Tags: America's Forum | Iran | Israel | congress | constitution | iran | nuclear

Dershowitz: Congress 'Obligated' to Act Against 'Bad' Iran Nuke Deal

By    |   Monday, 02 Mar 2015 10:57 AM

As coequal branches of government, Congress and the president are entitled to invite whomever they like to Washington, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said Monday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV.

Dershowitz was discussing the controversial visit this week by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is to address Congress on Tuesday about the dangers of a nuclear proliferation deal with Iran.

"Remember that when the president invites somebody to the White House, he doesn't have to check with Congress," Dershowitz said, adding that the presidency and Congress hold equal power.

"We tend to live in an age where we think the presidency is more important constitutionally than Congress," he said. "That's not what the framers said. The framers had them as coequal branches in the government — and just like the president doesn't have to check with Congress, Congress doesn't have to check with the president."

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"The speaker of the House wanted to bring a world leader who completely disagrees with the president's approach to a deal with Iran. He was perfectly entitled to do that," Dershowitz said.

"It would have been better had he notified the White House, just as it would be better if the White House notified Congress when it invites somebody to the executive mansion."

Congress, he added, is obligated to act as a check-and-balance on foreign policy.

"If this is a bad deal for America, for the world, for peace, and for Israel, Congress has an absolute obligation to say no to the president," Dershowitz said.

It’s the Obama White House that has blown the invitation, and Netanyahu’s acceptance, "way out of proportion" and turned it into a political football.

"I do not believe for a minute that Netanyahu's timing is based on his electoral prospects in Israel," said Dershowitz, referring to Israel’s March 17 elections.

The prime minister was hamstrung by the fact that a deal with Tehran "is about to come to fruition," and Netanyahu must implore Congress to "slow it down" and give the Israelis sufficient time to oppose it or offer changes.

"This was the perfect time for Netanyahu to make the case against the current deal, which has a sunset provision and which allows Iran to develop nuclear weapons in probably six or seven years," said Dershowitz. "It's a bad deal.

"The president's wrong on this one, the president — for whom I voted twice — is wrong on this one and Prime Minister Netanyahu is right on this one, and Congress ought to listen to him."

He applauded Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to reframe the administration’s position after having its feathers ruffled because it wasn’t consulted before House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu.

"I would hope that the White House would be more welcoming of Prime Minister Netanyahu," he said. "John Kerry did a good job yesterday when he said, 'Of course the prime minister of Israel is always welcome.'

"It would be good to have a phone call maybe after the talk, maybe before the talk."

Dershowitz added: "It's very important to rebuild the relationship ... the relationship's too important to let personalities or politics intrude. These are the only democracies that have any impact on the Middle East — Israel and the United States — and they have to work together against ISIS, against Iran, against the other regimes that are not democratic and don't have the interest of the United States at heart."

The reality is that the administration is not upset that Netanyahu is going to be addressing the Congress, according to Dershowitz, but rather the substance of what he plans to say.

"He's going to disagree with the American president's policy," Dershowitz said. "When David Cameron spoke to the Senate at the request of the president, the prime minister of England, they were thrilled because he was carrying the president's position on sanctions.

"Kerry is right that the relationship between Israel and the United States, militarily and strategically, is very, very strong because Israel provides as much help to the United States as the United States provides to Israel.

"Israel has far better spies on the ground in Iran, the United States has better birds in the air, but it's a mutual relationship," he said.

"Israel is the only country in the Middle East that the United States could count on to be a permanent ally forever, no matter who gets elected. Nobody can say that about Egypt or Jordan or Kuwait or Saudi Arabia or any of the other dictatorships in the Middle East."

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As coequal branches of government, Congress and the president are entitled to invite whomever they like, and lawmakers are "absolutely obligated" to serve as a check on foreign policy, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax TV.
congress, constitution, iran, nuclear, israel, netanyahu
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2015-57-02
Monday, 02 Mar 2015 10:57 AM
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