Israel’s ambassador to the United States has been failing in his attempts to recruit Arab diplomats to attend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress next week, the Atlantic reported Wednesday. Ron Dermer has been making the case that Sunni Arab states share Israel’s interests in thwarting an American nuclear agreement with Iran in personal emails he has sent to at least two Arab ambassadors.
Israeli sources told the Atlantic that the ambassador emailed his counterparts from both Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to make his case for attending Netanyahu’s address next week, which Dermer said would present a united Arab-Israeli front to prod Congress to put the brakes on the Iran nuclear deal. If agreed upon, the compromise between the Western powers and Iran would impose a 10-year moratorium on Iran's program to make atomic weapons, which it denies.
Dermer is widely believed to have helped engineer Netanyahu’s congressional speech, which has been criticized by the White House as a breach of protocol and has provoked a backlash among Democrats, including Jewish ones. Neither the Obama administration nor Democrats in Congress were consulted prior to his decision to accept an invitation by Republican House Speaker John Boehner to speak at a joint session, Reuters reported.
Netanyahu’s camp has also become worried about the political impact of his speech, with Israel’s elections next month. His national security advisor Yossi Cohen admitted last week that he wished the speech was not taking place, according to the Atlantic. Some congressional Democrats have said they will boycott the speech, while Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice issued the administration’s strongest criticisms of the visit yet Wednesday, calling the address “destructive” to U.S.-Israeli relations, the BBC said.
The Israeli leader accused international leaders Wednesday of giving up on stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, which he said would endanger Israel's existence, the Jerusalem Post reported. Netanyahu has claimed that as Israel’s leader it is his responsibility to do everything in his power to oppose a deal letting Iran off the hook.