WASHINGTON – Dennis Ross and Alan Dershowitz, high-profile supporters of both
Israel and US President Barack Obama, told The Jerusalem Post Thursday they were
confident the president would support Israel should it attack Iran in a
last-ditch effort to stop a nuclear bomb, and that Obama would attack Iran
himself if necessary.
They also took issue with Republican presidential
challenger Mitt Romney’s recently uncovered statements at a closed-door
fund-raiser in May about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, where he said he
doesn’t see much potential for a two-state solution.
“You hope for some
degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved
problem,” Romney said, pointing to a lack of desire for peace on the part of
Palestinians and the security risks Israel would have to take in any two-state
“If you create an impression that everything’s hopeless, you’re
going to find you’re not going to be able to sustain stability,” Ross, who
served as an adviser to Obama and several previous administration on the peace
process, said in a telephone interview with the Post.
going to build.”
“We need a president who tries even harder in light of
the difficulties to bring about a peace process,” said Harvard Law School
professor Alan Dershowitz, also speaking to the Post by phone. “The main
beneficiary of a two-state solution would be Israel.”
with Romney that many Palestinians didn’t want peace and that Israel could face
security problems – but he contended that other Palestinians, including some of
their leaders, did want peace, and that Israel’s security would have to be an
essential part of a future deal.
The controversy over Romney’s remarks,
which were caught on video and widely distributed this week, came on the heels
of fresh tensions between Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over how
to handle Iran’s drive for nuclear capability.
Dershowitz, who has in the
pass criticized elements of Obama’s policies in the Middle East, said the public
exchange of differences between the two allies that included Obama not giving
Netanyahu a meeting while he is in the US next week had been “mishandled.” But
he was encouraged by the hour-long conversation between Obama and Netanyahu last
week to smooth over the dust-up.
Ross acknowledged that “there are some
differences now” between the US and Israel, but he added that a “genuine effort
is being made to manage those.” He also said that if Israel felt it faced an
existential threat and had to use force to stop Iran, the US would support it
“The US as its one true ally in the world needs to be there and
will be there. I have no doubt of that, regardless of who’s president,” Ross
Similarly, he said he was sure that if Obama felt all diplomatic
options had been exhausted and Iran was getting close to having a nuclear bomb,
Dershowitz echoed that, based on his own conversations with
Obama. He said that while “the administration can do and say a little more” so
that Iran understood it won’t be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon, he trusted
that Obama would take military action if it became necessary.
Dershowitz stressed that he was “absolutely” certain the US would support Israel
if, as a last resort, it undertook an attack on its own.
Despite some of
his criticisms in the past, Dershowitz said as of now, he planned to vote for
Obama in November.