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Trump’s and Netanyahu’s Reckless Opposition to Iran Deal Endangers US and Israel

September 18, 2017

J Street is deeply worried by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s stated intention to use his meeting today with President Trump to argue that the US should act to undermine or withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran.

Both leaders have repeatedly made clear that on the subject of the nuclear agreement they value aggressive sound bites over real security. They refuse to accept basic facts about its provisions, goals and successful implementation. Nor can they be trusted to heed the overwhelming consensus of their own leading security advisers and intelligence agencies – that the agreement has increased US and Israeli security and should be kept in place.

It is appropriate that the president and the prime minister would focus much of their conversation on how to jointly respond to and confront the threat of Iran’s insidious and threatening activities, including its support for Hezbollah and influence near the Israeli border in Syria. But undermining the JCPOA would actually make this joint response far harder. The agreement blocks the nightmare scenario of Iran engaging in such malign behavior as a nuclear power. Killing the deal would alienate the European allies whose support and cooperation Israel and the US need. Doing so could also put Iran back on the path to acquiring a nuclear weapon, and put the US and Israel on a path to a destructive and unnecessary war.

We strongly urge concerned elected officials, experts and citizens in both the US and Israel to make clear to the president and the prime minister that undermining or abandoning the JCPOA would be a disaster for the security and future of both countries.

On the other major topic of discussion between the two leaders, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, any prospect for meaningful diplomatic progress remains remote as long as the Trump administration refuses to clearly demonstrate its support for the two-state solution. If he is truly serious about his stated desire to help broker a comprehensive peace agreement, President Trump has an opportunity tomorrow to prove it. He should use his speech at the United Nations to clearly back the two-state solution, and highlight some of the steps that both sides will need to take to achieve it.

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