Israel and its lobby lose the Iran Deal all over again, in news of damning wiretaps

US Politics

You’d think that there would be widespread outrage over the story everyone’s talking about today, the Wall Street Journal scoop that the Obama administration spied on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu during the Iran Deal negotiations so as to counter his efforts to sink it. The wiretaps reveal that Israeli officials were up to their necks in the US political process; they “coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes, according to current and former officials familiar with the intercepts.”

The president approved the wiretaps.

Privately, Mr. Obama maintained the monitoring of Mr. Netanyahu on the grounds that it served a “compelling national security purpose,” according to current and former U.S. officials.

That’s right; there’s a compelling national interest in stopping the Israel lobby.

Many have said that President Obama lacks spine? Well, it sure looks like the leak to reporters Adam Entous and Danny Yadron came from the administration, and it’s hard to believe that a leak of this magnitude was not approved by the president. Just when the Israel lobby thought that it was starting to get back to business as usual, the Obama administration has reminded them that something has fundamentally changed in the U.S.-Israel relationship. Not only did we beat the lobby and Israel on the Iran Deal, but: we’re exposing your tactics, and patriotic Americans are going to be very upset by what they see.

Remember that Obama in his highlight moment of the Iran Deal told Americans it would be an “abrogation of my constitutional duty” to defer to Israel’s interests on the Iran Deal. You’d think it would be a scandal that the Israeli PM was intriguing with Republicans — and surely some Democrats– in the way the WSJ has documented; but instead the official reaction is likely to be how outrageous it was for Obama and the NSA to be listening in on the supposed only democracy in the Middle East.

Some of the details from the article:

The U.S., pursuing a nuclear arms agreement with Iran at the time, captured communications between Mr. Netanyahu and his aides that inflamed mistrust between the two countries and planted a political minefield at home when Mr. Netanyahu later took his campaign against the deal to Capitol Hill.

The National Security Agency’s targeting of Israeli leaders and officials also swept up the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups. That raised fears—an “Oh-s— moment,” one senior U.S. official said — that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress…

White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign…

Much of the article substantiates the allegations swirling at the time of the deal, that Netanyahu was getting inside information on the secret negotiations. The eavesdropping revealed to the White House:

How Mr. Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations — learned through Israeli spying operations — to undermine the talks; coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes, according to current and former officials familiar with the intercepts.

The notorious Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer was caught on the tapes:

Mr. Dermer was described as coaching unnamed U.S. organizations — which officials could tell from the context were Jewish-American groups — on lines of argument to use with lawmakers, and Israeli officials were reported pressing lawmakers to oppose the deal…

Israel’s pitch to undecided lawmakers often included such questions as: “How can we get your vote? What’s it going to take?”

Again, no names of US legislators, but this article contains the explicit threat that Israel could expose individuals down the road. The practice is sure to anger Americans and drive an even deeper wedge into the Jewish community over the role of the lobby. Patriotic Jewish Americans are going to be embarrassed yet again by the extent to which Israel tries to subvert our government, using American Jewish friends to do so. And many will walk away from the lobby over this kind of business. The large wavering middle of pro-Israel forces is going to be set back. J Street made the right call on the Iran Deal (reluctantly, I’ve heard) but it will reap a dividend.

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Notre Dame professor Michael Desch’s interpretation: “The lobby and Congress will no doubt try to spin it as more evidence of Obama’s anti-Israel animus. But the story constitutes powerful evidence of 1) divergence of US and Israeli interests on important issues like Iran and 2) close coordination of the lobby and Government of Israel in trying to influence US domestic politics.”

Scott Horton refers to the last big eavesdropping scandal, when then-congresswoman Jane Harman promised a suspected Israeli agent that she would attempt to stop a federal case against American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) staffers in exchange for that agent’s political influence in getting her a committee chair. Jeff Stein reported the story:

Rep. Jane Harman, the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

The suspected Israeli agent was inferred (it was the opinion of Josh Marshall and Ron Kampeas) to be Haim Saban, the giant contributor to the Democratic Party. So a “suspected Israeli agent” is also a giant Democratic funder with influence over the Congress? We’re headed for a showdown between the lobby and the grassroots, inside the Democratic Party. And praise to the Obama administration, who we guess is fueling the controversy out of “compelling national” interest.

71 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    December 30, 2015, 12:42 pm

    The practice is sure to anger Americans and drive an even deeper wedge into the Jewish community over the role of the lobby. Patriotic Jewish Americans are going to be embarrassed yet again by the extent to which Israel tries to subvert our government, using American Jewish friends to do so. And many will walk away from the lobby over this kind of business. The large wavering middle of pro-Israel forces is going to be set back – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net

    i hope you’re right james and phil. but this sounds like a wish list, almost too good to be true!

    • Boomer
      December 30, 2015, 1:55 pm

      re “i hope you’re right james and phil. but this sounds like a wish list, almost too good to be true!”

      Yes, Annie, I agree with you. My attitude to the news was much like that of James and Phil, but I heard NBC News this morning spinning it as an embarrassment for the Obama administration. The implication was, in effect, “How dare Obama spy on Netanyahu and on members of Congress who conspired with him.”

      CBS the morning did present a more balanced perspective, with one of the fill-in anchors noting that Israel bugged the Iran negotiations, and spied on the the U.S. in the past. Their commentator observed that, indeed, it was standard practice among nations. He dinged Obama for “unilaterally disarming” by saying he would respect the privacy of some allied leaders.

      I don’t know how other media sources are spinning it, or what most Americans (the minority who any pay attention) will make of it.

      • Marnie
        December 30, 2015, 1:59 pm

        The question shouldn’t be “how dare Obama spy on Netanyahu and on members of Congress who conspired with him” but “What took him so damn long?”

      • Annie Robbins
        December 30, 2015, 2:09 pm

        if aipac and other american jewish groups serving at the behest of israeli interests were law abiding and registered with FARA (as they should be) we wouldn’t even be having this conversation nor would there be this need to spy because they’d be required as a matter of law to disclose all this lobbying.

      • echinococcus
        December 31, 2015, 12:43 am

        The Zionist operation as exposed is not “lobbying” (Annie) or “a scandal” (Weiss) but an illegal intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. Officially. Not even the A[merican]IPAC pretense –direct intervention.
        The least the administration is obligated to do in order not to totally lose face (i.e. be able to continue pretending that the US is a country independent from the illegitimate Zionist entity) would be expulsion of the ambassador and the usual retaliatory diplomatic measures.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 31, 2015, 3:59 am

        The Zionist operation as exposed is not “lobbying” (Annie) or “a scandal” (Weiss) but an illegal intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign country.

        so you don’t think lobbies engage in illegal intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign country? or cause scandals echi? or are you just launching off from a ‘you’re wrong’ position for the heck of it?

      • echinococcus
        December 31, 2015, 5:04 am

        Annie,
        Not at all, it’s just the distinction between participation in the politics of a country as practiced by its own residents (as ostensibly the lobbies do), or foreign citizens as private persons, or paid representatives of foreign governments openly defending their clients’ interests by lobbying, versus something qualitatively very different: the official intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign country by a foreign power’s authorized representatives trying to suborn parts of the government and directly organizing citizens against their own government. In fact, the latter has often been considered an act of war. I cannot blandly call “scandal”or “lobbying” the US-instigated civil wars in Syria and the Ukraine, just as an example. Qualitatively, the direct interventions by the Zionist Entity ambassador and government members are of the same nature.

    • Emory Riddle
      December 30, 2015, 2:33 pm

      The mainstream media has been silent on this — nada in NY Times, WAPO, the Boston Globe. Where stories have appeared on the internet, the narrative has been how dare Obama spy on out good and great Israeli friends after promising he wouldn’t.

    • xanadou
      December 30, 2015, 3:08 pm

      Ms. Annie, at least there is, finally, a wish list. And the fact that this is a WSJ scoop. First, tentative, steps, perhaps, but Israel can count on the settlers to add fuel to the fire, loudly, in public, and without mincing words.

      Sic transit gloria mundi, Israel?

      • Annie Robbins
        December 30, 2015, 3:32 pm

        oh i think it is a very very good thing xanadou, it just occurs to me somehow vast segments of the uber pro israel fan club are like teflon supermen in that nothing phases them. no amount lobby subterfuge (or what normal people might consider association w/shameful actions) embarrasses them or keeps them from coming back. israel is like a drug to these people, they can’t get enough.

        i very much recall during this whole iran deal fiasco thinking obama had really come through nefariously exposing the nefariousness lobby. and no matter how outed and farcical it became (remember Senator who spearheaded letter to Iran got $1 million from Kristol’s ‘Emergency C’tee for Israel’ – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net ) whole swaths of the msm were parroting lobby talking pts ( nasty obama is tanking our relationship w/israel!!!!) — and even clinton was saying stuff like ‘things will be so much better when i get elected, i will heal our relationship w/israel’ ect etc

        so i get all excited like — finally everyone will see what i see! and the teflon man comes right back at us, seemingly unphased. it’s not that i’ve lost my optimism (i haven’t) it just that i don’t think we’ve arrived. iow, for those uber fans of israel i don’t think “The practice is sure to anger” Americans them. and while it may “drive an even deeper wedge into the Jewish community over the role of the lobby”, this hard core group driving the lobby and support for israel are not going to be embarrassed. they will step up their game and the msm, whether broadcast or print, will just keep on citing those uber neocons as they have been doing over the last decade.

        i really thought once bush was out and obama was in they’d lose their golden positioning in the media but that has not happened. until someone sticks a fork thru them their influence will live on like vampires who never die.

      • Mooser
        December 30, 2015, 3:42 pm

        ” it’s not that i’ve lost my optimism (i haven’t) “

        Some amount of “optimism” or hope, even if small, is a necessary prerequisite for non-violent activism, and a good one, too.

      • JWalters
        December 30, 2015, 4:05 pm

        “israel is like a drug to these people”

        There may be drugs involved, but it could also be garden variety bribery and blackmail.
        link to consortiumnews.com
        Regardless of the Israeli die-hards, the more this whole issue gets discussed the more people will post informative comments in the MSM, and the more people will realize the MSM is Israeli-controlled. It’s a wilder, more interesting, and more engaging story than any Hollywood spy movie. It could go viral. I’m guessing it’s becoming nerve-wracking to those facing possible jail time.

      • lysias
        December 30, 2015, 4:35 pm

        Is the WSJ doing this to hurt Hillary?

      • MHughes976
        December 30, 2015, 6:23 pm

        The Teflon of the Man is made of years of uncritical thinking, unstoppable habit and abundant money. The likes of us have made the transition from negligible to noticeable, which I think is very much to the credit of Mondoweiss especially. The transition from noticed to respected has yet to be made. But perhaps the Man will turn out to be like King Minos’ bronze version, who had a little catch behind his knee – if you could find and open it his life would flow right out.

      • RoHa
        December 30, 2015, 6:54 pm

        Pssst, Annie.

        Nothing fazes them.

      • RoHa
        December 30, 2015, 6:57 pm

        “israel is like a drug to these people, they can’t get enough’

        Perhaps we could think of a clever name for it. Zionin? Ziojana? Zioneine?

        Any ideas, Mooser?

    • Blownaway
      December 30, 2015, 5:22 pm

      If this is an administration leak it’s very clumsy. It’s being spun as very anti Obama and even Rubio might make an appearance in the snare to investigate spying on our strongest allies. The only way this comes out positive for the good guys if we actually get to hear what it took to get those votes… Now that would be very interesting. That’s also why this will fade very quickly

    • bryan
      December 31, 2015, 3:39 am

      The journalist wakes up each morning having dreamt of the amazing scoop, the incredible coup, the assiduous investigative journalism that will spill the beans, will open peoples’ eye, will transform understanding, will reshape reality, and shatter the system.

      The publisher goes to sleep each night, and sleeps very soundly, knowing full well that he and his friends have nothing to fear from mere “facts”, which can easily be contradicted, countered, spun or simply hidden. It is he that weaves the web, that presents a much deeper reality than mere “facts” can ever do, because he and his friends, and allies, members of his interest groups, and of his class and of the elite, control the system, and are intimately linked to peers within the media, educational, political, military and commercial systems, the cultural system in its widest sense.

      Much as I admire your journalism it seems too often to descend into wishful thinking (“We’re headed for a showdown between the lobby and the grassroots, inside the Democratic Party.”) Your own story contadicts that conclusion: you quote Michael Desch (“But the story constitutes powerful evidence of 1) divergence of US and Israeli interests on important issues like Iran and 2) close coordination of the lobby and Government of Israel in trying to influence US domestic politics.”) Such powerful evidence has been readily available for years if not decades now, and nothing much has changed – the Iran Accord was a closely run thing, and it is too early to call that one, with Presidential candidates queueing up to overturn or neuter the deal.

  2. David Doppler
    December 30, 2015, 2:20 pm

    A fascinating WSJ story, with a great deal more depth.

    E.g., the President’s fear of using his own power, or being accused of abusing it. When the intercepts of Israelis “swept up contents of some of their private conversations with US lawmakers and American-Jewish groups. That raised fears – an ‘Oh-s— moment,’ one senior US official said – that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.”

    . . . .

    “[t]he White House let NSA decide what to share and what to withhold.” . . . . “The agency’s goal was ‘to give us an accurate illustrative picture of what [the Israelis] were doing,’ a senior US official said.”

    That’s known as being afraid of your own shadow (also abrogating presidential duty to oversee NSA – “no, you oversee us – we trust you more than anyone trusts us.”

    E.g., “Despite NSA surveillance, Obama administration officials said they were caught off guard when Mr. Beohner announced the invitation on Jan.21.”

    Does this signal Dermer which of his communications were secure and which compromised?

    E.g., “NSA intelligence reports helped the White House figure out which Israeli government officials had leaked information from confidential US briefings.”

    Does this let someone know his efforts to conceal his actions were breached?

    Overall, however, I agree, it is likely to anger many especially those who support Trump and Sanders, who are fed up with Washington business as usual, who don’t like purchased influence driving the US toward war. More grist for the potential that Hillary may to have carry the Israel Lobby on her back in her fights against both Sanders and Trump. And Trump isn’t afraid to kick the hornet’s nest.

    As to the Harman affair, you neglect to mention how effective the campaign was to block charges against the AIPAC officials, although Harman’s efforts were apparently not part of the winning strategy. I assume you mean that Saban was the assumed Israeli agent in the Harman affair, not this recent Dermer initiative.

  3. xanadou
    December 30, 2015, 2:50 pm

    Israel is looking at the dividends of its inept statesmanship, whether at the governmental level by officials calling the POTUS, in public venues, a monkey, and the endless stream of hateful remarks hurled at the US taxpayers ) or tribal level, by corrupting the diaspora to do Israel’s bidding.

    Without this support Israel would be a country of no consequence, and yet there is no end to their contempt for the diaspora and the critically important source of the funding that makes possible Israel’s survival.

    One wonders: if the diaspora is supposed to be so gung-ho for Israel, why does its support come at a price other than patriotic satisfaction?

  4. pabelmont
    December 30, 2015, 3:00 pm

    As to Saban was the intermediary for Harmon, the authors have put that ideea in doubt:

    (See my correction at the bottom of this post. It’s less clear than I originally thought that we know Saban was the person on the other end of the phone call. Time notes that Saban did lobby Pelosi on Harman’s behalf and seems to suggest this as a possible part of the quid pro quo. But a closer look leaves the identity of Harman’s interlocutor an open question.)

  5. JWalters
    December 30, 2015, 3:46 pm

    “asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes”

    In other words, “Name your price”. Here we have a foreign government trying to corrupt American Congress members in order to sabotage an American president’s efforts to establish peace in the world.

    This foreign government has a highly profitable weapons industry, and has been relentlessly pushing America into Middle East war for over a decade. Further, it has covered up its nefarious influence by gaining control of the mainstream news establishment in America.

    “The truth is that the neocons and their liberal-hawk allies now control virtually the entire mainstream news media, from The New York Times and The Washington Post to NPR and the major networks to Fox News and most of right-wing talk radio.” From “The Misinformation Mess” –
    link to consortiumnews.com

    This foreign government’s corrupt influence goes back even further. President Kennedy was upset at certain campaign “donors” demands to control America’s foreign policy in the Middle East, and he tried to get agents of this country properly registered as agents of a foreign government. Unfortunately his efforts were cut short by assassination. These influences were in action even earlier than the Kennedy administration, as described in “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”.

    President Obama will do a great service for freedom of speech and democracy if he can find a way to flush this murderous corruption from American politics.

  6. MaxNarr
    December 30, 2015, 4:05 pm

    The real story here damning revelation of the outrageous spying on Israel by the USA government. Remember, lobbying is perfectly legal and there were no laws broken by Israel’s representatives or supporters.

    There WERE laws broken by illegally wiretapping these communications and those responsible will be persecuted.

    We should see a full and unmitigated apology by the USA government as well as a categorically release from all bail conditions on former Prisoner of Zion, Jonathan Pollard, he should be allowed to come home to Israel.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 30, 2015, 5:24 pm

      Remember, lobbying is perfectly legal

      not at the behest of foreign countries.

      There WERE laws broken by illegally wiretapping these communications

      au contraire, i think international calls are considered fair game. but you go ahead and take on NSA over their spying. lots of americans would appreciate it.

      • Jasonius Maximus
        December 31, 2015, 1:38 pm

        Annie makes a salient point, that also touches very close as to why the spin coming out of the MSM is so heavily geared to the Obama administration’s so-called abuse of office or their purported breech of the Constitution.

        The rhetoric we’re hearing is an overt attempt to divert our attention from the very real abuse of office and unconstitutional behavior of the U.S. lawmakers and their lobbyist accomplices who were caught red-handed undermining and interfering with U.S. foreign policy while engaging directly with, and at the behest, of a foreign head of state and in the interests of said foreign leader’s government and not that of the nation of which they themselves are citizens, to which they swore an oath to serve and whose Constitution they are legally obliged to uphold!

        Again. Just a reminder. Conversations of U.S. lawmakers were intercepted and scooped up during monitoring of the DIRECT communications of a FOREIGN head of state! Imagine if the foreign head of state in question caught directly interfering, influencing or talking to our lawmakers was someone like Bashar al-Assad? Or Muammar Gaddafi? Or Kim Jong-un? Or Raúl Castro?
        Or what if one of these U.S. lawmakers in question was caught unwittingly leaking sensitive U.S. intelligence regarding the Iran negotiations to Netanyahu or Dermer? We would certainly be having a very different conversation right now!

        Regardless of whether the leader of a foreign nation is an ally or enemy of the homeland, there is a VERY good reason why the NSA monitors their communications. One of them being to intercept EXACTLY this kind of potential for foreign heads of state to influence or exert pressure on U.S. lawmakers, intelligence agents or citizens to act in sole favor of said foreign nation’s interests or contrary to U.S. interests or policies. Which is exactly what this exposé has revealed to the American public.

        It’s little wonder that Obama and Kerry kept the details of the Iran negotiations and offers on the table as close to their chest as possible and away from what appears to be a highly compromised Congress.

    • amigo
      December 30, 2015, 6:01 pm

      “There WERE laws broken by illegally wiretapping these communications and those responsible will be persecuted. ” Max (debunked )Narr.

      What,s with the persecution threat. Doesn,t good old “prosecution ” appeal to your zionist taste.

    • Bumblebye
      December 30, 2015, 7:12 pm

      @MaxFool

      What about Israel breaking the law by spying on the talks in Geneva back in the summer? There was a quick media (not US) flurry then nothing further. The rooms had been bugged. The culprits could be subject to US law.

      As the article says:

      “How Mr Netanyahu and his advisors had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations – learned through Israeli spying operations”.

      I commented back then.
      link to mondoweiss.net

    • bryan
      December 31, 2015, 2:38 am

      Max – you are talking unadulterated rubbish: Israel spies outrageously on the USA and the USA has to reciprocate. Not all countries do spy on each other: the USA and its closest allies have developed very high levels of intelligence sharing, and this complex relationship defines America’s real allies – Israel figures nowhere in the list.

      America / United Kingdom / Canada / Australia / New Zealand (Five Eyes), + Denmark, Netherlands, France, Norway (Nine Eyes), + Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Spain (Fourteen Eyes). Other key western allies like Japan and South Korea are also within the relationship, at a lower level. The list you will note includes all the major “western” liberal democracies, with which America has formed robust and long-lasting alliances. For some reason (I’m sure you can guess) Israel appears nowhere, and has never been a formal ally of the USA, and shares none of the intimate interests with the US that its NATO and SEATO allies so obviously share.

      See link to en.wikipedia.org

  7. lysias
    December 30, 2015, 4:32 pm

    Will this put a spike in Hillary’s campaign?

  8. Jackdaw
    December 30, 2015, 4:35 pm

    Phil and James make spying on your friends, a virtue.
    I’m not so sure.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 30, 2015, 5:21 pm

      netanyahu is not our friend. he was out to tank our foreign policy re iran.

    • Mooser
      December 30, 2015, 5:26 pm

      “make spying on your friends”

      In what way is Israel a friend of the US?

      • Jackdaw
        December 30, 2015, 11:56 pm

        “In what way is Israel a friend of the US?”

        Vis a vis Iran. Vis a vis Islamism.

        The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

      • Shingo
        December 31, 2015, 1:15 am

        Um Israel tried o sabotage US policy on Iran.

        Israel is helping ISIS and Al Nusra.

        How is that being a friend to the US?

      • echinococcus
        December 31, 2015, 2:01 am

        Shingo,

        Considering that

        US Congress tried o sabotage US policy on Iran,

        The US is helping ISIS and Al Nusra,

        I’d argue that the Zionist government is at least moving together with that of the US. I wouldn’t know about friendships.

      • Kay24
        December 31, 2015, 3:05 am

        Israel is no friend. Friends do not interfere in the policies of another country, try to control their officials, nor do they disrespect the leader of that country.

        Israel is simply a parasite that feeds on American blood, and pretends it is an ally.

      • Jackdaw
        December 31, 2015, 8:30 am

        @shingo

        “Um Israel tried o sabotage US policy on Iran.”

        No sabotage.
        Netanyahu publicly opposed the deal, as dd many Americans, and Netanyahu stood in front of the US Congress and openly denounced the plan. What sabotage?

        “Israel is helping ISIS and Al Nusra.”

        No help to ISIS. Flat out lie.
        But Israel has medically treated Al Nusra, FSA as well as Syrian government pilots.
        Equal humanitarian treatment to combatants and civilians who show up wounded at her border, and no more.

      • talknic
        December 31, 2015, 11:54 am

        @ Jackdaw
        //“Um Israel tried o sabotage US policy on Iran.”//

        “No sabotage”

        Unsuccessful, they “tried”

        “Equal humanitarian treatment to combatants and civilians who show up wounded at her border, and no more”

        Except if you’re Palestinian.

      • Kris
        December 31, 2015, 12:57 pm

        Israel is not only not our friend, it is not even benign enough to rank as a frenemy.

        It was the neo-cons, motivated in great part by support of Israel, whose influence in our government has resulted in our unending wars in the Middle East since 9/11. According to Osama Bin Laden, U.S. support for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians was a motivating factor in the 9/11 attack.

        Those wars have created huge misery in the U.S., not to mention the suffering of all our victims overseas. President Eisenhower said,

        Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.

        It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

        The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

        It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

        It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.

        We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

        We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

        This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

        This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

        When we see homeless people begging on our streets and sleeping on the sidewalks, when we can’t afford such “luxuries” as public libraries, decent public schools and healthcare, after-school programs, drug treatment programs, upgraded infrastructure, etc., etc., etc., we can thank, in good part, Israel and its malignant influence on the U.S.

    • amigo
      December 30, 2015, 5:35 pm

      “Phil and James make spying on your friends, a virtue.” jackduh

      USS Liberty.

      Pollard.

      • Citizen
        December 30, 2015, 6:38 pm

        Lavon Affair

  9. lysias
    December 30, 2015, 4:42 pm

    Israel is showing its chutpzah, presenting itself as the wronged party in all of this. i24news: Israel will submit official protest if reports of US spying are true:

    White House does not deny the Wall Street Journal’s report that US spied on Netanyahu

    Israel’s Intelligence Minister reacted Wednesday to claims by the Wall Street Journal that the White House authorized monitoring of Prime Minister’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s communications and that Israel had attempted to spy on the US.

    “Israel does not spy in the US and we expect the same from our great friend. If the reports turn out to be true, Israel must submit and official protest to the US and demand to cease such activity,” said Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz.

    Meanwhile, CNN, in reporting the story, only says Israel and members of Congress were spied on, and says nothing about what they were communicating about.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 30, 2015, 5:19 pm

      “Israel does not spy in the US and we expect the same from our great friend.

      the US hardly had to spy on israel to intercept calls to and from US congress. maybe if netanyahu doesn’t want to be spied upon he should stop calling them. everyone knows our government phone taps american citizens, congresspeople too apparently.

  10. amigo
    December 30, 2015, 5:32 pm

    Let,s hope all the Israel firsters —bought and paid for senators will demand investigations , in an effort to take down the President and the Dems and pave the way for a republican administration..Should make for some interesting revelations about the manner in which a foreign nation seeks and mostly succeeds in controlling US foreign policy.

    Well, I can dream, can,t I.

  11. Citizen
    December 30, 2015, 6:44 pm

    WSJ today headlines “U.S. SPYING NABS ALLIES”
    “Michael Hayden, who led the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency during the George W. Bush administration, described the intelligence relationship between the U.S. and Israel as “the most combustible mixture of intimacy and caution that we have.”

  12. Don
    December 30, 2015, 6:51 pm

    Speaking of Isreali interference in American politics, there is an interesting article in the Forward by JJ Goldberg…first paragraph…

    “Trigger warning: This column may offend some readers. It concerns profiling of Muslims (for terrorism) and of Jews (for espionage). The issues aren’t as different as you might wish. Proceed at your own risk.”

    link to forward.com

  13. hophmi
    December 30, 2015, 6:58 pm

    Only here is this story big news. What did we learn?

    1. Israel and America spy on one another. Nothing new.

    2. Israel, like every other country, has a national interest, and, like every other country, they lobby US legislators when necessary. You think that the Saudis, the funders of extreme Islam and terrorism around the world, but somehow an American ally, don’t lobby people on the Hill? Nothing new there.

    3. American Jewish groups who believed that the Iran deal was bad for the United States worked with groups that shared their goals, just as groups like Saudi-funded, unindicted terrorism co-conspirator CAIR work with groups that share their goals. Nothing new.

    4. Patriotic Americans support Israel, because it is a reliable ally and the only non-whackjob state in the Middle East. Those that do not support Israel also support Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and Ayatollah Khomenei in Iran, and generally have a poor record of opposing the widespread human rights violations throughout the Middle East.

    • diasp0ra
      December 30, 2015, 7:27 pm

      @hophmi

      “4. Patriotic Americans support Israel, because it is a reliable ally and the only non-whackjob state in the Middle East. Those that do not support Israel also support Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and Ayatollah Khomenei in Iran, and generally have a poor record of opposing the widespread human rights violations throughout the Middle East.”

      What is a patriotic American? How do you define patriotism? Can a patriot that doesn’t support Israel exist? Are Americans that don’t support Israel automatically Assad supporters?

      This is a nonsense paragraph hophmi, you’re just dressing up the “No true scotsman” logical fallacy. It’s a fallacy all the same.

      By the way, Israel has a terrible history of supporting human rights. Not even bringing up its own terrible performance, it has been a supporter of regimes such as Apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia, it even sent officers to help quell the anti-colonial movement in Angola, among many other examples. Glass houses and all that.

      • hophmi
        December 30, 2015, 9:12 pm

        Ask Phil what a patriotic American is. He’s the one who shamefully implied that American Jews who support Israel are unpatriotic.

        Yes, like every other nation on earth, Israel has supported some bad regimes. Name a country that hasn’t.

      • diasp0ra
        December 30, 2015, 9:42 pm

        @hophmi

        So you went from “these people are bad because they support abuses of human rights” to “well everyone commits human right abuses so Israel shouldn’t be blamed”.

        Pick one.

    • RoHa
      December 30, 2015, 7:30 pm

      “Patriotic Americans support Israel, because it is a reliable ally”

      What has Israel ever done for America?

      “and the only non-whackjob state in the Middle East.”

      And you can say that with a straight face! What discipline!

    • talknic
      December 31, 2015, 11:59 am

      @ hophmi

      “Only here is this story big news. What did we learn?

      1. Israel and America spy on one another”

      Uh huh

      “Israel does not spy in the US and we expect the same from our great friend. If the reports turn out to be true, Israel must submit and official protest to the US and demand to cease such activity,” said Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz.”
      link to i24news.tv

      Seems the Hasbaristas need to get their stories coordinated

  14. RobinSMessing
    December 30, 2015, 7:09 pm

    Why AIPAC should be registered as a Foreign Agent

    link to themessinglink.com

    Michael Oren tweeted

    “AIPAC is Israel’s national strategic asset”

    link to twitter.com

  15. Les
    December 30, 2015, 7:51 pm

    Long before the internet, the phone, and the first printed book, it was the custom for countries to spy on each other. It is also not new that one country looks for citizens in another country who are willing to commit treason against their own.

    Congressman Jane Harman did not go to jail for her treason but FBI translator Shamai Leibowitz did for going public after the FBI refused to prosecute her.

  16. Rusty Pipes
    December 30, 2015, 9:05 pm

    If the White House was the source of leaks for this story in the WSJ, it is possible that average Americans were not the primary targets for this information. Not only has the WSJ long catered to the interests of the 1% — it used to be described as having a crack journalism staff and a crack-pot editorial page. In recent years, its reporting has tilted toward neocon bias as well. The WSJ also is only available online to subscribers. So, the average American would not be expected to read this story straight from the WSJ, with or without its usual bias. (Not to mention that this story broke between Christmas and New Year’s, a low news-consuming time of year). In addition, other MSM outlets can not be depended upon to fully cover, if mentioned at all, a story that reflects badly on Israel or the Israel Lobby.

    People who do read the WSJ include those who give or receive large donations to political campaigns and Political Action Committees. They include people who give large tax-deductible donations to organizations that claim to qualify as 501c-3 charities. Is the White House signaling that there might be consequences from this evidence of the Israeli government coordinating closely with American Zionist charities to thwart American foreign policy? Will the justice department start pressing espionage charges that will have more sticking power than the Franklin, Rosen case? Having good evidence that many congresspeople, including some from his own party, are unable or unwilling to support the Executive branch in foreign policy where there are differences with the government of Israel, Is the White House signaling that it is ready to use its power in the UNSC to bring a resolution to Israel/ Palestine?

  17. Tchoupitoulas
    December 30, 2015, 10:56 pm

    Adam Entous also broke this August 2014 story at the WSJ, which was suspected to be a leak from the Administration and a jab at Netanyahu:

    link to wsj.com

    Gaza Crisis: Israel Outflanks the White House on Strategy
    White House Now Scrutinizing Israeli Requests for Ammunition

    Excerpt:

    JERUSALEM—White House and State Department officials who were leading U.S. efforts to rein in Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval.

    Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel. But Israeli and U.S. officials say that the adroit bureaucratic maneuvering made it plain how little influence the White House and State Department have with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—and that both sides know it.

    He must have good connections. Wonder what Brett Stephens thinks of that.

    • Kay24
      December 31, 2015, 3:11 am

      The White House should have known better, trusted less, and kept a sharp eye out for devious acts and theft of ammunition and weapons. If zionists can steal lands, what is to stop them from quietly “securing ammunition” without the knowledge of the Pentagon? The zionists are without scruples, and are morally bankrupt. Perhaps this is why they are one of the most disliked in the world.

      • echinococcus
        December 31, 2015, 8:12 am

        Do you really believe the Zionists don’t already have the keys to all arms and ammunition and such? In fact, sometimes the situation looks as if the US government had to ask Tel-Aviv for permission to get access to them.

      • Kay24
        December 31, 2015, 10:12 pm

        I am sure they do, but it is the arrogance and control that is unbelievable.

  18. Kay24
    December 31, 2015, 1:57 am

    There are signs that there is some anger against Israel from the US government. I do not blame Obama for approving this wiretapping (or spying on) Netanyahu. He has openly disrespected Obama, manipulated the US Congress, defied the President by blatantly criticizing his policies regarding the Iran nuclear deal, and even trying to sabotage this effort. He deserves to be treated like an outcast, and never allowed to step into the WH, like other hostile leaders. I really don’t think Israel qualifies to be called an “ally”. No ally will behave like a ungrateful and manipulative brat.

    A law disallowing foreign connected entities to buy members of Congress is long overdue. Until
    this is halted, the controlling and manipulation will continue. We have a shameless, greedy lot, in Congress, willing to sell their souls to the zionist devils, and become puppets to the master puppeteer.

    An interesting article how Israeli lobbies like AIPAC works. How the zio demons bribe weak Americans with offers of jobs and scholarships:

    link to globalresearch.ca

  19. calm
    December 31, 2015, 4:50 am

    When I first read the WSJ article, I was left with the thought that NSA wiretaps would expose the duplicity of some members of congress and then could be used to entice these same members to vote for the deal or be exposed or accused of treason with threats that recordings of such conversations with Bibi and The Boys being leaked.

    Calm

  20. Schpicasso
    December 31, 2015, 9:06 am

    Excuse me for my non intended sarcasm, but I never got to understand why Israel is so preposterously scared of Iran?, that went so in to trouble, and now it seems like double trouble!

  21. John O
    December 31, 2015, 9:22 am

    The WSJ is part of Rupert Murdoch’s empire, so I can’t help but wonder how he fits into this story.

  22. Amar
    December 31, 2015, 12:24 pm

    Nothing will come out of this. American public will not be aware of the finer details which will be played down by MSM and forgotten in a couple of weeks. If the Israelis could get away with far, far more perturbing deeds like the attack on the U.S.S Liberty and killing 34 American servicemen, they can do anything and get away with it.

    • lysias
      December 31, 2015, 4:02 pm

      At the time of the attack on the Liberty, the president, LBJ, was in the pocket of the Israelis. (I just this by his behavior, but I strongly suspect that both LBJ and the Israelis were involved in the JFK assassination, and that there was thus implicit blackmail — LBJ could not afford to antagonize the Israelis).

      Is Obama in their pocket? He certainly seems not to be.

      • lysias
        December 31, 2015, 4:17 pm

        I meant “I judge this”.

  23. James Canning
    December 31, 2015, 1:25 pm

    Are some US Jewish groups willing to undermine US national security interests, in hopes of making it easier for Israel to continue to grow its illegal colonies of Jews in the occupied West Bank? The answer seems obvious.

  24. mariapalestina
    December 31, 2015, 3:29 pm

    To make it easier and more convenient for Israel to get its nasty hands on U.S. weapons when it finds itself running short during one of its attacks on Gaza, we apparently store more than a billion dollars worth of our weapons in Israel. Is this for our convenience or theirs?

    link to middleeastmonitor.com

  25. jaybs
    January 1, 2016, 6:50 am

    When will American Jews realise the damage the Israeli leadership, The IDF and Zionist Settlers do the good name of Jewish People. Israel can no longer be allowed to dictate and accept International Law as they come and please, no one denies the rights for Israel to defend themselves, but there is a big difference in defence and outright aggression against many Innocent Palestinian people, especially the way they treat young children going to school daily, last wee Israel admitted freely in the end they were spraying poison on Palestinian farms to kill crops? is this the behaviour of a decent country/

    How much longer are American taxpayers going to finance this constant war machine for Israel? and sit back and allow the extreme Zionist settlers to steal even more land, with protection by the IDF? which is against all international law?

    The constant killing would come to an end if the USA stopped all funding to The State of Israel, and all funds being sent there by US Groups. Israel must accept rulings made by The United Nations, they must allow free access to Palestine by independent observers.

    2016 is a new year, lets kick out the old ideas, the young people in Palestine are wrong, but how would you feel if you were treated like Israel treat them? it has to STOP and the USA & IN must now stand together and they start doing the dictating to the Israeli leadership not the other way any longer.

    • echinococcus
      January 1, 2016, 10:58 am

      When will American Jews realise the damage the Israeli leadership, The IDF and Zionist Settlers do the good name of Jewish People

      What damage? Among many things , a majority of them also share the idea of a “good name” with Daesh/ISIS: a good name is the one most repellent to most of the people.

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