AIPAC spending estimated $40 million to oppose Iran Deal

US Politics
on 29 Comments

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is throwing mountains of money around in an attempt to derail the Iran nuclear deal.

Mondoweiss reported in early August that AIPAC’s education wing was taking all but three freshmen House Representatives on a visit to Israel in hopes of sabotaging the US government’s negotiations with Iran.

A few days later, the New York Times picked up the story. It reported that 58 congresspeople—including 22 Democrats and 36 Republicans—in total would be traveling to Israel in August.

The Times also revealed just how much money AIPAC is hemorrhaging in hopes of stymieing the international diplomacy between the P5+1 (the US, the UK, France, China, and Russia, as well as Germany) and Iran.

In the first half of 2015, AIPAC spent approximately $1.7 million lobbying Congress to oppose the deal. Yet this is mere chump change compared to what it has since funneled into advertisements and lobbying.

AIPAC created a new tax-exempt lobbying group in July called Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran. The sole purpose of the organization is to oppose the Iran deal—which, in spite of the name of the group, will in fact prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons (weapons the Iranian government denies ever even seeking in the first place, and for which there is not a shred of evidence) in return for an end to Western sanctions on the country.

Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran is spending up to $40 million to place anti-Iran deal ads in 35 states, according to the Times, up from a previous estimate of $20 million. This figure may increase even more as the 60-day period in which Congress can review the deal draws to a close.

In August 2013, AIPAC paid for a congressional trip to Israel. The organization paid around $18,000 for each congressperson who went. Assuming these costs remain the same today, AIPAC will be shelling out another $1 million to send US lawmakers to Israel.

NPR estimates AIPAC will spend $20 million to $40 million to oppose the Iran deal. In light of the above findings, $40 million may in fact be a lower limit.

AIPAC’s spending dwarfs the estimated $5 million liberal pro-Israel organization J-Street plans to spend in support of the international diplomacy.

About Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer based in New York City. His work has been featured in a variety of publications. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton. His website is BenNorton.com.

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29 Responses

  1. Rodneywatts
    August 14, 2015, 10:06 am

    My first thought – ‘what a waste of money’
    second thought – ‘hey it scans the same as ‘if I were a rich man”
    third thought – ‘since Tom Friedman has brought singing satire to MW and folk are showing their creative abilities by adding verses, perhaps a more gifted person than myself (Annie?) could add another verse to the collection!’ ….

    • John O
      August 14, 2015, 12:14 pm

      What a waste of money?
      Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
      All that dosh just sloshing all around?
      Bah! it’s chump change for a wealthy man.

      But I don’t have to work hard.
      Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
      ‘Cause I am a biddy biddy rich,
      Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man.

      I fill my ads with lies and smears and distortions
      For the MSM to see and hear.
      Like Chicken Little I squawk as much as I can.
      Each loud “cheep”, “squawk”, “we’re all gonna die”
      Lands just like a trumpet on the ear,
      As if to say “Here lives a Likud man.”

      (Best I can do right now.)

      • Rodneywatts
        August 14, 2015, 3:08 pm

        Great stuff John! — Now I can’t get that tune out of my head!!

    • doughnut70
      August 15, 2015, 1:01 am

      This is all rubbish. Both sides are spending a lot, but the side supporting the deal is clearly outspending opponents. Just as an example, the organizer of a recent letter from retired military officers is a former military officer and a lobbyist who works for the law firm Venable that represents Russian oil interests in this country and virtually every signer of the letter had a direct business relationship with a company which is hoping to do business in Iran. That is true of most of the deals prominent supporters. This op ed is clearly an appeal to anti-semitism and the myth of Jewish money. So sad.

  2. Qualtrough
    August 14, 2015, 11:54 am

    Obama should tell them that if JSIL starts anything they are on their own. After all, he’s the Commander in Chief. As consolation he could let them know that we would help with any needed medical supplies.

  3. Neil Schipper
    August 14, 2015, 4:22 pm

    .. mountains of money ..
    .. just how much money AIPAC is hemorrhaging ..

    So..

    About 6M Jews in U.S.

    Say half are in a position to make donations (in the workforce or retired, not in a dire financial situation): 3M

    Say one quarter of those are “on the right”: they believe that Iranian hegemonic ambitions should be thwarted, and that the Iranian regime should be made to feel some pain, for its support for Hezbollah and Hamas, and for its support for Iraqi Shiite militants (that helped turn the U.S.-led regime change war {whose intensive de-Baathification provided a significant boost to the prospects of many Shiites} into a protracted “sectarian” {warlordian? kleptarian?} civil war with a very large number of deaths): 0.75M

    If a similar number of U.S. Christians feel the same way — that is, 0.75M drawn from the tens of millions of evangelicals — you have a total donor pool of 1.5M.

    To raise $30M for a campaign, you’d need twenty bucks per person.

    That’s not the way it actually happens of course. There are $100 cheques and there are $1000 cheques.

    But it’s by no means an outlandish amount money.

  4. Citizen
    August 14, 2015, 6:21 pm

    Israel’s “free” vacation trip to Israel for freshman congress critters begins to sow dividends for Bibi’s stance on Iran Deal, first case in point: Nebraska new guy: http://www.kosherpress.com/language-skirmishes-on-the-iran-deal-opposition-may-not-voting-no/

  5. Brewer
    August 14, 2015, 7:25 pm

    August 14, 2015
    AIPAC: Headed for Defeat (But That’s Not Why It’s Bad for the Jews)

    by Andrew Levine

    Mainstream media still try to keep news of its machinations to a minimum. But it is a losing battle. The lobby’s activities have become too flagrant, and the word is out.

    This is even more the case now than a few weeks ago. Since the successful conclusion of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program between the P5 plus 1 (the United States, Great Britain, France, Russian, China and Germany) and Iran, the Israel lobby has cast discretion aside.

    Between now and late September, when Congress finishes “reviewing” the decisions reached in Vienna, AIPAC, along with other leading Israel lobby organizations – working in tandem with reactionary Iranians — will be pulling out all the stops, trying to undo what has been done.

    They have declared war on the Obama administration.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/14/aipac-headed-for-defeat-but-thats-not-why-its-bad-for-the-jews/

  6. Palikari
    August 14, 2015, 7:51 pm

    What’s wrong with that?

    How much is J Street spending to promote this disastrous deal?

  7. Kay24
    August 14, 2015, 9:54 pm

    Forty Million dollars? I wonder where these Israeli agents find the money from. Adelson? Rich Jewish diaspora, part of the aid we send them? wealthy republican neocons? Why are they wasting 40 million dollars, to battle the President? Why are they not calling themselves the Israeli PAC, and simply drop the America? They are so toxic to this country.

  8. David Doppler
    August 14, 2015, 11:30 pm

    Spending the money is apparently a first amendment right, per the Supreme Court and Citizens United. But it is also Obama’s, and other interested parties’, right to use this process as a teaching moment. The right communicator could turn all that investment into a huge backfire for Netanyahu and AIPAC.

    The American system depends upon the American public, given enough information, to sift through it all, and, eventually (after exhausting all the alternatives, as Churchill liked to say) getting it right.

    Rather than an argument among the Jewish community, what matters is a discussion among the American community, a no-holds barred discussion of what is the right thing to do. With Mr Hamhanded Yahoo apparently committed to continual re-doubling of efforts on the failed Neocon ideology, the door is open for someone to finally flay them for the failed Trotskyite warmonger ideologues they are. But you don’t get there by respecting their sincerity and offering to appease them in ten different ways.

    • Sibiriak
      August 15, 2015, 12:04 pm

      David Doppler: The American system depends upon the American public, given enough information, to sift through it all, and, eventually (after exhausting all the alternatives, as Churchill liked to say) getting it right.

      ——————–

      The American system depends on the manufacture of consent.

  9. Kay24
    August 15, 2015, 7:00 am

    Here is the ad J Street has put out, it is spending about $2 million, a tiny amount compared to the amount spent by the zionist supporters who are against any deal with Iran:

    http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/250163-watch-new-ad-launched-to-back-iran-deal

    I wonder why Obama is not taking advantage of his position and having a more active campaign pushing for this deal. It seems the anti deal folks are having a louder megaphone right now, and just like the Iraq war, selling it to the American people. I think more pro deal ads should be shown in every state, clearly explaining the deal like this one.

    • Sibiriak
      August 15, 2015, 8:58 am

      Kay24: Here is the ad J Street has put out….

      ———————–

      “Good for Israel. Good for America” — what could possibly be wrong with that?

  10. Les
    August 15, 2015, 6:07 pm

    It’s a matter of Israel versus the US.

    Soon we will be able to see which country’s constitution members of the US Congress will vote to uphold.

  11. talknic
    August 15, 2015, 6:58 pm

    @ Les “Soon we will be able to see which country’s constitution members of the US Congress will vote to uphold”

    Indeed. One of those countries has yet to write its constitution under which a government can be legally elected for the first time in its short belligerent history. http://pages.citebite.com/p2b0i7o9o6xlh

    I wonder how many Israelis know they’ve never had a legally elected Government? I wonder how many Israelis have actually read the Declaration of statehood?

    • Les
      August 15, 2015, 7:51 pm

      Thanks for the history lesson. What a remarkable bit of information it is!

      And here’s a little more about the subject:

      A number of attempts have been made to introduce proposals for a detailed constitution. The latest occurred in August 1987, when the Public Council for a Constitution for Israel, a group of Tel Aviv University professors led by Uriel Reichman, dean of its faculty of law, launched a campaign to enact a constitution. The group argued that the existing Basic Laws were not tantamount to a constitution because such topics as judicial review and a bill of rights were not covered and because most of the Basic Laws were regular laws that could be amended by a simple majority vote of the Knesset. A written constitution, in contrast, would spell out the relationship among the different branches of government and establish a type of secularized bill of rights between the individual and the state. The group advocated three necessary reform measures as essential for a democratic and constitutional state: the direct election of the prime minister; the safeguarding of all Basic Laws so that they could be rescinded only by a two-thirds or three-fifths Knesset majority; and the establishment of a well-defined system of judicial review. While the proposal had little chance of Knesset passage, it aroused renewed interest in the reform of the Israeli electoral, legislative, and judicial systems.

      http://countrystudies.us/israel/78.htm

    • Neil Schipper
      August 15, 2015, 9:06 pm

      Does talknic wish Israel to leave the company of states like U.K., Canada, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and join the company of states like Yemen, Iraq, Syria and North Korea?

      • talknic
        August 15, 2015, 11:22 pm

        @ Neil Schipper

        If you have a problem with the fact that a constitution was guaranteed by the Zionist Movement, I suggest you take it up with them

  12. Neil Schipper
    August 16, 2015, 12:02 am

    I have no such problem.

    It is a deep, demonstrable truth that countries can do fine without a constitution, and, that countries can fail miserably with finely written high minded constitutions.

    You, talknic, are now being accused (1) of knowing this very well (a compliment to your extensive knowledge of world affairs), and, (2) of using a crackpot argument to incite Israel hatred.

    Taking (1) and (2) together constitutes a case of rank dishonesty.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 16, 2015, 3:30 am

      inciting Israel hatred alert!
      inciting Israel hatred alert!
      inciting Israel hatred alert!

    • straightline
      August 16, 2015, 3:45 am

      You seemed in your earlier comment Schipper to be arguing that countries without constitutions are good and those with them are bad. Then talknic pointed out to you that the Zionists promised a written constitution and reneged on it (along with many other promises). You don’t seem to have responded to that in your latest comment. Please tell me why what talknic said is a crackpot argument. Are you saying that the rest of the world ought to have understood all the time that the Zionists were never going to deliver on their promises? Did they have their fingers crossed at the time?

    • talknic
      August 16, 2015, 6:04 am

      @ Neil Schipper “It is a deep, demonstrable truth that countries can do fine without a constitution, and, that countries can fail miserably with finely written high minded constitutions.”

      Indeed. However, was a constitution promised those countries by their founders in order to have a Government elected, legally, under that promised constitution?

      “You, talknic, are now being accused (1) of knowing this very well (a compliment to your extensive knowledge of world affairs), and, (2) of using a crackpot argument to incite Israel hatred.

      Uh huh. Now there’s hatred in the desire for a state to adhere to its ideals. Interesting theory

      “Taking (1) and (2) together constitutes …” .. Ziopoop

    • Les
      August 16, 2015, 10:21 am

      Israel with a constitution would mean a state with actual physical borders with laws that apply equally to ALL its people. It ain’t going to happen anytime soon! A majority of Jewish Israelis would oppose a constitution.

  13. Nevada Ned
    August 16, 2015, 6:29 am

    I propose “truth in labelling”: when a Senator of Congressional Representative goes on the talk shows, they ought to be identified:
    Mary Smith (D-Pennsylvania)
    Raised $2,000,000 from the Israel Lobby

  14. hophmi
    August 18, 2015, 7:23 am

    As I said before, and as Ben Norton well knows, this trip takes place every two years, and is not specifically for the purpose of defeating the Iran deal.

    Ben is welcome to organize a similar trip to promote his own views on US Foreign Policy, instead of complaining, which is all he seems capable of doing.

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