Political Notebook

At Fresno meeting, Israeli consulate general addresses Iran, nuclear deal

Israeli Consul General to the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Andy David, discusses the recent nuclear deal with Iran during a discussion with local Jewish leaders at the Congregation Beth Jacob in Fresno Monday, July 20, 2015.
Israeli Consul General to the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Andy David, discusses the recent nuclear deal with Iran during a discussion with local Jewish leaders at the Congregation Beth Jacob in Fresno Monday, July 20, 2015. ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and Israel’s consul general to the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Andy David, spoke Monday at Beth Jacob Congregation in central Fresno on the nuclear deal with Iran.

About 35 local Jewish community leaders from Temple Beth Israel, Congregation B’nai Jacob, and the Jewish Federation of Central California were present for the discussion and to ask questions.

Costa said these are challenging times for the United States and the world, “and we will try to manage with our allies what is a very difficult situation.

“These countries will only do, at the end of the day, what is in their interest,” Costa said.

The agreement needs congressional approval, and Costa said he is pessimistic about that occurring.

Costa said he will spend the next 60 days with other members of Congress and meet with Obama administration officials for classified briefings regarding the agreement. At the end of the 60 days, he will determine if he supports or disapproves of the nuclear deal, he said.

Afterward, Dr. David presented Israel’s position, and addressed certain aspects of the deal that Israel defines as “weak points,” including: the inspections that are supposed to take place; Iran hasn't had to disclose past activities; the agreement is temporary; and how can someone sign a deal when there is no link between the behavior of Iran and the lifting of sanctions.

“It’s not just this deal or war,” David said. “Iranians are not going to war. Iran is weak, is almost on the verge of being bankrupt — people cannot have decent meals, inflation is rampant, they cannot stock new weapons, they cannot buy from anywhere. Iran is not going to war. I think describing the options as either this deal or a war is not understanding where the reality is at best.”

Hanna Krebs, 78, a board member of Temple Beth Israel, said she is interested in coming to some kind of agreement, and she appreciates Costa because he’s been a strong supporter of Israel and will examine the deal carefully.

“I think we have to look at the whole agreement very carefully and see if there’s something in there that will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb,” Krebs said. “That’s the whole point of it.”

Nicole Santos: 559-441-6247, @Iam_NicoleS

Deal with Iran

The United States and five other world powers reached an agreement with Iran last week that aims to limit that country’s nuclear activities, such as the possibility of creating a nuclear bomb. In return, sanctions imposed on the country will gradually be lifted.

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