Israeli security experts support the P5+1 world powers nuclear deal with Iran


Many in the American media, like the Tea-Publican Party, would have you believe that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu speaks with one voice for all Israelis, neh, for all Jews in the world. This is absurd on its face.

There are a number of Israeli national security experts who have voiced support for the P5+1 world powers nuclear agreement with Iran. The American media allows Netanyahu and Republican critics in Congress to drown them out.

Think Progress reported Former Israeli Security Heads Support Iran Deal:

Iran-nuclear-deal-1024x576[W]hile Israel’s prime minister continues to fight the deal a collection of former Israeli security figures have come forward to say that things could be much worse.

“No agreement is ironclad, but the inspections provisions provide a high degree of confidence that Iran will not be able to renew the nuclear program without its being detected,” Chuck Freilich, a former deputy National Security Adviser in Israel, wrote in a New York Times op-ed published on Sunday and entitled A Good Deal for Israel. “A regime that has staked so much on this agreement will be reluctant to incur the costs.”

Major-General (res.) Israel Ziv is the former head of the Israeli Army’s Operations Directorate branch and he took a realist’s approach to the deal. “There is no one in Israel who thinks the nuclear agreement is a good agreement, but the discussion should not focus on that,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Israeli news site “Because this agreement is the best among all other alternatives, and any military strike – as successful as it may be – would not have delayed even 20% of what the agreement will delay, not to mention the risk of another flare-up with Hezbollah, which an operation against Iran would have generated. The agreement is an established fact, and it’s not particularly bad as far as Israel is concerned.”

Shlomo Brom a Visiting Fellow at the Center for American Progress and former Brigadier General in the Israeli Army told ThinkProgress last week that while there were flaws in the deal, it was “solved in a good way.”

Ami Ayalon, former head of Israel’s internal security outfit called Shin Bet and former chief of the Israeli Navy, told The Daily Beast that the issue “is not black and white.”

“[W]hen it comes to Iran’s nuclear capability, this [deal] is the best option,” Ayalon said. He also named a number of other former ministers, security officers in Shin Bet, and Mossad (Israel’s equivalent to the CIA) who agreed with this view.

The New York Times reported, In Israel, Some Support the Iran Deal:

As far as Americans go, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pretty much drowned out other Israeli voices on the nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers.

* * *

But some members of Israel’s security establishment see merit in the agreement, which imposes limits on Iran’s nuclear program in return for a lifting of international economic sanctions.

One is Efraim Halevy, who was appointed director of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, by Mr. Netanyahu in 1998 and served until 2002, but more recently has accused him of propagating fear instead of hope.

Writing this week in, an Israeli website, Mr. Halevy argues that the accord contains “components that are crucial for Israel’s security” that resulted from Iran making “concessions in a series of critical matters,” among them accepting “serious restrictions” on its nuclear program and an “invasive and unique” monitoring regime.

He warns that if the agreement collapses, “Iran will be free to do as it pleases” while the United States will “lose its influence over the situation in the 18 months left until the end of Obama’s term” and “its leadership will be castrated and humiliated.”

Mr. Halevy also criticizes Israel for trying to “change the rules of the game” by first insisting that the agreement focus on curbing Iran’s nuclear program and later adding new demands that Iran recognize Israel and stop supporting terrorism. This shows Mr. Netanyahu “has no interest in any agreement,” Mr. Halevy added.

Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli Air Force general and former head of the Israeli Defense Forces intelligence directorate, has judged the deal to be “highly problematic.” Even so, he concludes in a research paper for the Institute for National Security Studies that the deal should not be compared with the Munich Agreement with Nazi Germany as some critics are doing and offers assurance that Israel is “capable of contending successfully” with the agreement’s ramifications.

Another outspoken voice is Ami Ayalon, a former director of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service who leads a non-partisan political movement called Blue White Future aimed at advancing a two-state solution with the Palestinians. Although less enthusiastic about the nuclear deal than Mr. Halevy, he is still supportive.

Mr. Ayalon told The Forward in an interview that he still believes the accord “is the best possible alternative from Israel’s point of view, given the other available alternatives.” He said his main fear is the deal will boost Iran’s ability to foment instability in the region – a valid worry that the United States and the other major powers are going to have to work vigilantly to counter.

Later, in an email exchange with me, Mr. Ayalon wrote that he feels Israeli leaders are listening to his arguments in favor of the deal and some even agree with him — behind closed doors. “But publicly they change their message — they believe that in order to be elected they have to play a different role.”

More from The Forward, Israel Security Establishment Breaks With Bibi on Iran Deal:

There’s a deep crack emerging in the veneer of wall-to-wall support offered by Israel’s political leadership to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his war against the Iran nuclear agreement.

The crack has a name you might recognize: the Israeli security establishment. You know — the folks whose job it is to identify and address threats to Israel’s safety. A small but growing group of high-power ex-commanders has been speaking out in media interviews and op-ed essays in the past few days, saying that Netanyahu has got the Iran issue wrong.

It’s not yet what you’d call an avalanche of dissent. But against the pro-Netanyahu unanimity among the politicians, coalition and opposition alike, the skepticism emerging from the security community stands out in striking relief. As unanimous as the politicians are in backing the prime minister, the generals and spymasters are nearly as unanimous in questioning him. Generals publicly backing Netanyahu can be counted on — well — one finger.

Many of the security insiders say the deal signed in Vienna on July 14 isn’t as bad as Netanyahu claims. Some call it good for Israel. Others say it’s bad, but it’s a done deal and Israel should make the best of it. Either way, they agree that Israel should work with the Obama administration to plot implementation, rather than mobilize Congress against the White House.

All agree that undermining Israel’s alliance with America is a far greater existential threat than anything Iran does.

(Read this entire article).

Finally, the Huffington Post reports today, Israel Ambassadors Support Deal With Iran:

A day after Mike Huckabee said that President Obama was “marching the Israelis to the door of the oven,” former U.S. ambassadors to Israel strongly supported the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers. The ambassadors joined with former under secretaries of State in a letter to congressional leaders applauding the agreement to shrink, freeze and monitor Iran’s nuclear program. They urged those against the deal to consider carefully the consequences of such an action.

“Our firm instructions in every administration we served, reflecting American national interests and values were to help assure Israel’s well-being and safety,” the signers wrote. “It is our commitment to this enduring objective of American policy that motivates us now to write in support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”

These ambassadors join the overwhelming majority of former diplomats and national security officials who have come out in favor of the deal to block all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb. There is fierce opposition to the agreement, but most is from political figures and neoconservative groups, with few former senior officials backing them.

“This landmark agreement removes the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region and to Israel specifically,” the signers wrote. “If the extensive monitoring and verification system in the JCPOA is carried out faithfully, then a greatly restrained Iran will be unable to pose a credible military threat to Israel.”

“No agreement between multiple parties can be perfect or without risks. We believe that without this agreement, however, the risks will be much higher for the United States and Israel,” the signers concluded. “We see no fatal flaws that should call for the rejection of this agreement and have not heard any viable alternatives from those who oppose the implementation of the JCPOA…The rejection of this agreement could lead to the U.S. having to use military force without the support of other allies and without the understanding of the international community.”

The full text of the letter and list of signers is available online here.

For what its worth, Jewish Americans also support the Iran deal according to a new poll. Jewish Americans support the Iran nuclear deal:

The LA Jewish Journal survey released Thursday found that 48 percent of Jews support the deal while 28 percent oppose it and 25 percent hadn’t heard enough to form an opinion. The survey described key parts of the deal, which lifts major economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program in a way that makes it harder for it to produce nuclear weapons.

Jewish support for the deal was 20 percentage points higher than for Americans overall, according to a side-by-side poll of the general public. A separate question found 54 percent of Jews saying Congress should approve the deal, while 35 percent want Congress to block it. Both polls were conducted by telephone in the week after the deal was announced among 500 respondents each.


  1. I was glad to see that both Efraim Halevy and Amos Yadlin had spoken out in guarded support of the Treaty with Iran. I know both of them personally based on our professional service, and although I haven’t spoken with either of them in a few years, I know them to be highly intelligent, extremely good at intelligence analysis and completely dedicated to the safety and security of Israel. It is reassuring that they have the same concerns I do about the Treaty, but they, too, realize it the best thing going to slow down or stop Iran’s development of the Islamic Bomb.

    I don’t agree with Halevy that the worst that happens if the Treaty fails is the Obama Administration has egg on it’s face and loses all credibility in the Middle East. I think there are definitely more serious issues that will arise if (when?) Iran violates the Treaty. Unfortunately they both agree with me that the likelihood of Iran honoring the Treaty is pretty low. That is unfortunate, but that is the Middle East.

    • It is silly to think that any nuclear weapons developed by Iran would be used here in the United States. Developing the bomb, believe it or not, is the easy part. All you need is enough centrifuges and raw material.

      The hard part is the delivery system. About the only reasonable options available to Iran would be to: (1) put the bomb on a freighter and set the bomb off in a harbor somewhere along the coastline; or, (2) put the bomb on a commercial aircraft and set the bomb off when it was in U.S. airspace. Neither of those options will leave us “COWERING UNDER ROCKS WHILE THE NUKES VAPORIZE US”.

      And that would be assuming they were able to succeed, which is highly unlikely. Setting out to move a nuclear weapon by freighter or aircraft to bomb the United States (or anywhere else, for that matter) is not something that could be kept a secret. Too many people would have to be involved to get that task accomplished that some intelligence agency somewhere would get wind of what was going on. You see, in the first world (and most countries in the third world) don’t want nukes being used, even on their enemies. That sort of thing can easily get out of control.

      Now, do I think Iran would bomb Israel? Probably not. But I don’t have the same degree of certainty that I do about the situation I just discussed. The religious factor makes it more difficult to assess.

      But as far as your as your BOOMING MESSAGE OF HOPELESS ANNIHILATION OF THE UNITED STATES BY IRAN is concerned, relax and take a “chill pill”.

        • No, Bob, you and AZbm have convinced me that long before the world catches on fire, the United States and Europe will park our cars, put padlocks on the front doors of our industries, stop using electricity and move into caves, thus reversing climate change and saving the world for the under developed countries. It’s only fair. And 999,999,999 environmental scientists can’t be wrong about the cause…right? ;o)

Comments are closed.