By Jordan Fabian - 08/27/15 07:00 AM EDT
Jewish ex-lawmakers call on Congress to back Iran deal
Eleven Jewish former members of Congress signed an ad in Thursday's New York Times urging their former colleagues to support the Obama administration’s nuclear accord with Iran.
"We championed the U.S.-Israel alliance as members of the House and Senate, and we all strongly support this agreement because it will enhance the security of the U.S., the State of Israel and the entire world," the ad reads.
The full-page ad, organized by the pro-deal No Nukes for Iran Project, is the latest in a flurry of lobbying activity by White House allies to build support for the deal.
Facing near unanimous opposition from Republicans, Obama has focused on swaying undecided Democrats, many of whom are Jewish, ahead of a key congressional vote in September.
The White House is just a few votes away from being able to block legislation to disapprove the deal in the Senate.
But Obama isn't leaving anything up to chance, especially after Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), an influential Jewish Democrat, defected and announced he would vote against the agreement.
The ad's signatories, all Democrats, include prominent names such as former Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinCarl, Sander Levin rebuke Sanders for tax comments on Panama trade deal Supreme Court: Eye on the prize Congress got it wrong on unjustified corporate tax loopholes MORE (D-Mich.), the former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and former Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Robert Wexler (D-Fla.).
Its message is designed to rebut arguments from pro-Israel opponents of the deal, including Schumer and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who have called on the U.S. to return to the negotiating table to extract better terms from Tehran.
Opponents say the agreement does not permanently cut off Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon and that the regime could use billions of dollars in sanctions relief to boost funding for terrorism groups that threaten Israel.
"This deal halts the immediate threat of a nuclear-armed Iran," the ad reads. "A rejection of it would not lead to stronger measures, but instead would put Iran back on the path to develop a nuclear weapon within two to three months. As U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew recently wrote, the suggestion that a 'better deal' can now be obtained 'is a dangerous fantasy.'"
The full list of former lawmakers who signed the ad is: Levin; Frank; Wexler; and former Reps. Anthony Beilenson (Calif.); Elizabeth Holtzman (N.Y.); Steve Kagen (Wis.); Mel Levine (Calif.); Sam Gejdenson (Conn.); Abner Mikva (Ill.); Paul Hodes (N.H.); and Steven Rothman (N.J.).