The other day the Senate unanimously passed an Iran sanctions act upping the pressure in an effort to preempt the talks now going on between world powers and Iran. Here (thanks to MJ Rosenberg) is AIPAC's press release congratulating the Senate:
WASHINGTON — AIPAC applauds the Senate for passing the Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012 (S. 2101) just days before the P5 + 1 sits down again with Iran. The unanimous passage of this bill signals the Senate’s determination to thwart Iran’s nuclear program. This bill will significantly ratchet up the sanctions against Iran and provide the Obama administration another tool to pressure Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons program. The recently revealed explosives chamber on an Iranian military base further underscores the urgency of stopping the Islamic Republic in its tracks before the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism can acquire the capability to build a nuclear weapon.
And at Huffington Post, Rosenberg says that our whole policy is being determined by AIPAC:
There is a fundamental absurdity hanging over negotiations with Iran, and I fear it could doom the whole enterprise.
It is the position of AIPAC as adopted by the Congress of the United States. This president is likely to only go as far as AIPAC (or the Israel lobby at large) will permit him to go. Given that the Iranian government is aware of that fact and given that it knows that the lobby has been agitating for war for a decade, it can hardly be a surprise that Iran is not particularly responsive to our demands. It understands that the U.S. demands are AIPAC's (ultimately Prime Minister Netanyahu's) demands and it knows that there will be no satisfying them.
There are so many ironies here, the first being that AIPAC (and the Congress that is under its sway) is far more hawkish than the Israeli military and intelligence communities, not to mention the Israeli public....
The Israel lobby is the cloud hanging over the Iran talks. Even today, as the Iran talks reconvene, three Senate lobby stalwarts -- Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ) -- have an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal demanding that the Obama administration accept nothing less than zero uranium enrichment by the Iranians, even though that train left the station a long time ago. That is, of course, Prime Minister Netanyahu's position, one designed to sabotage talks, not to advance them.
Of course, there are other signs (which the Iranians no doubt see) indicating that the U.S. will not be negotiating in good faith. Just yesterday Vice President Joseph Biden met with the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to assure the assembled leaders that the U.S. has no intention of doing anything on Iran that Netanyahu would not approve. Today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also met with the hawkish group to reassure them of U.S. fealty. On Monday, the Senate piled on new Iran sanctions on top of the ones we already have in place which are already inflicting heavy punishment on the Iranian people (although not on their leaders). And then there is the "no containment" resolution which passed the House overwhelmingly and which says that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, the president must attack Iran.
The bottom line is that U.S. Iran policy is made by and for Netanyahu and the lobby. No matter what progress comes out of the Baghdad negotiations, Congress -- at the lobby's bidding -- will immediately move to thwart it.
The Israel lobby's influence poses a threat to world peace now....