The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Kerry vs. friends of Israel

The pro-Israel community is pushing back — hard — against the Obama-Kerry Iran deal. As Secretary of State John Kerry heads to the Hill for briefings, senators are getting an earful from friends of the Jewish state.

Alan Dershowitz in the pages of left-wing Ha’aretz explained how extensive is the opposition to such an awful deal. “Liberals and conservatives, doves and hawks, all seem to realize that the best way to avoid the Scylla and Charybdis of a nuclear Iran or a military attack is to maintain the tough sanctions while diplomacy continues.” Adding to the portrait of the administration as politically isolated, he added: “This is the time when the entire pro-Israel community must stand together in opposition to the deal being offered the Iranians—a deal which is bad for the United States, for the West, and for Israel. The Israeli people seem united in opposition to this bad deal. The American Congress is doubtful about the deal . . . Indeed all reasonable, thinking people should understand that weakening the sanctions against Iran without demanding that they dismantle their nuclear weapons program is a prescription for disaster. Have we learned nothing from North Korea and Neville Chamberlain?”

Of course, Wendy Sherman had her start in the appeasement world with the blunder in North Korea. The Christian conservative base has swung into action. Christians United for Israel, the country’s largest pro-Israel group, has sent out an action alert asking its members to contact the Senate to “keep the pressure on Iran unless and until it is willing to make real concessions that cannot be quickly reversed. If the Obama Administration will not do so, then others must act. The United States Senate is now our best hope.  The Senate is contemplating enacting tougher sanctions on Iran.  We believe that these sanctions represent our best hope of forcing Iran to make real concessions on their nuclear program.” As of this writing, 14,652 emails had hit senators’ inboxes.

In addition, longtime Israel-defender Gary Bauer sent out a warning to his followers: “The deal Obama/Kerry wanted — and still want — would put Israel’s back to the wall and virtually guarantee a major war in the Middle East. Obama and Kerry deny this, of course, but we already know that they eased sanctions on Iran months ago to grease the skids and have lied repeatedly about their intentions. Reaction in Washington to Obama’s appeasement crossed party lines. There was criticism from liberal New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez to conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz. In fact, many senators from both parties are calling for a strengthening of sanctions against Iran.”

And to top it off Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman and critic of the interim deal, will hold a hearing tomorrow that’s bound to reveal the potential deal’s dangerous flaws. (Kerry will meet with the Senate Banking Committee behind closed doors.)

There is virtually no wiggle room here for lawmakers concerned about U.S. security and who consider themselves friends of Israel. With a deal this obviously misguided the only reason for going along would be partisan support for the president. At a time when his popularity and credibility are waning that may not be enough to keep anxious Democrats on board with the White House’s giveaway.

As the week goes on, we will see whether Kerry or the American people prove to be more convincing and whether we will in fact see the Senate join the House in a round of tough banking sanctions.