The ad from ECI, a group which aims to push pro-Israel voters away from President Obama and is headed up by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, tells viewers in its new commercial that Obama is insufficiently committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and concludes, “Now it’s time to act,” followed by an explosion. Watch it:
ECI’s reflexive hawkishness stems from its hard-right neoconservative disposition. The organization was even born in the same Washington office as the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI), a short-lived right-wing pressure group that pushed for an Iraq invasion. A major player in the Iraq war push, Kristol, for his part, already called for a war with Iran last October.
ECI, whose board members and director have a history of exhorting acts of violence, ignores U.S., U.N., and Israeli intelligence findings in their efforts for yet another U.S. war in the Middle East — this time with Iran.
In Israel, meanwhile, a growing consensus has emerged among former top security officials that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be counterproductive to Israeli interests. And a report last month suggests that the consensus opposing an Israeli attack on Iran extends all the way to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s defense chiefs.
A recent report from an influential Washington security think tank said attacking Iran “could backfire.” The U.S. government doesn’t think Iran has made a decision to build a nuclear weapon and seeks to dissuade it from doing so with a negotiated diplomatic resolution, which the Obama administration considers the “best and most permanent way” to end the crisis. A potential Iranian nuclear weapon is widely considered a threat to both the security of the U.S. and its allies in the region, as well as the nuclear non-proliferation regime. U.S., U.N. and Israeli intelligence estimates give the West time to pursue a dual-track approach of pressure and diplomacy.
ECI’s ad and statements, first published on BuzzFeed, make a terrifying case that an Iranian nuclear weapon is imminent — an assertion unsupported by facts. In a 60 Minutes interview in January, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Iran will need “about a year” to build a nuclear bomb and “possibly another one or two years to put it on a deliverable vehicle of some sort.”
J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami responded to the ad:
The people who pushed for war with Iraq are now bent on starting a war with Iran. The security of the United States – and of Israel – is too important to stand idly by while some of Mitt Romney’s biggest supporters press for another war.
Preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is a key US and Israeli national security interest. That’s why Americans and Israelis, including prominent national security experts in both countries, support the crippling sanctions and diplomacy that have been the heart of President Obama’s policy.