Israel might face its first defeat in its campaign to undo the recent accord the US and Europe have made with the Iranian administration to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons.
Israel has been warned that its efforts to unwind Iran’s nuclear deal are being hampered by dwindling support among Jewish Americans, upset by deteriorating relations between Netanyahu’s administration and the White House.
Yaron Sideman, an Israeli diplomat based in Philadelphia, told his government that the tactic of presenting ‘the Iranian issue as an existential threat’ to Israel was in danger of backfiring in America. ‘The Jewish community in the United States is not standing as a united front behind Israel and important parts of it are on the fence,’ he wrote in a diplomatic cable that was leaked to A Haraatz, an Israeli newspaper.
The assessment comes as the deal’s fate hangs in the balance before a vote in Congress expected next month. Mr Sideman’s warnings chime with the findings of a poll of Jewish Americans. The survey, conducted by J Street, a left-wing Jewish lobby group, showed that sixty per cent of American Jews supported the Iran deal – designed to police its nuclear ambitions in return for sanctions to be released – while forty per cent opposed it.
The diplomat wrote that Jewish Americans were concerned at how Israel’s relationship with the White House has soured. He described how one American Jewish business leader told of ‘how the USA Jewish communities manoeuvring space regarding advancing Israel’s interests, will be extremely limited’ for the remainder of President Obama’s time in office.
However, it seems the broader US electorate sentiment shows signs of shifting against the deal. A CNN-ORC poll released recently found that fifty-two per cent wanted Congress to reject the deal, while forty-four per cent wanted it approved. Mt Netanyahu has called the deal ‘a historic mistake’.
Hollywood, in the meantime, has also entered the fray, with the actors Morgan Freeman and Jack Black appearing in a video urging Americans to support the deal.
I personally believe that Israel’s opposition will, if it ever succeeds to scrapping the deal, will not only antagonise the USA, but the whole of Europe, and endanger the world by the spread of nuclear weapons.
To seek peace is a far better strategy than a confrontation that will surely lead to tragic consequences. We must always try diplomatic means to avert a worse scenario.