A delegation of congressional Democrats, 22 in total, was flown into Jerusalem this past week by AIPAC and told in no uncertain terms by a bevy of Israeli politicians that a vote in favor of the Iran deal is a vote against Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was joined by left-wing Zionist Camp leaders Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog in echoing a polite but firm message to the 22 representatives, boiled down by journalist Akiva Eldar to: “Anyone who backs this agreement cannot be considered a friend of Israel, but, of course, you’re fully within your rights to vote in favor of Israel’s enemies. Who am I to interfere in US domestic affairs.”
Herzog commented, “I, too, am deeply critical of the deal with Iran. … I believe there’s great danger in letting the hungry Iranian tiger out of his cage and allowing him to roam the region and upset its balance of power. … The agreement legitimizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state within 10 or 15 years, in a totally different way from today.”
While Livni posted on Facebook, “The agreement with Iran is bad and Israel has a right to express this position everywhere.” She went on, “Since the signing of the agreement, all the dams have been burst. Iran is legitimate, the agreement is already being implemented de facto by the powers and money and weapons are flowing its way from Europe and Russia.”
According to Eldar’s report:
The policy document made public by the Zionist Camp in April demands, among other things, that Israel be granted “unlimited operational capabilities in the face of threats and violations of the agreement and in the face of enemies supported by Iran in the region.” Herzog and Livni did not settle for anything less than “advance legitimacy for any activity that Israel will be forced to undertake to defend itself in the situation that has arisen.” “Any activity” could mean a military attack.
The leaders were quick to clarify that they are not telling American congressional representatives how to vote. Walking a careful line between domestic interests and international relations, Netanyahu, Herzog and Livni buffered their arguments against the deal with cautious caveats about not getting their hands in American affairs. They did clarify, however, that the majority of the Israeli public is against the deal.