‘NYT’ and Wash Post won’t tell us why Dems are hurting Obama on Iran deal

Israel/Palestine
on 93 Comments
Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

The lobby is doing its utmost to sandbag the breakthrough agreement between the U.S. and Iran. The Congress is now readying yet more sanctions bills; the Forward says Democrats are backing the legislation or doing nothing to oppose it because “These are the men and the women, after all, who are on a first-name basis with most of the board of AIPAC.” MJ Rosenberg says the Israel lobby is the reason Sens. Tim Kaine, Sherrod Brown and– conspicuously– progressive Elizabeth Warren have been silent on the diplomatic breakthrough.

One reason that supposed liberals can get away with this is that the New York Times and the Washington Post give them no heat. In reporting on the sanctions effort, our leading papers leave out the lobby’s role, allowing the nightflower to remain a nightflower.

From the NYT editorial, “Breakthrough Agreement at Risk”:

In recent days, however, reports have circulated in Washington that two members of the Senate — Robert Menendez, a Democrat, and Mark Kirk, a Republican — are preparing legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran’s remaining exports and strategic industries if, at the end of six months, the interim agreement goes nowhere. Both Iran and the White House have warned that such legislation could be fatal to the agreement. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, told Time and The New York Times in an interview in Tehran on Saturday that “the entire deal is dead” even if the penalties do not take effect for six months.

Similar mischief is afoot in the House. The Washington Post reported that Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic minority whip, was working with Eric Cantor, the Republican majority leader, on a resolution that could sharply limit the outlines of a final agreement or call for imposing new sanctions.

…[E]ven a hint that [Hoyer] and other House Democrats might join with hard-line Republicans against Mr. Obama on what amounts to a diplomatic breakthrough is alarming.

 

No explanation of why Dems would abandon the president. The Washington Post also reported on the congressional effort without mentioning AIPAC.

Here is MJ Rosenberg’s take on why Democrats are “betraying” Obama (to use Trita Parsi’s word):

In the normal course of affairs, Democrats would be ecstatic about what Secretary of State John Kerry brought home from Geneva..

[M]ost Democrats are too worried about offending donors to even discuss Iran, let alone take credit for the agreement.  The ones who are talking about it are condemning it in terms that sound Ted Cruzesque. (See top Democrats Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez for two, of many, examples). And it’s not just Democrats from the northeast who are hammering on Obama. Congressional campaigns now fundraise nationally, meaning that senators from South Dakota and  Oregon respond to events in the Middle East as if they represented the New York metropolitan area. Pretty much all Congressional Democrats are running scared…of a Democratic president’s historic success.

Writing in The Forward, former George W. Bush administration official and life-long neocon, Noam Neusner… [writes] They can’t support Obama’s Iran achievement because these Democrats are “the men and the women, after all, who are on a first-name basis with most of the board of AIPAC” and “they want to be in Washington long after Obama leaves the White House.”

Anyone who has any doubt about what Neusner is talking about should note his reference to the Democrats’ “first name” relationship with the AIPAC board. He doesn’t just refer to the lobby or to AIPAC in general. He certainly does not refer to Jewish American voters who tend to be part of the Democratic party’s progressive wing and are no fans of Netanyahu’s or his paranoid visions. No, he refers to the AIPAC board which is composed of AIPAC’s wealthiest members, the ones who decide who the lobby will support (or try to defeat) in November 2014.

This applies to the 2016 election as well. Secretary of State John Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton, has also been conspicuously silent. Because she is the lobby’s favorite for president, she no doubt also feels the need to tread softly. (Fearing donor backlash, Clinton has, to put it mildly, never been a profile in courage when it comes to any Israel-related issue).  

No doubt, she will ultimately endorse the deal but envelop her endorsement with enough saber rattling at Iran to please her lobby-affiliated donors. As for progressives like Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA)  and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), they have not yet demonstrated if they will put America’s interests – number one of which is preventing U.S. involvement in another neocon generated Middle Eastern war – above filling their campaign coffers.

The fact is that there is no reason other than the desire to placate donors that would lead any Democratic Member of Congress to oppose the agreement. (Republicans sincerely despise the idea of negotiations so they don’t have to be bought)….

There really is no choice but to support the agreement, unless you believe, despite all evidence, that another Middle East war would be the cake walk the neocons promised that invading Iraq would be. Why would anyone believe anything that crowd tells us?  Even for campaign dough.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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93 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    December 10, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Congress is a bunch of traitors obviously and so are Obama, kerry.

    • Krauss
      December 10, 2013, 1:19 pm

      Political elites are by nature reactionary. It is inherent in a democracy and one could argue in any form of governance system.
      They cater to the existing power centers of any country, because that is what they have to do to get votes and/or influence(depending upon if we’re talking about a democracy or not).

      Typically, the political institutions are almost always the last to change.
      So nobody should be surprised that they are still doing the lobby’s bidding.

      • lysias
        December 10, 2013, 4:32 pm

        The flaw is in the system of electing representatives. Elections bring to the fore people who are pathetically dependent upon approval and the election victories that they think represent approval. Their dependence upon staying within the ruling class is nothing short of pathological.

        We would be far better off with the Athenian system of choosing representatives by lot from the whole citizen body, at least for the lower houses of our legislatures. Or at least we could have term limits.

      • Krauss
        December 10, 2013, 7:08 pm

        I favor a more pure form of direct democracy.
        The Athenian system would not be incorruptible. People would find ways to give favors, gifts and kickbacks in order to get promoted. It would push the system we have underground even more, and worse still; it would give it a veneer of legitimacy and meritocracy.

        Most people who would get noticed in such a system are the same people who are good at campaigning. And most people are not very good judges of personalities, especially those running for office who are, as you say, disproportionally pathological and thus are adept at blending into whatever environment they are currently in and saying what that particular group wants to hear.

        Direct democracy would keep some of the representative democracy intact, but it would also give more leeway on routine matters to civil servants and mandarins in the state.

        On the major decisions, however, such as the economic system, immigration policy, war and peace, the people would be asked and that would be the will of the nation.

        If you look at public polling on many issues, people are often a lot more sane than the people they elect. The representative system still has its advantages but it should be scaled back to make way for a direct democracy as much as possible.

        The Athenian system is not just easily corruptable, but it also represents a certain kind of jadedness and pessimism about human nature. Maybe it’s the American side of me, but my deepest instincts recoil at such a system, because it would move power from the people to a self-rightous quasi-monarchy, not exactly in sync with the American ideals.

      • lysias
        December 11, 2013, 10:45 am

        Athens guarded against corruption by conducting strict audits of people ending their year in office (including legislative office in the Council or Boule).

        I would suggest paying people who serve a (presumably 2-year) term of legislative office a large sum of money in annual installments over a period of, say, 10 years, perhaps $1 million a year, provided that they pass annual audits during that period.

        Ancient Athens was as far from a monarchy as a political system can be. It did very radical things to ensure that a lot of power was in the hands of average citizens. An institution like ostracism was supposed to cut overpowerful politicians down to size. If people like Pericles, Eubulus, and Demosthenes nevertheless amassed a lot of power, that is only an instance of Pareto’s Law: every system of government is to an extent an oligarchy. It is impossible to set up a political system where particularly talented individuals do not have a lot of power. But Athens greatly limited that power, as is shown, for example, by the eventual fates of Pericles, Eubulus, and Demosthenes.

  2. Krauss
    December 10, 2013, 1:14 pm

    Maybe I’m being a purist, Phil, but you’re linking to a guy(MJ Rosenberg) who has accused Ali Abuminah of anti-Semitism, he calls ethnic cleansing-apologist Ari Shavit’s book “the best book on Israel in 40 years”. Remember, Shavit accused Gideon Levy of :

    “being more extreme than the most extreme Palestinians, you’re advocating secular democracy!

    The quote is from a panel right after Operation Cast Lead, which is even more telling of Ari Shavit’s democratic fibre. And this is the man MJ Rosenberg is praising to the skies?

    Even if we agree with his analysis on AIPAC, do we not at some level legitimize his racist value system for defending Apartheid by bringing him up in the discussion? Anyone who has read Goliath, which is mostly about within-green line Israel, knows that MJ isn’t grappling with the issue of Zionism seriously because he doesn’t want to – and then he accuses people of anti-Semitism if they raise the issue with him.

    • Dan Crowther
      December 10, 2013, 3:48 pm

      Rosenberg was first exposed, in my opinion in an interview he did on I think Al Jazeera english, with Blumenthal on the panel with him, he came off as a real hard core tribalist.

      Although it’s a tough one, this. I mean, Blumenthal gets all over Atzmon for “blaming the situation in I/P on judaism itself” when Israel Shahak did the same 20 years ago and he’s very well respected. So it seems like there’s different standards for everyone, in other words – if you don’t like them, they’re anti semitic, if you do like them and they say the same thing as the “anti-semites” they’re just “controversial” or some such

      • Dan Crowther
        December 10, 2013, 6:24 pm

        I should have said “was very well respected” with regard to Israel Shahak.

      • Keith
        December 11, 2013, 6:03 pm

        DAN CROWTHER- “I should have said “was very well respected” with regard to Israel Shahak.”

        You were right the first time. Although deceased, he remains very well respected. As to why the different reactions to him versus Atzmon, when he was alive he was attacked viciously by (primarily) American Jewish Zionists who tried (unsuccessfully) to get him fired from Hebrew University. Perhaps the difference is not so great, particularly considering that Shahak was a scholar and wrote accordingly. Atzmon, however, sometimes goes out of his way to shock and offend his critics. Finally, Shahak stayed in Israel where he was not a threat to Diaspora tribal anti-Zionists, whereas, Atzmon is a thorn in their side.

      • W.Jones
        December 10, 2013, 9:18 pm

        Regarding Rosenberg, if he writes a very incisive piece, it makes sense to talk about his article, even if one does not agree with his views.

        Regarding Blumenthal on Atzmon, you can see Blumenthal’s discussion about Atzmon here:
        youtube.com/watch?v=voeC_SVrngs
        In the video, his explanation is basically what you said it was. I would add that not only Shahak, but many others, probably including MW itself finds an intersection between culture and nationalism.

        Atzmon comes off stronger in that he sees it as a problem when activists focus on their nationality as a primary identity for organizing. I am not sure that Shahak went as far as to consider it a major concern. Atzmon disagrees with those he considers anti-nationalist nationalists- those who are against a state on national lines, but for whom nationality is rather important. Blumenthal is naturally one of them, considering some organizations he was involved in.

        Now, are all Atzmon’s writings correct? I think not because in important places I disagree. My own view is that it’s important to make religious critiques, which Atzmon’s own secular perspective would not, and at this point he does not pay much attention to those put forth by Marc Ellis, etc. But is overcoming national differences valuable too? I think so, and don’t consider criticizing nationalism to be necessarily racist. So there are ways one can agree and disagree with the saxophonist.

        In Europe before WWI, there were nationalists who were very leftwing and socialist. And yet when the war came, the German and French socialists tore themselves apart. So even leftist activists can find there are things they may wish to avoid focusing on as a major dividing point.

        Peace.

    • Citizen
      December 10, 2013, 6:11 pm

      MJ is not a debater, most interested in truth and justice. He’s an egotist, so that anyone who even quibbles with what he says he blocks, for example on his Twitter account. Twitterers most concerned about engaging the facts on any political hot potato are never welcomed by MJ.

    • irishmoses
      December 11, 2013, 12:52 pm

      Krauss said:

      Maybe I’m being a purist, Phil, but you’re linking to a guy(MJ Rosenberg) who has accused Ali Abuminah of anti-Semitism, he calls ethnic cleansing-apologist Ari Shavit’s book “the best book on Israel in 40 years”.

      I share your disdain for MJ’s labeling of Abuminah as an anti-Semite. However, I reject your suggestion that MJ should now be labeled a MW pariah and that all his postings be banned from this site. That is a very slippery slope and results in the exclusion of important voices that should be a part of the debate regardless of whether we totally agree with them. I think the same happened with Gilad Atzmon for reasons I am unclear on.

      I also think Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land is a very good book and well worth reading, not because I agree with it but because he gives you a real flavor of how a liberal Israeli Zionist views Israel’s history and politics. He is brutally honest about what actually happened in 1948 and pulls no punches in describing the massacres and other atrocities. That is an important step for a liberal Zionist to take — actually being honest about what really happened. His conclusion, that it was all really necessary if Zionism and the Jewish State was to survive, is problematic at best but at least he has framed the issue properly. Much of his book and his renditions of the history of Palestine are Israeli-centric but he tells the history through the experiences of actual characters. It is a good read and I think I have a much better understanding of the Israeli liberal Zionist mindset having read it.

      I am reading Blumenthal’s Goliath right now. While I agree with virtually everything he says, I’m not sure I’ll learn much new. He also has a polemic style that that I find a bit off-putting. He apparently also played a major role in getting Atzmon labelled an anti-Semite which resulted in his being banned from the conversation. Perhaps that was justified. I wish I knew more about it.

    • irishmoses
      December 11, 2013, 1:48 pm

      Krauss said:

      Maybe I’m being a purist, Phil, but you’re linking to a guy(MJ Rosenberg) who has accused Ali Abuminah of anti-Semitism, he calls ethnic cleansing-apologist Ari Shavit’s book “the best book on Israel in 40 years”.

      I share your disdain for MJ’s labeling of Abuminah as an anti-Semite. However, I reject your suggestion that MJ should now be labeled a MW pariah and that all his postings be banned from this site. That is a very slippery slope and results in the exclusion of important voices that should be a part of the debate regardless of whether we totally agree with them on every issue or every comment they’ve made. I think the same happened with Gilad Atzmon for reasons I am still unclear on.

      Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land is a very good book and well worth reading, not because I agree with it but because he gives you a real flavor of how a liberal Israeli Zionist views Israel’s history and politics. He is brutally honest about what actually happened in 1948 and pulls no punches in describing the massacres and other atrocities. That is an important step for a liberal Zionist to take — actually being honest about what really happened. His conclusion, that it was all really necessary if Zionism and the Jewish State was to survive, is problematic at best but at least he has framed the issue properly.

      Much of his book and his renditions of the history of Palestine are Israeli-centric but he tells the history through the experiences of actual characters. It is a good read and I think I have a much better understanding of the Israeli liberal Zionist mindset having read it.

      I am reading Blumenthal’s Goliath right now. While I agree with virtually everything he says, I’m not sure I’ll learn much new. He also has a polemic style that that I find a bit off-putting. He apparently also played a major role in getting Atzmon labelled an anti-Semite which resulted in his being banned from the conversation. Perhaps that was justified. I wish I knew more about it.

      I find it more than ironic that two of our better known and respected voices actively participated in attempting to get two other equally well-known and respected voices banned from the I-P conversation as anti-Semites, now find themselves being subjected to attempts to exclude them from the same conversation. Perhaps it’s time for us to cut each other some slack and step back from the presipice of restricting the free speech by otherwise respected voices.

  3. HarryLaw
    December 10, 2013, 1:22 pm

    Rosenberg is correct, there really is no alternative to the diplomatic route, a war against Syria was narrowly averted because the US public made it clear to their representatives [100 letters against a war to 1 for] that if there was “they had better start clearing their offices out” that was wonderful and restores to some degree my faith in democracy. A war against Iran is not going to happen, the world economy could not stand it, Israel and the US fleet could take bad hits, and I suspect the sanctions will not hold up when other countries see the obduracy if the US Congress.

    • Abierno
      December 10, 2013, 2:19 pm

      Well said. In the long term, the US and Europe will need the energy assets that
      Iran can offer. The Chinese are already developing some of their major oil fields –
      diplomacy is imperative in this situation. Irrespective of Netanyahu’s rants, many
      major oil firms are already lining up, hence the intense rage of AIPAC. If this deal blows up and we follow Israel to war with Iran, you can count on the US looking more like Greece and Spain. Congressional and senate change will be immediate
      when failing banks are bailed out as in Cypress with the assets of the patrons rather
      than the government, when real property assets are sold at firesale prices to private bidders and gas costs $15+ per gallon. Considerations of voting the AIPAC
      line will be the least of congressional worries. We saw a brief glimpse of this when
      war with Syria was imminent. In this case, the calls will be a 1,000 to one, and blow back against “Israel firsters” and Knesset members meddling in US affairs can
      be expected to be intense.

      • pabelmont
        December 10, 2013, 5:02 pm

        Harry,
        Other countries don’t need to see fresh evidence of the obduracy of the USA Congress and Admin. Been there for years.

        Why do you suppose the UNGA asked the ICJ to rule on the legality of Isrfael’s apartheid wall and then, when the advisory opinion came out in effect demanding universal action to cause the remocval of the wall, the nations did NOTHING. Of course some or many of the nations may have supposed that their UNGA vote to refer the matter to the ICJ would go nowhere and never intended to do anything. But some nations, one would like to think, at least contemplated taking some action before the UNGA vote and even after the ICJ advisory opinion was published. But they DID NOTHING.

        I judge this to be from the pressure from two sources: pressure from the USA, and nothing new about that, and pressure from the CEOs of major international corporations some of whose “best friends” are supporters of Israel generally and of the occupation, settlements, and wall in particular.

        No, the nations do not need to learn — suddenly, and only today, of the obduracy of USA’s Congress, Admin, and the international Establishment of trans-national corporations.

    • lysias
      December 10, 2013, 4:33 pm

      And now we have confirmation from Sy Hersh that the case for war with Syria was based on lies.

      Hersh, by the way, thinks it was not popular opposition, but opposition by members of the elites, within the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, that prevented war with Syria. He says that Obama was willing to proceed even in the face of popular opposition.

    • Citizen
      December 10, 2013, 6:17 pm

      @ HarryLaw
      I agree with the facts you noted re US public opinion on war with Syria, and that the world economy can’t stand it, but I think the US Congress and WH have signed so many bills, turned them into legislation, bills that make Israel’s security more important than America’s, more important than world economy, that, combined with inter national banking interests less-than-business-like core interests, any war Israel initiates on pretext will virtually automatically throw America into Israel’s corner–against America’s own best interests, and against the world’s best interests. And every day in congress more bills are introduced to make this so.

  4. RudyM
    December 10, 2013, 1:23 pm

    Obviously they are trying to protect us all from imminent annihilation by Iran.

  5. Krauss
    December 10, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Recent polling has shown that the country’s mood on an Iranian deal has soured. I think this is because the Obama administration:

    A) Has no real media allies on this issue, by and large, because a lot of neocons and their liberal fellow-travellers are very concerned with the Israeli viewpoint.

    B) Overall, the media strategy of the Obama administration has been bizarre.
    He basically did nothing on Obamacare messaging, allowing the GOP to dominate the discourse in 2009 and 2010 and even beyond that period. He ignored the rollout. And so on.

    He got the Iranian deal done, but has been very silent on the deal since. He made a few stray comments.

    In either case, if the Israel lobby manages to scuttle the deal, which is very likely, what then? Well, more sanctions. Highly doubt China & India will just sit and watch it happen.

    And what is the ultimate goal of more sanctions? Regime change. AIPAC staffers have admitted as much.

    More sanctions means more centrifuges, we’ll be back to where we were before and the nuclear program gets intensified and consolidated. Then they will call for war, but that will never fly through. These people are stuck in a limbo. They have no plausible endgame. And that’s what Obama can use as a hammer in this fight.

    In April 2014 we will see the end of the kabuki theater called the ‘peace process’ and the deadline for an Iranian deal come at the same time. That time will be very, very important going forward. I highly doubt the Obama administration will give the “peace process” another chance. Iran is the last issue that Obama can get any kind of legacy on, at least concerning foreign policy. I’m guessing he will fight much harder on that issue – and I think he will win. Exposing AIPAC once more. Because AIPAC’s fundamental position on these issues are at odds with the American public; namely war.

    • Citizen
      December 10, 2013, 1:51 pm

      @ Krauss

      RE :” Iran is the last issue that Obama can get any kind of legacy on, at least concerning foreign policy. I’m guessing he will fight much harder on that issue – and I think he will win. Exposing AIPAC once more. Because AIPAC’s fundamental position on these issues are at odds with the American public; namely war.”

      I think contrary. I predict Israel will bomb Iran and the US will be pulled into the fray immediately, and the US public will have nothing to say about it because it will have already happened–try to count the US legislation & MOUs to date that guarantees this result.

      • marc b.
        December 10, 2013, 2:32 pm

        I think that’s the predicament, citizen. an Israeli attack with US and [the appearance of] SA support could be a cataclysmic event, as distinct from the slow motion disaster of Iraq/Afghanistan. the debate is between the nutters and the ‘realist’ elite, not that the realists give a rat’s ass about the lives of a couple hundred thousand Iranians.

      • MHughes976
        December 10, 2013, 3:47 pm

        For all the huffing and puffing I think it will be very difficult to conjure up public support for a war with Iran when there has been no overt provocation and when a rise in fuel prices is the obvious result. Obama knows this so I don’t think he will yield in his obviously long-held refusal to countenance any harebrained Iranian war schemes.

      • Krauss
        December 10, 2013, 3:24 pm

        I think contrary. I predict Israel will bomb Iran and the US will be pulled into the fray immediately, and the US public will have nothing to say about it because it will have already happened–try to count the US legislation & MOUs to date that guarantees this result.

        Four things.

        1. That ship has sailed. And if it should have happened, it should have happened in 2011/2012. And if it hasn’t so far, the calculus has only gotten more difficult for Israel.

        Remember: Netanyahu cleaned house in the early part of 2011, changing the guards at the most important security establishments(Mossad, Shin Bet, the Military intelligence). No Israeli PM can go to war unilaterially without the strong support of the intelligence establishment and by changing the guards, Netanyahu wanted to clear the way for such a development.

        The problem was that the new guard didn’t rubber stamp what we wanted and basically came to the same conclusions as the old guard; an Iranian strike is a bad deal for a variety of reasons, which have only intensified.

        2. Israel cannot strike Iran on its own. This is the most overlooked reason. Yes, the airforce can, but an Iranian attack must be parried with protecting oil shipments and the water desalination plants in the gulf sea; and Israel’s navy is a joke. Only one navy in the world can do that – the U.S. Navy.

        So that’s why Israel cannot attack Iran because it only has the capacity to finish to the first part of the attack, and even that is no slam dunk(to ressurect an old term). In other words, America will have to get involved no matter what and as such as a veto. Israel will not risk complete alienation from Washington. There are limits to what the lobby can perform, as the Syria debate showed.

        3. This is actually a continuation on the Syria bit. Namely momentum. The lobby has lost a lot of ground. It’s gotten exposed on a lot of issues and Syria being the most obvious. On Iran, they were pro-war and anti-negotiations. They lost on both counts. If they manage to scuttle a deal, that’s a victory for them but they are weakened and they remember the scars of Syria all too well. The media isn’t willing to let things fly as it was before. The NYT can let AIPAC off the hooks when it tries to destroy a deal. It won’t if it pushes for war, which AIPAC has now learned.

        4. The final point is that America does not only matter on these issues, which is implicit in your comment. For sanctions to work, India and China need to be taken into account. Iran is India’s biggest oil supplier and China is eyeing its oil production with thirsty eyes.

        If Israel were to attack unilaterally, the whole sanctions alliance would fall apart. China and India would never allow Iran’s industry to come to a complete halt – which is what Israel would need to do since they would have to bomb Iran every year or so since the Iranians would just re-build each time.

        And further more, it would also alienate Israel from China – which it has been aggressively courting this past year. As the U.S. will soon not import any oil at all from the Middle East, China and India will overtake the Carter doctrine’s responsibilities – or at least share them. The U.S. will still have a strong national interest in maintaining regional stability(and thus lower the price of oil), but both India and China are increasingly taking on this role, because they have to. And Israel doesn’t have a lobby in these two countries.

        Take these four things together and it becomes clearer why Israel has not attacked and will not attack. If there are two points in particular that are important then it is #2 and #4.

      • Citizen
        December 10, 2013, 6:32 pm

        @ Krauss

        If you look at Israel’s past wars, nearly all have been preemptive or preventive wars, that is, pretext wars. You are arguing against Israel’s past pattern of conduct. It’s worked for Israel up until now, so why not continue it? Certainly whatever USA loses in Israel’s wars is no concern to Israel. And, btw, the US congress will back Israel to the hilt, no matter what happened re Syria. Again, our involvement in Israel’s war against Iran will happen so fast it will be a done deal. Look at all the legislation binding us to Israel’s security whenever Israel says its in jeopardy.

      • ritzl
        December 11, 2013, 9:04 pm

        That’s the danger, Citizen. Within the blink of a less-diligent eye, an attack could happen. Odds are against it at this point, imho, but as long as the historically-successful influence/pressure is there and unrelenting, the risk is present and unrelieved.

    • Rusty Pipes
      December 10, 2013, 2:06 pm

      Americans do not want more of their blood, treasure or politicians’ energies directed toward war. If anything, they’d like Obama to get Iran and other foreign policy issues settled down, so that he can focus on some domestic issues. Many Americans have been unhappy about the ACA’s implementation since early October; although as kinks in the system are being resolved, the public is more satisfied with it. Of course, as long as congressional Republicans refuse to cooperate, Obama can’t get much accomplished domestically either.

    • lysias
      December 10, 2013, 4:35 pm

      If the deal falls apart now, why should other countries go along with U.S. intensification of sanctions?

    • Shingo
      December 11, 2013, 12:58 am

      Recent polling has shown that the country’s mood on an Iranian deal has soured. I think this is because the Obama administration:

      Obama has played s stupid game, by trying to talk down the deal so placate Israel, which in turn has made the deal sound less attractive to the public. Add the noise from the hawks and neocons, as well as the sabotaging by Israeli firsters, and there is very little support coming from any quarter.

      Also, Netenyahu is sending a contingent over to make sure the deal is DOA so that Iran cannot accept it. Meanwhile he’s also backing off on the IP talks.

      So he’s playing into Bibi’s hands once again and Bibbi will get everything he wants.

  6. Rusty Pipes
    December 10, 2013, 1:41 pm

    The majority of the American public prefers diplomacy with Iran to war. If their representatives sabotage the President’s diplomatic negotiations (especially if congressional Democrats sabotage a Democratic president), constituents need to let their representatives know that they will not forget in November. It may well be that the only Democrats who are planning to vote against the President are those who are campaigning loudly for stiffer sanctions. The quiet ones may still be open to suasion from “mere” constituents, as they were on the attack on Syria.

  7. Erasmus
    December 10, 2013, 1:57 pm

    Are’nt there any younger Democrats?

    who can successfully challenge the sitting Congressmen and Senators as candidates of their “party”.

    Being “Dolchstoss” betrayers with respect of Obama’s administration’s possible biggest (interim-) achievement in foreign affairs should make the party folks and the electorate to show these old hypocrites and AIPAC stooges the red card, no?

  8. JeffB
    December 10, 2013, 2:09 pm

    How about the political reaction on this issue has little to do with Israel? The Iran deal polls really well among college educated democrats. Once you look at Independents or Republican or once you look at the less educated the polling looks dreadful. College educated Democrats except for after birth of their first child are very difficult to persuade voters, stable for the base. Independents and the less educated are less stable voters they swing elections.

    If the Iran deal doesn’t pan out, they might believes this could be a huge political loser. I don’t agree, but I can completely understand why Democratic politicians would want to put daylight between themselves and this plan. And nothing would change if this were the polling on a diplomatic agreement with China or a highway spending bill.

    Link to data: http://www.people-press.org/2013/12/09/limited-support-for-iran-nuclear-agreement/

    • Philip Weiss
      December 10, 2013, 2:22 pm

      Fair enough but politicians play to their bases in off years, and in preparing campaigns. That’s how they rally support. You play to the independents in a general election. I think the Democratic base is behind them but the money guys aren’t. Or they perceive that the money guys aren’t.

    • Shingo
      December 10, 2013, 3:29 pm

      How about the political reaction on this issue has little to do with Israel?

      How about nice try but fail !

      Once you look at Independents or Republican or once you look at the less educated the polling looks dreadful.

      And the reason independents and Republicans oppose it is because if campaign donations. Since Bush 43, the Republicans have been to the right of the Dems to win campaign dollars from big money donors .

      The uneducated get their information from right wing news sources , who are in the tank with Israel.

      • JeffB
        December 10, 2013, 5:31 pm

        @Shingo —

        I’m not talking politicians I’m talking voters. They aren’t in the tank because of donations they are in the tank because they don’t trust the Iranians and don’t trust Kerry/Obama.

      • Citizen
        December 10, 2013, 6:38 pm

        @ JeffB
        They are not in the tank because they don’t trust Iranians because they are ignorant, and kept so by the US main media. Thus, they assume Israel regime is rational, and Iran regime is not. It’s actually the reverse if you look at modern history.

      • JeffB
        December 11, 2013, 4:03 pm

        @Citizen —

        The original argument was claiming that the politicians weren’t representing the US population’s opinion. That’s what I was arguing against. You are arguing that the politicians are representing US popular opinion but popular opinion is too influenced by propaganda. That may or may not be true, but convincing people of the rightness of your cause is how our system is supposed to work. Propaganda is argument, its just argument you disagree with.

        Pew has good data breaking down the foreign policy ideology of various 7% subgroups of US voters. This is not going to be a simple one size fits all analysis, the public is more diverse than that.

        In terms of trust. Iranian proxies attacked US troops over an extended period of time in our most recent engagement in Iraq. Iranian proxy forces bombed the US in Lebanon. Iran attempt an assassination of an ambassador on US territory. Iran has repeatedly threatened to shut down shipping in the gulf. Iran was opposing our position in Syria when we had a secular opposition…. It has nothing to do with rational. Israel on most issues is on our side. Iran on most issues is opposed. One is friendly, one is hostile.

        As for which one is rational objectively, I knowing both countries reasonably well go with Israel. But that’s a more complex argument then the other two simpler ones.

      • Shingo
        December 11, 2013, 6:01 pm

        In terms of trust. Iranian proxies attacked US troops over an extended period of time in our most recent engagement in Iraq.

        False. It was Sunni groups attacking US troops. The US never identified a single Iranian who was involved in any such attacks. They couldn’t even produce evidence of Iranian supplied weapons.

        Iran attempt an assassination of an ambassador on US territory.

        False. There is ZERO evidence of Iranian involvement. The story went dead in a very short space of time.

        Iran has repeatedly threatened to shut down shipping in the gulf.

        In response to being attacked yes. You left that part out – deliberately.

        Iran was opposing our position in Syria when we had a secular opposition

        The so called secular opposition was only a western invention. The leaders were hand picked by the US from people not even living in Syria. But the US position on Syria was only every to isolate Iran, so it was an immoral agenda of seeing Syria destroyed in order to get to Iran.

        Israel on most issues is on our side.

        No, Israel is on Israel’s side. Israel even supported Jihadist groups against Iran, by posing as CIA agents.

        As for which one is rational objectively, I knowing both countries reasonably well go with Israel.

        Given your advice and clearly distorted world view, it’s clear one should go with the opposite position. It is Israel that is irrational. US leaders have admitted as much.

      • traintosiberia
        December 11, 2013, 7:44 pm

        In a fair world , propaganda is acceptable as long as the people who carry out the propaganda don’t get to decide who will be allowed and who will not to issue the propaganda. When that happens the country then is nothing short of dictatorship , no different from Saddam,Stalin,Hitler,Robert Mugabe’s propaganda machine. Zionist has bought the nicest slot on these propaganda machine and the Zionist owns also a lot of them. The visceral antagonism against Alzajeera shows the power the Zionist exercises. Aljazeera can be open for business only after it is not Alzajeera.
        Go ahead and sing the praise of propaganda and blame it but there will be few buyers of that explanation that it is all due to this false news. False news owner have penchant and zeal and self interest in allowing its own and no one else propaganda on the mass popular media

    • piotr
      December 10, 2013, 6:02 pm

      From the link: The survey finds modest public awareness of the nuclear agreement, which was reached Nov. 23 in Geneva. About a quarter (24%) say they have heard a lot about the agreement, 48% say they have heard a little while 28% say they have heard nothing at all about it.

      The most important issue is that (a) even with good diligence it is hard to figure out what the agreement does and does not, and (b) it is a temporary and highly technical agreement that is important for one reason only: it marks American readiness to drop sanctions and Iranian readiness to limit their nuclear program to “provably peaceful” purposes.

      Very importantly, both aspects were very much in doubt, and what Kirk and Menendez may achieve is to undermine American credibility. Peaceful or not, Iran will not make concessions simply for nothing. What is widely questioned in USA is the very need for USA to have credibility. Number one, who, except for malevolent fanatics could possibly doubt American sincerity? Number two, shouldn’t it be sufficient to have enough force?

      How can an American politician or a “mainstream commentator/analyst” address that? That (a) our policy was so mendacious that only very stupid malevolent fanatics would trust us, and this is a combination that is hard to find, (b) for several reasons USA does not have enough force. In the mainstream discourse, such truths can be only obliquely hinted.

      That said, the wide public has surprising amount of understanding that some deference has to be given to diplomacy even when the interim results are very hard to comprehend, and that USA checked the limits on its potential of “projecting force” and Iran is beyond those limits. There is also wide understanding that 99% of what politicians say is posturing.

      The remaining question is if Menendez and Schumer are engaged in “the usual posturing” or in “rank, repellent, irresponsible posturing”. (It is my understanding that strong opinions should be expressed by triples of adjectives).

      • JeffB
        December 10, 2013, 7:34 pm

        @piotr

        The remaining question is if Menendez and Schumer are engaged in “the usual posturing” or in “rank, repellent, irresponsible posturing”.

        I don’t think either. I think they have a real substantial genuine policy difference with Obama on this issue. Fundamentally the question on Iran and nuclear weapons is:

        How far from weapons capacity is acceptable for Iran? The Obama deal the way it is shaping up seems consistent with international law and the intent of the NPT. Under the NPT a country has the right to withdraw from the treaty and then 12 mo later become a nuclear power. Under Obama’s structure Iran will be 6-18 mo away from a bomb. Were they to want one they would have to announce it publicly because of the oversight structure. So more or less all Obama does is force them to abide by the NPT. It legitimizes them being in a “pre-nuclear state”.

        Many people on both the right and the left object to Iran being in a pre-nuclear state. Their feeling is that Iran is a uniquely dangerous country and thus restrictions on Iran should be much stronger than (in their opinion) the minimal restrictions imposed by the NPT. They want Iran say 5 years from having a bomb.

        I happen to think Obama is right. But I don’t think the hawks are being totally out of line with America’s posture. If Bush were president we certainly wouldn’t be talking about Obama’s deal. It is generous to Iran. This generosity is why the diplomacy has been successful here.

      • traintosiberia
        December 10, 2013, 9:39 pm

        The deal is bad for Iran . What does it get out of this deal? It may receive 7.8 billion dollars in six months and it may get some parts relevant to transport. What has it agreed to ? A lot.
        Menendez and Schumer know well that this deal can theoretically decrease the war fever that has been evidently successful for Israeli Firster for getting all kinds of favorable treatment from US for Israel for last 12 years or so. What kind of fear they have ? What is their fear? The fears never been expressed by Iran ‘s immediate neighbors like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan,Armenia. Why they haven’t? The most shrill voice is coming from the country to whom Menendez and Schumer trace their own survival as political leader .
        Yes Iran can bolt out of NPT and manufacture bombs. That will make Iran lose each bit of support from China,Russia,and from NAM countries.
        Will they allow this? Will not US find it that development more useful morally and internationally as far as bombing Iran is concerned? US does not have to wait for any false flag or mischievous reports from Israel. Sanctions will be more painful and harsh .
        Iran is not a pre nuke state. Any country with civilian nuclear program is a pre nuke state. This label has no relevance other than to supporting war .Iran does not need to be believed and hoped for better behavior. As long as the treaty is made in public and explained without any grey disagreements or hopes or dreams. These neocons like Schumer and Menendez if we’re worried of Iran’s nukes, they would not be talking of human rights and terrorism . That’s what they are planning to add as condition for decreasing sanction.
        The continued unfinished friction serves Israel well enabling to steal from Palestine, US tax payers,and maintain anti Islamic hatred.
        Not so long ago Raul Paul was challenged by a few of these neocons who support sanctions and object to lifting sanctions ,with a letter from AIPAC by Graham opposing Paul’s attempt to cut aid to Egypt and by Mc Cain who asked ” the question here is whether the senator from Kentucky knows what’s better for Israel,or Israel”
        Well ,those guys are asking if Obama know or Americans know what is better for Israel or Israel knows what is better for Israel.
        There is US prominent here by absence. Who gives a f * what is good for Israel, but that has to wait for Rand Paul to filibuster , maybe,oneday.

      • traintosiberia
        December 10, 2013, 10:04 pm

        The deal between Iran and P 5 plus 1 is not an agreement that serves Iran well. It is giving away much more in return for very little.Re–
        http://www.counterpunch.com Dec 6-8 ,2013, by Ismael Hossein -Zadeh

      • Shingo
        December 11, 2013, 12:47 am

        Under the NPT a country has the right to withdraw from the treaty and then 12 mo later become a nuclear power. Under Obama’s structure Iran will be 6-18 mo away from a bomb.

        False.

        There is no way Iran can produce a bomb in 6 months, seeing as they cannot enrich above 5% and are not going to be commissioning their Arak Reactor for another 12 at the very least.

        So more or less all Obama does is force them to abide by the NPT.

        No, they were already abiding by the NPT. Obama has gotten them to agree to additional measures. Under the NPT for example, they could continue doing everything they were being before the deal.

        Many people on both the right and the left object to Iran being in a pre-nuclear state.

        There is no such thing.

        Their feeling is that Iran is a uniquely dangerous country and thus restrictions on Iran should be much stronger than (in their opinion) the minimal restrictions imposed by the NPT.

        Too bad. You can’t have laws and treaties selectively applied and the US certainly has no authority to make that call anyway. And when those who claim Iran is a uniquely dangerous country areasked to explain what they mean, it’s always through the lens of Israel’s interests.

        But I don’t think the hawks are being totally out of line with America’s posture.

        Of course they are, because they don’t want the matter resolved, which means they want war or perpetual sanctions. What’s more is the fact they are refuse to knowledge the fact that the entire intelligence community has consistently reported that Iran is not producing nukes. James Clapper said they don’t even know if Iran will decide to produce them in the future.

        If Bush were president we certainly wouldn’t be talking about Obama’s deal. It is generous to Iran.

        Far from it. It is asking them to give up their rights in order to have access to some of their own money.

      • Eva Smagacz
        December 11, 2013, 2:55 am

        “Many people on both the right and the left object to Iran being in a pre-nuclear state. Their feeling is that Iran is a uniquely dangerous country (…)”

        The Iran is a uniquely dangerous country in Middle East in the same way as incorruptible and effective law enforcement is uniquely dangerous to Italian Mafia. They threaten hegemony of USA and it’s allies and might introduce a more balanced distribution of regional power.

      • Citizen
        December 11, 2013, 8:26 am

        @ Eva Smagacz

        Yes. It’s all about stifling Iran’s natural influence in the area, i.e., it’s all about maintenance of Israel’s unnatural hegemony in the area.

      • JeffB
        December 11, 2013, 4:16 pm

        @Shingo —

        You are quoting me a bit out of context.

        There is no way Iran can produce a bomb in 6 months, seeing as they cannot enrich above 5% and are not going to be commissioning their Arak Reactor for another 12 at the very least.

        I said 6-18 and I’m going with expert mainstream opinion on this. I don’t know nearly enough about nuclear weapons development to have an independent opinion but if you know of good sources who say that 10 years from now under this deal Iran would be say 5 years removed I’m all ears.

        Under the NPT for example, they could continue doing everything they were being before the deal.

        The world community doesn’t agree with you. And of more relevance the US senate (which is the body we were discussing) doesn’t agree with you.

        There is no such thing [as a pre-nuclear state]

        Of course there is. Japan is a pre-nuclear state. Rwanda is not.

        Too bad. You can’t have laws and treaties selectively applied and the US certainly has no authority to make that call anyway.

        I’m not sure who the “you” in this sentence is. But the US senate most certainly can apply treaties selectively, as they have been doing so for decades. Moreover they US senate is the body we are talking about so yes the US has the authority.

        . And when those who claim Iran is a uniquely dangerous country areasked to explain what they mean, it’s always through the lens of Israel’s interests.

        No it is not. Iran’s been hostile to the United States in ways that Israel might very well favor. For example Iran encouraged the sectarian war in Iraq during the Bush administration. Israel was likely thrilled with the sectarian war. It was American that was opposed. Shutting down the gulf and blocking Saudi Arabian oil from getting to market would be great for Israel it is the USA that’s worried about that.

        What’s more is the fact they are refuse to knowledge the fact that the entire intelligence community has consistently reported that Iran is not producing nukes.

        That’s not entirely true. The reports are ambiguous and mixed. The CIA is concerned with the levels of uranium hexafluoride they are producing. They are doing heavy water research which is hard to find a peaceful purpose for. They are expanding their ballistic missile development program which is certainly not peaceful (though it may not be nuclear). Iran is starting a space program which is always a proxy for long range missile development. etc…

      • Shingo
        December 11, 2013, 5:49 pm

        I said 6-18 and I’m going with expert mainstream opinion on this.

        No you are not. There is no expert mainstream opinion that claims Iran could have a bomb in 6-18 months. You are going on Obama’s own statements.

        It also assumes that Iran is working on producing nukes. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper said this year that the Iranians have not decided to produce nukes ans there is no way to know if they will make that decision in the future.

        but if you know of good sources who say that 10 years from now under this deal Iran would be say 5 years removed I’m all ears.

        That’s an absurd argument. It fundamentally comes down to whether Iran wants to produce a nuke. If they decide to, there is nothing anyone can do to stop them.

        The world community doesn’t agree with you. And of more relevance the US senate (which is the body we were discussing) doesn’t agree with you.

        Stop talking rubbish. The US and Israel is not the world community. 122 states of the non aligned movement fully endorse Iran’s nuclear program – so do the BRICS. That leaves only a tiny minority who take your position.

        The interpretation of the NPT is not up to the world community. The IAEA has not claimed that any of Iran’s provable activities are in violation fo the NPT, so all they can claim is that Iran might be doing something nefarious.

        Of course, what the US Senate says (who knows what they believe because they are self serving politicians anyway) is irrelevant. The do not get to make that determination.

        Of course there is. Japan is a pre-nuclear state. Rwanda is not.

        In which case, there are well over 40 pre-nuclear states in the world, which makes your argument all the more absurd.

        But the US senate most certainly can apply treaties selectively, as they have been doing so for decades. Moreover they US senate is the body we are talking about so yes the US has the authority.

        The US senate has no say whatsoever in how the NPT should apply to Iran.

        For example Iran encouraged the sectarian war in Iraq during the Bush administration.

        False. The sectarian war was started by stupid US policies of divide and conquer. But in any case, Iran never had any interests is a destabilized Iraq. Shiites already enjoyed a healthy majority in Iraq, so they had nothing to gain from a civil war.

        Shutting down the gulf and blocking Saudi Arabian oil from getting to market would be great for Israel it is the USA that’s worried about that.

        No it would be disastrous for Israel and Israel’s economy would collapse along with that of the rest of the world.

        That’s not entirely true. The reports are ambiguous and mixed. .

        False. Every year since 2006, the Director of National Intelligence has reported to the Senate Armed Services Committee that there is no evidence Iran is producing nukes. This year Clapper went so far as to say that not only had Iran not decided to produce nukes, but there was no way of knowing if they would ever decide in the future.

        No ambiguity there whatsoever.

        .

        The CIA is concerned with the levels of uranium hexafluoride they are producing. .

        No they are not.

        They are doing heavy water research which is hard to find a peaceful purpose for.

        Wrong, wrong, wrong.

        1. They are not doing heavy water research they are producing heavy water in a plant.
        2. They are producing heavy water for their heavy water reactror under construction.
        3. It is not hard at all to find a peaceful purpose for a heavy water reactor. I worked at such a facility for 6 years and it was only ever used for peaceful purposes.

        They are expanding their ballistic missile development program which is certainly not peaceful

        That is true fo all states that have ballistic missiles. Are you going to complain that Iran even has an army?

        Iran is starting a space program which is always a proxy for long range missile development. etc…

        No, it’s a space program and it usually leads to putting satellites in orbit.

        So there you have it. You are wrong on every count.

      • traintosiberia
        December 11, 2013, 8:13 pm

        Iran is hostile to Iran . This issue can be debated and resolved in one frame of reference only and that is American frame of reference , not Israeli.

        Ballastic missile is problem and cause of concern . But that missile is being developed by other countries as well who not that long ago was not a friend of USA like India . Israel possesses it despite its violence against Americans from Lavon affairs to USS liberty, it has I filtrated the highest offices of US from Truman time and has corrupted or influenced various government organizations. It on tongues to influence presidential election to further its interest. It had sold American secret to China and intelligence secret to Soviet. It forced America to support the military junta of Egypt despite effort by Rand Paul . It was forcing US to invent red lines against Syria and then was creating red lines so that US would get involved in war.
        If US could open up to adversarial nuclear power communist nation – China , it can to non nuclear with no ICBM Iran.
        Libya had no ICBM and nukes and Israel knows how a word like Viagra could be put in the wrong place of a female warrior to destroy the vestige of civilized life in a society that never mounted attack on US. Iran also knows it

      • JeffB
        December 11, 2013, 9:14 pm

        @Eva Smagacz

        The Iran is a uniquely dangerous country in Middle East in the same way as incorruptible and effective law enforcement is uniquely dangerous to Italian Mafia. They threaten hegemony of USA and it’s allies and might introduce a more balanced distribution of regional power.

        Eva. The context here is the US senate. They fully support US hegemony with some degree of disagreement on questions of strategy. So Iran being uniquely dangerous to the USA is still a quite reasonable interpretation of what they mean.

      • JeffB
        December 12, 2013, 10:32 am

        @traintosiberia

        The argument being made was that Iran was not engaged in moving towards a nuclear weapons capability. I gave a 1/2 dozen things they were doing that showed they were in fact making progress. The ballistic missile program being one of them.

        You are sort of addressing a series of odd points which essentially amount to:

        Other countries have ballistic missiles and some even have nuclear tips. Which is absolutely true. In general though the United States has tried to prevent those countries from getting nuclear weapons as well. In the case of Iran you have a country which has had lots of low level military flareups over the last 3.5 decades, doesn’t have a protector and isn’t that powerful. Which is much closer to say Libya or Iraq than the situation with China or India.

        As for whether Israel is friendly or not. The USA government sees them as friendly. The Israeli people see them as friendly. And I think they are right to. Israel has been a consistent and loyal friend, those incidents you mention are:

        a) Somewhat questionably and biased phrased
        b) Mostly a result of times when the USA was working directly against Israeli interests.

        A friend does not mean a doormat.

      • Shingo
        December 12, 2013, 9:43 pm

        I gave a 1/2 dozen things they were doing that showed they were in fact making progress. The ballistic missile program being one of them.

        And I debunked all your Hasbara talking points and blatant lies. You don’t even understanding the points you are talking about.

        The ballistic missiles program is perfectly normal for any military. The claim that Iran is producing ICBMs as Netenyahu keeps claiming, is based on lies. Iran does not have such a program.

        Iran has not had any military flare ups in the last 3 decades, except with the war with Iraq that Iraq started with US and Saudi backing. Yes they do have a protector in Russia.

        A friend does not mean a doormat.

        Tell that to Israeli apologists who thin the US should place Israeli interests before their own.

      • Shingo
        December 12, 2013, 11:52 pm

        There is nothing reasonable about expecting anyone to cooperate with your own desire for hegemony.

        It’s no more reasonable than expecting a woman to satisfy the needs of a rapist.

  9. JeffB
    December 10, 2013, 2:39 pm

    @Phillip

    I’d say it is a bit more complex in terms of money. Many of the Democratic money guys are antiwar. But Republican bellicosity is keeping them in the fold fine regardless of what Obama does on Iran, short of war. On the Republican side though you do have large donors that are very strongly pro-war with Iran. If this issue becomes partisan it is the sort of issue that Republicans can raise money for the general off of. Which means that the Democratic position is to muddy the field.

    Support levels among politically interested Democrats are fantastic, well above historic norms. The kinds of Democrats that would care about Iran (again unless we are in a war) are voting. Biggest weakness I see for 2014 is Hispanics, but I suspect we’ll see some activities on issues they care about (like immigration) to drive their support level higher before the election. In 2014 most Democrats are going to be running against congressmen that are rightwing kooks. They will have support from the peace caucus.

    I can one way to play this differently which would be making a play for Libertarian leaning Independents. To do that, Democrats should embrace this plan and try and make Iran a campaign issue. They take the financial hit but get clearly on the side of lower defense spending. Very specific to the demographic play. So for example would work well in purple districts in the midwest with a Tea Party congressmen, would work badly in some of those red state senate races. But even if they were going to make this play, all they have to do is vote against the sanction resolution (which will fail). Mostly I don’t think it is unreasonable that Democrats could look at that polling and decide they want a voting record on both sides of the issue PDQ so they can distance themselves if it doesn’t pan out.

    • Citizen
      December 11, 2013, 8:31 am

      @ JeffB

      Yes, re the Hispanics and making a play for Libertarian-leaning Independents; but I don’t know if the sanction resolution will fail.

  10. Mike_Konrad
    December 10, 2013, 2:53 pm

    The Iran deal was crazy. The sanctions should have been maintained. Congress is right. Obama wrong.

    • Talkback
      December 11, 2013, 8:07 am

      Mike_Konrad: The Iran deal was crazy.

      Any deal which is not pushed through by Israel is crazy.

      The sanctions should have been maintained.

      What sanctions should Israel receive for not putting Dimona under IAEA? Or what deal should me made with it?

      • piotr
        December 12, 2013, 10:14 am

        It is inherently difficult to explain why this or that is “sane” to people who are not.

    • Citizen
      December 11, 2013, 8:34 am

      Actually the sanctions were mostly maintained. Obama right, Congress wrong.

    • Woody Tanaka
      December 11, 2013, 9:28 am

      “The Iran deal was crazy. The sanctions should have been maintained. Congress is right. Obama wrong.”

      Baloney. The Iran deal is objectively great for the US. It’s not as good for the israelis, given their psychotic foreign policy. The US people should stop paying for the fact that the israeli government ministers refuse to get comprehensive mental-health care. Shame on those in congress who are favoring this alien state over the US and the US’s people.

    • Shingo
      December 11, 2013, 5:30 pm

      The Iran deal was crazy.

      Actually there should have been no need for a deal seeing as there should never have been sanctions in place to begin with. Iran is not making nukes.

      Congress is wrong and so are you. All 16 US intelligence agencies have reported every year since 2006 that Iran is not producing nukes and Israeli intelligence agrees with them.

      So what possible reason could there be fore imposing sanctions? Obama was wrong to even allow the sanctions to be imposed in the first place. He should give a speech tot he American public and admit that all of Congress has been lying to them about Iran nukes the same way they lies about Iraq’s WMD. He shold tell them that the reason Congress is no opposed to the deal is because they are all placating AIPAC and wealthy Jewish donors to do the bidding of Israel and put Israel’s interests before those of the US.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 11, 2013, 5:33 pm

        Obama was wrong to even allow the sanctions to be imposed in the first place.

        i don’t think he had a choice. the senate vote was something like 100-0 so he couldn’t have vetoed it if he’d tried.

        He should give a speech tot he American public and admit that all of Congress has been lying to them about Iran nukes the same way they lies about Iraq’s WMD.

        i agree but we both know that’s never going to happen.

      • Shingo
        December 11, 2013, 5:53 pm

        i don’t think he had a choice. the senate vote was something like 100-0 so he couldn’t have vetoed it if he’d tried.

        The problem is Annie, is that he first introduced sanctions by Executive Order, at which point the Senate voted to make them permanent.

  11. Sycamores
    December 10, 2013, 3:46 pm

    the lobby would need 67 senators to sandbag the breakthrough agreement, even with all the republicans and the four democrats that’s only 49. can the lobby persaude 18 more democrats (and/or including the 2 independents)?

    • ritzl
      December 10, 2013, 9:18 pm

      Good point. Increasing sanctions/sabotaging this deal would have to be veto proof in both bodies, assuming Obama isn’t playing some sort of game here.

      It’s an open question on either, but veto proof looks unlikely given Congress’s Syria experience with voter sentiment.

  12. pabelmont
    December 10, 2013, 5:06 pm

    As to Elizabeth Warren, yes it’s a disappointment that she PEPs this. At least it can be said that she has an social agenda that is fighting a very uphill battle against powerful enemies and she doesn’t NEEd another enemy (AIPAC). A lot of pols have NO AGENDA except to get re-elected.

  13. yonah fredman
    December 10, 2013, 9:20 pm

    Again we have the language of propaganda: “He certainly does not refer to Jewish American voters who tend to be part of the Democratic party’s progressive wing and are no fans of Netanyahu’s or his paranoid visions.”

    Paranoid visions- Which visions are those? The view that Iran might use the bomb against Israel? What does MAD mutually assured destruction mean? It means that one has to contemplate destruction.

    Most American Jews are in favor of the interim agreement with Iran and the prospect of the completed agreement with Iran, not because they feel that Israel should be calm about an Iranian bomb, but because they feel that America must worry about herself. It is not because they do not share Netanyahu’s visions (not at all paranoid if some Khomeini comes to power), but because they have different priorities than Netanyahu.

    (It is feasible that Netanyahu’s fear of the actual launching of nuclear missiles towards Israel is not as great as he advertises and that his primary concern is against Iranian power, which is expressed in arming Hezbollah, which is certainly not a hypothetical but a very real threat.)

    In any case, I would cease and desist with the “paranoid vision” talk, if you wish to be taken seriously by someone other than the choir. The choir here, (even when some of them hold hands with Jew haters like David Duke) loves to hear Zionists accused of paranoia. It plays well here.

    • Citizen
      December 11, 2013, 8:49 am

      @ yonah fredman
      Nuclear deterrence worked during the Cold War. It should be discussed as an option, not just more sanctions and war on Iran. It’s paranoid to assume Iran with or without a bomb would be an existential threat to Israel. Iran is not the USSR. Israel fears Iran with the bomb would have too much regional influence.

    • irishmoses
      December 11, 2013, 2:24 pm

      Yonah said:

      ” The choir here, (even when some of them hold hands with Jew haters like David Duke) …”

      Yonah, your accusation that some of the MW “choir” “hold hand with Jew haters like David Duke” is very troubling if true. You were bold enough to make that accusation, are you brave enough to name names?

      Your accusation that MW is willing to harbor anti-Semites associated with a neo-Nazi harms the reputation of all of us who participate on MW. I suggest you provide evidence in support of your accusation or retract it and apologize to your fellow MW participants.

      • yonah fredman
        December 12, 2013, 1:10 am

        irishmoses- Citizen holds hands with David Duke. Anti Jewish comments flow rather freely from the following: Ecru and Roha.

      • yonah fredman
        December 12, 2013, 1:23 am

        correction- associating Citizen with David Duke is totally within bounds, because he mentions David Duke himself from time to time. Ecru and Roha are really wrong to associate with David Duke.

      • talknic
        December 12, 2013, 1:42 am

        @ yonah fredman Accusations are not evidence.
        Please provide verbatim, in context quotes to back your accusations. …

      • yonah fredman
        December 12, 2013, 2:19 am

        talknic- This is not a court of law. I don’t need to back up my accusations. irishmoses wanted names and I provided a name.
        Citizen.
        Ask Citizen if he has referred to David Duke in his comments. I’m sure he won’t deny it. He will explain how the references were innocuous.

        Further Citizen has at least twice referred to a scene in “Cabaret” of a Hitler youth singing a song and calls him, an idealistic youth. Whereas in fact the song is a favorite of the neo Nazis of the current era. The innocent can take the words of the song from “Cabaret” and construe them in any way that they wish. The song is a favorite of the neo Nazis of the current era.

        Roha will tell you that he favors the disappearance of all small groups, all languages, and that everyone will assimilate into the great Anglo world represented by his Australia and his British roots. He wants the Jews, their state (obviously, because everyone here wants that) and their language and their religion to disappear. He does not want to apply Nazi murder to accomplish his goal but assimilation according to him is the greatest invention since sliced bread.

        Ecru- I am sorry for including his name.

      • talknic
        December 12, 2013, 4:43 am

        @ yonah fredman ” I don’t need to back up my accusations” usually = can’t

      • RoHa
        December 12, 2013, 6:35 am

        “Roha will tell you that he favors the disappearance of all small groups, all languages”

        Not quite. I don’t think that there is any great value in striving to maintain small groups or dying languages.

        “and that everyone will assimilate into the great Anglo world represented by his Australia and his British roots.”

        No, I think a high degree of assimilation into the local majority culture is wise. For people in (e.g.) China, this would not be any sort of Anglo world.

        “He wants the Jews, their state (obviously, because everyone here wants that) and their language”

        Which one is that? Jews use lots of languages.

        “and their religion to disappear.”

        Along with Christianity and Islam.

        “assimilation according to him is the greatest invention since sliced bread.”

        It certainly seems like a good idea a lot of the time.

        What has this got to do with David Duke (whoever he is) and hating Jews?

      • irishmoses
        December 12, 2013, 11:04 am

        The term “Jew Hater” is showing up more frequently. I guess “anti-Semite” has lost some of its punch probably because of gross overuse and misuse.

        “Jew Hater” seems to include anyone who criticizes Israel and/or Zionism.

        According to Yonah Fredman, two notorious “Jew Haters” on MW are Roha and Citizen apparently because they are too strident in their criticism of Israel. Oh, I think I get it. Criticizing Israel is criticizing the Jewish State which therefore makes you a Jew Hater. It all makes perfect sense.

        Yonah is often the voice of reason on MW threads, frequently urging other posters to avoid harsh language and loaded terms like “paranoid”. You would think such a reasonable voice would be unwilling to lower himself to the level of condemning differing voices as “Jew Haters” and David Duke hand holders. Apparently not.

      • irishmoses
        December 12, 2013, 11:14 am

        Yonah,

        The fact that Citizen may have mentioned David Duke from time to time is not evidence that he “holds hands” or agrees with David Duke. David Duke’s name recently showed up because he apparently praised Max Blumenthal’s Goliath book. One ultra Zionist pundit used that endorsement as evidence that Max was an anti-Semite (“Jew Hater” to you).

        Guilt by Association is a particularly scurrilous form of argument. Please provide the quotes from Citizen that led you to label him a David Duke hand holder and Jew Hater.

      • eljay
        December 12, 2013, 11:18 am

        >> Yonah is often the voice of reason on MW threads …

        And often he is not, especially when he’s playing the Zio-supremacist card and/or the perpetual victim card.

        RoHa, on the other hand, is consistently the voice of reason AND of good grammar and spelling. And he’s neither a Zio-supremacist nor a perpetual victim nor an anti-Semite.

        RoHa wins, hands down. :-)

      • irishmoses
        December 12, 2013, 11:36 am

        Yonah said:

        He wants the Jews, their state (obviously, because everyone here wants that) and their language and their religion to disappear.

        So you think everyone on MW wants the Jews and their state to disappear? Another outrageous statement by our ever-so-reasonable Yonah.

        Since the vast majority of MW participants are likely Jewish, I doubt they or anyone else really want the Jews to disappear. As to Israel, in my experience, most MW participants want Israel to change its actions and policies toward the Palestinians not cease to exist. Some favor a binational single state solution which would give Palestinian Arab Muslims, Christians, and Druze equal rights with Israeli Jews. Some favor a two state solution in which everyone in Israel would have equal rights whether Jew, Christian, Muslim, for a black version of any of those three, not to mention women.

        Yonah, if you are going to demand reasonableness in tone and content from the rest of us, please start by examining the tone and content of your own statements, otherwise you’ll look foolish and hypocritical.

      • irishmoses
        December 12, 2013, 1:22 pm

        Nah, how can an Aussie be called reasonable? He does win on grammer and spelling though.

    • tree
      December 12, 2013, 5:05 am

      Paranoid visions- Which visions are those?

      Good Lord, yonah. Netanyahu has repeatedly claimed that “Its 1938 and Iran is Germany”. He’s done this for 7 years straight.

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/netanyahu-it-s-1938-and-iran-is-germany-ahmadinejad-is-preparing-another-holocaust-1.205137

      http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/west-of-eden/.premium-1.557542

      You seriously want to argue that is NOT a paranoid vision?

      You seem to be on a “propaganda” kick yourself, claiming MW is using propaganda, while spreading your own propaganda about other posters here. And of course, you feel no need to ” to back up my accusations. irishmoses wanted names and I provided a name.” Of course, irishmoses also wanted you to “provide evidence in support of your allegation”, but you are too busy slinging your own propaganda to oblige his request. You’re being hypocritical.

  14. Donald
    December 10, 2013, 10:54 pm

    “It is feasible that Netanyahu’s fear of the actual launching of nuclear missiles towards Israel is not as great as he advertises and that his primary concern is against Iranian power, which is expressed in arming Hezbollah, which is certainly not a hypothetical but a very real threat”

    I have no links handy, but I’ve read that this is what the real fear of an Iranian bomb involves among Israeli military and intelligence types. They don’t seriously think that Iran would try to nuke Israel–Israel has 100-200 nukes and the US wouldn’t stand by and twiddle its thumbs after an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel, though after Israel’s nukes had done their work there might not be much left for America to do in terms of regime change. The one realistic fear regarding nukes is that if two countries which hate each other both have them, it’s that much easier for a nuclear exchange to occur via some accident or misreading–this nearly happened more than once between the US and USSR. That aside, the main Israeli fear is that a nuclear armed Iran would have more regional influence.

    As for threats, it’s mainly been the US and Israel which have openly declared their right to attack Iran if Iran doesn’t do what they want. Israel and/or the US have used assassination and sabotage against Iran, and the sanctions have caused harm to innocent Iranians, including Iranians who were hurt by (US supported) Iraq gas attacks. If similar sanctions were imposed on Israel we’d be hearing much much more about their humanitarian impact, but since only Iranians suffer it doesn’t matter much in the West, though even Iranian dissidents are critical of the sanctions. Iran might reasonably think that it needs the capability to create a bomb on very short notice, as a deterrent to countries which have declared an interest in regime change.

  15. mcohen
    December 11, 2013, 8:41 am

    The syrian civil war is a project to counter iranian influence in Syria and Lebanon,both Israel,s neighbours
    a combination of saudi backed jihadi networks and american sanctions has forced iran to the bargaining table.this in turn has given obama leverage to push israel into accepting a framework to allow palestinians to gain statehood.the west bank is the weak link in Israel,s security chain and the americans must acknowledge this and allow a degree of mutual trust between Israel and the Palestinians to build up before Israel can proceed with a full withdrawal of military forces
    .water security would pay dividends if managed fairly and so would economic development.no water ,no jobs,no hope ….a repeat of gaza.
    peace must be given a chance,and if rejected,a census will see the counting of heads on the plains of syria.
    the book of numbers has been opened.

    • Woody Tanaka
      December 11, 2013, 10:40 am

      “the west bank is the weak link in Israel,s security chain and the americans must acknowledge this and allow a degree of mutual trust between Israel and the Palestinians to build up before Israel can proceed with a full withdrawal of military forces”

      The problem with this statement is that israel never does ANYTHING to build any degree of trust in the Palestinians towards them. In fact, the opposite. They appear to do everything in their power, short of detonating tactical nukes, to engender hatred of them among the Palestinian people. What does that tell the world? That they don’t give a damn about anyone’s opinion, including the US Congress, because, through their proxies (AIPAC, the fifth columnists like Schumer, israel-firsters, etc.) they have an Alien-facehugger grip on American foreign policy.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 11, 2013, 12:05 pm

      americans must acknowledge this and allow a degree of mutual trust between Israel and the Palestinians to build up

      mcohen, do you think we’re idiots? your framing implies the US is actively, or intentionally, or even unintentionally somehow preventing “mutual trust between Israel and the Palestinians to build up”. as if, the US stepping aside, ‘mutual trust’ will develop naturally organically. this is insane. israel wants the land, why should they be trusted?

      you pretend the occupation is not in place to facilitate israel’s expansion. so what kind of ‘trust’ is it you anticipate might evolve in the absence of US intervention which has, for the most part, empowered and supported israel’s expansion all these years.

      oh i get it. without the US palestine will suffer the full thrust of israeli control, and decide to surrender to their fate, become subservient compliant slaves and grow to trust their masters? is that what you mean? pray tell!

    • American
      December 11, 2013, 12:54 pm

      the west bank is the weak link in Israel,s security chain and the americans must acknowledge this and allow a degree of mutual trust between Israel and the Palestinians to”…mcohen

      No one in their right mind would trust Israel. You are the scorpion on the frog, always have been, always will be…that is your nature.

    • piotr
      December 11, 2013, 1:08 pm

      I think that mcohen has it partly right — Syrian civil war is fomented to counter what is perceived “Iran hegemony”. However, as Gulf Sunni monarchs paid for recruitment of a large number of fanatics and armed them, Western countries figured that they need to stop them somehow, and there is really no effective alternative to the dreaded “Iranian influence”.

      This conviction is probably much stronger in Russia and China, so if the West would procrastinate much more, the hinted “break-up of the sanction regime” could happen. For USA strategic interests it would be a disaster. USA could try to make it “expensive” for China and Russia, but it would amount of WWIII fought with economic means.

      My conclusion is that the relative success of Sunni fanatics in Syria, a.k.a. taqfiris forced USA to the negotiation table. Blindly following the whims of Israel and Saudi Arabia was no longer a viable option.

      • MHughes976
        December 11, 2013, 1:34 pm

        As to fomenting, I was thinking of it when I saw today’s reports on the ‘Ukrainian spring’ (well, no one’s calling it that).
        On the one hand it was nice to see people prepared to protest at some risk to themselves. And I find Putin rather sinister, so resisting the extension of his power towards the south may be the right thing. On the other hand we know that this sort of event is always in part a dramatic production by the Anglo intelligence impresarios and that is a bit depressing. It didn’t turn out so well in Georgia.

    • piotr
      December 11, 2013, 1:27 pm

      I think that mccohen attempted to write something that could be an interesting discussion point, but somehow what he posted seem to be a hasty jotting of notes and we can only guess what he meant.

      I would like to encourage you, mccohen, to spend some time and explain your thought better. As is, you may threaten to shoot me and I will still not answer what is the meaning of “the book of numbers has been opened.”

  16. Citizen
    December 11, 2013, 8:59 am

    @ Donald

    Re your last paragraph:
    With Iran, it’s amazing to me that the American Establishment’s strategy always puts itself in Israel’s shoes, and walks endlessly in those shoes to the point of seeing chimeras, yet never puts itself in Iran’s shoes at all.

    • Donald
      December 11, 2013, 1:20 pm

      “With Iran, it’s amazing to me that the American Establishment’s strategy always puts itself in Israel’s shoes, and walks endlessly in those shoes to the point of seeing chimeras, yet never puts itself in Iran’s shoes at all.”

      Me too. But yes, that’s what they do.

  17. mcohen
    December 11, 2013, 4:05 pm

    piotr says:
    December 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    “the book of numbers has been opened.”

    piotr it is a census of the total number of jihadi fighters assembling in Syria regardless of affiliation
    latest headlines should come as no surprise

    ” Britain and the United States have suspended assistance to Syrian rebel forces as the opposition continues to fracture and fall under the influence of hard-line Islamists. ”

    Syria along with Lebanon are being used as a staging ground to attack Israel.the Palestinian peace talks are irrelevant as long as the numbers accumulate.i hope that I will be proved wrong

    the book of numbers has been opened

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