Netanyahu: Iran Deal Supporters Trying to Stifle Debate

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a live webcast with American Jewish leaders Tuesday, in which he warned that supporters of the nuclear deal with Iran are trying to stifle debate over the issue.

In a webcast hosted by American Friends of Likud and other Jewish groups, broadcast to 10,000 people, Netanyahu hit out at unnamed opponents who misrepresented the deal and Israel's stance against it.

His intervention comes amid a fierce battle with President Barack Obama over the deal.

But Netanyahu insisted the dispute is "not about me and it is not about President Obama, its about the deal.  

"The more people know about the deal the more they oppose it," he added, arguing that the "most outrageous" lie was that those opposing the deal – including Israel – want war, and are against any form of diplomatic agreement.  

Such claims are "just not true," he said.

"The alternative is still no deal or a better deal – not war," he said. "The claim Israel wants war is not only wrong – it is outrageous."

He described that as "utterly false," saying that "we are the front lines."  

"This is not a partisan issue in Israel. It should not be a partisan issue in the United States."

Accusing supporters of dishonesty, he insisted that Israel would continue to voice its vociferous opposition to the agreement.

"The days when the Jewish people could not speak out for themselves are over," he said, once again warning of the danger of a nuclear arms race as a result of the deal. 

The PM urged US Jews not to "let the deal supporters quash the real debate. This is the time to oppose this dangerous deal."

Netanyahu also sought to reassure his audience that the United States and Israel survive the latest policy rift, "as we have in the past."

The deal would temporarily curb Iran's nuclear program in return for international sanctions relief.

Netanyahu said that would not prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon but would in fact "pave the way" for it and legitimize its leadership.  

The webcast was hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federations of North America.    

Obama is himself expected to host Jewish leaders at the White House later on Tuesday.

Obama has previously deployed chief lieutenants to make the diplomatic, military and technical case for the deal, ahead of a crunch vote in Congress.  

A "no" vote would not automatically kill the deal, but it would force Obama to issue a veto and to rally enough Democratic votes to uphold it.  

That has prompted a ferocious battle for public opinion, including within the Jewish community.

Key Democrats such New York Senator Charles Schumer have yet to voice their opinion on the deal in public.  

Schumer's public agnosticism reflects the deep divisions the deal has caused with America's politically attuned Jewish community.  

Groups like AIPAC and the liberal-Jewish J-Street have engaged in a multi-million-dollar public relations faceoff.

Meanwhile federations, individual organizations, Rabbis and Rabbinical assemblies are being pressed to take a stance.  

With weeks to go before the congressional vote, lobbying efforts look set to intensify further.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/199036

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