Is AIPAC suddenly a dirty word?

Israel/Palestine
on 20 Comments
Robert Menendez, Democratic N.J. Senator

Robert Menendez, Democratic N.J. Senator

Yesterday we noted Jim Lobe’s piece saying that 47 Senators are taking AIPAC’s word over the US government’s word on the Iran deal. Lobe points out that those 47 senators who are pushing “wag-the-dog” legislation to hitch the U.S. to Israel’s war plans are a little bit shy about their support for the bill.

What is remarkable about this list, however, is that very few of the 47 co-sponsors have chosen to publicize their support for the bill to their constituents through local media or other means. A handful of the original co-sponsors put out press releases, as did Rob Portman, a late joiner. Lamar Alexander, another late-comer, courageously “tweeted” his backing for the bill. “If this were a bill senators were excited about; that is, something they thought they’d earn a lot of credit for — and not draw a lot of heat — from their voters, you’d think all of the co-sponsors would be proudly touting their support,” one veteran Hill observer told me. “Clearly, even for the Republican [co-sponsors], that doesn’t seem to be the case with this bill.”

In other words, the co-sponsors appear to be targeting a very narrow constituency — AIPAC, which is now touting their names — rather than  their voters back home, most of whom probably have no idea of what their senator’s position is or what may be at stake. Which raises an interesting question: If the folks back home knew that their senator was supporting a bill that would make another war in the Middle East more, rather than less likely, would there be an outcry as there was after Obama (and AIPAC) asked Congress to approve military action against Syria? Would some senators feel compelled to reassess their support?

The reason they’re not advertising their support is that AIPAC is beginning to be a dirty word in the discourse. In a remarkably frank piece in the mainstream, Paul Pillar writes in The National Interest that the senators are backing the legislation because of AIPAC money, and that the bill “serves the policy of Netanyahu’s government.”

Their legislation serves the purpose of those who want the negotiations with Iran to fail, not to succeed. Chief among those with this purpose is, of course, the right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made it abundantly clear that he opposes any agreement of any sort with Iran and will continue to do whatever he can to portray Iran as Satan incarnate and to keep it permanently ostracized. The principal organization in Washington that serves the policy of Netanyahu’s government—i.e., AIPAC—also has its own reason to hammer away forever at the Iranian bogeyman: it’s “good for business,” as a former senior AIPAC executive explained. It is no accident that Mark Kirk is easily the biggest Congressional recipient of AIPAC funds, and Robert Menendez is also among the top half dozen recipients. Honesty would mean dispensing with the phony issue of whether more sanctions now would help negotiate a better agreement—since they clearly would not—and instead posing the real issue: whether it is in the interests of the United States for the negotiations with Iran to succeed or to fail….

Pillar wants an open debate about AIPAC and the U.S. interest. Will the left-libs in the broadcast media help out, please! Rachel? Chris? Chris? Get Pillar on your show.

All of this should be debated from the standpoint of U.S. interests. Those with a special concern for Israel can also ask parallel questions, such as whether Israeli interests are better served by an unending relationship of hostility with another major state in the region, with threats and hatred being perpetually flung by each side at the other, or by following a different path.

Let such an honest debate begin. But an honest debate will barely get off the ground unless we discard the nonsense about how something like the Kirk-Menendez bill supposedly aids negotiations.

It would seem that Obama is getting back in his own way. The British, Canadians and Irish wouldn’t be expanding diplomatic/trade contacts with the Iranians without the U.S. approving. It’s like the pressure on the Israelis coming from Europe, not the U.S. The news from an outlet in Azerbaijan:

Delegations from Canada, Ireland are expected to visit Iran in the near future, head of Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Aladin Boroujerdi said, IRNA reported on Jan. 7…

Iran Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on international affairs… said Majlis is interested in the expansion of cooperation with the Irish Parliament, calling for stronger ties between the two countries in energy, engineering, electronics and economic sectors.

It should be noted that a British parliamentary delegation headed by former foreign secretary Jack Straw arrived in Tehran on Jan. 7, for a 3-day visit, to discuss issues of mutual interest with senior Iranian officials.

On 8 October 2012, the Britain Foreign Secretary announced that the UK and Iran had agreed to appoint non-resident Chargés d’Affaires as an important step towards improving the bilateral relationship.

Thanks to Nick Wibberley.

About Philip Weiss

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

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20 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    January 7, 2014, 10:43 am

    Robert menedez like the rest of the 47 politicians are traitors that do what Israel/aipac tells him them do. Sick!

  2. hophmi
    January 7, 2014, 10:46 am

    “Is AIPAC suddenly a dirty word?”

    I’m not aware of any time in Congressional history when the name “AIPAC” was ubiquitously heard on the floor of Congress. So once again, you’re setting up a straw man.

    • Philip Weiss
      January 7, 2014, 12:32 pm

      I meant in the discourse, Hophmi, where I think it’s beginning to be hear. Though not ubiquitously. If it were ubiquitous, we’d have to close up shop!

      • adele
        January 7, 2014, 12:57 pm

        well said, Phil.

        Speaking of straws, Hophmi keeps clutching at them in desperation, trying to stem the tide of justice.

    • justicewillprevail
      January 7, 2014, 1:46 pm

      Duh, Hop, no straw men involved. The first proposition doesn’t require the second, as you seem to think. Moreover, as AIPAC likes to skulk in the shadows, whilst pulling the strings of their paid-for senators, it is hardly surprising. Their subversion of US politics is being help up to the light, and unsurprisingly, people do not like it. Gerrymandering a nation into a war which no-one wants, save the zionist and neocon ideologues, should of course be a headline matter, along with the actions of AIPAC and their sock puppets in government.

  3. Woody Tanaka
    January 7, 2014, 10:52 am

    If a donkey-felating son of a bitch like Menendez isn’t highlighting this bill in New Jersey, then you know AIPAC is starting to stink a bit.

  4. pabelmont
    January 7, 2014, 10:59 am

    So, this time around,a lot of US Senators cannot find their voices to pronounce AIPAC? But that raises a question. How should anyone pronounce that hateful acronym? I don’t think the folks who dreamed it up get to tell everyone else how to pronounce it. If it did, they could pronounce it “Wonderful”, “Counselor”, etc.

    Some of my friends pronounce “AIPAC” as if it were spelled “A-PAC” (rhymes with PAY-PACK) and various websites seem to support this pronunciation. But that makes no sense to me.

    I pronounce it “A-I-PAC” (rhymes with PAY-EYE-PACK) because — do you see? — the “I” there stands for Israel and the “A” stands for “America” and the PAC stands for a certain relationship between TWO entities. TWO, not ONE. Yes Virginia there is daylight between them.

    Oh, well, back to the senate.

    • Citizen
      January 7, 2014, 12:41 pm

      Americans need to know that nearly half of the US senate is hell-bent on war on Iran to ensure Israel’s continued nuclear hegemony in the Middle East. Please contact your senators who are part of this 47. Tell them they are supposed to work for you, not Bibi Netanyahu. Mark Kirk should be exposed for what he is, a total whore of AIPAC-Israel. Use him as the example. When he was incapacitated, AIPAC workers handled his office affairs.

      • thetruthhurts
        January 7, 2014, 2:34 pm

        kirk’s not a whore, he’s a prostitute! whores don’t get paid.

      • thetruthhurts
        January 7, 2014, 2:41 pm

        check out the very courageous lee whitnum of connecticut who ran against aipac’s chosen by speaking out publicly against these disgusting bought and payed for traitors of america!

      • Elisabeth
        January 7, 2014, 4:37 pm

        I do not think you can be a traitor to a country, or rather that this expression does not mean much. It depends on what your country is doing. You can betray your principles though.

        Some people in my country say someone collaborated ‘with the Germans’, others say ‘with the Nazis’ . I prefer the latter.

      • RoHa
        January 7, 2014, 9:44 pm

        Once again I must ask commenters to refrain from these unjustified insults to the ladies of negotiable virtue.

  5. Whizdom
    January 7, 2014, 11:12 am

    I suspect the nature and extent of AIPAC’s influence on legislators is changing. The (failed) full court press on the Hill for the “yes” vote on bombing Syria was a shocking set back. Legislators saw they could say no to AIPAC and nothing bad happened. AIPAC expended a great deal of political capital, and lost, badly.
    Another, related, dynamic is the emergence of the neo-libertarian/isolationist republicans, who are chary of foreign aid and foreign adventures.
    Thirdly, they are breaking the rule of lobbying, “don’t ask your principal for something they can’t deliver”. International support for Iranian isolation and ongoing sanctions has evaporated. It is bad for business, bad for regional stability, and it isn’t working in achieving US objectives in the region. If AIPACs goal is regime change in Iran or permanent weakening sanctions ensuring an isolated Iran, then it can’t be delivered. US Public support for another Iraq tragedy is nil.
    Interesting to watch AIPACs positioning on the Kerry peace efforts, very low key. Historically, AIPAC has supported peace processes (if not peace), let’s see if they want to use their political capital to influence the kerry process, or the Iranian situation. I doubt they can do both.

  6. lysias
    January 7, 2014, 11:47 am

    Canada? Wow! I thought Harper’s government was much more pro-Israel than the U.S.’s.

  7. David Doppler
    January 7, 2014, 11:47 am

    I think it had more power when it was the name that must not be spoken.

  8. HarryLaw
    January 7, 2014, 12:07 pm

    Interestingly, Jack Straw leading the Parliamentary group to Iran today, said in 2010 the idea of attacking Iran is “completely nuts” http://www.e-ir.info/2010/08/11/attacking-iran-is-still-completely-nuts/

  9. Justpassingby
    January 7, 2014, 12:34 pm

    More sickness by the aipac guys, now by Louie Gohmert

    Let’s blow all Iran nuclear sites up: US lawmaker

    http://presstv.com/detail/2014/01/07/344288/lets-blow-iran-nuclear-sites-up-us-rep/

  10. DICKERSON3870
    January 7, 2014, 1:08 pm

    RE: “If the folks back home knew that their senator was supporting a bill that would make another war in the Middle East more, rather than less likely, would there be an outcry as there was after Obama (and AIPAC) asked Congress to approve military action against Syria? Would some senators feel compelled to reassess their support?” ~ Jim Lobe

    SEE: Don’t Let the Senate Sabotage Historic Diplomacy with Iran
    12/20/13 – Write a Letter to the Editor
    While experts from the top echelons of the U.S. and Israeli security establishment have hailed the first-step deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the senate could sabotage this historic diplomatic achievement with new sanctions. Senators Robert Menendez (NJ), Mark Kirk (IL), and Charles Schumer (NY) have introduced legislation (S. 1881) that would impose sanctions on Iran and encourage Israel to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran.
    If these sanctions passed, it would violate the first-step nuclear deal and likely lead to the collapse of the negotiations with Iran, which is why the White House has issued a veto threat. …
    TO WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITORS (WITH SUGGESTED TEXT) – http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=63042516

    TO THE EDITORS (OF FIVE NEWSPAPERS IN GEORGIA):

    The Editors:

    From the agreement to eradicate Syria’s chemical weapons to the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, 2013 will be remembered as a year of historic diplomatic accomplishments. I hope 2014 is not the year the U.S. Senate passes sanctions that sabotage our diplomats’ achievements.

    While experts from the top echelons of the U.S. and Israeli security establishment have hailed the first-step deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the Senate could sabotage this historic diplomatic achievement with new sanctions. Apparently at the behest of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Senators Robert Menendez (NJ), Mark Kirk (IL), and Charles Schumer (NY) introduced legislation last year (S. 1881) that would impose sanctions on Iran and encourage Israel to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran.

    If these sanctions passed, it would violate the first-step nuclear deal and likely lead to the collapse of the negotiations with Iran and make war more likely, which is why the White House has issued a veto threat.

    Consequently, I was very disappointed to learn that both Senators Chambliss and Isakson have co-sponsored S. 1881, the deceptively titled Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013 (sometimes more appropriately referred to as the Wag the Dog Act of 2014).

    Senators Chambliss and Isakson should instead oppose the very dangerous S. 1881, thereby heeding the advice from a recent U.S. Intelligence Community assessment which stated that “new sanctions would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.”

    Sincerely yours,
    John Dickerson

  11. American
    January 7, 2014, 2:52 pm

    ‘All of this should be debated from the standpoint of U.S. interests. Those with a special concern for Israel can also ask parallel questions, such as whether Israeli interests are better served by an unending relationship of hostility with another major state in the region, with threats and hatred being perpetually flung by each side at the other, or by following a different path”’

    The ‘debate’ –one in which Israel is even mentioned in conjunction with US interest—would have to be a lot ‘deeper’ than that.

    1)Beginning with the propaganda plank that the US has some moral obligation to Jews because of the holocaust. That lie must be dismantled first. If there is any nation in the world that doesnt owe the Jews anything it is the US.

    2) Israel as any kind of foreign asset to the US must be debunked also and the facts on why it is in fact a libility to the US laid out.

    3) Only after these two ‘untruths’ are exposed can there be anything remotely close to a “honest debate’ on Israel re the US.

    4) And then the honest debate would be the ‘Fundamental Question’ of whether or not a US minority of foreign interest should dictate US foreign policy or not.

    Even without debunking the two propaganda planks of moral obligation and Israel as an asset to the US I believe that Israel and its supporters would still lose on the Fundamental question.

  12. Daniel Rich
    January 7, 2014, 6:22 pm

    “”[Colin] Powell felt Cheney and his allies – his chief aide, I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith and what Powell called Feith’s ‘Gestapo’ office – had established what amounted to a separate government.” – Bob Woodward, writing in Plan of Attack (2004).

    “The War Party overthrew the American government. Took it over. It’s not only that the neocons took it over but how easily they did it – how Congress disappeared, how the press became part of it, how the public acquiesced.” – Seymour Hersh.

    I hope those days are over…

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