There's a lot of noise right now about the Iran nuclear deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and some Jewish community organizations have declared war on the deal. They and their allies –
including members of the right-wing Evangelical movement and point-scoring political partisans – are bombarding
members of Congress, the public and the media with a barrage of anti-deal talking points and sound
I fear that lost in this din are key facts that members of Congress – who will soon have the responsibility to vote whether to approve the deal – as well as the public at large, need to know.
Like the fact that, contrary to what many opponents of the deal want people to believe, many important Israelis support the deal. Prominent among them is former head of the Mossad Efraim Halevy, who wrote that Iran was "forced to agree to an invasive and unique monitoring regime, which is unparalleled around the world."
Former head of the Shin Bet Ami
Ayalon said that "when it comes to Iran's nuclear capability, this [deal] is the best option ... " And
Maj. Gen. (Res) Israel Ziv, former head of
the Israeli Army's Operations Directorate branch, wrote that, "this agreement is the best among all other
Likewise, Amos Yadlin, former head of the the Israeli Army's Military Intelligence Directorate, wrote that if the agreement is blocked, "Iran will remain closer to a nuclear bomb in the coming years."
Chuck Freilich, former deputy national security adviser in Israel, wrote that the agreement "will contribute to Israel's security. For at least the next decade, Israel will not have to live under the threat of a nuclear Iran and will not face the danger of annihilation. For Israel, that is a major achievement."
Uzi Even, a physics professor at Tel Aviv University and a former scientist at the Dimona reactor, wrote that the deal "blocks every path I know to the bomb."
Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, chairman of the Israel Space Agency and of the National Council for Research and Development, wrote that, "the agreement is not bad at all, and even good for Israel ... . The U.S. leader said that the agreement removes the nuclear threat for a decade or two, and he is correct."
Other nuanced views include those articulated by former senior Mossad official and former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies Yossi Alpher; former senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Oded Eran; former head of Israel's Military Intelligence Directorate, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Dov Tamari; Israel's Council on Peace and Security, an organization of former Israel senior military and intelligence officials; and Israeli experts on Iran and nuclear issues Meir Javedenfar and Avner Cohen.
Another fact obscured by the anti-deal uproar is this: Polls carried out after the deal was announced found that American Jews strongly support the deal – more strongly, in fact, that the general public. One poll found that 53 percent of American Jews want Congress to support the deal, and 98 percent of those who support the deal agreed that the deal makes Israel safer. Another poll found that 60 percent of American Jews both support the Iran deal and want Congress to approve it.
Opponents of the deal want Congress and the American public to believe that American Jews stand with Netanyahu and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in opposing the Iran deal. The reality is much different.
Finally, opponents of the deal are generating a deluge of analysis and commentary aimed at sinking the deal and drowning out the views of most genuine authorities on national security, international relations, and nuclear nonproliferation. Like the 60 U.S. national security leaders who describe the deal as "a landmark agreement unprecedented in its importance for preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran." And the more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors who called the deal "a landmark agreement in deterring the proliferation of nuclear weapons." And the more than 70 European political, diplomatic and military leadership figures who described the agreement as "a sound framework for ending the crisis over the Iranian nuclear program" and urged Congress to approve it. And five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel – ambassadors who served both Republican and Democratic presidents – who called on Congress to support the deal.
It is my fervent hope that our elected officials here in Ohio – and elected officials from across the country – will reject the partisan and ideological noise and take seriously their responsibility to examine the facts of the agreement and the analysis of actual experts. Having done so, I believe they will have no choice but to conclude, as I have, that supporting the deal is the true pro-Israel (and pro-U.S.) position.
This article first appeared on 8/5/2015 in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.