You’ve read it already, but we had to jump on the bandwagon. Today’s news that Barbara Mikulski supports the Iran Deal has put President Obama over the top. Hurray. He has defeated Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Netanyahu’s lobby to win the most important foreign policy shift of his administration. And achieve the biggest setback to the lobby’s power in a generation.
Now it’s all about getting to cloture: 41 votes, so that the Dems can filibuster the anti-agreement vote.
Take that, Bibi. https://t.co/V9Gn9vP6xN
— gwen ifill (@gwenifill) September 2, 2015
John Kerry has triumphed. He hasn’t announced a victory, but he made a big speech today. Glorious ending, and a slam at the “destroyers of hope.”
The Iran agreement is not a panacea for the sectarian and extremist violence that has been ripping that region apart. But history may judge it a turning point, a moment when the builders of stability seized the initiative from the destroyers of hope, and when we were able to show, as have generations before us, that when we demand the best from ourselves and insist that others adhere to a similar high standard – when we do that, we have immense power to shape a safer and a more humane world. That’s what this is about and that’s what I hope we will do in the days ahead.
Laura Rozen reports:
i have had the privilege of serving this country in times of peace and war, and peace is better.
Kerry: #Iran agreement not a panacea for the sectarian & extremist violence ripping region apart. But history may judge it a turning poin
This speech is also full of Israel promises. Matt Lee of AP:
We will stand w/
#Israel to stop its adversaries from once again launching deadly & unprovoked attacks (vs) the Israeli people”
Says a friend: “Netanyahu looks like a fool. Who was counting votes for him. And AIPAC no longer looks cool. Think of it as an ethnic ATM.”
Kerry alludes to Netanyahu’s Breaking Bad metaphor — “You can’t eliminate nuclear materials … by flushing it down a toilet”
On television with Christiane Amanpour, Kerry blasted the lobby by inference:
the latest poll I saw said that 52 percent of Americans support the agreement. But it is correct for you to say that it’s been divisive, and I regret that it’s been divisive. But some have chosen to spend huge amounts of money and, frankly, have not been presenting the reality of what this agreement really does. That’s one of the reasons why I’m here today. It is to dispel the myths and lay out specifically and factually what this agreement does and doesn’t do, and I hope – and I think we’re seeing this, incidentally, as senators are looking at this, very, very closely examining it
Amber Phillips of the Washington Post said just now on the Takeaway that pro-Israel groups thought they could get Democrats, but they only have gotten Menendez and Schumer so far because the President worked the phones, even sending a hand-written note to Senator Chris Coons of Delaware; and meantime a cascade of Dems has supported the deal, one after another.
Among the president’s most significant gets in recent days were Chris Coons and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. They don’t fear the Israel lobby. Back in 2012 Casey signed on to neoconservative legislation on Iran because he was running for reelection. Now he’s a lot freer. Though Casey’s long statement on the deal includes a lot of Israel pandering. More arms:
In my years in the Senate, I have been resolute in supporting measures to bolster Israel’s security and its qualitative military edge in the region. I have pressed for full funding of security assistance to Israel, especially on cooperative missile defense programs. I was an early supporter of the U.S.–Israel Strategic Partnership Act, legislation that was signed into law last year and will continue to expand our bilateral cooperation on security and other issues. I will continue to lead on these legislative efforts, because I believe the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel is unbreakable and that the U.S. must stand with Israel against threats to its national security
Mikulski mentioned Israel and Zionism near the top of her statement:
Throughout my review of this deal, my questions have been: How does this deal affect the safety and security of the United States? And how does this deal affect the safety, security and viability of Israel?
“For all my time in both the House and Senate, I have been an unabashed and unwavering supporter of Israel. I have persistently supported the sanctions that brought Iran to the table. I have been insistent on foreign aid and military assistance to Israel that maintains its qualitative military edge on missile defense. With the horrors of the Holocaust in mind, I have been deeply committed to the need for a Jewish homeland, the State of Israel, and its inherent ability to defend itself. And for the United States to be an unwavering partner in Israel’s defense. I have been and always will be committed to those principles.”
The New York Times announcement of the victory says few senators were enthusiastic, but the paper gives it up to J Street.
Supporters of the deal claimed victory. “After a great national debate that has taken place over the past two months, rational argument, solid analysis and sober reflection have won over wild exaggeration, scaremongering and a flood of money,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a Jewish pro-Israel group that supports the nuclear deal.
A broad coalition supported the deal, including the National Iranian American Council, Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink, and the US Campaign to End the Occupation.
Politico has a good report on the pressure on MD’s Ben Cardin stemming from Israel lobby groups in D.C. and from his own “sizable Jewish” constituency. Like so much other journalism about the deal, the lobby’s fingerprints are all over the opposition.
Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran [an AIPAC group] is putting down more than $80,000 this week in the Washington, D.C., market. On Tuesday evening, AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr was to drive up I-95 to rally against the Iran deal in Pikesville, an influential Jewish population center outside Cardin’s hometown of Baltimore.
Correction: This post originally said Obama needed to get to 40 votes to prevent cloture on debate. He needs 41.