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Jeremy Ben-Ami: Our playbook to win the Iran fight


Jeremy Ben-AmiAbout one-third of the way through its 60-day review of the Iran deal, Congress is headed out of town this week, with 23 new Democratic Members of Congress announcing support for the deal, and seven, including New York Senator Chuck Schumer, announcing opposition.

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Despite the tens of millions being spent by opponents of the deal, the President and proponents of the deal – including J Street – are on our way to winning this fight.

I know Senator Schumer’s decision is causing concern among the deal’s supporters. But recognize this: the growing coalition in support of the agreement is impressive in quality and depth.

It includes Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, California’s Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, Maine’s thoughtful Independent Angus King, progressive Elizabeth Warren, and three of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s leading voices, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Tim Kaine of Virginia.

Florida’s Bill Nelson and New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand — who between them represent almost 2.5 million Jewish Americans in Congress — both came out this week courageously arguing that the agreement is the best option to stop the Iranian nuclear program and safeguard American and Israeli security.

And several Jewish and staunchly pro-Israel members are among the most outspoken advocates for the deal, including Congress’s senior Jewish voice, Rep. Sander Levin, and the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee California’s Adam Schiff.

Though we have momentum on our side, there’s still much to be done.

Throughout the Congressional recess, J Street will continue our multi-million dollar ad campaign to educate and inform undecided Americans and Members of Congress about the merits of the deal. And, critically, we’ll bring veteran Israeli national security leaders to the States to explain why this deal is by far the best option for the US and for Israel.

We recognize that some skeptics of the deal do have legitimate concerns – whether about the trustworthiness of the Iranian regime or its behavior at home and around the world.

The deal’s staunchest opponents are playing to those fears but offering no feasible alternative. Their suggestion that negotiations could be re-opened to reach “a better deal” is untethered to reality.

The real world implications of Congress defeating the deal would be collapsing international sanctions, an uninhibited Iranian path to the bomb and the very real risk of military conflict.

Of course we don’t trust Iran–no one does!–but this agreement puts in place the most far-reaching inspections and verification regime ever negotiated. It is far and away the best way to ensure that the dangerous Iranian regime can NEVER threaten our allies with a nuclear weapon.

Every day the myth of an unattainable “perfect deal” distracts us from the real deal in front of us is a day when Iran can march ahead unfettered – rather than constrained by a verifiable, enforceable agreement.

We are in a serious fight because so many on the right would oppose any deal out of contempt for diplomacy or, frankly, because they would object if the President wanted a show of hands confirming that the sun rises in the east.

To win, we have to prove to those seriously reviewing the deal and legitimately afraid of the Iranian nuclear program that this is in fact a good deal.

To reach those who remain unconvinced, we have to make a persuasive case, primarily by highlighting the overwhelming preponderance of credible scientific, intelligence and military experts who are publicly vouching for the deal’s effectiveness.

With the facts, the experts and the majority of public opinion on our side, we can and we will win this critical debate.

Thank you for your help, and let’s keep up the great work.




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