(JNS.org) President Barack Obama told a group of Jewish leaders on Tuesday at the White House that if Congress nixes the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. might be forced to use military force against Iran, which may lead to the Hezbollah terrorist group firing rockets at Tel Aviv.
During the two-hour meeting at the White House, Obama said that while Jewish groups have the right to protest the deal, they should do so based on the merits of its content. If the U.S. is forced to target Iran’s nuclear facilities, he said, Iran will use its proxies rather than its own forces to fight back.
“They will fight this asymmetrically. That means more support for terrorism, more Hezbollah rockets falling on Tel Aviv,” Obama said, according to Greg Rosenbaum, chair of the National Jewish Democratic Council, who spoke to reporters after the closed-door meeting. “I can assure that Israel will bear the brunt of the asymmetrical response that Iran will have to a military strike on its nuclear facilities.”
Among the Jewish leaders in the room were Michael Kassen and Lee Rosenberg from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is strongly opposed to the Iran deal and has launched a massive lobbying campaign to urge Congress to nix it; Jeremy Ben-Ami from the left-wing J Street lobby, which strongly supports the deal; and other leaders from the Orthodox Union, the Reform movement, the World Jewish Congress, and the Anti-Defamation League.
According to Rosenbaum, Obama said that he is willing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to increase Israel’s security, but that “he won’t meet with me.”
“Meeting me would be, for him, like waving a white flag, and Netanyahu wants us to keep fighting over the agreement,” Obama said.