AIPAC taking all but 3 freshmen Congresspeople to Israel in effort to sabotage Iran deal

US Politics
on 83 Comments

The American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), the educational wing of hardline right-wing pro-Israel lobbying organization the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is taking all but three freshmen US House Representatives on a tour of Israel, in hopes of turning them against the Iran nuclear deal.

Over 50 US congresspeople will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel in August.

Two separate trips are being organized along partisan lines—one for Democrats, and another for Republicans.

The Democrat trip begins on August 3, and will be led by House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland).

The Republican trip begins on August 8, and will be led by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California).

Human rights and anti-war group CODEPINK, which has been advocating on behalf of the Iran nuclear deal—which will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in return for lifting US sanctions on the country, and which is supported by the overwhelming majority of the international community—has been closely monitoring the planned trips.

“AIPAC trips to Israel are designed to give congresspeople a one-sided view of the region, the view of Bibi Netanyahu,” remarked CODEPINK National Coordinator Alli McCracken. “With war and peace in the balance, perhaps the Congresspeople should take a side trip to Iran to get a more balanced picture.”

McCracken said they personally called the offices of representatives who are going on the trip, encouraging them to support the deal.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and a longtime Palestinian human rights advocate, said the “Congressional recess is a time for elected representatives to be home in their districts, reaching out to their constituents, not taking propaganda trips to Israel on AIPAC’s dime.”

CODEPINK compiled a list of all of the freshmen representatives going to Israel, and provided Mondoweiss with a copy of it, which is embedded below.

Just three freshmen House members are not going on the trips, Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan), Don Beyer (D-Virginia), and Norma Torres (D-California).

Congress has 60 days to review the Iran deal. AIEF/AIPAC is hoping to persuade US congresspeople to undermine and vote against the deal, although Obama has vowed to veto any attempt by the legislature to do so. Congress would need a two-thirds majority in order to override the president’s veto.

Roster of the freshman class for the 114th Congress color-coded by party. The three highlighted members are the only ones not attending an AIPAC trip to Israel. (Image: CODEPINK)

Roster of the freshman class for the 114th Congress color-coded by party. The three highlighted members are the only ones not attending an AIPAC trip to Israel. (Image: CODEPINK)

About Ben Norton

Ben is a journalist and writer based in New York City. His work has been featured in a variety of publications, and he is presently a politics staff writer at Salon. His website can be found at BenNorton.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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83 Responses

  1. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    August 3, 2015, 12:41 pm

    This is great. It just draws attention to the fact that just about the ONLY opposition to this deal (discounting a few corrupt oil sheikhdoms) comes from mad Bibi. It will make it even more obvious that those who oppose the agreement do so not out of loyalty to their own country, but to Israel.

    Never mind the fact that the deal cannot be ‘sabotaged’. It has been unanimously approved by the EU AND the UN. It’s a done deal. Nobody cares what a few bought and paid for Yankee politicians think.

    • PofTarsus
      August 4, 2015, 1:58 pm

      “On Middle East policy, Congress behaves like a bunch of trained poodles, jumping through the hoop held by Israel’s lobby.”
      —- U.S. Undersecretary of State George W. Ball, Sept. 5, 1985.

      “In the U.S.-Israeli relationship the United States has provided absolute support, but Israel has repeatedly engaged in actions that have contradicted American interests — often significantly harming them.”
      —- Cheryl A. Rubenberg, in ‘Israel and the American National Interest,’ p. 330-31.

      • Susan A
        August 6, 2015, 8:37 am

        Great quotes. Thanks

    • michelle
      August 4, 2015, 11:44 pm

      .
      Israel needs America under its heel
      if Israel was to continue as it always has without a bff.sponser
      who will it have blame when the bill comes due
      and sadly America will be the one to blame since ‘none’ of this
      could have happened without the American soldiers & tax dollars
      .
      Israel is taking steps to attack Iran with it’s/Israels American soldiers/money
      if the I-deal doesn’t get the American vote
      Israel won’t have any reason to rethink their plans
      .
      G-d Bless
      .

  2. Cliff
    August 3, 2015, 12:41 pm

    People willing to be bought off.

  3. Annie Robbins
    August 3, 2015, 1:16 pm

    so gross.

  4. Philip Weiss
    August 3, 2015, 1:26 pm

    Thanks Ben, incredible. And yes: where’s that Saudi opposition. It vanished between Vienna Riyadh and DC

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      August 3, 2015, 1:42 pm

      Oh, the Gulfies are still there (Kerry is in Doha right now) but they are not daft enough to shout their opposition from the rooftops. Far better to say nothing, and work quietly at opposing the deal behind closed doors. Not that they have any chance of doing so, given that the UN and EU have both approved it unanimously, but a lot more dignified than Bibi’s ‘toys from pram’ routine.

  5. Marnie
    August 3, 2015, 1:56 pm

    This freshman class, with the exception of 3 persons, is a disgrace to the people they were meant to serve. They have no business calling themselves Americans….

  6. just
    August 3, 2015, 2:00 pm

    Thanks, Ben.

    “The looming August battle for the Iran nuclear deal

    Struggle to save Vienna agreement from a congressional mauling pits the Obama administration against the Republicans, the Israeli government and a billionaire

    On Monday, almost every freshman member of the US Congress will jet off on an all-expenses paid trip to Israel for a week of briefings and lobbying intended to ensure they vote against the Iran nuclear deal agreed on 14 July.

    The junket is an annual affair organised by Aipac, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, and very few freshman turn it down. More than sixty out of a total of 70 are expected to go this year, flying business class and staying at five star hotels. Aipac’s aim is that at least 80% of any Congress has been on one of its trips to Israel at least once. It is an unparalleled example, among the world’s democracies, of one country’s influence on the political system of another. Aipac did not respond to a request for comment.”

    – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net

    Funny thing is that it doesn’t matter if they (Repubs & Dems) bump into one another~ they’re all strolling for shekels. Do Americans think this is ok? Why isn’t AIPAC made to register under FARA?

    As for KSA:

    “Saudi king cuts short stay in south of France after beach closure controversy

    Saudi Arabia’s King Salman left the south of France for Morocco on Sunday, cutting short a planned three-week stay after a petition from some 150,000 residents over the closure of a public beach outside his villa.

    A Saudi source said the king had arrived in Morocco, saying this was part of his holiday programme and had nothing to do with the media coverage that his visit had attracted.

    Philippe Castanet, a local French government official, said the beach had been reopened. He added that about half of the king’s 1,000-person entourage had left along with him. He did not specify a reason for the departures nor if the monarch planned to return to France.

    The planned three-week visit by the new king and his inner circle at the family’s seafront villa in Vallauris, where US actress Rita Hayworth celebrated her wedding to Prince Aly Khan of Pakistan in 1949, was expected to be a boon for the local economy.

    But the closure of the public beach for privacy and security reasons stirred up a local storm. The king’s installation of an elevator from the beach to the villa, approved for temporary use by the local government, also provoked anger among some residents who objected to allowing him this privilege.

    Castanet said the elevator would be removed in the coming weeks…”

    link to theguardian.com

    Such problems!

    Meanwhile, KSA is still bombing Yemen to smithereens. Wonder if Hadi went to France with the royals…

    • Abierno
      August 3, 2015, 6:59 pm

      Just, the looming August battle is not only regarding the Iran nuclear deal but also Abbas and Jordan (member of UN Security Council) are moving forward with the prior request to establish a protectorate over Palestine (West Bank and Gaza), most probably invoking resolution 377 which operates to move such a request from the Security Council to the General Assembly with a vote of 9 / 15, which is easily attainable with this constellation of members.

      • just
        August 3, 2015, 7:06 pm

        Well, you just made my day Abierno! Sincere thanks for the news.

        (I was just about to become very ‘grumpy’ in a sustained kind of way. I’m really not known for that ~ it tends to do more damage than it’s worth & stunts my imagination, productivity, and more. But enough about me ;)

      • Annie Robbins
        August 3, 2015, 7:22 pm

        that sounds promising abierno! do you have any links? even in arabic would be fine.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 3, 2015, 7:24 pm

        “a protectorate over Palestine”? a UN protectorate?

      • just
        August 3, 2015, 7:29 pm

        Here’s what I’ve found, Annie:

        “16:57
        PA, Jordan demand world’s protection for Palestinians

        Jordan and the Palestinian Authority agree to draft a joint appeal to the UN Security Council demanding “international protection for the Palestinian people and an end to the Israeli occupation” in response to the killing of 18-month-old Palestinian baby Ali Saad Dawabsha.

        Saeb Erekat, a chief Palestinian negotiator recently appointed as secretary of the PLO, has discussed the matter with Jordan’s foreign minister, says Jordanian daily al-Ghad.

        “We will turn to the Security Council requesting to place the Zionist gangs on the terror list and define them as terrorist organizations which must be confronted by the international community,” Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad tells al-Ghad.

        Ahmad says that the Palestinian leadership is now “seriously reconsidering” the economic and security agreements signed with Israel in the past.

        — Elhanan Miller”

        link to timesofisrael.com

      • Abierno
        August 3, 2015, 8:56 pm

        Just , Annie, you have to go back to December 30, 2014 when the Jordanian resolution to the Security Council for an end date for Palestine negotiations was defeated as a result of US arm twisting of Goodluck Johnson, president of Nigeria who subsequently apologized to Abbas. The US position was it posed a barrier to negotiations. Jordan vowed to resubmit it. Much has changed since then. Negotiations have collapsed with Israel being blamed. Netanyahu not only claimed there would be no Palestinian state on his watch but also incited and looked on without action as Palestinians were routinely executed by the IDF/IDF , private land usurped and stolen and churches, mosques and homes burned with impunity. Little Ali is not the only infant who has died under Israeli auspices – several infants froze to death last winter in Gaza. It’s a very different scenario, particularly since Netanyahu has done everything he can to disrespect Obama and Kerry. There is no path to negotiation with the current Israeli government which seeks to annex the West Bank and to force the Gazans into Sinai. The Arab League is deeply concerned and meeting over these issues. Abbas is in touch with Larov and Meshael has met with the Saudis and Russia. Resolution 377 allows a resolution to move to the General Assembly by a majority vote of the Security Council and is a venue sympathetic to the Palestinians as are most constituents of the current Security Council which changed some rotating members in January.

      • Abierno
        August 3, 2015, 10:15 pm

        Citations Arutz Sheva 8.3.15, quoting the Jordanian paper Ah-Rad (sic).

      • Annie Robbins
        August 3, 2015, 10:50 pm

        thank you both. yes i read meshaal was meeting w/russian foreign minister. this is the ideal time since obama has 17 more months and hopefully neither him or kerry will dedicate the energy to combat this. but even if they do if it goes to the general assembly it will pass overwhelmingly i am sure. abbas seems to drag everything out for forever. would israel do something radical like assassinate him if this goes thru? no matter, if they do as long as the process continues. international troops. omg please..something please.

      • just
        August 3, 2015, 11:04 pm

        Thanks so much for reminding me of last winter’s situation, and the disgrace that the US brought to the “table”. You’re right, it’s a new day now in a lot of ways. I very much appreciate your condensed history @ 20:56, Abierno.

        I read that Lavrov not only met with Meshaal, he also invited him to Moscow…

        @ Annie’s “international troops. omg please..something please.”

        I want very badly to believe that the time is ripe and right.

        Inshallah.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 4, 2015, 12:21 am

        yes i think he is in moscow now.

      • CigarGod
        August 5, 2015, 9:45 am

        I just read 377, and by my quick reading, the general assembly can make a recommendation, only. I like the wording that 377 can be invoked when the SC fails to do it’s duty, but it doesn’t seem to give the GA the authority to establish a protectorate.
        I hope I missed something.

  7. JLewisDickerson
    August 3, 2015, 2:29 pm

    RE: “AIPAC taking all but 3 freshmen Congresspeople to Israel in effort to sabotage Iran deal”

    MY COMMENT: Not going on that trip could be very costly!

    FROM THE CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS (opensecrets.org) AS OF 8/03/15:

    ● Pro-Israel: Money to Congress
    • SUMMARY
    • All cycles

    Dems: $71,700,750
    Repubs: $43,054,007
    Other: $1,552,596
    All Candidates: Total to All Candidates: $116,307,353
    Incumbents Only: Total to Members: $93,416,000

    House
    Party / # of Members / Avg. Contribution / Total
    Democrats 1,554 $16,821 $28,077,908
    Republicans 1,083 $14,814 $17,055,956
    Independents 2 $836 $11,700
    TOTAL 2,639 $17,107 $45,145,564
    The US House of Representatives has 435 members and 5 non-voting delegates.
    Totals may exceed 440 due to mid-term replacements.

    Senate
    Party / # of Members / Avg. Contribution / Total
    Democrats 388 $75,287 $30,202,925
    Republicans 310 $51,035 $16,639,371
    Independents 5 $93,965 $1,366,890
    TOTAL 703 $68,576 $48,209,186
    The US Senate has 100 members.
    Totals may exceed 100 due to mid-term replacements.

    The numbers on this page are based on contributions from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more.

    All donations took place during the -1-All election cycle and were released by the Federal Election Commission on Sunday, August 18, 2013.

    SOURCE – link to opensecrets.org

  8. Qualtrough
    August 3, 2015, 2:50 pm

    Are there any historians here who can let us know if this kind of situation has ever occurred before? Namely, a very small but powerful minority within a country exerted their influence to make their country’s foreign policy subservient to the foreign policy of a another vastly smaller nation? If so, how did it end?

  9. John Reagan
    August 3, 2015, 3:23 pm

    When do we DEMAND that our congress act to benefit Americans before other countries? Israel is not our 51st state, yet we’ve been taking food from the mouths of our citizens and handing over Billions in taxpayers dollars to Israel for decades. Further, we not only allow them to meddle in our internal politics, but as recently shown, we invite them here to disrupt our presidential elections. Bush Jr relied on fraudulent intel from Israel and involved us in a horribly expensive and failed war in Iran. Now, the spy, Pollard, who stole secrets from us and gave them to Israel, is being released to Israel ‘as a returning hero’. Why does anyone think Israel is ‘our friend’? How big a schmuck must we be to continue to prop up this aggressive, manipulative and cruel nation that represents only 0.01% of the world’s population at such a cost to our own country and people?

  10. hophmi
    August 3, 2015, 4:12 pm

    Stupid piece. This is the same trip AIEF takes new Congresspeople on every two years. The vast majority of the freshmen are Republicans who will vote against the deal anyway. So the notion that AIEF is taking them on the trip to convince them is uber-silly.

    • lonely rico
      August 3, 2015, 4:57 pm

      >hophmi

      the same trip AIEF takes new Congresspeople on every two years.

      Ah, so the whoring has been going on for some time.
      Perhaps explains why the congress-johns (*) again and again pass legislation in favor of the folks who pay for the swell holidays in the sun.

      But it’s not even the zionist state who pays,
      it’s the American taxpayer !

      >just is wrong – the congress-johns are not “all strolling for shekels”.

      They’re strolling for Yankee $’s, freshly shipped to Tel Aviv, a gift from the American people to the only racist democracy in the Middle East.

      (*) ‘john’ – customer of a prostitute

      • just
        August 3, 2015, 5:30 pm

        Ok, ok, I just liked how it was slightly alliterative.

        ;-)

      • Citizen
        August 4, 2015, 1:45 am

        The US government borrows the money to give to Israel from China at interest, and then gives Israel that money early each year, and pays Israel interest on it the entire year. Everything we’ve done that involves Israel has been a crappy deal for the USA, including our first FTA in 1985, which was, of course, with Israel.

      • hophmi
        August 4, 2015, 12:46 pm

        “But it’s not even the zionist state who pays,
        it’s the American taxpayer !”

        The American taxpayer is not paying for any AIEF trips. To the extent that the United States provides aid to Israel, it’s quite popular with the American people, with polling consistently showing that the vast majority of Americans favor keeping the aid at current levels or raising it. link to pollingreport.com

        “Thanks, hophmi, I didn’t realize that congresspeople are always going on free trips to Israel.”

        They take new Congresspeople every couple of years. As Ben Norton made clear, Congresspeople are free not to go (sometimes they’ve already been to Israel), but most opt to go. And it’s perfectly reasonable. One can’t fully appreciate the challenges Israel faces, particularly with regard to security, without visiting in person. You constantly hear people talk about the helicopter tour and about how it helped them understand why giving back land is not so simple. You also have to remember that Israel has religious significance for Christians as well as Jews, and that is another reason why it’s a popular destination for members of Congress.

        “Does any other country take U.S. Congresspeople on expensive junkets on a regular basis?”

        Many American organizations take US Congresspeople on expensive junkets on a regular basis. It’s like any other issue. If the Arab lobby were better organized in the United States, perhaps they’d sponsor trips to the West Bank or to Arab countries, although I suspect Arab countries have a lot less to show Congresspeople than Israel does.

        It appears that Taiwan, Germany, and Turkey are the most frequent destinations for members of Congress besides Israel. The West Bank is also quite popular; in 2014, 40 members of Congress visited.

        “Why would AIEF spend so much money if they don’t expect to get something out of it?”

        Well, I expect, like every other nonprofit that takes Congresspeople on a junket, they do expect something out of it. In this case, they expect Congresspeople to walk away with a greater understanding of why the America-Israel alliance is so important. By the way, Congresspeople also meet Palestinian leaders on these trips and often go into the West Bank, so it’s not the one-sided Likudnik thing you’re thinking that it is.

        “When the general public becomes aware that pro-Israeli groups give pricey gifts like this to our Congresspeople, will “antisemitism” increase here?”

        I’m quite sure, Kris, that the American people are well aware that their Congresspeople go to Israel. The Congresspeople themselves make no secret of it, because most Americans are supportive of the relationship the United States has with Israel. So your assumption is faulty. Antisemitism won’t increase because Congresspeople visit Israel. In fact, since AIEF was founded in 1990, antisemitism has dropped.

        One of the big fallacies of the anti-Israel narrative is that support for Israel, and the work non-profits do to organize that support, is some big secret. It isn’t, and it really never has been. One reason you guys make very little headway in American society is that you’re not willing to come to grips with the truth, which is that large majorities of Americans support Israel, and want their representatives to support Israel. Representatives don’t need to hide that support. They promote it.

      • Mooser
        August 4, 2015, 2:57 pm

        “One can’t fully appreciate the challenges Israel faces, particularly with regard to security,”

        ROTFLMSJAO!!! Gee, do you think operating a half-century occupation outside any borders which could conceivably enclose Israel sorta does have that effect, huh?

        Why doesn’t Israel try finding its borders? It’ll make “security” a whole lot easier!

      • Mooser
        August 4, 2015, 7:25 pm

        .“In fact, since AIEF was founded in 1990, antisemitism has dropped.”

        Ah, good to know all that increasing antisemitism you prate about is BS. I was worried.

      • hophmi
        August 5, 2015, 10:27 am

        “Ah, good to know all that increasing antisemitism you prate about is BS. I was worried.”

        Be worried, since you evidently can’t read or remember what I say. AIEF has been around since 1990. Recent spikes in antisemitism are mostly in Europe, not in the United States, and they are more than well-documented at this point, despite the denialist rhetoric from the usual suspects.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 5, 2015, 10:34 am

        the usual suspects!!

      • Kris
        August 5, 2015, 11:15 am

        @hophmi: ““Ah, good to know all that increasing antisemitism you prate about is BS. I was worried.”

        Hophmi, please explain what antisemitism is about. I am not being snarky, I just don’t get it, and no one seems to want to spell it out.

        “Antisemitism is prejudice against, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as an ethnic, religious, or racial group.”

        The crucifixion of Christ? Physical characteristics? Culture? What are we talking about? There has to be some kind of reason, however bogus, for prejudice.

        The prejudices I am familiar with are against blacks, native Americans, and Muslims. Blacks and native Americans because of physical characteristics, and Muslims because of their clothing and religion.

        All three of these groups have also been targets of politically- and economically- motivated negative stereotyping campaigns, too. Blacks have been stereotyped as lazy, stupid, and violent. Native Americans are stereotyped as lazy, stupid, and addicted. Muslims are stereotyped as backward, sneaky, and violent.

        I don’t see any of the above working against Jews. What are you seeing, Hophmi?

      • MHughes976
        August 5, 2015, 2:15 pm

        I think that ‘prejudice against Jews’ is useful as a definition of anti-Semitism. It’s a possible state of mind, heaven knows. At that rate all purported reasons and pretexts are compatible with the definition. People may use words as they like, but for my part I wouldn’t add ‘as an ethnic group’ – there can be prejudice whose scope is religious or other. I wouldn’t say ‘prejudice or hatred’, since hatred without prejudice would be (if it were to exist; I don’t say it does) rational. I agree that anti-Jewish sentiment is a very weak force compared with liberal and pro-Jewish sentiment in the Western world these days.

      • Kris
        August 5, 2015, 4:15 pm

        MHughes976: “I think that ‘prejudice against Jews’ is useful as a definition of anti-Semitism.”

        Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

        In the U.S., there is plenty of prejudice against people of color, poor people, old people, gays, Muslims, etc., but I don’t know of any societal prejudice against Jews here. There are fringe groups like the KKK and Aryan Nations, who hate everyone who is not a white Christian, but they have no credibility.

        Prejudice is directed against people who are perceived as “different” in undesirable ways, and that doesn’t seem to describe Jews in the U.S.

        What I see is that Jews who support Israel either honestly (though mistakenly) do experience criticism of Israel as prejudice towards all Jews, or pretend to. Either way, they cry Holocaust or antisemitism and expect the criticism of Israel to stop.

        Maybe prejudice against Jews should be called what it actually is, whether racism, religious intolerance, classism, or nativism, instead of using a label like “antisemitism” that seems to be so vague that it is meaningless.

    • Kris
      August 3, 2015, 5:30 pm

      Thanks, hophmi, I didn’t realize that congresspeople are always going on free trips to Israel.

      Does any other country take U.S. Congresspeople on expensive junkets on a regular basis?

      Why would AIEF spend so much money if they don’t expect to get something out of it?

      When the general public becomes aware that pro-Israeli groups give pricey gifts like this to our Congresspeople, will “antisemitism” increase here?

      Is there anyone who thinks that gifts to elected officials come without strings attached?

    • Teapot
      August 4, 2015, 1:13 pm

      If the Arab lobby were better organized in the United States, perhaps they’d sponsor trips to the West Bank or to Arab countries, although I suspect Arab countries have a lot less to show Congresspeople than Israel does.

      Oh please, Hophmi, as if Israel would ever allow any sponsored trips to the West Bank. The only way to go there is as part of a visit to Israel to make sure only the Israeli perspective is heard. And this kind of thing happens all the time (see links below).

      link to mondoweiss.net

      link to haaretz.com

      link to aljazeera.com

      link to jpost.com

      • hophmi
        August 5, 2015, 10:55 am

        “Oh please, Hophmi, as if Israel would ever allow any sponsored trips to the West Bank.”

        In fact, these trips include visits to Ramallah and Bethlehem. And there’s really nothing secret about it. Here’s the itinerary from the trip two years ago. It’s on the House’s website.

        link to clerk.house.gov

      • CigarGod
        August 5, 2015, 11:25 am

        You think a trip from behind the tinted glass of a first class air conditioned motor coach thru beautified little islands of Palestine really put one in touch, eh Herr (the usual suspects) Hophmi?

      • hophmi
        August 5, 2015, 1:03 pm

        “You think a trip from behind the tinted glass of a first class air conditioned motor coach thru beautified little islands of Palestine really put one in touch . . .”

        The claim was made that Israel would never allow a sponsored trip to the West Bank. That claim was incorrect. I surmise that it’s a surprise to people here that the AIEF trip includes a trip to Ramallah and Bethlehem and meeting with Palestinian leaders.

        You know, members of Congress are not stupid, and neither is AIEF. Both understand that there’s a conflict in the region, and that the Palestinians are one party to that conflict. It would be stupid to present Israel as perfect or as a place where everything is hunky dory for Palestinians.

        You might just take a moment to consider that like most people who visit Israel, these folks walk away with a better understanding of the country and the people. Doubtless, some of the impression that they get will be negative. But overwhelmingly, it will be positive, because the sum total of the country is not the cartoon Phil Weiss or any of the rest of you present.

        Part of the problem with all of you is that you’re so hateful, that you have trouble understand how anyone could have a positive opinion of what you hate. It’s a classic logic trap that bigots fall into. Because you have trouble understanding what most understand, you have trouble understanding why your message barely penetrates mainstream society, and why, even when it does, the target of your hate continues to thrive. Your views have their analogue among extreme Zionists. But they’re not shared by most people.

      • amigo
        August 5, 2015, 1:28 pm

        “In fact, these trips include visits to Ramallah and Bethlehem. And there’s really nothing secret about it. Here’s the itinerary from the trip two years ago. It’s on the House’s website. – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net” hopknee

        I checked your link.Funny really , the whole trip is one long hasbara fest involving lectures on how Israel made the desert bloom and Israel,s peace efforts and get this one, A visit to see “The Right Honourable” Benja mean nietanyahu.

        I wonder if they took these suckers anywhere near a Palestinian Refugee camp and allowed them to get out and speak with the natives.You zionists are so full horse excretion.

      • amigo
        August 5, 2015, 2:27 pm

        “Part of the problem with all of you is that you’re so hateful, that you have trouble understand how anyone could have a positive opinion of what you hate – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net” Hopknee

        Did you post that while unconscious??>

        Of course we do not understand how anyone could have a positive view of Murder/oppression/theft/war crimes/slaughter and a host of other acts of genocidal magnitude.

        Consequently , we could not have a positive view of any one who does.That would be you Hopknee.

      • just
        August 5, 2015, 2:35 pm

        +1, amigo!

        But you get extra, super credit for this:

        “Did you post that while unconscious??”

      • CigarGod
        August 5, 2015, 3:02 pm

        Thanks, guys.
        I was driving up to Jackso Hole this morning, while Hophmi was handing of my post to his supervisor to answer.
        Can”t tell you how nice it is to have a slice and a beer at Luckys, while reading how you all shredded his cheese.

      • amigo
        August 5, 2015, 3:12 pm

        “But you get extra, super credit for this:”Just

        I will take all the credit I can get.Thanks.

      • hophmi
        August 6, 2015, 8:22 am

        Lol, Cigargod, nothing like Mondowhackjob chest thumping like Nasser after the 1967 War. Like him, you’re completely delusional.

      • CigarGod
        August 6, 2015, 9:10 am

        What?
        I’m a champion of social justice?
        Right on!

    • Teapot
      August 5, 2015, 3:58 pm

      Hophmi: The claim was made that Israel would never allow a sponsored trip to the West Bank.

      Clearly what I meant was that Israel would never allow a trip to the WB sponsored by a pro-Palestinian organization. Of course they would allow trips sponsored by their own lobby. They have nothing to fear from that.

      And thanks for the link. It was really interesting to see the trip itinerary. It seems that on one trip you get 60 minutes with Mahmoud Abbas, on the other trip you get 90 minutes with Saeb Erekat, and that’s it for the Palestinian perspective. Considering that this is a one week long trip on which you meet a ton of Israelis, I really don’t think that you can claim that the Palestinian perspective is being considered here.

      • hophmi
        August 6, 2015, 11:03 am

        “Clearly what I meant was that Israel would never allow a trip to the WB sponsored by a pro-Palestinian organization. ”

        It was not clearly what you meant, or you would have written it. It’s not true either, since many Israelis participate in pro-Palestinian organizations that do work in the West Bank.

        “Of course they would allow trips sponsored by their own lobby. They have nothing to fear from that.”

        No? Mondoweiss would disagree with you. It’s always highlighting the work of people who went on Birthright and became disillusioned.

        “And thanks for the link. It was really interesting to see the trip itinerary. It seems that on one trip you get 60 minutes with Mahmoud Abbas, on the other trip you get 90 minutes with Saeb Erekat, and that’s it for the Palestinian perspective.”

        Well, yes. It is, after all, a trip to highlight US-Israel relations, and not to highlight Palestinian leaders. But clearly, AIEF doesn’t pretend that the Palestinians don’t exist, and they don’t censor critical Palestinian voices like Erekat’s. I don’t think most junkets include dissenting perspectives of any kind.

        This is why I often say that a great deal of criticism here falls into the political jealousy category; if pro-Palestinian activists had the organization and the resources, they would emulate AIEF’s approach. If Mondoweiss spent a fraction of the energy it spends bashing Israel on helping to strengthen pro-Arab PACs or to create pro-Palestinian ones, you might have such a trip in the future.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 6, 2015, 12:05 pm

        It was not clearly what you meant, or you would have written it.

        oh please, teapot was responding to your comment: If the Arab lobby were better organized in the United States, perhaps they’d sponsor trips to the West Bank or to Arab countries , so you’re in no position to say what tp “clearly meant” and everyone with a brain knows israel allows pro israeli orgs and businesses to sponsor tours of bethlehem all the time.

        many Israelis participate in pro-Palestinian organizations

        in the context being discussed, i think israelis don’t count since they are already in the country. tp wrote The only way to go there is as part of a visit to Israel to make sure only the Israeli perspective is heard. meaning, for example, if you try to enter palestine thru israel at ben gurion, as part of a pro palestine org, you might very well be turned away. and there are many examples of this entering from allenby bridge. i am not arguing it can’t be done (for example christ at a crosspoint conferences) but it’s routine to lie about your visitation plans when trying to enter palestine because israel routinely turns people away who are pro palestine.

        try arguing in good faith instead of constantly point scoring.

        if pro-Palestinian activists had the organization and the resources, they would emulate AIEF’s approach.

        wow, you mean if they had 100’s of millions of dollars? no shit sherlock. wow, how did you get so smart?

        If Mondoweiss spent a fraction of the energy it spends bashing Israel on helping to strengthen pro-Arab PACs or to create pro-Palestinian ones, you might have such a trip in the future.

        oh please! it’s not the so called “organization”, it is the money obviously. and there are lots of interfaith groups going and other tours. in fact as i recall adam led one once. but don’t pretend AIEF isn’t massively funded. this “pro arab pacs” lingo of yours. it’s no different than expecting people to pour money into candidates to compete w/aipac. we get it, everything pro israel is backed by mega bucks. call it “resources” if you want, but don’t expect mondoweiss to turn into a fundraising scheme competing w/aipac. that’s silly.

  11. amigo
    August 3, 2015, 4:45 pm

    Why are we not hearing from the leaders of the other nations who put this deal together.Are they afraid to be accused of interfering with the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.It is not just the US,s business when someone like Nietanyahu is going out of his way to undo all the investment of time and money put in by the “P4 + 1. I am aware that the UN has passed the resolution but it might be helpful to have those leaders shout it out loud and clear that the US is on it,s own if the deal is undone by the congress.It is time for the P4 to demand equal time in Congress to make their case.

    It is time to fight fire with fire.

    • Citizen
      August 4, 2015, 1:49 am

      Maybe we aren’t hearing from the P4+1 simply because our main media is not reporting on it?

      • amigo
        August 4, 2015, 4:38 am

        “Maybe we aren’t hearing from the P4+1 simply because our main media is not reporting on it? – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net” Citizen.

        I wouldn,t expect the US media to report it but I have not noticed any comments from leaders here in Europe , considering all the effort invested .

    • NickJOCW
      August 4, 2015, 3:25 pm

      Amigo, It’s not up to European members of the P5, or anyone else, to involve themselves in US political shenanigans. The US joined a pre-existing group, which included Iran, already attempting to find a resolution to the issues raised by Iran’s nuclear activities. The idea that this was a US initiative is simply wrong.

      Federica Mogherin, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and chief co-ordinator and representative of Common Foreign and Security Policy within the EU, chaired the negotiations after Catherine Ashton’s term, and as far as Europeans are concerned it was she who steered the whole thing to its conclusion despite the US dragging its feet. Of course US media doesn’t want to broadcast that particular view of the events.

    • RobertHenryEller
      August 5, 2015, 1:16 am

      In fact, we, and specifically Congressional members, are hearing from leaders of the other P5+1 nations:

      link to huffingtonpost.com

      Obama’s Iran Deal Gets A Lift On The Hill Thanks To A Foreign Sales Pitch
      A briefing from ambassadors proves to be a big help in selling the controversial agreement.

    • hophmi
      August 6, 2015, 12:07 pm

      “Are they afraid to be accused of interfering with the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.”

      Probably because they figure that adding their voices to the US political debate is not going to win converts. Hey, France favors the deal. Yeah, that’ll convince skittish American voters. You can bet, however, that behind the scenes, European diplomats are making their voices heard.

      “I am aware that the UN has passed the resolution but it might be helpful to have those leaders shout it out loud and clear that the US is on it,s own if the deal is undone by the congress.”

      Because that’s not the reality. If the US doesn’t go along, the Europeans can’t go along because they can’t do business with Iran without access to the American banking system. This is what it’s all about.

      The real question, based on what I’ve heard from the experts, is not really what the Europeans will do if the US Congress overrides the President’s veto (they’re constrained), but what the Iranians will do. It’s conceivable that they comply with the terms of the deal anyway, which really would embarrass the Americans, and they may figure that the US sanctions regime will come off eventually one way or the other. Only time will tell.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 6, 2015, 12:21 pm

        that’s not the reality. If the US doesn’t go along, the Europeans can’t go along because they can’t do business with Iran without access to the American banking system. This is what it’s all about.

        not according to kerry:

        Sanctions are already fraying, Jeff. We’ve pressed our case hard and the reason people went along with us is that we went to negotiations and we were in negotiations. People agreed to what was happening in negotiations. If we unilaterally walk away from this process and turn our back on their cooperation, they’re gone. I know they’re gone. Russia? China? Russia and China didn’t even want an arms embargo or a ballistic-missile embargo. They’re gone.

        Goldberg: Iran needs this deal more than we need this deal. They need the money. Therefore if Congress was to say, “Go get a better deal with the Iranians,” why do you think the Iranians would just walk away?

        Kerry: I know they would walk away for several different reasons. It’s not a “think”—it’s a “know.” You need to talk to the intel community. You know, we had pretty good insight in the course of this process. Our evaluations out of the intel community informed us about where the reality was, what the market would bear.The ayatollah approached this entire exercise extremely charily. He gave a kind of dismissive OK to [President Hassan] Rouhani and company to go do this, in the sense that he didn’t want to be blamed if this didn’t work. It was all Rouhani’s risk. He was playing the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps], and this and that. And so it was clear to me from my many conversations with Zarif and from the entire dynamic how fragile that journey was with him. The ayatollah constantly believed that we are untrustworthy, that you can’t negotiate with us, that we will screw them. This will be the ultimate screwing. We cut a deal, we stand up, it’s announced, five other countries believe in it—six other countries, because Iran signs off, and we’re the seventh—but you know, China, Russia, France, Germany, Britain, all sign off. Now the United States Congress will prove the ayatollah’s suspicion, and there’s no way he’s ever coming back. He will not come back to negotiate. Out of dignity, out of a suspicion that you can’t trust America. America is not going to negotiate in good faith. It didn’t negotiate in good faith now, would be his point.

        Moreover, our friends who kept the sanctions in place because we were negotiating in good faith—here’s the other problem. We don’t control the money in the banks. It’s not in our banks. That $55 billion is in India, China, Abu Dhabi. It’s being held at our request and our insistence. But if we break this … And by the way, if Congress votes the way they vote, the president doesn’t have the ability to waive anything.

        “If we unilaterally walk away from this process and turn our back on [our partners’] cooperation, they’re gone. I know they’re gone.”

      • just
        August 6, 2015, 12:36 pm

        Thanks, Annie.

        Apparently hophmi has his own “experts”…

        “The real question, based on what I’ve heard from the experts,…”

        Who are hophmi’s “experts”? Are they more ‘whispering spirits’, or a man who was actually at the table for months?

      • Annie Robbins
        August 6, 2015, 1:14 pm

        Who are hophmi’s “experts”?

        not sure, but whoever they are, they probably listen to, and hang with, ‘scholarly’ “experts” like this no doubt: link to mondoweiss.net

  12. Kay24
    August 3, 2015, 5:03 pm

    All ready to drink that zionist koolaid eh? It is so potent, it messes the mind, and they forget their loyalties to their own nation. Year after year, Israel (no other “ally”) buys our politicians, and they are forever controlled by the zionists. Oy vey!

  13. just
    August 3, 2015, 5:13 pm

    “Just three freshmen lawmakers are not going on the trips, Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan), Don Beyer (D-Virginia), and Norma Torres (D-California).”

    Anyone know why these three aren’t going on the 5- star hasbarama? I did a bit of a search and came up with nothing.

    • ckg
      August 3, 2015, 9:38 pm

      just, Dingell’s congressional district includes Dearborn, which is the heart of Shia America. The largest mosque in America is here in Dearborn–it is Shia, and specifically Lebanese. What is surprising to me is that she is undecided and not supportive.

      • just
        August 3, 2015, 11:22 pm

        “What is surprising to me is that she is undecided and not supportive.”

        Thanks, ckg. Her lack of a firm position is weird.

        (I doubt that her husband would be ‘undecided’ about this at all)

  14. Kay24
    August 3, 2015, 5:21 pm

    Israeli officials tell Bibi the Iran deal is an accomplished fact….pity he is too dense to realize that himself.
    He keeps making a fool of himself, and so are those congress people who obey him.
    This has backfired on Bibi, and he is going to look even worse to other leaders.

    “Dozens of former senior members of Israel’s defense establishment have published an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday urging him to accept the nuclear deal with Iran as an “accomplished fact.”
    The letter also called on Netanyahu and his government to renew the trust with the U.S. in order to prepare for the deal’s challenges, and to “initiate a political move which will provide credibility to Israel’s support of a two-state solution.”
    This, according to the letter, would enable the formation of a moderate Sunni-Western axis which will act against extremists in the region.
    read more: link to haaretz.com

  15. Les
    August 3, 2015, 7:11 pm

    In the same single motion Jewish zionists get to demonstrate their loyalty to Israel as do our politicians, with no mention of treason committed against the US.

  16. Bornajoo
    August 3, 2015, 7:59 pm

    “Never mind the fact that the deal cannot be ‘sabotaged’. It has been unanimously approved by the EU AND the UN. It’s a done deal. Nobody cares what a few bought and paid for Yankee politicians think.”

    Precisely MDM! Which is why I’m hoping that they do in fact defeat the deal even though, as far as everyone else who was involved with it considers it done and dusted. Nobody is waiting for the vote in Congress! Today Germany announced its opening a branch of its central bank in Tehran to facilitate the newly established trade ties. That’s just one example of dozens of moves being made to quickly establish trade ties with Iran by the international community. And the American business community will not want to miss out on that action either

    It won’t lead to war. The USA won’t act against Iran unilaterally or together with israel. The USA will eventually have to play ball because there’s no way to kill this deal unilaterally. But it will lead to the isolation of the USA and israel which will (hopefully) lead to Obama having a good enough excuse to withhold the veto at a future SC resolution vote which will immediately begin to unravel the occupation.

    None of this will happen, imo, if the deal is not defeated by Congress. If the deal goes through Obama will continue to use the veto and the occupation will continue endlessly and probably made even worse by the next POTUS (Hillary, Jeb?)

    Even Kerry has said that defeating the deal will only lead to Israel being isolated. It’s a warning. I hope they walk right into it by defeating the deal

    • michelle
      August 5, 2015, 7:00 am

      .
      seems like Iran who now has a greater world voice will spotlight Palestine justice
      there’s a new balance in The Middle East Israel will have to back off of Palestine
      Americas leaders will have to decide keep pouring money into Israeli hate crimes
      or invest in a better future for all in The Middle East
      .
      past due on some tough love for Israel
      .
      G-d Bless
      .

  17. JusticeForPalestine
    August 3, 2015, 8:41 pm

    Surreal.

    I am flummoxed about how to explain stuff like this to my kid. She and her young classmates go to public school and learn basic “truths” about how America is a democracy, where citizens are sovereign and the government consists of three independent branches of government.

    What a bunch of quaint lies!

    What then must we do?

  18. Ismail
    August 3, 2015, 10:27 pm

    Well, for what it’s worth, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who’s going on the junket, announced a day or two ago that he would support the Iran deal.

    Wonder if it’s too late for Israel to void his ticket?

    Congressman Joe Kennedy (not a freshman) has bravely announced that he will spend the next few weeks waiting to see how the wind’s blowing….ummm, I mean, studying the contents of the bill to be sure it’s sufficiently robust before he makes up his mind.

    The guy’s a lightweight of the most flimsy sort, attended the Netanyahu sneak attack on Congress, reflexively kneels towards Tel Aviv whenever a Palestine/Israel issue rears its head. Disgraceful.

  19. jimby
    August 3, 2015, 10:39 pm

    I certainly hope that if the deal is defeated that the USA will have a soft landing. I don’t know what I would do without my social security check.

  20. ymedad
    August 4, 2015, 8:29 am

    But don’t they do this every year? And they bring both Republican and Democrats. So how is this uniquely connected to Iran instead of Israel’s US relationship?

  21. RobertHenryEller
    August 4, 2015, 9:38 am

    Like a class field trip to a Hora House. In broad daylight.

    • Mooser
      August 4, 2015, 2:59 pm

      “I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.” – Rabbi Hillel.

  22. unverified__5ilf90kd
    August 4, 2015, 10:21 am

    The outrageous over-reach manifested by this trip confirms the worst distortions of Jewish stereotypes. Hopefully, this will clearly point out the inappropriate nature of the Israeli Government’s interference with US politics and US foreign policy. Personally, Israel makes me puke.

  23. lobewyper
    August 4, 2015, 11:38 am

    The Israeli government is an embarrassment with its blatant efforts to lobby for support. No other country engages in such shameless efforts to benefit themselves at the expense of others.

  24. Jasonius Maximus
    August 4, 2015, 12:19 pm

    This sounds like something John Oliver should be covering on Last Week Tonight.

    Like him or hate him he has a magnificent way of holding up a mirror to the often ugly and insane goings on in this country as well as our highly compromised and manipulated political system. He also manages to mobilize people to take action (in this case against their elected reps.) in a way few people on TV, heck even elected office, can.

    I think it’s time to tweet him into action. Unless of course his handlers at HBO are Pro-Israel billionare campaign donors… then we’ll never hear a peep from him :(

  25. unverified__5ilf90kd
    August 4, 2015, 12:57 pm

    Iran is the only harsh critic of Israel in the local area. Iranians understand and loathe the illegal and grossly uncivilized behavior of Israel towards the Palestinians. Therefore, Israel has tried every unethical trick in the book to delegitimize, suppress and ruin Iran. But, thanks to Obama, this has not been successful. The deal is done. The US and EU have already signed off and Iran has partially thrown off the yoke of domination and has gained added legitimacy to criticize Israel even more aggressively. Israel tried to block Obama’s Iran deal – but Israel has already lost the battle- now they are trying to punish the USA – they have destroyed the GOP and now they will destroy the Democratic party which is dominated by Israel partisans who will embarrass and delegitimize America in order to please Netanyahu, all for money.

  26. michelle
    August 4, 2015, 11:17 pm

    .
    take them keep them they belong to you
    we don’t want Israeli leadership in America
    .
    Give us liberty …. again
    .
    G-d Bless America
    .

  27. HarryLaw
    August 5, 2015, 9:56 am

    Ben, you have had some strange assignments lately, this crowd would not look out of place [as you did, non glazed eyes] inside that CUFI summit the other day. I’ll bet AIPAC could even get them to dance the hora.

  28. German Lefty
    August 7, 2015, 6:42 am

    I just sent twitter messages to the new Democratic congresspeople. I gave them the link to this talk by Ben White:
    link to youtube.com
    Perhaps some other people could send some tweets too.

  29. Pippilin
    August 9, 2015, 6:10 pm

    My FB conversation with a Representative from Florida who hopes to capture Marco Rubio’s seat in the next election. She is the daughter
    of former Governor of Florida/ Senator from Florida, Bob Graham (D).

    Linda Johnson Carraway:

    I’m so disappointed that you are currently visiting Israel under the auspices of AIPAC. Unless, of course you will also be making a side trip, at your own expense, to experience the Palestinian point of view in the West Bank (visiting Gaza would be even better, but the Israelis won’t allow you in). I recommend the reality tour offered by the group “Global Exchange”. You could sign up for a tour during your next Congressional break.

    Gwen Graham:
    Thank you for contacting us Linda,
    Representative Graham is visiting Israel with the American Israel Education Foundation a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization, related to AIPAC. The trips agenda includes visiting the West Bank and speaking with Palestinian leaders, including the prime minister and president of the Palestinian Authority.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion, we appreciate hearing from you.

    Linda Johnson Carraway:

    Thank you for your reply. I would just like to add that Mr. Abbas and the PA are nothing more than extensions of Israeli and American claws into Palestine. Therefore, by meeting with them, she will get no new insight into the I/P conflict. No Palestinian worth his salt, in my opinion, toes the PA line. That is why Hamas won the Palestinian elections back in 2006.

    Linda Johnson Carraway:

    Post script: I visited both Gaza (under UNRWA auspices) in May 2009, four months after “Cast Lead” and the West Bank in 10/2011 with the group Global Exchange, mentioned above. Eye-opening experiences, both.

    .

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