. Learning what’s important to a group of people, you can look for voids in the market. Uncovering those needs leads to the development and the marketing of businesses that are successful everyday. Everyday do something to make your dreams a reality. Read, write, or work on your plan daily. Good things happen through progressive activity.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Impressive, Marcus. Thank you for joining us. Listen, Iran’s mission is to bring about apocalyptic destruction to the world, especially to America. Wake up, America, before it’s too late. Thank you for watching us. Good day.

-Originally posted by the Center for Security Policy