As we learn more about the Iran deal — the side agreements, the lifting of the arms and missile embargoes, the loophole-ridden inspections regime — the more apparent it is that only people so enamored of their own work, so gullible to embrace the Iranians’ soothing words and so desperate for glory could have negotiated this deal. Rather than acknowledge the criticisms on the merits, the administration sinks lower and lower, casting aspersions on critics. When Secretary of State John Kerry announces that the world will blame Israel if the deal fails, we have left the realm of dignified debate. When he warns Israel not to act militarily in its own defense, he suggests that the United States won’t back up the Jewish state. (“That’d be an enormous mistake, a huge mistake with grave consequences for Israel and for the region, and I don’t think it’s necessary.”)
In addition, as the conservative Free Beacon reported at the end of last week, Kerry now insinuates that the deal will fail not because it is a rotten one but because Israel manipulated lawmakers:
“I fear that what could happen is if Congress were to overturn it, our friends Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed,” Kerry said.
Michael Oren, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel who recently released a memoir, quickly condemned Kerry’s remarks in a statement. . . . “If American legislators reject the nuclear deal, they will do so exclusively on the basis of U.S. interests,” Oren said in the statement. “The threat of the Secretary of State who, in the past, warned that Israel was in danger of becoming an apartheid state, cannot deter us from fulfilling our national duty to oppose this dangerous deal.”
One senior official at a prominent pro-Israel organization in Washington, D.C. expressed alarm at Kerry’s comments, which appeared to intimate that Israel has the ability to control U.S. officials. “We’re into the first week of congressional debate over the Iran deal and the president, the secretary of state, and their allies are already smearing shadowy moneyed lobbies and scapegoating Israel,” said the source. “What are they going to save for week two?”
Kerry does not “fear” Israel would be blamed; he is threatening to blame Israel if U.S. lawmakers decide that the deal is not in the interests of the United States. Not only is he inciting anti-Israel fervor, but he also is repeating another canard, namely that Israel controls Congress. In doing all this, the administration echoes ancient tropes against the Jews and not-so-ancient ones against an Israeli government that won’t meekly assent to its death.
The administration sounds more unhinged with each passing day, no doubt because it is not convincing Democrats to stand with the White House in defense of a rotten deal. In particular, many lawmakers who insisted on disclosure of the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program are learning it won’t be in the deal. The Wall Street Journal reports:
An Obama administration assessment of the Iran nuclear deal provided to Congress has led a number of lawmakers to conclude the U.S. and world powers will never get to the bottom of the country’s alleged efforts to build an atomic weapon, and that Tehran won’t be pressed to fully explain its past.
In a report to Capitol Hill last week, the administration said it was unlikely Iran would admit to having pursued a covert nuclear weapons program, and that such an acknowledgment wasn’t critical to verifying Iranian commitments in the future.
Details of the report, which haven’t been previously disclosed, indicate the deal reached this month could go ahead even if United Nations inspectors never ascertain conclusively whether Iran pursued a nuclear weapons program—something Tehran has repeatedly denied.
In other words, the administration caved on PMDs and the deal would go into effect without ever forcing Iran to disclose information necessary to conduct adequate inspections. (“Outside nuclear experts said understanding Iran’s past nuclear work was critical to verifying the new agreement because it establishes a baseline for what Tehran has done in the past.”) Democrats who insisted on a credible inspection process and know that it depends on our understanding of Iran’s past nuclear weapons program have a choice: Cave (as the president did, thereby sacrificing their own credibility) or insist the president go back (with additional leverage in the form of new sanctions) to obtain what Kerry once promised he would get.
No wonder the administration is throwing a fit, louder and more overtly anti-Israel with each passing day. The president and his advisers desperately want to divert attention from their own grossly defective deal — and blame Israel if it fails. Nothing could be more revealing of the deal’s weakness and the Obama administration’s hostility to Israel than the manner in which it is defending the deal.