J Street Recruits Officials to Back Iran Deal

Liberal advocacy group releases quotes of Israeli security officials who support Iran deal in attempt to influence Congress.

Cynthia Blank ,

Ami Ayalon
Ami Ayalon
/ Flash 90 Olivier Fitoussi

As part of its campaign to promote the Iran nuclear deal to US Congress, liberal Jewish advocacy group J Street has distributed a document containing quotes from Israeli security experts supporting the agreement, Walla! News reported Thursday.

Among those cited are former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon, former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, Maj. Gen (ret.) Yisrael Ziv and Professor Uzi Even, a former official at the Dimona reactor. 

MK Shelly Yechimovich (Zionist Union) is also quoted despite having expressed opposition to the deal. 

The J Street documents also cites the opinions of the "Council for Peace and Security" which is comprised of hundreds of former senior officials of the IDF and other security forces in Israel. 

According to the council, while the agreement signed in Vienna between world powers and Iran is not "optimal," it will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb for at least ten years, and is therefore a good agreement for Israel. 

J Street announced its media campaign in favor of the Iran nuclear deal last week, which it hopes will change the impression that there is an "absolute consensus" in Israel on the nuclear deal. 

Ayalon was one of the first to distance himself from official Israeli policy this week, through a series of interviews with American media in which he asserted the deal with Iran is the "best option" for Israel. 

It was a positive moment for J Street, who is looking to emphasize that not everyone in Israel's security establishment agrees with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's vehement criticism of the deal. 

The advocacy group also hopes to bring both current and former Israeli security experts and officials to speak to members of Congress and the Senate in an effort to sway them to vote in favor of the agreement.