DAVIE (CBSMiami) – Carrying signs and waving banners, protestors set up camp near the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie Thursday morning where Vice President Joe Biden met with Jewish community leaders to discuss the administration’s nuclear deal reached with Iran.
The vice president’s limo passed several hundred anti-Iran deal protestors gathered on the street across from the center. One was waving a large Israeli flag. Several waved signs which read “Stop Iran Deal”; “Nuke the Deal Before They Nuke Us” and “We need a better deal”
“I’m Joe Biden – I work for Debbie Wasserman Schultz,” Mr. Biden joked as he walked into the event accompanied by Wasserman Schultz who formerly introduced him.
Wasserman Schultz told the gathering she has a long standing personal relationship with the vice president and she had yet to make a decision, herself, on whether to support the deal or not.
“I have been thoroughly researching and consulting people and then I’ll mix that all up with, what ultimately, includes the consideration of what’s in my heart as well. I have said that to many of you. This is a decision not only to be made based on your head, but one that will be made with my Jewish heart,” Wassermann Schultz told the group.
“We have an opportunity to talk to someone who is incredibly well versed in the agreement, but someone who, quite literally, we consider a mensch,” said Wasserman Schultz with a smile. “We consider you mishpucha, one of us.”
Biden told the group they would be hard pressed to find any other politician who has been more consistently supportive of Israel.
“One of the rationals for getting engaged as a 29 year old kid running for office, from the beginning, has been my view, my view, not only of a moral obligation we have, but the strategic importance of, the State of Israel,” said Biden. “Were there no Israel, we would have to invent one in terms of of our own interests.”
Biden said the deal with Iran “will make us and Israel safer, not weaker.”
Biden added that he knows many people in the room are opposed to agreement with Iran or have serious doubts. He said there’s a lot of mis-information out there.
“The deal, that means they can never, never, never, ever acquire a nuclear weapon, legally. They can never do it. That doesn’t mean they won’t try, but that’s the deal they signed on to,” said Biden.
The vice president also addressed critics and who put out misleading television ads.
“The idea that we can’t inspect military facilities is simply not true. Let me get this straight, look at me, as one person once said, “read my lips. Not true, we can,” Biden told the group.
Going into the meeting, many Jewish community leaders were opposed to the plan. After hearing the vice president, a few changed their minds, many did not.
“I almost was convinced but believe the foundation just is not there to trust Iran.” said JCC Board member Barry Wilen.
“I believe all in all the deal makes sense,” said Dan Newman, a former president of the JCC.
“I heard a lot of things i didn’t understand or know before, but no, it didn’t change my mind,” said Sammy Schulman.
“I’m kind of half heartedly saying that if it’s going to happen anyway, I like what he said and that he stands with Israel, and the United States stands with israel,” Lee Kadin, Chair of the JCC Board.
Thursday afternoon Congresswoman Frederica Wilson put out a statement which announced that she had made up her mind.
“After careful consideration of the arguments and analyses from all sides, I have decided that I will support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed upon by Iran and the P5+1.
I believe that the JCPOA is the best option for our national security and international stability. The agreement – which is based on verification, not trust – blocks the pathways for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, ensures greater stability in the Middle East, and decreases the possibility of armed conflict.”
On Wednesday, Senate Democrats got enough votes to ensure the Iran nuclear deal survives in Congress despite ferocious opposition from Republicans and the government of Israel.
The agreement signed by Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for hundreds of billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions. Republicans and Israeli officials contend that concessions made to Iran could enable the country to wreak havoc throughout the Middle East.
There was no immediate reaction from the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has personally lobbied U.S. lawmakers to block the nuclear pact.
Also on Wednesday, Vice President referred to himself as “the White House optimist” during a speech at Miami-Dade College.
During the event at MDC, the Vice President spoke about the importance of STEM programs across the country, and the value of federal support for community colleges.
For everything he talked about, he left the question of whether he’d run for the presidency unanswered.
The latest Quinnipiac Poll of Democrats and democratic leaning voters shows the Vice President trailing Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, should he choose to seek the nomination. Eighteen percent of those polled say they’d support Biden.