The newly-struck nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, has put new strains on President Barack Obama’s relationship with Jewish donors who play a key role in Democratic fundraising.
The “historic” interim deal between Iran and the five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany has angered allies of Israel in the US, according to The Hill.
The Iran deal set the stage for “awkward moments” at a scheduled Democratic fundraiser in Beverly Hills, Calif., Monday night when President Obama addressed a crowd of about 120 donors who paid $16,200 each to attend the event hosted by Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media mogul.
Obama addressed the issue head on, trying to assure his donors that the agreement with Iran was in America’s best interests.
“It’s good for the United States, it’s good for our allies, it’s good for Israel,” he said.
Obama, however, reiterated that he would not “take any options off the table,” hinting at the threat of military force he has frequently leveled against Iran over its nuclear program.
Saban tried to appease the Jewish donors. “The president’s commitment to Israel’s security has never been stronger,” he said.
Rob Fox, a Democratic fundraiser who supports federal candidates in Pennsylvania, slammed the deal. He said that Iran is “not to be trusted” and “the entire sanctions regime is a function of the fact that they have not been a member of the international community.”
“I see no good reasons given those circumstances you would negotiate an interim deal that gives them any relief,” he added.
The agreement which came after four days of intense talks in Geneva, Switzerland, relaxes some of the economic sanctions for the next six months in exchange for Iran limiting some aspects of its nuclear activities. The deal lays the groundwork for a “comprehensive solution” to the West’s decade-old nuclear dispute with Tehran.
Sen. Charles Schumer, the third-ranking Senate Democratic leader and a member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), criticized the “disproportionality” of the accord. He said Congress may introduce additional sanctions against Tehran despite the deal.
Jeff Robbins, a Democratic lawyer and fundraiser based in Boston, said the Obama administration took “crude, petulant and harmful swipes at Israel” that were “difficult to understand from a friend.”
“There is a strong concern that in the frenetic eagerness to secure a piece of paper, an eagerness that could not have been more ostentatiously advertised, the United States and others went for a deal which was not consistent with the leverage that we had,” he said.
A Jewish donor to Obama’s campaigns said on condition of anonymity that many Jewish donors were angry with the president for “selling Israel down the river” and for “betrayal of our closest ally in the region.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had repeatedly warned Washington against diplomacy with Tehran, slammed the deal on Sunday as a “historic mistake.”