Trojans for Israel host Iran deal discussion
Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, discussed the heavily debated Iran nuclear deal Wednesday night at USC Hillel during the first of two Trojan Leadership Dinners hosted by Trojans for Israel.
“We host the dinner in order to unite student leaders in a networking opportunity and as an educational way to learn about the U.S.-Israel relationship,” TFI President Samantha Viterbi said in an email. “We chose this topic because we believe this is the most important policy issue of our time.”
The Obama administration has been negotiating a deal with the Iranian government for the past 20 months and after the deal was reached in early July, a 60-day review period commenced in Congress, where it was met with criticism. By Sept. 17, Congress must vote to either accept or reject the deal.
“Trojans for Israel is a bipartisan, undergraduate student organization that advocates on the vitality of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Viterbi said. “We create leadership statements every semester, on pressing topics relevant to our local members of congress, and ask student leaders to sign onto them.”
Hillel held the event at their off campus location. According to its website, Hillel’s mission is, “To enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.”
Student leaders and TFI members alike were in attendance at the event.
Tamar Fleshler, vice president of religious life for Hillel, also hoped to learn more from the dinner.
“My life goal is to bridge the gap between Israel and Palestine,” Fleshler said. “We’ve appealed to the offices of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to show that we care about these issues. We need to seek a better deal.”
After student leaders sat down for dinner, Schnur introduced himself and set the stage for open dialogue.
“The debate is not whether there should be an agreement, but the debate is what kind of agreement makes the most sense and what can verify Iran’s promise to delay their nuclear capabilities or prohibit them from supporting terrorism in the Middle East,” Schnur said. “It’s not as much as a discussion of the Iran deal as respecting and listening to the other side and not demonizing them.”
Schnur then opened the debate up to the floor.
Audience members asked questions regarding the future of Iran, their attack capabilities, the role of Russia and China, if Iran will be allowed to fund more terrorism and how this deal will affect the U.S.-Israel relations.
“The policy piece is really complicated — each side has their own valid reasons for and against the deal,” said Aaron Rifkind, a senior majoring in international relations. “I learned that we need to come together if the bill is either rejected or passed.”
Schnur stressed the importance of collaboration to solve this issue.
“Too often we tend to listen to who we agree with and people can’t talk about these issues without anger and violence,” Schnur said. “We need to come together to reach a 40-yard line solution.”