Even before the P5+1 countries announced in Vienna their milestone Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was mobilizing his «fifth column» of Israeli operatives in the U.S. Congress, the media, Washington area «think tanks,» and religious leaders to lambaste the agreement and vow to overturn it at the earliest opportunity. Netanyahu was already counting votes in the U.S. Senate for a presidential veto-proof majority that would dump the agreement.
One of the first hyperbolic barrages came on the heavily Israeli-influenced Fox News Network where the mustachioed former U.S. ambassador the United Nations John Bolton wasted no time in not only criticizing the nuclear deal but also Russia for wanting to fuel a new Middle East arms race. Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized the pact because he said it would allow Russia to begin transferring missile technology to Iran in eight years.
Neo-cons, as they have shown in the past, do not let a diplomatic «crisis» – usually one of their own making – go to waste. Before long, the usual right-wing cacophony in Washington was linking the Iran nuclear deal to Russia in Ukraine, China in the South China Sea, and Iran’s so-called «support for terrorism». Only in the mind of a neocon is support for the legitimate aspirations of the Shi’as and Zaidis of Lebanon and Yemen, respectively, and the Alawites of Syria considered «terrorism».
For neo-conservatives like Bolton and South Carolina Republican senator and 2016 presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, the Vienna pact represented an apocalyptic event that propelled them to accuse the P5+1 of «declaring war» on Israel.
Although the nuclear deal placed strict limitations on Iran’s nuclear power program for a period of ten years, it is clear that Netanyahu and his American «fifth column» wanted no deal at all and reserved the option to militarily attack Iran. Obama could not even count on support from all the Democrats in the Congress, a testament to the strength of Israel’s lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York, the incoming Senate Minority Leader and Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said they would have to scrutinize the deal before deciding whether to support it. Schumer and Cardin are both Jewish and major supporters of Netanyahu’s government. Their attitudes were likely shaped by headlines appearing on Jewish news websites and in Jewish newspapers calling July 14, the day of the agreement, «Black Tuesday». For the melodramatically-inclined «Israel Firsters,» Vienna became Munich and Obama became British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
However, in what was not good news for Netanyahu and his allies in Washington, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who is also Jewish, said she supported the agreement. Other Democratic Jewish senators voicing initial but reserved support included Al Franken of Minnesota and Barbara Boxer of California, in addition to Independent Socialist and 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Israeli government spokespersons and their marionettes in the American media made much of Arab opposition to the nuclear deal. However, aside from Saudi opposition, which had been clear from the outset of the P5+1 talks, Oman gave the deal a hearty thumbs up, seeing major economic benefits to it arising from the lifting of sanctions on Iran. Congratulations were also sent to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani from the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. Israel’s attempt to portray the Arab nations as standing united with Israel against the nuclear pact only found a receptive ear in the right-wing Israeli media, U.S. papers like The Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal, the ownership of both being part of the Israel Lobby, and the Washington bureaus of CNN and Fox News.
Colombia, long a diplomatic ally of Israel, saw its president, Juan Manuel Santos, praise the nuclear deal worked out between the P5+1 and Iran. As far as the United Nations, which supported the P5+1 efforts, Netanyahu remained a laughing stock ever since his 2012 condescending address to the U.N. General Assembly when his cartoon depicting a sizzling Iranian nuclear bomb brought laughter from many of the delegates.
Although Netanyahu prized Israel’s closer relations with India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Tel Aviv’s diplomatic isolation became apparent when Modi held his first bilateral meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit the previous week in Ufa, in Russia’s Bashkortostan republic. India saw the lifting of sanctions against Iran as a potential windfall for India, which is eager to buy more Iranian oil and increase its own exports to Iran.
All Netanyahu and his fanatic rightist government could do was threaten to launch a unilateral military attack on Iran. From Jerusalem, Netanyahu told reporters, «Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, and Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction». In what would have been unthinkable a few years ago, Israel was seen by the majority of the world’s population as a theocratic regime that promoted war and Iran was viewed as a country promoting peace in the region. There was no way that the saber-rattling Netanyahu and his American apologists could spin their way out of that stark fact of life. And Israel’s intransigence did nothing but give further support to the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel over its increasingly cruel and unpopular policies toward the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, including the country’s Bedouin population.
The historic achievement in Vienna demonstrated for the world which nations are interested in peace and which are solely interested in war. Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, became a new diplomatic «rock star». Meanwhile, Israel, a non-signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, even though it’s the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons country, has become the diplomatic world’s decrepit old man, whining about inane issues from the past and badly in need of an adult diaper change.