WASHINGTON (JTA) – AIPAC said the Obama administration is peddling inaccuracies about the pro-Israel lobby’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.
AIPAC President Robert Cohen emailed the organization’s activists on Monday, linking to a New York Times article published last week about tensions arising between the lobby and the administration, and said it reflects “multiple inaccuracies stemming from claims by the administration.”
AIPAC’s facts, Cohen said “are well-substantiated and accurate.” President Barack Obama has said that opponents to the deal have peddled arguments distorting or omitting elements of the sanctions relief for nuclear restrictions deal reached July 14 between Iran and six major powers.
An AIPAC affiliate, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, has run a TV ad addressing the substance of the deal.
“This ad does not single out the president in any way,” Cohen said. According to the Times article, Obama in a meeting last week with Jewish leaders conflated the CNFI ad with others attacking Obama personally.
“Throughout this campaign, AIPAC — along with our affiliated organization Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran — has taken the high road,” Cohen wrote. “I ask that you join us in advancing this critical effort by keeping the debate about the policy, not the personalities.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee treated administration speakers who addressed about 700 activists who flew in last month to lobby against the deal “with courtesy and respect,” Cohen said. Administration officials have said that the speakers, among them top negotiators on the deal, were not permitted to take questions. AIPAC said the officials were free to use the 30 minutes allocated them as they pleased.
Cohen noted that AIPAC took no position on the Iraq War. Obama has said that some of the opponents of the Iran nuclear deal backed that conflict, but has been careful to distinguish these from those who oppose the deal out of concern for Israel. Some defenders of the deal have made the link between AIPAC and the Iraq War on social media.
Congress has until mid-to-late September to consider whether or not to reject the deal.