Israeli officials fight Netanyahu over the Iran nuclear deal

Israeli officials fight Netanyahu over the Iran nuclear deal
3 min read
23 July, 2015
Analysis: A group of Israeli lobbyists are attempting to counter Netanyahu's propaganda and thwart his attempts to hijack the deal's passage through Washington's corridors of power.
Netanyahu and AIPAC seek to thwart US approval of the Iran nuclear deal [Getty]

While Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has joined forces with the Zionist lobby AIPAC in the US to thwart the approval of the Iran nuclear deal by the US Congress, supporters of the deal - along with members of the more moderate Israeli lobby group J Street - say the deal is in Israel's best interest.

J Street activists have been distributing literature to Congress members to show the stances of several within the Israeli security establishment who also support the deal.

The former head of the Shin Bet intelligence agency, Ami Ayalon, alongside Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy, Professor Uzi Even, and Shelly Yachimovich, the former head of the Labor Party have all signed on in support of the historic agreement.

The J Street brochure also includes a statement of support from the Israeli Council for Peace and Security, which includes a large number of former army generals.

     The J Street brochure also includes a statement of support from the Israeli Council for Peace and Security

The Council commented on the Iran deal, saying that, even though it was not perfect, it still sought to eliminate the immediate threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, and that the deal was expected to extend the period before Iran acquires a nuclear weapon from two months to one year over a period of ten years.

In addition, the brochure includes quotes from General Yitzhak Ben-Aharon, the former head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Agency, from press statements he made last week.

In his statements, Ben-Aharon said that the deal was not bad - and that it was in Israel's best interests, as it prevents Iran from becoming a nuclear state in the coming 15 years.

J Street activists aim to circulate these statements among members of Congress, and to US media, in order to change the currently prevalent notion that all of Israel is against the deal.

Two days ago, the Daily Beast published an interview with Ami Ayalon expressing his support for the Iran deal. However, the Washington Post said Ayalon still had his doubts about it.

J Street activists who support the deal plan to invite Israeli officials to Washington for direct talks with members of Congress to confirm that there are some voices who disagree with Netanyahu's criticism, including current security officials.

an Israeli website, said the recent visit by US defence chief Ashton Carter to Tel Aviv had highlighted the gulf between Netanyahu and his security agencies, noting that the security establishment believes negotiations with the US should start promptly to compensate Israel through increased military aid.

However, Netanyahu refuses to negotiate as this could be interpreted by Congress that he tacitly accepts the deal.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.