Press Release: Following Netanyahu Speech, Give Diplomacy a Chance!

Following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s congressional speech today, Americans for Peace Now urges Congress to resist Netanyahu’s unattainable conditions for an Iran deal, and act responsibly by giving the Obama administration's diplomacy a chance to address Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

APN’s President and CEO Debra DeLee commented:

“As expected, and despite the acknowledgement of President Obama's bona fides on Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu's coming to Washington is sticking a finger in President Obama’s eye over Iran talks. Netanyahu came to the U.S. arrogantly claiming to represent all Jews, but only further estranged American Jews -- who are appalled, just as many other Americans are, at the sight of an Israeli Prime Minister demanding that they choose between supporting Israel and supporting the elected president of their own country on such a critical issue. Netanyahu spoke repeatedly about his moral duty to do everything possible to ensure Israel's security, but with every word he uttered, he further eroded his credibility as a leader and undermined the stated purpose of his controversial address to Congress: blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon. Rather than seek to repair some of the damage already done by his outrageous decision to address Congress at this time, his speech on Capitol Hill has only deepened partisan divisions over support for Israel.

“As Netanyahu prepares to travel back home and face Israeli voters, members of Congress are left with a choice. They can adopt the positions of a foreign leader who has deliberately placed unattainable conditions on a diplomatic deal with Iran and who is urging Congressional actions that could abort an Iran deal before it is reached or render any deal dead on arrival. Or, they can support the efforts of the elected President of the United States -- a president who has been adamant in his commitment to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and whose negotiators - along with negotiators from some of our closest allies -- are engaged in difficult but promising diplomacy that has a real chance to yield an achievable and responsible deal.

“Iran negotiations have already demonstrated that diplomacy can deliver results. Now, with negotiations entering their final stretch, diplomacy must be given every possible chance to produce a deal that verifiably curbs Iran's nuclear program. Should negotiations end without a deal, there is nothing preventing Congress and the Obama Administration from revisiting all the various policy responses, including additional sanctions, at that time. Should negotiations end with a deal that Congress dislikes, Congress can likewise revisit its legislative options at that time.

“As for Netanyahu, he is leaving Washington having caused immeasurable damage to the U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship, to Israel’s credibility in the U.S., to his own credibility, to the bond that American Jews have with Israel, and to the very cause that he champions – preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons-armed state. We very much hope that he – or whoever will be chosen as Israel’s leader in two weeks – will work to repair that damage in the future.”