Sen. Gravel Say AIPAC Is Pushing Confrontation With Iran

I keep declaring that the Walt and Mearsheimer is historic, that it has blasted down a wall in the American discourse. I keep getting more evidence. 

The following exchange took place on the Jim Lehrer News Hour last night, between presidential candidate (and former Alaska Sen.) Mike Gravel and PBS’s Ray Suarez. What is most significant about this is that the question of Israel’s interest versus America’s interest in confronting Iran is out on the table, on public television:

RAY SUAREZ: You're 77. Why put yourself through this?

MIKE GRAVEL: I love my country, and I love the human
race. And I want to see a change made in the
leadership of our country so we can do more to protect
the human race....With respect to my country going to war
when there's no reason to go to war, killing human
beings, I'm ashamed of this.

I'm ashamed of the leadership we have, whether it's
Democratic leadership or Republican leadership. That's
the reason why I'm in.

Look what we're trying to do with Iran right now. Last
week, the Lieberman resolution -- he's the guy that
wrote the resolution with Iraq and killed over 3,000
Americans and a million Iraqis. And now he comes
forward with another resolution, and the leadership of
the Democratic Party in the Senate doesn't even have
the brains or the judgment to recognize what he's
doing. Sanctions on the Republican Guard? They already have
sanctions. The U.N. passed them in March, Resolution
1747. What is the game they're playing right now to
have sanctions? I mean, this was AIPAC that put
Lieberman up to do this. This is disaster...
If we touch Iran and they respond, you're talking
about, in the minimum, a world depression, because the
oil industry will just get shut down at the Straits of
Hormuz. That's the minimum.

RAY SUAREZ: You're saying that the national
legislature of this country, rather than doing the
will of the citizens of the United States, passed that
Iran resolution, sanctioning the Republican Guard,
because of the American- Israeli Political Action

MIKE GRAVEL: Wait a second. They'll be some
information coming out about how this thing was
drafted. So the answer is yes, the short answer.

The worst that will happen will be a nuclear exchange,
and I don't think we'll ever be able to contain once
they start shooting bombs at each other nuclear
devices. This is what's at stake with this resolution.
And it's the height of immorality, irresponsibility,
and the United States Senate, with the Democrats in
charge, voted for the passage of this resolution. It
doesn't get any worse than that, Ray.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of
Posted in US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics

{ 12 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. WM says:

    That's the last Gavel will be television.

    And if PBS had an ounce of brain and find out from behind the scene in congress, they would have know who wrote the bill, instead of acting all surprised that it was a lobbying group that wrote the resolution.

    Did they have to let a small independent news agency make them look dumbfuddled?

    link to

    "As introduced, the amendment, which, according to several Capitol Hill sources, was drafted by AIPAC, actually went considerably further, deploying language that some senators argued could be interpreted as authorising war against Iran. "

  2. trouvere says:

    It was funny to see Ray Suarez suddenly change the subject when Gravel refused to back down.

    "You're saying that the national legislature of this country, rather than doing the will of the citizens of the United States, passed that Iran resolution, sanctioning the Republican Guard, because of the American-Israeli Political Action Committee?"


    "Hmmm OK. Moving right along …"

  3. WM says:

    trouvere, that's exactly what it seems like. Especially after sounding so surprised that AIPAC is behind it. It is not unlike many of those liberal talk radio shows with listener call ins, as soon as the subject hits Israel, the radio pundit steers the caller to a tangential subject.

  4. Defend Cong. Moran from AIPAC Media Attacks (Updated):

    link to

  5. Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 11:17:34 -0700
    Subject: Sy Hersh: "Come on, let's not kid about it."

    Below is the transcript of the last part of an interview Amy Goodman did this morning on Democracy Now with Seymour Hersh. The whole interview is interesting – see link to – but this final segment is extraordinary in its candor. I wonder when Hersh will be able to say stuff like this in the New Yorker!

    As a California Jew, I do have one gripe: when he mentions "Jewish money from New York," he's showing his age – nowadays the Dems also collect huge amounts of Jewish money from Hollywood and Silicon Valley, too.

    AMY GOODMAN: Sy Hersh, I wanted to switch gears for the last question, and this has to do with it not just being Republicans who are sounding a drumbeat for war. The three leading Democratic presidential candidates — Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards — have all declared no options off the table. This is a clip from last week's Democratic debate. It was the day the Senate approved a controversial resolution calling on the State Department to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. At the debate, Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Gravel bitterly criticized Hillary Clinton for voting in favor.

    MIKE GRAVEL: This is fantasy land. We're talking about ending the war. My god, we're just starting a war right today. There was a vote in the Senate today. Joe Lieberman, who authored the Iraq resolution, has authored another resolution, and it is essentially a fig leaf to let George Bush go to war with Iran. And I want to congratulate Biden for voting against it, Dodd for voting against it, and I'm ashamed of you, Hillary, for voting for it. You're not going to get another shot at this, because what's happened, if this war ensues, we invade, and they're looking for an excuse to do it. And Obama was not even there to vote.

    TIM RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, I want to give you a chance to respond.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: [laughter]

    AMY GOODMAN: That was Hillary Clinton laughing. Fifteen seconds, Seymour Hersh. Your response?

    SEYMOUR HERSH: Money. A lot of the Jewish money from New York. Come on, let's not kid about it. A significant percentage of Jewish money, and many leading American Jews support the Israeli position that Iran is an existential threat. And I think it's as simple as that. When you're from New York and from New York City, you take the view of — right now, when you're running a campaign, you follow that line. And there's no other explanation for it, because she's smart enough to know the downside.

    AMY GOODMAN: And Obama and Edwards?

    SEYMOUR HERSH: I — you know, it's shocking. It's really surprising and shocking, but there we are. That's American politics circa 2007.

    AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, thank you very much for being with us, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist. His piece in the New Yorker is called "Shifting Targets: The Administration' s Plan for Iran."

    ———— ——— ——— ——— ——

  6. Bush Says that he will defend our ally Israel

    link to

  7. The Wendigo says:

    PBS and NPR are phony liberal outlets. They are corporate controlled, through "foundation" middle-man donor entities.

    I'm not surprised that the exchange with Ray Suarez had Suarez playing the faux-naif.

    What? AIPAC has too much influence? IMPOSSIBLE! I saw Ray Suarez's disbelief, and I believe PBS!

  8. george says:


  9. Gene says:

    I read the other day that the US had mutual aid agreements with Israel–that we have agreed to defend them if attacked and they have agreed to defend us. I didn't know we had any such agreements with Israel. I thought all treaties had to be approved by Congress. Can the president make deals with other countries on his own without congressional approval? Does anyone know?

  10. Elaine S. says:

    No, Gene, the U.S. has never signed a formal defense treaty with Israel. This has been at Israel's request since a treaty would, among other things, raise the question of what Israel's nuclear weapons were then for, and bring further pressure on her to join the NPT.

  11. lysias says:

    You can always have an executive agreement without a binding treaty ratified by the Senate. It always helps if the agreement is a secret one.

    Sure, it might not be binding as a matter of law. But, if a president used one to go to war, at least ostensibly to defend Israel, who would block him? Surely not this Congress.

    This was the problem the British government faced at the start of World War One. Secret agreements had been struck by leading members of the British cabinet with France without the knowledge of the public, the Parliament, and even the other ministers (a majority) in the cabinet. In the end — and it was an end that was not long in coming– a way was found to persuade the British to enter the war.