Jeb Bush delivered a speech today meant to relaunch his flagging campaign. Among other dubious foreign policy claims he made, this was the most remarkable for its dishonesty:
For the first time in the history of Israel, its greatest existential threat has been created by its greatest ally.
Bush’s statement is just one falsehood after another. Israel does not face an “existential threat” from Iran (or from any other state in the region), and it isn’t going to face one in the coming decades. Iran doesn’t possess the ability to threaten Israel’s existence, and because of the nuclear deal it poses even less of a potential threat to Israel. That is why Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission has reportedly endorsed the deal.
Israel is, in fact, far more secure today than it was at many other points in its history. Even if Iran one day did build a nuclear weapon, which it is now much less likely to do and cannot do for at least fifteen years, Israel would still have an overwhelming nuclear deterrent of its own to deter Iran from attacking. Everything that Bush claims in that sentence is a lie. These are especially noxious lies since they falsely suggest that the U.S. has enabled the destruction of another country. The deal actually represents a major success of U.S. diplomacy and nonproliferation efforts. Hawks are always permitted to make the most scurrilous claims about U.S. policy without suffering any political consequences, so I don’t expect that Bush will have to answer for his egregiously false statement, but he should be called out for lying about the deal all the same.