It’s all over but the shouting. Politico says that Republicans might not even have the 60 votes needed to get cloture and end a Democratic filibuster that would prevent passage of a disapproval bill of the Iran deal.
Indeed, the most pressing question at this point is whether they can even get the 60 votes in opposition that are needed to break a filibuster and get a disapproval resolution to Obama’s desk. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell himself has all but said overriding a veto isn’t going to happen as Congress prepares to vote on the deal when it returns from its monthlong recess in September.
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” -Albert Schweitzer
“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” -George Sand
“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
The National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar says the vote still isn’t in the bag, and Booker may well oppose it.
The vote is likely to go down to the wire. With Obama spending every bit of political capital to prevent 13 Senate Democrats (and around 45 House Democrats) from defecting, the administration holds the upper hand….
The White House’s biggest gets so far have been Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Jon Tester of Montana, given that all three are likely to take some political flak from voters back home. But on paper, if you combine the number of undecided red-state Democrats (such as Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin) with those representing states with sizable Jewish constituencies (like New Jersey’s Cory Booker and Pennsylvania’s Robert Casey) the path to 67 no votes is still in play. The longer senators take to make up their minds, the more likely it is they’ll end up opposing.
At The New Yorker, Connie Bruck (wife of a pro-Deal Israel lobbyist) says that Chuck Schumer’s defection on the deal was calculated so that he could raise money for 2016: in a word, AIPAC. It was “implausible” that Schumer would oppose AIPAC, she says; and he will whip opposition to the deal, rather than layin low. And at Lobelog, Eli Clifton writes that Sen. Robert Menendez’s opposition to the deal is also calculated. He is counting on pro-Israel donors who contribute to his defense fund to keep him out of prison.
Which brings us back to the only community that matters, the community whose gaze is fixed on its navel, as all Americans fix their gaze on its navel too: Jews. Chemi Shalev at Haaretz says the fractured US Jewish community is the first “victim” of the Iran Deal.
It is a battle royal that is taking place in the boardrooms of Jewish organizations from coast to coast, in synagogues, community centers and social gatherings, behind closed doors or out in the open, in polite debate or, increasingly, in heated emotional dispute. It pits Jews against Jews, conservatives vs. liberals, hawks and doves, Republicans and Democrats, donors against professionals, rabbis against their flock and, in recent days, against one another…
The only journalist to fully capture the Jewish “earthquake” that is reverberating here, Shalev says that Robert Menendez and Chuck Schumer’s defection on the Iran deal brought squalls of anti-semitic contumely to the senators. Which the rightwing and the Republicans have tried to exploit.
While the pro-Israel lobby ducks under cover of this alleged incitement, the community reels from the reemergence of long dormant insinuations and accusations of dual loyalties and undue influence. GOP activists, meanwhile, stoke these flames in the hope that next time around, Jews will finally see the error of their ways and vote Republican.
I say the Jewish community is not the first victim, it is the first beneficiary of the Iran Deal. Remember glasnost? Remember two Jews three opinions? The Iran Deal marks a great maturing of the Jewish community, from ethnic solidarity and outsider status to a recognition of its power and responsibility. That is the wonderful role that liberal Zionists have performed in this matter. And yes, I can’t wait to have it out with them over their anachronistic ideology. But they have stepped up to oppose the neoconservatives over the Iran Deal as they were silent or went along (Peter Beinart wrote the Good Fight back then) for the Iraq war. That has been great for America.
Shalev says that American Jewish unity is needed to fight the boycott movement. Hold on! Many Jews are for the boycott movement. And Shalev will no longer be able to ignore us when the Jewish community loses its orthodoxy. No; BDS will finally be debated in synagogues across the country, and American Jews will have to declare whether they believe their homeland is biblical lands in Palestine or the Hudson Valley and Portland.
Shalev says that 18 Jewish Federations have come out against the deal, all the “big hitters.” Jeffrey Solomon thinks their opposition is a historic tragedy.
Among the many facets of the current tragedy is the fact that the Israeli Prime Minister has violated the original agreement of mutual noninterference worked out in the early days of the State between David Ben Gurion as Prime Minister and Jacob Blaustein in behalf of the American Jewish Committee.
Remember that Blaustein was concerned with Israeli appeals in the 1950s that seemed to raise a question about American Jewish patriotism. Yes, a very 1950s kind of apprehension. But while Shalev laments the reemergence of the “long dormant” accusations/insinuations of dual loyalty, Solomon writes that a genuine confusion about allegiance is at the heart of the Federations’ mistake on the Iran Deal.
Views of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran Agreement) focused largely on the threat that Iran poses to the State of Israel, rather than those broader global issues that led to the JCPA [Jewish Council for Public Affairs] and should be driving American policy.
Let us be clear. This is not a trivial error. It’s a profound one. This is why Scott Roth tweeted, without any insinuation: “Imagine the outrage if Xi Jinping told Chinese Americans to defy their government.” If the Jewish community is splitting over this question, it surely should.
Solomon says that he wants to educate the Jewish donors, who chose the wrong side.
Those Federations who have taken a position opposing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action are in the process of dividing community. As a loving participant-observer of the Federation movement for close to 50 years, I find this to be a tragic mistake… We need a healing process that helps us to educate all donors to the respective roles of the organizations in our communal fabric.
Again, no tragedy. The tragedy was the lockstep support of Israel. But the Israel lobby is exposed and it is infighting. This will break up the Jewish Zionist consensus and also break up the US Establishment Zionist consensus. Gaza will thank us.
More on the division of the Israel lobby. Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin says that Republicans have outsourced their foreign policy to the muscular John Hay Initiative, this cycle’s version of the American Enterprise Institute. Founded by neocons Eliot Cohen, Eric Edelman, and Brian Hook (who doesn’t like “neo isolationism in both parties”). Also including Michael Chertoff and Michael Hayden. They’re briefing almost all the candidates. Not a word about Israel in this article, but it’s clearly an important matter to the Hay Initiative. Rogin says Roger Zakheim is part of the Rubio braintrust. Here’s Zakheim saying that George W. Bush is a good role model after all. Who knew?
Finally, John Judis has an excellent piece up at Slate on the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the small pro-Israel thinktank that has become a leading opponent of the Iran deal, supplying three witnesses to a Senate Banking Committee hearing against the deal. FDD used to serve the Democratic Party, but increasingly it is serving Republicans, Judis relates. And there’s this about donors.
FDD’s chief funders have been drawn almost entirely from American Jews who have a long history of funding pro-Israel organizations. They include Bernard Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot, whiskey heirs Samuel and Edgar Bronfman, gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, heiress Lynn Schusterman, Wall Street speculators Michael Steinhardt and Paul Singer, and Leonard Abramson, founder of U.S. Healthcare.