There Is Nothing Untoward about Netanyahu’s Lobbying Against the Iran Deal

August 14, 2015 | Alan Dershowitz
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President Obama and his supporters have censured Israel’s prime minister for his vocal opposition to the nuclear agreement with Iran, suggesting that he has severely violated diplomatic protocol. Alan Dershowitz writes that nothing could be further from the truth:

Benjamin Netanyahu is acting properly in lobbying against the Iran deal. And President Obama is acting improperly in accusing him of interfering in American foreign policy and suggesting that no other foreign leader has ever tried to do so: “I do not recall a similar example.”

President Obama is as wrong about American history as he is about policy. Many foreign leaders have tried to influence U.S. foreign policy when their national interests are involved. . . . Winston Churchill appeared in front of Congress and lobbied heavily to have America change its isolationist policy during the run up to World War II. Nor can President Obama claim ignorance about recent events, when he himself sent David Cameron, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, to lobby Congress in favor of the Iran deal. . . .

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s nation has a far greater stake in the Iran deal than most of the countries that negotiated it. But Israel was excluded from the negotiations. Any leader of Israel would and should try to exercise whatever influence he might have in the ongoing debate over the deal. . . . Does President Obama really believe that Israeli leaders are required to remain silent and simply accept the consequences of a deal that puts Israel’s population at risk? . . .

President Obama’s attack on Prime Minister Netanyahu, for doing exactly what he himself would be doing if the shoe were on the other foot, has encouraged Israel-bashers to accuse opponents of the deal of dual loyalty. . . . The president should stop attacking both the domestic and international critics of the deal and engage us on the merits.

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