The much talked-about personal enmity between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was on full display yesterday, as Obama repeatedly criticized, and even mocked, the Israeli PM in his speech urging the American public to back the Iran nuclear deal.
But despite that hostility, personal issues are not the main driving force behind either's position on the contentious Iran deal.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, leading Arab and Islamic world expert Professor Moshe Sharon said that contrary to recent comments by Obama and US Secretary of State John John Kerry, the threat Netanyahu perceives is a very real one.
"The question is the existence of the State of Israel, the security of the State of Israel, and there is no question that Iran is after the creation of an atom bomb… that can easily be achieved with the enrichment of uranium," said Professor Sharon, who served as former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's adviser on Arab affairs.
Iran's long record of lying during negotiations and deceiving international inspectors bodes will not end with the signing of this agreement, he warned.
"There is no question that once an agreement is reached Iran will not keep it," he stated. "Even the agreement as it is – which in many ways favors Iran – will not be kept, and bit by bit the Iranians will change it, will do things that will not be seen very quickly to negate the agreement and abolish it."
With the signing of such a one-sided agreement "the Iranians are the masters, not the Americans or anyone else."
So why would the US, Europe and other world powers sign such a "bad deal" with Iran?
The answer, says Sharon, is simple: trade.
It is abundantly clear why Iranian allies like Russia and China would favor a bill which lets Tehran off the hook easily, but Europe, too, is eager to cash-in on the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, to the tune of billions of dollars in trade.
"Europe is waiting for the moment to do business with Iran," he noted.
For the US, the benefits extend beyond that; Obama is eager to create a personal legacy and be seen as the man who made peace in the Middle East – a theme he visited repeatedly in his speech Wednesday.
Israel and its unlikely Gulf Arab allies stand alone as the only states whose very security is threatened by the deal in the near-term – though Israeli officials have warned that empowering the world's largest state-sponsor of terrorism will eventually backfire on Western states as well.
As for why so many American Jews are still supporting the President and his initiative, while ignoring the concerns of their brethren in Israel, Professor Sharon says it all boils down to the assimilation of US Jewry, an eroding sense of Jewish identity and a wider liberal obsession with President Obama.
"One should not be surprised that Jews who are mostly liberals and Democrats are behind the deal," he said. "If you ask the liberal Jews in America what they think they'll tell you 'We believe our president. If our president says that today is a sunny day then today is a sunny day!'"