House passes AIPAC’s ‘strangle Iran’ sanctions, 400-20

Israel/Palestine
on 21 Comments

Sometimes I hear from readers who complain that I lay too much blame on AIPAC for our one-sided and failed Middle East policies.

What can I say? I worked at AIPAC for almost six years (1973-1975, 1982-1986) so I know how it operates. Additionally, because I left AIPAC on good terms, I maintained friendships with its staff (no more!) and they filled me in on how the lobby was increasing its power over Congress. Of course, I saw that myself during 15 years as a House and Senate staffer. AIPAC runs the Middle East policy show on Capitol Hill.

Rarely am I surprised by anything AIPAC (or Congress, tucked securely in its pocket) does. But sometimes, AIPAC’s actions are so egregious, and those of Congress so supine, in promoting policies that are clearly against U.S. interests that I have to admit some surprise.

Take what AIPAC is doing this week. It is getting the House of Representatives to pass legislation it wrote that would impose the heaviest sanctions on Iran yet, (Here is AIPAC’s two minute video urging support for its bill).

Here is how the New York Times described the AIPAC bill on Thursday.

The legislation, if enacted into law and fully enforced, could basically eradicate what is left of Iran’s diminished oil exports by coercing its remaining customers to find other suppliers. Proponents of the legislation say that with 376 sponsors, it is expected to pass the House easily. It would then move to the Senate for consideration in September.

There is nothing surprising about that. AIPAC has been drafting and the House and Senate passing AIPAC’s Iran sanctions bills for years. They don’t accomplish anything except punish the Iranian people. After all, if they did “work,” AIPAC wouldn’t keep having to write new sanctions bills. Iran would have surrendered to Israel’s demands on the nuclear issue years ago.

In a sense, this is all deja vu except for the timing.

Again the Times:

But critics say the timing of the House vote has raised sharp questions about the kind of message it would send to Iran’s president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, before he takes office on Sunday.

Ya think?

A new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, takes office  in a few days. He was elected as a moderate, the un-Ahmedinejad. Since his election he has made clear that his goal is to resolve the US-Iran stalemate over Iranian nuclear development through negotiations.

Of course, at this point, who knows?  Maybe he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

We will know soon but not until after he takes office on Sunday, which is why AIPAC’s preemptive strike is so appalling.

After all, there is not one reason for passing this punitive bill before the new president takes office, unless, of course, AIPAC’s goal is to insult Rouhani and the Iranian nation in order to push him toward becoming another Ahmedinejad.

Nothing pleased the lobby more than having an Iranian president who spouted obscene nonsense about the Holocaust and Israel, all the easier to convince the United States to go to war with him. But this guy is trouble. If he is a real moderate, AIPAC won’t get its war.

As to the question as to why Congress would go along with AIPAC on this, you know the answer. Members of Congress will do whatever it wants to collect campaign cash from donors associated with it. Even in a case like this, where the U.S. interest is so clear, dollars and cents point the other way.

The good news is that the administration has made clear it welcomes the new Iranian president and is eager to hear what he has to say. Of course, AIPAC’s legislation, once passed by House and Senate, could box him in.

This is why I write about AIPAC so much. There is no other lobby like it. Other countries are represented in Washington by registered foreign agents who are banned by law from any involvement in U.S. politics. AIPAC skirts that requirement by being an American lobby representing a foreign government. Neat trick! And it is the trick (funding politicians legally) that enables it to foist all these dangerous policies on the United States.

Last point: most of your favorite “progressive” Members of Congress are co-sponsors of the AIPAC bill, meaning they knowingly put U.S. interests behind their fundraising desires.  Here is the list. Read it and weep, no, read it and get angry.

This post first appeared on MJ Rosenberg’s site yesterday.

About M.J. Rosenberg

M.J. Rosenberg served as a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow with Media Matters Action Network, and prior to that worked on Capitol Hill for various Democratic members of the House and Senate for 15 years. He was also a Clinton political appointee at USAID. In the early 1980s, he was editor of AIPACs weekly newsletter Near East Report. From 1998-2009, he was director of policy at Israel Policy Forum. You can follow his work at mjayrosenberg.com.

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21 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    August 2, 2013, 12:44 pm

    aipac boasts they write the resolution(s), but no, saying that there is an israeli lobby is racist.
    Americans need to wake up!

  2. yrn
    August 2, 2013, 1:01 pm

    “The Zionist regime and Zionists are a cancerous tumour. Even if one cell is left in one inch of land, in the future this story will repeat,”
    from Press TV the first Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English on a round-the-clock basis.
    link to presstv.ir

    Read carefully, they are Talking about Zionists individuals, not Zionism.
    Zionists (that include the Israelis and world wide Zionists) are a cancerous tumour.
    there should be no ZIONIST individual left.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 2, 2013, 4:11 pm

      “Even if one cell is left in one inch of land, in the future this story will repeat.”

      well, that part’s likely correct…don’t you think?

      edit, btw, awesome divert yrn. you should get a little gold star for your efforts today. just think how happy israel would be if we could sanction iran for a decade like we did with iraq (only about a million dead children as a result of that brilliant plan). but hey, what’s a another million dead kids , if they’re muslim. way to go yrn, support that genocide.

      • yrn
        August 2, 2013, 5:45 pm

        Annie

        So you thinks it’s partly correct to remove all the individual Zionist…….
        I guess you understadn what you are saying.
        As you know what you do in order to remove a cancerous tumour.

      • amigo
        August 3, 2013, 8:09 am

        On the latest zio attempt to paint Rouhani with the same false claims.

        “Rouhani misquoted over remarks about ‘sore’ on body of Islamic world ”

        Iran’s president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a pro-Palestinian rally in Tehran earlier yestderday, was misquoted as saying that Israel is a wound that “should be removed”.

        Iran’s semi-official Isna news agency misreported Mr Rouhani’s quotes, which were then widely disseminated by western news agencies and prompted Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to react to remarks that the Iranian president-elect never made.

        Isna initially quoted Mr Rouhani as saying: “The Zionist regime has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world for years and the wound should be removed.”

        In fact, he said: “In our region, a sore has been on the body of the Islamic world for many years in the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the dear Quds.”

        He added: “This day is in fact a reminder that Muslim people will not forget their historic right and will continue to stand against aggression and tyranny.”

        Mr Rouhani did not mention the word Israel, nor that it should be “removed”. The agency has now amended its article to reflect the true quotes but the falsified ones have already been doing the rounds.

        Iran’s English-language state television, Press TV, also said Mr Rouhani’s quotes had been distorted.

        “News agencies distort Iran pres-elect Rohani’s remarks on Quds Day,” said a breaking news caption on Press TV, according to Reuters.

        Mr Rouhani was speaking at the al-Quds day, an annual event held on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan, aimed at showing solidarity with Palestinians. A video of Mr Rouhani showing him expressing those remarks is posted on Youtube.

        Israel jumps the gun
        According to the Associated Press, Mr Netanyahu reacted to Mr Rouhani’s falsified quotes by saying: “The real face of Rouhani has been exposed earlier than expected . . . This is what the man thinks and this is the Iranian regime’s operational plan . . .

        “A country that threatens to destroy Israel must not be allowed weapons of mass destruction.” – (Guardian service)

        link link to irishtimes.com

    • Justpassingby
      August 2, 2013, 5:33 pm

      Paranoid much? Now fabricating a threat and editing the quote itself! Whats wrong with you?

      Worldwide lol? Uh the quote itself said:


      “Even if one cell is left in one inch of (Palestinian) land, “.

      Nice try warmonger but the whole world consider settlements illegal and so must go.

    • Talkback
      August 3, 2013, 2:09 pm

      yrn says: “Zionists (that include the Israelis and world wide Zionists) are a cancerous tumour. there should be no ZIONIST individual left.”

      I’m sure he sees them as a demographic threat and would like to keep them expelled for demograpic reasons. No wait, that’s your view of Palestinians.

  3. DICKERSON3870
    August 2, 2013, 1:52 pm

    RE: “Members of Congress will do whatever it wants to collect campaign cash from donors associated with it. Even in a case like this, where the U.S. interest is so clear, dollars and cents point the other way.” ~ M.J. Rosenberg

    A HIGHLY RELEVANT QUOTATION: “You can’t use tact with a Congressman! A Congressman is a hog! You must take a stick and hit him on the snout!” ~ From ‘The Education of Henry Adams’, By Henry Brooks Adams, 1838-1918 (American journalist-historian-academic-novelist; grandson of President John Quincy Adams; great-grandson of President John Adams)
    SOURCES:
    The Education of Henry Adams, by Henry Adams – link to gutenberg.org
    The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography (Google eBook) – link to books.google.com

    FROM MAPLIGHT.ORG:

    Pro-Israel contributions

    • Top Senate Recipients Funded

    Recipient | Amount
    Mark Kirk $925,379
    John McCain $771,012
    Mitch McConnell $430,925
    Carl Levin $346,478
    Robert Menéndez $344,670
    Richard Durbin $327,212
    Kirsten Gillibrand $326,937
    Mary Landrieu $296,409
    Benjamin Cardin $267,542
    Harry Reid $261,708
    Bill Nelson $259,250
    Charles Schumer $248,149
    Timothy Kaine $245,820
    Barbara Boxer $245,179
    Ron Wyden $222,431
    Sherrod Brown $221,891
    Claire McCaskill $214,271
    Robert Casey $192,550
    [CONTINUED AD NAUSEAM]

    SOURCE – link to maplight.org

    ● P.S. MARK TWAIN’S DISCOURSE ON “CORN PONE”:

    . . . He [Mark Twain] quotes his childhood friend as saying, “You tell me where a man gets his corn pone (bread), and I’ll tell you what his opinions are.” Meaning that one’s opinions can be told based on where that person got their bread. . .

    SOURCE – link to english414fall2011.wordpress.com

  4. German Lefty
    August 2, 2013, 3:28 pm

    an Iranian president who spouted obscene nonsense about the Holocaust and Israel
    Oh, really? What “obscene nonsense” did Ahmadinejad say in your opinion? Do you believe the Zionist propaganda lies about his alleged statements?
    He did NOT deny the Holocaust. He did NOT say that he wants to wipe Israel off the map.

    • john h
      August 2, 2013, 10:14 pm

      That fact warrants constant repetition. And neither will the current President say that, or deny the Holocaust.

  5. German Lefty
    August 2, 2013, 3:33 pm

    most of your favorite “progressive” Members of Congress are co-sponsors of the AIPAC bill
    Alan Grayson is one of them. Puke!

  6. Keith
    August 2, 2013, 5:02 pm

    M J ROSENBERG- “But sometimes, AIPAC’s actions are so egregious, and those of Congress so supine, in promoting policies that are clearly against U.S. interests that I have to admit some surprise.”

    Are you suggesting that regime change in Iran is clearly against imperial interests and actions? That the Godfather hasn’t sought to destabilize Iran right from the get-go following the overthrow of the Shah? That the US isn’t actively seeking Middle East hegemony?

    “Since his election he has made clear that his goal is to resolve the US-Iran stalemate over Iranian nuclear development through negotiations.”

    Nuclear development is a pretext for regime change. If a pro-US regime was in power, it wouldn’t be an issue.

  7. atime forpeace
    August 2, 2013, 5:04 pm

    Unfortunately if or when a country wakes up, it’s usually from a hangover, and they wake up ornery as history has shown. I know we all would like to believe otherwise but todays Americans are probably not as sophisticated or educated en masse as the Germans were in their day and the mass propaganda potential under the wrong guidance has great potential for misuse. Nationalism tends to polarize and break down even the best among us and usually not for the good. Me, i am a borderless humanist and whatever that term might imply.

  8. just
    August 2, 2013, 5:09 pm

    We are sick, sick, sick as a nation.

    Boot all of these handmaidens to Israel- first out! What a bunch of idiots. Shame on them all.

  9. john h
    August 2, 2013, 10:19 pm

    “AIPAC’s actions are so egregious, and those of Congress so supine”.

    Doesn’t that just about say it all?

  10. Nevada Ned
    August 3, 2013, 12:04 am

    I’m not doubting the power of AIPAC. But let me ask you: if sanctions on Iran are not in the interests of the US ruling class, what hasn’t the rest of the ruling class (outside of the Congressional Reps in the House) voiced opposition?

    I propose a different way of looking at it: The US ruling class had control over Iran while the Shah (installed by the CIA in 1953) was in charge. Control over Iran meant control over Iran’s oil, which give the US power over Europe, China, and Japan, which need Iran’s oil.
    The US Empire suffered an important defection in 1979 when the Shah was overthrown by an anti-US revolution.
    The US wants to regain control over Iran and its oil. Slapping crippling sanctions on Iran, leading to the goal of regime change in Tehran, is the plan.

    Now the plan may not work. But sanctions on Iran played a role in 1953, when the CIA installed the Shah. Sanctions were part of US imperial strategy to oust Allende in Chile in 1973, and to oust the Sandinistas from power in Nicaragua in the 1980′s.

    The US and Israel are working together because Israel is the local gendarme, helping patrol the US empire
    I contend this alternative interpretation makes more sense than thinking that AIPAC controls Congress, thereby hurting US interests, but the rest of the ruling class is too stupid or too weak to defend their own interests..

  11. Daniel Rich
    August 3, 2013, 2:15 am

    Q: It would then move to the Senate for consideration in September.

    R: For consideration? My ass. Where I come from they call that rubber-stamping.

  12. NickJOCW
    August 3, 2013, 6:00 am

    One can only assume the same people are behind this bizarre effort to get money out of the French railway company.

    link to france24.com

  13. Tuyzentfloot
    August 3, 2013, 8:29 am

    A new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, takes office in a few days. He was elected as a moderate, the un-Ahmedinejad. Since his election he has made clear that his goal is to resolve the US-Iran stalemate over Iranian nuclear development through negotiations.

    Of course, at this point, who knows? Maybe he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    We will know soon but not until after he takes office on Sunday, which is why AIPAC’s preemptive strike is so appalling.

    After all, there is not one reason for passing this punitive bill before the new president takes office, unless, of course, AIPAC’s goal is to insult Rouhani and the Iranian nation in order to push him toward becoming another Ahmedinejad.

    Nothing pleased the lobby more than having an Iranian president who spouted obscene nonsense about the Holocaust and Israel, all the easier to convince the United States to go to war with him. But this guy is trouble. If he is a real moderate, AIPAC won’t get its war.

    I think Rosenberg’s understanding of Iran is lacking. Iran’s policy with Ahmadinehjad was fairly reasonable. The general approach was to be less accommodating upfront, and insist more on principles. What Ahmadinehjad made in terms of noises for public consumption is not that important when you’re negotiating. People who pounce on the public noises generally have bad faith.

    The idea that in order to move forward you need “a real moderate” on the Iranian side, is , well, weak.

  14. Denis
    August 4, 2013, 12:29 am

    We need to keep in mind that AIPAC ain’t gettin’ to ‘em all. There’s reps in there that are not takin’ shekels for votes, and we should be grateful to this small core of America-firsters.

    These people and this term is where the attention needs to be focused. We need to promote and grow this group, if not by conversions, then by eliminations and replacements. A rep here; a rep there; pretty soon America is run by Americans again. If ever “change” was needed, it’s running AIPAC out of town, and this list of 20 America-firsters in the House is where the runnin’ begins.

    Pelosi is not on this list of America-firsters — never has been, never will be. She’s doing more harm than good. Justin Amash is turning out to be a very interesting fellow.

    Please note: these are not no-shows or abstentions. These are nays with the glaring light shining on them — 3 Republicans, 17 Democrats.

    Amash (R) MI — Blumenauer (D) OR — Carson (D) IN — Edwards (D) MD — Ellison (D) MN — Grijalva (D) AZ — Johnson, E. B. (D) TX — Jones (R) NC — Lee (D) CA — Massie (R) KY — McCollum (D) MN — McDermott (D) WA — McGovern (D) MA — Miller, George (D) CA — Moran (D) VA — O’Rourke (D) TX — Payne (D) NJ — Price (D) NC — Visclosky (D) IN — Waters (D) CA

    If your rep is not on this list, you’ve got work to do in 2014.