Two new polls released on Wednesday seemed to have convinced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that opposition to the Iran nuclear deal has increased among the American public in the past two weeks.
“This deal, the more that you learn about it, the opposition to it increases,” Netanyahu told reporters during a special briefing at the National Public Diplomacy Directorate in the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem on Thursday. “As people know more about it, they become more opposed to it. This is also true about the American public. The debate in the U.S. is important and you can see the shift.”
“The inspections regime is full of holes,” the prime minister said. “This deal is terrible. It’s preferable to have no deal than this deal. In another 10 to 15 years, Iran will become a nuclear threshold country with the potential to build nuclear weapons — with permission and authorization.”
According to Ha’aretz diplomatic correspondent, Barak Ravid, the prime minister set up two large whiteboards, using a blue marker to write down the nearly 20 questions from the correspondents gathered in the room, while writing his answers with a red marker.
The view that the more people are aware of the terms of the agreement the more they oppose it, was reflected by two poll published on Wednesday. According to a poll conducted by Olive Tree Strategies for The Israel Project, when voters were presented with balanced debates including arguments in favor of the deal taken directly from the White House website, a majority (53%) believed that Congress should reject the deal. After being presented with ten concerns about the deal with Iran, even more voters (62%) opposed the deal.
A similar poll conducted by John McLaughlin for Secure America Now showed that after learning the facts about the Iran deal, 65% of Americans want their Senator or Congressman to oppose it, compared to only 45% who wanted Congress to oppose before learning the facts.
McLaughlin served as a pollster and strategist to the Likud Party and Netanyahu’s reelection campaign earlier this year.
According to Times of Israel, the prime minister pointed to a critical article by Leon Wieseltier, a frequent critic of Netanyahu’s policies, as proof that Jews and Americans were united in opposition to the deal.
“It shows that you don’t have to be right wing Jew to criticize this agreement. You also don’t have to be a Jew at all to reject this agreement,” he implored.
In fact, two polls released earlier this week offered conflicting results of U.S. Jews’ views of the nuclear agreement, as Jews are more inclined to support the deal when compared to Americans in general. A poll conducted by GBA Strategies for J Street showed that 60 percent of American Jews support the agreement, including 78% of self-identified Democrats, while 40% are opposed to it. Among those who have a great deal or some information about the agreement (79% of Jews), 59 percent support it.
On the other hand, the poll conducted by Olive Tree Strategies, showed that 47 percent of American Jews oppose the deal, while 44 percent were in favor. When respondents were presented with the WH’s arguments and the counter-statements by those oppose the deal, 51 percent said Congress should reject the deal while 35 percent wanted Congress to approve the deal.
According to a report by Israel’s Channel 2, Netanyahu is ready to “go all the way” in protesting the Iran nuclear deal in the US.
As first reported by JP, Netanyahu will be reaching out to the American Jewish community in a live webcast next Tuesday, addressing the agreement and its implications for Israel, the Middle East and the world. A question and answer period will follow his remarks, according to am email invitation.
The webcast is hosted by American Friends of Likud, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations together with Jewish Federations across the nation.
“If the deal does not pass in Congress, this will prevent the greatest danger of Iran becoming a nuclear threshold state in 10 years with permission and authority,” Netanyahu told the diplomatic correspondents.
Ravid noted that Netanyahu went out for a phone call of over 30 minutes with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the briefing. Putin told Netanyahu that the agreement “provided reliable guarantees” that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, according to the Kremlin.
“This is no longer an Israeli issue,” the Israeli premier. “There are people who aren’t Jews and even aren’t Israel supporters who see that this is a problem of the region, of the world and of the U.S. Messages from most of the Sunni regimes in the area are reaching me through all the possible channels who not only oppose the deal but some of them are even horrified by it.”