Gwen Ifill, USA Today question Israel’s influence in US politics– even as David Gregory beats Netanyahu’s drum

Last night on PBS’s News Hour, in a report on Why the Iranian nuclear talks fell apart, host Gwen Ifill repeatedly raised issues about Netanyahu’s intervention in the American political process. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a mainstream journalist be so straightforward about the role of the Israel lobby in U.S. policy-making. Ifill expressed surprise at the number of politicians who were echoing Israel’s concerns, and suggested that Israel was interfering. Excerpt:

GWEN IFILL: Was the U.S. surprised that [the deal] felt apart?

MARGARET WARNER:  Yes…. And the U.S. was — it’s no surprise that France has always been the most hawkish in their private discussions, based on their long history of negotiating with Iran. They become very close to Israel and so on. But to be publicly blindsided by Foreign Minister Fabius, that did come, I’m told, as a surprise. And now the administration has to figure out how to not let that happen again.

GWEN IFILL: Well, it’s clear that Israel was not — Netanyahu wasn’t ever going to be on board. How much of this was changed because of his insistence that this was a bad deal, not only to his allies who were there in Geneva, but also here in the U.S. dealing with our domestic concerns about Israel?

MARGARET WARNER:  I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s objections and role cannot be overstated or underestimated, or shouldn’t be, here.

He’s had a drumbeat, as you said, of talking to people not only in the administration, but to people on the Hill. And he confirmed suspicions yesterday he called most of these European leaders. And he went from expressing — saying, well, don’t do a premature deal, which is one that would enable Iran to keep enriching, to yesterday saying he had been given the outlines of the deal by his American sources and that indeed was what the deal was going to do….

GWEN IFILL: I was interested to see U.S. senators coming out and saying and even governors coming out and saying this is a bad deal over the last two days, which suggested that someone was suggesting to them this was a bad deal who was not in the administration.

MARGARET WARNER:  Yes.

GWEN IFILL: So when John Kerry gets back to the United States from this trip, what’s his first goal, to win them over?

MARGARET WARNER:  He’s going — exactly. He’s going right to the Hill.

Contrast Ifill’s independence with David Gregory on Meet the Press Sunday, quizzing John Kerry about why the U.S. was considering such a deal with Iran. Gregory acted as a pipeline for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, five or six times citing Israeli concerns and describing Iran as double-dealers.

Here are excerpts of David Gregory’s questions, in which I highlight his Israel-centric thrust:

QUESTION: The reporting is that the French thought it wasn’t tough enough on the Iranians. And you know the history – as the Israeli Prime Minister called Rouhani as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That this is what they do. They double play; they play for time; while they keep producing, they try to win the confidence of the West, and they can play games….

QUESTION: Let me play you a comment that I think gets to the ultimate question of what does it mean to get it right. …The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been outspoken about this this week. He was on this program late last month and this is what he said about the prospect of a deal with Iran. I want you to listen and I’ll get your reaction on the other side.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: I think the pressure has to be maintained on Iran, even increased on Iran, until it actually stops the nuclear program – that is, dismantles it. I think that any partial deal could end up in dissolving the sanctions. There are a lot of countries that are waiting for a signal – just waiting for a signal – to get rid of their sanctions regime.

QUESTION: So a couple of points there. You want them to stop their weapons program. Others, like the Israeli Prime Minister, are saying no, they’ve got to dismantle their infrastructure before they get the kind of economic relief that is part of this deal…

QUESTION: If the only reason they’re coming to the table now is because they feel the economic pain of sanctions– it’s not just the Israelis, it’s the Saudis, it’s Republicans in Congress who have said — if that’s the only reason they’re coming to the table, what’s the rush?…

QUESTION: There is a broader criticism that goes beyond this that no doubt you’ve confronted in your extensive travels throughout that region. And let me sum it up this way. It amounts to this criticism that the President appears reluctant to exercise power on the world stage. It’s not just Israel……

Update: USA Today is also reflecting Ifill’s concern. An editorial today.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate, where Netanyahu enjoys more influence than any foreign leader should, key senators were threatening to move ahead with legislation that would tighten sanctions, an in-your-face response that almost certainly would kill the Iranian attempt at outreach before it can be explored.

Thanks to Scott McConnell.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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

  1. pabelmont says:

    Warner and Ifill. I don’t know who they are, but they BOTH broke the rules of political correctness (AIPAC’s rules). Good to hear it. It could have been more pointed, perhaps, and perhaps it will be another time — if they both survive the fall out.

    • marc b. says:

      i don’t watch much TV news, but warner and ifill have both been (relatively) objective in the past on some ME issues. (the box quote from Gregory/Netanyahu is a bit unclear, but it appears as if Gregory is one of the water boys for the ‘stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program’ BS. he knows, as does yahoo, that there is no evidence of an active Iranian nuclear weapons program.)

  2. hophmi says:

    OK, Phil, so let’s say that there is no Netanyahu calling GOP members on the Hill. Do you think they endorse this plan to allow Iran to continue to enrich uranium? Do you think Netanyahu is the only foreign leader who would use his connections on the Hill to act in the best interests of his country?

    I too am critical of Netanyahu’s role in the American political process, which I think is amplified because he spent a lot of time here in the States and speaks good English. But I doubt he’s the only reason these guys are criticizing the deal. They don’t exactly have a pro-Obama track record.

    • I too am critical of Netanyahu’s role in the American political process

      when? link to mondoweiss.net

      you continually deny the extent of his role. and you’re doing it now on this thread by arguing other interests are involved, which is a diversion from the discussion, which is netanyahu’s over exposure and over influence in washington, the media, foreign policy.

      netanyahu, and his priorities, get more attention from the media on foreign policy than our own president’s. and the stuff he doesn’t want to talk about, like the settlements, gets zilch.

      • hophmi says:

        “when?”

        Throughout the entire 2012 election cycle, here, and many other places. You’ll just have to take my word for it. I’m not a big Netanyahu fan, and I’m not going to reveal my identity here. I’ve had arguments with the right-wingers who insist that Netanyahu was not endorsing Mitt Romney in the election and that he wasn’t really that involved.

        “you continually deny the extent of his role.”

        I just above told you in no uncertain terms that I’m critical of his role, so clearly, I’m not denying it.

        “you’re doing it now on this thread by arguing other interests are involved”

        That happens to be a fact.

        “which is a diversion from the discussion, which is netanyahu’s over exposure and over influence in washington, the media, foreign policy. ”

        I agree that he’s overexposed in the media, and that he uses his contacts in the GOP far too often and far too publicly. But it’s not a diversion from the discussion to point out that Netanyahu is far from alone in lobbying the administration against the deal and also not a distraction to point out that Netanyahu is simply doing what foreign leaders do, which is act in the best interests of his country.

        “netanyahu, and his priorities, get more attention from the media on foreign policy than our own president’s”

        That’s hyperbole.

        ” and the stuff he doesn’t want to talk about, like the settlements, gets zilch. ”

        Well, they certainly ask him about it. But, you’re right, they don’t focus much on it, probably because they don’t accept the idea that there’s a linkage between Iranian nukes and Israeli settlements.

        • “netanyahu, and his priorities, get more attention from the media on foreign policy than our own president’s”

          That’s hyperbole.

          i think anyone could review last weekends sunday morning talk shows, or other msm reports, during this crucial period surrounding the iran negotiations as well as the radical escalation of settlement expansion plans, and witness netanyahu’s viewpoint represented more than obama’s. i scour the news hops, and that’s what i see. now if you’ve got evidence to the contrary bring it on.

        • hophmi says:

          “i think anyone could review last weekends sunday morning talk shows, or other msm reports, during this crucial period surrounding the iran negotiations as well as the radical escalation of settlement expansion plans, and witness netanyahu’s viewpoint represented more than obama’s. i scour the news hops, and that’s what i see. now if you’ve got evidence to the contrary bring it on.”

          Sunday morning, probably, though Obama is less likely to go on the Sunday shows than Netanyahu is. I think Netanyahu’s good English gets him on a lot of these shows, and his media whore tendencies also help. I’m all for less media exposure for him.

        • Obama is less likely to go on the Sunday shows

          i didn’t limit it to him personally, i said his views. and how many pundits are on their shilling for netanyahu? along for netanyahu himself. and there are other ways to shill for someone than answer questions. gregory was shilling for netanyahu’s ptv thru the whole interview. did he ask even one question about the settlements?

          I think Netanyahu’s good English gets him on a lot of these shows

          this is america. in this country having good english is not that rare (shocking i know). in fact most americans have english as good as netanyahu’s. i think obama’s english is as good as netanyahu’s. you can do better than that can’t you hops.

        • RoHa says:

          “this is america. in this country having good english is not that rare”

          Do you really want to give me an opening like that, Annie?

    • and another thing, our sec of state gave an extensive interview on israeli tv this week link to mondoweiss.net

      where was any mention of the settlements/israel’s expansion on the sunday morning talk shows? anything that might be construed as pressuring netanyahu? it doesn’t exist. nothing. is it also your contention congress members could care less about this, of their own volition? is joe biden that out of touch when he references “peace settlement with the Israelis and the Palestinians” as a main strategic interest of america’s, which our military leaders also contend?

      • hophmi says:

        “anything that might be construed as pressuring netanyahu?”

        I think the third intifada comment got him pretty riled up.

        “is it also your contention congress members could care less about this, of their own volition? ”

        I don’t think your average Congress member cares about Israeli settlements either way in the state of nature; it’s simply not an issue his constituents think about very much. I do think, to the extent that Congress members care about US foreign policy, they generally support US allies like Israel, and that the lobby encourages that tendency through political and financial support. That’s nothing unusual, as Walt and Mearsheimer pointed out, but it’s easy to overstate it, as many here tend to do.

        • I think the third intifada comment got him pretty riled up.

          me too, but where was this even mentioned in any of the morning talk shows? anywhere? that’s my point. and foxman threw a fit, but it appeared in the israeli press. everything here was all framed around iran iran iran.

        • hophmi says:

          “me too, but where was this even mentioned in any of the morning talk shows? ”

          I’m very surprised they didn’t ask him about it. I think the media may have overplayed his reaction, though; Kerry been saying some version of that since he rolled the peace plan out to the American Jewish community last May, and I respect him for it, though perhaps he hasn’t put it quite that starkly.

          I happen to think a third intifada is not all that likely, because I think the Palestinians probably realize, especially after the last intifada, that it’s not going to help them very much, and that the logistics would be much harder with the security barrier.

        • I’m very surprised they didn’t ask him about it.

          i’m not. the msm carries water for him, like david gregory. he doesn’t get confronted with uncomfortable facts. i recall one person, i think it was charlie rose asking him about settlements, and netanyahu just blew him right off, something like ‘come on!’..as if the question was completely out of line.

          I think the media may have overplayed his reaction

          i don’t agree, not after seeing those videos he released. we covered them here, he sounds completely unhinged. and just look at this photo on friday morn, the day after kerry’s interview and him hearing about the iran negotiations, link to mondoweiss.net

          i don’t think this is overplaying it. if it was it was the whole crew at haaretz and jpost alike. even his tie in the photo is off kilter. (joke) . i honestly think he blew a fuse.

        • hophmi says:

          “i’m not. the msm carries water for him, like david gregory. he doesn’t get confronted with uncomfortable facts. i recall one person, i think it was charlie rose asking him about settlements, and netanyahu just blew him right off, something like ‘come on!’..as if the question was completely out of line. ”

          Usually, he simply says that settlements are not the issue.

          “i don’t agree, not after seeing those videos he released. we covered them here, he sounds completely unhinged.”

          Annie, you get better analysis when you don’t assume someone is unhinged. You criticize the Israelis when they say the Iranians are unhinged. So be consistent and don’t fall into the same trap.

          “i honestly think he blew a fuse.”

          What you think hardly matters. I’m sure he wasn’t happy about the prospect of Iran continuing to enrich uranium. He doesn’t trust the Mullahs.

        • i said he sounded completely unhinged, and he did. that doesn’t mean i assumed he was unhinged. i had decent evidence and i wasn’t alone. it was all over the news.

          You criticize the Israelis when they say the Iranians are unhinged.

          hops you’re picking words apart. if an iranian was blowing a fuse in front of a camera the way netanyahu was i’d say he became unhinged.

          What you think hardly matters.

          not if it’s shared by lots of people, then it matters. the word out on the street was he shocked a lot of people in DC. he’s not acting like a statesman, and he wasn’t acting like a statesman at the UN w/his cartoon either. it’s fine w/me if he wants to act like that tho, it’s actually very descriptive of the kind of ideological consciousness he’s representing. which is not to say he represents all israelis, because i don’t believe he does.

    • Kathleen says:

      In Bibi’s own words “America Won’t Get in Our Way…It’s Easily Moved’ ”
      link to youtube.com

      Remember this one
      link to youtube.com

      Legislation isolating and sanctioning Iran basically written by Aipac, Jinsa
      link to aipac.org{E9465F79-9380-4A00-BAA9-18DB524F23C8}

      link to jinsa.org

    • “They don’t exactly have a pro-Obama track record.”

      So the Anti-Obama group or not so much pro-obama groups did not come out and did not support military hardware sales to Israel( free), imposing sancions on Iran for last 4 years, letting Isreal build settlements,attack Syria,kill Iranain scientists and torpedo Morsi and go into Lbya? Or did they?

      It is not about Obama .It is what he does for Isreal. Anti Obama becomes happily pro Obama at the drop of a dime as long as the dime ends up on Israeli bank. The moment he decides otherwise, they sulk, they pout the lips, they scowl and some of them call him a closetted muslim .

  3. Krauss says:

    There’s an interesting blog post on the Sinosphere section of the New York Times describing Israel’s push to get closer to China (and to a much lesser extent India).

    Dore Gold, a neocon from America, is the lobbyist in China doing the heavy work. The interesting thing that the author notices is how badly stained Israel is these days and writes this as-a-matter-of-factly:

    For Israel, China’s willingness to do business without attaching conditions related to human rights looks particularly attractive in the face of growing Western frustrations with the Netanyahu government’s policies in the occupied territories.

    If you cross out the word ‘Israel’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he’s talking about a gross human rights violater run by a semi-fascistic leadership.

    As I read the comments of that piece, I’m reminded of your article. After all, why is Bibi so influential in the senate? Why is he constantly on Face the nation and similar programs? No other foreign PM is on the TV screen as often as he is.
    And the answer is partly AIPAC but also deeply felt Zionist sympathies for many journalists and editors(like David Gregory or Bob Schieffer).

    India and China do not have an AIPAC and I doubt they’d allow one, particularly China where party control is everything. So how will Israel compete? Remember that realists have been saying Israel is an albatross around America’s neck since 20 years ago. It’s doubtful that China will make any other rational analysis of a country that is deeply unliked for its Apartheid policies by the region’s oil-producing countries.

    And as for high-tech or whatnot. Most Israel high tech is sold to America once/if it becomes successful. If that changes to China, will it make a big difference? As one commenter pointed out, Chinese tech is already on par with America’s. So what’s left for Israel? The leaders of renewable energy and efficiency are in Scandinavia. Agriculture is most advanced within in America and to a lesser extent countries like France that produces a lot of food for export.

    Not to mention that Iran, the greatest enemy of Israel in the Middle East, is a very important supplier of oil to China and India.
    I think Israel is going to get cut off faster from America than it anticipates. This blind-siding of Israel we saw last weekend is only the logical conclusion of a secular shift away from America’s perspective. No AIPAC in China and India means Israel will become much more downsized. They won’t support attacks on Iran, a very important oil source.

  4. Is Netanyahu overplaying his hand again? On Face the Nation Sunday, where he made his case directly to the US public, Norah O’Donnell warily asked him a follow-up question: “are you lobbying against this deal?” Of course, to say the least, came the reply, or words to that effect. It was Anti-Semitic to notice it until it’s now too obvious to mention. I.e., don’t talk about it so much.

    But it has become explicit, with Netanyahu embarrassing the entire P5+1 by derailing their deal at the last minute, and with him using his power openly, recklessly, and in service of a totally different reality.

    In this environment, how is that the NewsHour and other outlets continue to give Sheldon Adelson a pass on recommending that the US “negotiate” by nuking the Iranian desert. Sheldon Adelson who funds think tanks, is a big donor to Netanyahu and owns the largest newspaper in Israel, which he gives away for free, and who sought to buy the election for Newt Gingrich and then Mitt Romney in 2012. I would have liked to have seen Norah O’Donnell quote Adelson to Netanyahu and ask him if he thinks Adelson’s is the better approach to Iran than the P5+1′s.

    And how about that WINEP speaker last year complaining about how hard it’s turning out to be to start a US war with Iran? Remembering the Maine. Saying maybe one of their submarines goes down and doesn’t come up? Since the lobbying is now out in the open, how do journalists NOT shine their light on the whole war-mongering endeavor? Asking is the Likud government in Israel interested in peace? or in wars of aggression blamed on the victims as a basis to maintain power and expand settlements? Interviewing past heads of Mossad on their disagreements with Likud.

    Luckily, it’s all collected for them in the pages of Mondoweiss. They just need to start doing their jobs.

  5. American says:

    Still not direct enough to suit me.
    To end all this and flush it out of our government you have to talk about it as what it is—-> foreign subversion of US interest by a foreign country’s lobby and their bought politicians in the US.
    Criticism of Israel in just ‘disagreements and interferences’ on this and that ‘assorted and seperate issues’ as they come up doesnt present the total package and extent of the Isr Lobby and other foreign lobbies problem in US.
    The msm and press need to be more blunt and outraged about this.

    The US public knows about how their welfare is affected by elite domestic special interest but I dont think the majority have any idea the foreign interest lobbying that affect war, peace, US policy and to who their overseas tax money goes to and why.
    I doubt a round table discussion on this topic will ever appear on the msm any time soon. The media itself is too complict in this, they present foreign lobbist and special foreign interest mouthpieces as ‘legitimate’ spokespeople for US policy when they are anything but.

    link to foreignaffairs.com

    Diplomacy, Inc. The Influence of Lobbies on U.S. Foreign Policy

  6. Ellen says:

    The USA Today editorial was penned by its editorial board, and not an opinion of an individual. That is telling.

    It was reasoned, covering all angles, and made a really strong statement: throwing a wrench into the works early in the process is not in the interests if the US. It works for Israel and their new best buddy, Saudi Arabia.

    But scuttling the accord based on fear or worse, the interest of Israel, Saudi Arabia and others in perpetuating hostilities between the U.S. and Iran for their regional benefit, would be incalculably foolish.

    In other words, Israeli firsters in the US Senate such as Corker (R), Menendez (D), are taking their orders from foreign countries as they are not working for US interests.

    The Ifil exchange may have gone over the head of most listeners. It was nuanced and not absolutely clear what her line of questions were about.

    But one thing is coming through in the reporting over the past days:

    Israel and KSA seem to have their own mole in the negotiations. Netanyahu’s unhinged rant this weekend was the result of information that was fed to him. (How else would he have any insight into the “deal?”)

    He has since been told to tone himself down and in his defense, said that he was reacting based on “bad” information given to him — that a deal was done and the Iranians were gloating.

    It is a primitive way to conduct policy — ranting and making an international ass of yourself based on hearsay.

    • hophmi says:

      “The USA Today editorial was penned by its editorial board, and not an opinion of an individual. That is telling. ”

      It is. Note that Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the interests of other countries are mentioned. It’s not just Netanyahu pushing for a harder line.

      “It was reasoned, covering all angles, and made a really strong statement: throwing a wrench into the works early in the process is not in the interests if the US. It works for Israel and their new best buddy, Saudi Arabia. ”

      And France. And most of the Gulf allies.

      “In other words, Israeli firsters in the US Senate such as Corker (R), Menendez (D), are taking their orders from foreign countries as they are not working for US interests.”

      Well, no. They believe that it’s not in the US’s best interest to take a softer line. That makes them US-first. See, again, just because you don’t agree with it does not mean those who do do not believe it’s in the US interest. To bring out this Israel-first line every time there’s a policy you don’t like is what McCarthyites do.

      • Well, no. They believe that it’s not in the US’s best interest to take a softer line.

        then why the lobby hops? are you suggesting the lobby is not writing legislation? not involved in designing legislation designed to hamstring obama?

        more of warner’s comments from the interview above:

        Wednesday, he’s giving a classified briefing — I’m told it’s going to be classified — to the Senate Banking Committee. And, as you and I discussed Thursday, it’s on the Banking Committee that actually Senator Corker and some of its allies on both sides of the aisle want to hamstring the president from being able to even offer an easing of sanctions through a waiver provision in the legislation.

        In other words, one, some are threatening to add that new – new sanctions during the negotiations. But others are saying, well, at the very least, we should remove the president’s ability to deal with the legislation we have passed. And, if so, what reports are that the U.S. put on the table, that is, to unfree some funds overseas, wouldn’t be able to be unfrozen.

        are you suggesting this is divorced from ..no pressure from netanyahu/the lobby? come on hops, obviously there would be no need for an israel lobby is congressmembers would do all this independently. no quid pro quo? even for dems against their own president? and wasn’t it the lobby, the neocons, who were pushing for the exact opposite w/bush, to allow him the power to take unilateral executive actions.

        • hophmi says:

          “then why the lobby hops? are you suggesting the lobby is not writing legislation? not involved in designing legislation designed to hamstring obama?”

          I have no idea. But lobbies generally have the strongest hand when they’re pushing legislators to do things they would be inclined to do anyway.

          “are you suggesting this is divorced from ..no pressure from netanyahu/the lobby? ”

          No Annie, but again, as you saw with Syria, lobbyists can’t get legislators to do everything they want. In this case, I think there’s a genuine difference of opinion on what the terms of a deal like this should be, and Israel is far from the only country pushing for a hard line.

          “come on hops, obviously there would be no need for an israel lobby is congressmembers would do all this independently. no quid pro quo?”

          Well, that’s one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is that enough Senators sympathize with the position that the US should take a hard line on Iran, and the lobby is there to encourage them to hold fast to it.

          “even for dems against their own president?”

          Sure, it’s foreign policy, not domestic policy. Party unity is never as strong on foreign policy as it is on domestic policy because constituents tend to care a lot less about it.

          ” and wasn’t it the lobby, the neocons, who were pushing for the exact opposite w/bush, to allow him the power to take unilateral executive actions.”

          Like what? I don’t recall the pro-Israel community taking a position that the President should have less power to go to war. These are sanctions. Much of the power to levy them happens to lie in Congress.

          It’s really quite simple, Annie. Legislators are quite free to vote as they please, particularly in these gerrymandered districts where Israel is far down on the list of priorities. Every vote on every issue has a potential consequence, and that makes this issue no different from any other. If legislators decided that they agreed with the State Department on Iran, I highly doubt that it would cost them re-election.

        • not involved in designing legislation designed to hamstring obama?”

          I have no idea. ….

          well, if you have no idea i suggest you review “The lobby grants Obama a grace period on Iran” link to mondoweiss.net

          Four U.S. Jewish organizations are said to be giving the Obama administration a 60-day interval to get Iran to comply with western demands before the four groups turn the screws on Congress to tighten sanctions against Iran…..The US media has been silent on this question even as the Israeli press reports the meaning of a meeting that took place at the White House behind closed doors last Tuesday with those Jewish groups….The four US Jewish groups at the White House were all rightwing and were dubbed the “quartet” by Haaretz, which reported that they gave the administration a “limited ‘grace period’” after an “understanding was reached” with the president and top staff of the National Security Council. The understanding? We won’t ask for more sanctions yet if you assure us that you won’t weaken sanctions against Iran during the next high-level P5+1 meetings to convene in Geneva, beginning next week.

          The understanding was reached during a sometimes tense meeting at the White House this week between a group of senior Administration officials led by National Security Adviser Susan Rice and executives and leaders from an ad hoc “quartet” of influential Jewish organizations: AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, The Anti-Defamation League and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

          Though they refrained from describing it as “a deal” or a quid pro quo, sources familiar with the meeting said they had agreed to a limited “grace period” only after hearing assurances from the Administration that it had no intention of easing sanctions or of releasing Iranian funds that have been “frozen” in banks around the world.

          pretty straight forward there hops, and wrt But lobbies generally have the strongest hand when they’re pushing legislators to do things they would be inclined to do anyway. we’ll never really know..because this is serious hardline stuff, framing completely wiped out of the msm press…

          and while one can speculate the senators would have done it anyway it’s worth wondering once in awhile what things might look like in this country if these powerful jewish groups didn’t have the access to the WH on a moments notice to insert themselves into the political process and demand their way/allot ‘grace periods’ or whatever. it’s just giving them the benefit of the doubt time and again to say ‘the congress people wanted this anyway’.

        • hophmi says:

          “well, if you have no idea i suggest you review “The lobby grants Obama a grace period on Iran””

          That’s the way you spun it. I’d say that if you’re a special interest group that agrees to withhold criticism of the President on an issue that important to you, you’re doing him a favor. Or is it unAmerican not to walk in lock-step with your President?

          “and while one can speculate the senators would have done it anyway it’s worth wondering once in awhile what things might look like in this country if these powerful jewish groups didn’t have the access to the WH on a moments notice to insert themselves into the political process and demand their way/allot ‘grace periods’ or whatever.”

          Well, you can speculate, sure. I think most people would speculate on what it would be like if there were no lobby groups or special interests. Personally, I think it’s a part of politics. You have to organize, as Tony Kushner likes to say.

        • ” and wasn’t it the lobby, the neocons, who were pushing for the exact opposite w/bush, to allow him the power to take unilateral executive actions.”

          Like what?

          like the patriot act. link to aipac.org

        • That’s the way you spun it.

          had you even opened the link hops you’d see that’s completely untrue. here’s our source on that story, which i blockquoted for you because you’re lazy: link to haaretz.com

          Though they refrained from describing it as “a deal” or a quid pro quo, sources familiar with the meeting said they had agreed to a limited “grace period” only after hearing assurances from the Administration that it had no intention of easing sanctions or of releasing Iranian funds that have been “frozen” in banks around the world.

          so who is they?

          AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, The Anti-Defamation League and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations

          it’s not “spin” saying “The lobby grants Obama a grace period on Iran”” it’s what haaretz reported. and JTA called those at the meeting a “small coterie” of Jewish leaders. so calling them the lobby is hardly a “spin” not when it includes aipac, they are the lobby.

        • Bravo, Annie. The truth, plainly stated, is not “spin”.

      • Ellen says:

        hop, Well no. These guys do not believe in anything.

        They repeat what they are told and paid to spout. I mentioned Corker and Menendez because both of them are particularly ill-informed stooges and examples of politicians with no core beliefs in anything other than themselves and clinging to their seat. I mentioned them because they are, indeed, Israeli firsters, but that is not the topic of this thread. (but here is Mendenz declaring is Israel-Love when he was running for Senate link to nj.com)

        Instead that as the opinion piece states, that talks are being scuttling talks in the interests of Israel and the KSA and other countries is horribly foolish.

        I do agree with practically every word of the USA opinion piece. I.e. Details of the possible deal remain incomplete and sketchy, so there is still reason to be concerned that it will not be a stern enough test of Iranian motives. The French, for instance, reportedly insisted on tougher restraints on a heavy water reactor that would make plutonium. The plant is still under construction, and plutonium is not necessary for the nuclear energy program that Iran says it is pursuing, so there is no excuse for continuing to build it.

        And from what I read the French proposals — which were also approved by all! — appears reasonable. (The USA Opinion piece indicates this as well. ) So why is Israel suddenly declaring only love for France?

        It is the manner in which it happened. It is obvious that there is a greater interest in creating confusion on behalf of those who do not want any agreement between the west and Iran. France may have some short term obligations to play hard. Both the KSA and Israel have others. And believe me, Israel does not have fear of Iran bombing it, but instead just like the KSA wants to protect its hegemony in the region (and flow of fear funds from the US tax payer)

        The Israeli PM’s outrageous premature panic outburst based on non-information and raw emotion showed a lot of diversionary hands at play.

        And some of our Senators and Congressmen are playing this game, not to secure a strong sustainable agreement, but to prevent any at all at the behest of foreign countries. They are too transparent. They are traitors.

        • Rusty Pipes says:

          All of our congresscritters, but especially members of the Senate Banking Committee, should be contacted to tell them not to sabotage the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran. Here are the members of the Senate Committee:

          Tim Johnson Chairman (D-SD) Mike Crapo Ranking Member (R-ID)

          Jack Reed (D-RI) Richard Shelby (R-AL)

          Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) Bob Corker (R-TN)

          Robert Menendez (D-NJ) David Vitter (R-LA)

          Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Mike Johanns (R-NE)

          Jon Tester (D-MT) Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA)

          Mark R. Warner (D-VA) Mark Kirk (R-IL)

          Jeff Merkley (D-OR) Jerry Moran (R-KS)

          Kay Hagan (D-NC) Tom Coburn (R-OK)

          Joe Manchin III (D-WV) Dean Heller (R-NV)

          Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

          Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)

    • marc b. says:

      It is a primitive way to conduct policy — ranting and making an international ass of yourself based on hearsay.

      Netanyahu’s lack of diplomatic skills is nothing compared to his threat to start a regional war if Israel doesn’t get its way. he is nuts, and I don’t mean in the ‘oh, look out for him’ sort of way. I mean in the clinical sense. his opinions shouldn’t be taken into consideration at all at this point.

    • ellen, i too noticed USA today’s byline

      USA TODAY’s editorial opinions are decided by its Editorial Board, separate from the news staff. Most editorials are coupled with an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature.

      i was amazed they came right out and said “in the U.S. Senate, where Netanyahu enjoys more influence than any foreign leader should” and i would say in the US media too, and david gregory’s interview attests to that. just spoon fed straight from netanyahu’s talking pts.

  7. David Gregory seems to be in love with netyanyahu, he was also born jewish.

  8. Linda J says:

    I gave up on The News Hour long ago, but it is great to see signs of life from crusty old retainers Gwen Ifill and Margaret Warner (if this is truly what their somewhat vague meanderings were).

    Also, USA Today is quite popular still? What is possessing these entities to glance over into the reality-based world?

  9. Blownaway says:

    David Greogry in the most dishonest intellectual way kept grilling Kerry about Irans “nuclear weapons program”. And in his own feckless way kerry did nothing to dispel him of the myth that they are talking about a nuclear weapons program..

  10. Theo says:

    We have the problem of the tail wagging the dog!

    The world doesn´t need Israel to make a deal with Iran, so why bother?
    Our president and Kerry should represent the interests of the USA and not be Israel firster, it is beshaming that Kerry must consult Netanyahu at every turn of the negotiations. If we have an agreement and Netanyahu doesn´t like it, it is just though luck!

  11. I wonder if David Gregory comprehends the subverting of US national security interests, by Israel. As in, continuing growth of illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank.

  12. Kathleen says:

    David Gregory has repeated unsubstantiated claims about Iran for several years now. He is definitely a gate keeper for Israel.

    “Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate, where Netanyahu enjoys more influence than any foreign leader should, key senators were threatening to move ahead with legislation that would tighten sanctions, an in-your-face response that almost certainly would kill the Iranian attempt at outreach before it can be explored.”

    “I know what America is,” Netanyahu replied. “America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.”
    link to news.nana10.co.il

    link to youtube.com
    Netanyahu ‘America Won’t Get in Our Way…It’s Easily Moved’

    Netanyahu “oh by the way France is easily moved too”