Jewish group and Haim Saban both say Israel and the US should focus on bolstering alliance to thwart Iran, no matter outcome of congressional vote

Sen. Charles Schumer talks with a staff member after the weekly Democratic policy luncheon at the US Capitol August 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)
Sen. Charles Schumer talks with a staff member after the weekly Democratic policy luncheon at the US Capitol August 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)


The Anti-Defamation League urged lawmakers Thursday to vote against the Iran nuclear agreement, but also called for those involved to work toward preparing for the ‘day after’ Congress votes on the controversial deal, as focus shifts from fighting the pact to dealing with its outcome.

In a statement the ADL, said it had ” continued deep reservations” about the deal and urged members of Congress to vote against the deal, adding its voice to a chorus of other American Jewish organizations opposing the controversial pact.

“Until the administration acts in clear ways to address its deep concerns regarding the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], ADL has concluded that Congress should vote no on the deal,” the Washington-based group said in a statement.

Yet the anti-Semitism watchdog also said stakeholders needed to begin laying the groundwork for how to deal with the fallout once the accord was either confirmed or rejected by Washington.

Among a raft of bipartisan measures, the ADL urged a robust stance against Iranian anti-Israel and anti-Jewish rhetoric and actions, including sanctions, and a bolstered commitment to Washington’s alliance with Jerusalem, including military aid.

“Regardless of the outcome of the vote, we have a responsibility to ensure that US policy addresses the ‘day after’ the vote and Iran’s state-sponsored promotion of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism; its illiberalism at home, aggression in the region and support for terrorism around the world; and its unending litany of threats against America, Israel and other US allies,” ADL national director Jonathan Greenblatt and national chair Barry Curtiss-Lusher said in a statement.

The focus on the day after a vote is seemingly part of a strategic shift from fighting the deal to tempering its ill effects, as as the Obama administration looks increasingly likely to garner the needed votes to avoid a veto-busting majority by the anti-deal camp.

Earlier on Thursday, Israeli-American industrialist Haim Saban , an outspoken critic of the nuclear agreement and high profile donor to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, said the deal was “a fait accompli” and urged the US and Israel to shift the conversation to bolstering their alliance under the shadow of the agreement.

“The United States and Israel, as staunch allies, should focus on the day after and cooperate to make sure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons,” Saban wrote in an email to a New York Times reporter.

So far, New York Senator Chuck Schumer has been the only Democrat to come out against the Iran deal. Republicans need at least seven Senate Democrats to cross the aisle to override an expected presidential veto on a “no” vote.

Ties between Jerusalem and Washington have reached an apparent nadir in the last year as US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu butt heads over how to thwart Iran’s nuclear program.

A number of Israeli politicians from opposition parties, including Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog, counseled repairing ties instead of continuing to outwardly fight the pact in July, after Iran and six world powers inked the deal despite years of Israeli lobbying against negotiations and against the terms of the emerging accord.

The US has offered to start talks on bolstering military cooperation with Israel as part of a “compensation package” after the nuclear agreement, but has been rebuffed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to US officials.

Netanyahu, who has loudly criticized the agreement, fears accepting the aid will be seen as making peace the nuclear deal, according to Israeli reports.

On Monday, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said Netanyahu has been ignoring appeals to begin talks on ramped-up security cooperation with the US, based on the assumption that Congress will approve the nuclear deal with Iran.

The US ambassador told Army Radio that current disagreements on the Iran nuclear agreement, which Israel strongly opposes, should not get in the way of planning for a future in the Middle East shaped by the agreement.

Shapiro said he had informed Netanyahu that Israel can begin professional talks with the US to look at ways of improving the security cooperation between the countries, particularly vis-a-vis threats from Iran.

He noted that aside from Iran’s nuclear program, there was much to work to be done on matters including finalizing a defense package for Israel for the coming decade, cutting off the supply of weapons to Hezbollah, and taking care of Israel’s missile defense needs.

“We will need to work together to deal with the threats from Iran,” Shapiro said. “We can begin to prepare for the day after.”

‘Deplorable threats against Shapiro’

In a separate statement, the ADL said it was concerned over accusations directed against Shapiro, who has received a number of threatening letters over the past week, including one calling the Jewish ambassador a “kapo,” a term for concentration camp prisoners appointed by the Nazis to serve as guards.

“It is deplorable to see the Iran debate veer into such a dark place,” Greenblatt said. ““While there is room for legitimate disagreement over the proposed deal, there is absolutely no place for threats and incendiary accusations.”

On Thursday, police said they would bolster security around Shapiro following the threats.

As reported by The Times of Israel