The Israeli ambassador to the U.S. told CNN that his country is “not eager” to be at odds with President Barack Obama on the Iran deal, but that Israelis across the political spectrum believe the deal poses an existential threat to their survival.
“There’s no question that this is the most important relationship in the world, and we are not eager in any way to have to be at odds on the most important foreign policy priority of the president of the United States. That’s a big deal,” Ambassador Ron Dermer told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview to be aired Sunday.
“But guess what else is a big deal? The survival of the state of Israel is a big deal, and we believe that this deal threatens the survival of Israel,” Dermer said.
Dermer was responding to a question from Zakaria contending that Israel was “alienating” the Obama administration.
The ambassador said that he had no doubt Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are being sincere when they say they believe the Iran deal is good for the U.S. and Israel; however, “We just disagree with their judgment. We think this deal will endanger Israel’s security.”
“In Israel this view is shared by the prime minister, by the head of the opposition, by 30 out of 33 members of our [Knesset] foreign affairs and defense committee,” Dermer said.
“Moses didn’t have those kind of numbers,” the ambassador quipped.
Dermer noted that Israel has been making its case against the agreement to Obama for a long time.
Now the country is talking to U.S. lawmakers “who will ultimately decide the fate of this deal in Congress and we are telling them that this is a bad deal that endangers Israel’s security,” Dermer said.