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‘Hill’ says Iran deal could alienate Democrats’ ‘pillar’– ‘big Jewish donors’

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All I’ve ever asked for: honest reporting about the source of the lobby’s power. The Hill’s headline is “Iranian nuclear deal strains Obama’s relations with big Jewish donors.” Some of Alexander Bolton’s story:

The Iran nuclear deal has put new strains on President Obama’s relationship with Jewish donors, a pillar of Democratic fundraising.

Obama attacked the issue head-on, telling about 120 donors who paid $16,200 per person to attend the dinner at Saban’s sprawling estate that the agreement with Iran opens “the prospect that we’ll be able to, through peaceful, diplomatic means, remove this cloud that has hovered over the Middle East that had the potential and continues to have the potential of triggering a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world.”


120 times 16,200 is nearly $2 million. At the home of a Democrat who loves Israel and is a huge supporter of the Clintons. Yes, Saban is supportive of the deal; but maybe this explains why Obama called Jewish organizational leaders to lay out the deal, including the ADL,which has been criticizing him at every turn. What power does the ADL have over Obama: essentially, an ethnic appeal he must be cognizant of. Why can’t the Times write about this every day? We all know how important it is.

Some of Bolton’s roll-call of Democrats who are alarmed by the deal:

Rob Fox, a Democratic fundraiser who supports federal candidates in Pennsylvania, slammed the deal…

Jeff Robbins, a Democratic lawyer and fundraiser based in Boston, said many Jewish Democrats agree with Schumer.

“There is a strong concern that in the frenetic eagerness to secure a piece of paper, an eagerness that could not have been more ostentatiously advertised, the United States and others went for a deal which was not consistent with the leverage that was had.”

He said that, in pursuit of a deal, the administration took “crude, petulant and harmful swipes at Israel” that were “difficult to understand from a friend.”

Robbins also criticized Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim that Israeli officials were disparaging the emerging deal without being fully briefed on its details.

“Stuff that seems aimed of fomenting a view of those who are concerned about Israel as somehow obsessive-compulsive or worse,” he said.

And last night Chris Matthews and David Corn repeatedly slammed neoconservatives and Republicans for opposing the Iran deal. What is that saying about Get your own house in order first? They are mystifying the actual political sources of this dysfunction. And note: Obama just raised $1 million at the Philadelphia home of Matthews’s boss, David Cohen of Comcast, with a lot of Jewish shtik.

Sullivan is mystified:

And here is Senator Chuck Schumer, vowing to destroy the foreign policy of a president of his own party by urging – along with others – that the Senate do what it can – again – to sabotage the president’s careful negotiations with a foreign power, which are clearly part of his executive responsibilities:

This level of open sabotage against the American president – decried by Democrats when it was the GOP attempting to bring down the global economy, and lamented when it meant gutting the president’s ability to appoint judges to vacant seats, and denigrated when Republican governors refuse to expand Medicaid – is nonetheless subject to no push-back at all when it comes to the Middle East. I still don’t get it. But I guess I never will.

Andrew, I think you do get it. Because if we are honest, we must speak of what David Remnick described on Charlie Rose the other night — on a program where he decried the absence of Palestinian voices — rightwing Jewish “pressure” and “influence.”

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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18 Responses

  1. JohnAdamTurnbull on November 26, 2013, 12:27 pm

    If I had the kind of money that some of the Democratic Party donors have, I’d be wondering how much more I could make by trading with Iran. A market of 75 million in a country that makes cars and airplanes, and pumps oil has to be pretty interesting.

    Surely some of the motivation toward normal relations is a business interest. Even in Israel, there was covert trading with Iran as recently as late 2011.

    Israel’s economic future is tied very closely to the imputed value of its offshore gas. Competition with Iran as an energy supplier won’t help.

    • Nevada Ned on November 26, 2013, 5:20 pm

      In the 1980’s, Israel and the US Reagan administration sold WEAPONS to the Iranian government.
      Today, nobody who matters likes to remember that.
      But don’t take my word for it:
      Check out Iran/Contra scandal on the web!

  2. American on November 26, 2013, 12:55 pm

    LOL……..yep, they ‘get it’ they just wont say it.

    Not being totally honest is the same as lying imo. Particulary in ‘hiding’ the real issues and culprits from the public.
    My hanging list in order of responsibility for the Isr mess is:
    First – the politicians
    Second – the press and media whores
    Third – the I – Firsters

    Without the first two the third one couldnt have gotten a foothold to begin with.

    • Citizen on November 27, 2013, 7:19 am

      I agree with your priorities.
      In law, the distinction is phrased “lies of commission” and “lies of omission.”

  3. pabelmont on November 26, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Be nice if, generally, large donors to Dems (who contribute one imagines because they wish to support some sort of progressive values) CONTINUE to support Dems, and especially Obama (though what is HE collecting money for — is he running for something?) EVEN AFTER IRAN DEAL.

    However, if they don’t (or make clwear that they will not in future) — Obama becomes outcast and therefore allowed to do as he will without fear of further “punishment”. I look forward to his UN Ambassador introducing a pull-down-the-settlement-and-wall resolution-with-teeth (in that case) (or in ANY case, for there are three more years).

    • lysias on November 26, 2013, 2:46 pm

      All that the Obama administration would have to do would be to stop vetoing Security Council resolutions that Israel doesn’t like.

  4. marc b. on November 26, 2013, 1:44 pm

    He said that, in pursuit of a deal, the administration took “crude, petulant and harmful swipes at Israel” that were “difficult to understand from a friend.”

    boo. hoo.

    He said that, in pursuit of a deal, Netanyahu took “crude, petulant and harmful swipes at the President of the United States” that were “difficult to understand from the donor of several billion dollars in annual aid and serial vote blocker in the UNSC.”

  5. DICKERSON3870 on November 26, 2013, 2:18 pm

    RE: “What power does the ADL have over Obama . . .” ~ Weiss

    ANSWER: The same power* that the ADL had over Richard Nixon by virtue of having helped to defend him against charges of anti-Semitism.** He owed them bigtime (hence his agreement with Golda Meir to overlook Israel’s nukes***).

    * quite similar to the power Christian groups now have over David Vitter by virtue of having publicly forgiven him for his transgressions with prostitutes

    ** SEE: “Nixon and the Jews. Again.” ~ By David Greenberg,, 3/02/02

    [EXCERPT] As in the past, the recent reports of Nixon’s Jew-bashing were followed by professions of shock. (The Anti-Defamation League’s press release is here.) Such shows of indignation are probably on balance a good thing, reaffirming as they do that the president shouldn’t be seeking revenge against a particular ethnic group. Yet they also betray either an incredibly short memory or a measure of disingenuousness. Have journalists forgotten the identical slurs heard on earlier tapes? Or the stories in 1994 reporting that, according to Haldeman’s then-just-published diaries, Graham spoke to Nixon of “Satanic” Jews? Nixon’s loyalists are no less opportunistic. For them the periodic disclosures serve as occasions to pen op-eds explaining why their benefactor, despite the slurs, really wasn’t a Jew-hater. (The late Herb Stein, Nixon’s [Jewish] chief economist, wrote one of these apologias in Slate.)

    Defending Nixon from charges of anti-Semitism has occupied his supporters for a half-century. The accusations date to the postwar years, when the American right remained closely tied to the unvarnished anti-Semites of the ’30s who railed against the “Jew Deal.” Although Nixon never publicly voiced any of this old-fashioned bigotry, some of his political kinsmen did, and his strident anti-communism played with the Jew-hating fringe. (Extreme anti-communism always contained an anti-Semitic component: Radical, alien Jews, in their demonology, orchestrated the Communist conspiracy.) In Nixon’s early campaigns, anti-Semitism was a latent theme.

    When the Republicans nominated Nixon as their vice-presidential candidate in 1952, some opponents accused him of anti-Semitism. Nixon had Murray Chotiner, his (Jewish) campaign manager, secure the ADL’s stamp of approval. Still, into the summer voters inundated campaign headquarters with letters asking about Nixon’s feelings toward Jews. . .


    *** ADL’s Foxman: Nixon Was Anti-Semitic Despite Support of Israel [VIDEO, 04:19] –

  6. Krauss on November 26, 2013, 2:20 pm

    In the aftermath of the Pew study, Steven Bayme one of the highest-ranked machers in the American Jewish Committee, said that the danger was that despite all the hoopla about disappearing secular Jewry, it would all be forgotten if there is significant movement on Iran.

    I guess he was right. There are many communal issues in the American Jewish community that needs to be adressed. But the domination of Zionism over any and every other concern has meant that all the political energy is devoted to a single cause.

    Partly this is because of the disappearance of anti-Semitism. The ADL is today more an organization for Israel than vice versa. But it also shows the disaster of trying to supplant a Jewish identity with a secular religion; Zionism.

  7. American on November 26, 2013, 2:26 pm

    How many actual big’ Jewish donors are there?..that donate specifically for Israel?
    A 100, a 1000? …..any one really know?

    PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCING…..only way to cure most of our corruption.

  8. lysias on November 26, 2013, 2:44 pm

    Joe Biden’s former fundraising aide Jeff Connaughton is quite explicit in his recent book The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins about how important Jewish donors are to the campaigns of Democratic politicians.

  9. lysias on November 26, 2013, 3:09 pm

    CNN Poll: Most in U.S. favor negotiations with Iran over nukes:

    Washington (CNN) — Three-quarters of Americans say they favor direct diplomatic negotiations with Iran in an attempt to prevent that country from developing nuclear weapons, according to a new national poll.

    Just one in five questioned in a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning say they opposed negotiations with Tehran.

    . . .

    “Large majorities in all major demographic categories favor negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program, including 87% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans. This is nothing new for the U.S. public — in 2009, virtually the same number of Americans said they favored negotiations with Iran,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

    The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International September 27-29, with 803 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

    Since the polling was at the end of September, I imagine the support for negotiations, after their success, is even greater today.

    • ritzl on November 26, 2013, 7:54 pm

      That would put Israel, the Lobby, and BJDs in direct opposition to the vast majority of US voters and military moms. Voters and moms who are paying attention, finally.

  10. John Douglas on November 26, 2013, 3:48 pm

    “He [Jeff Robbins] said that, in pursuit of a deal, the administration took “crude, petulant and harmful swipes at Israel” that were “difficult to understand from a friend.”
    “crude, petulant and harmful swipes”? More Israel-first hyperbole, a la Foxman. But speaking of Israel-first, from what perspective is Jeff Robbins referring to the Obama administration as “a friend”. He and the Obama administration are good buddies? It sounds more like Robbins slipped and revealed himself as, at heart, an Israeli. Or maybe it’s simpler, that all the cash that flowed to the democrats from Robbins’ efforts is not being sufficiently reciprocated.
    These situations always lead me to wonder how many of the top pro-Israel Americans are also Israeli citizens. Kristol? Schumer? Wasserman-Schultz? Abrams? an entirely legitimate question since by the very nature of citizenship, dual citizenship requires dual loyalty.

  11. piotr on November 26, 2013, 9:03 pm

    There is actual difference between different Zionist donors, and Saban is a liberal one. Perhaps PEP, but “except Palestine” does not seem to cover Iran. A bunch of those billionaires are quite sophisticated and you do not need to explain them that a deal with Iran is actually good for Israel, even if detrimental to political comfort of the government there. But Netanyahu is Adelson’s boy, not Saban’s, so why should Saban care? Or Bloomberg?

    So we have Saban, perhaps Bloomberg, a bunch of their friends, and commentators like Tom Friedman and Roger Cohen. One the other side of the divide we have right wing donors and commentators. For Democrats, and Saban is a Democrat, a treaty with Iran can be a wedge issue from heaven, actual difference between Democrats and Republicans that resonates positively with the independents.

    Unfortunately, it does not translate into a similar split on the issue of concessions to Palestinians, stopping settlements and so on. But Netanyahu is on a good path for loosing a lot of political capital on a side issue. And this is not just Netanyahu but Israel as the whole. Checking opinion pages in on-line Israeli publications is like visiting a mad house. Avi Shalit is already a bit off the wall, but to recommend starting WWIII?,7340,L-4457656,00.html

  12. seafoid on November 26, 2013, 11:13 pm

    “Jeff Robbins, a Democratic lawyer and fundraiser based in Boston, said many Jewish Democrats agree with Schumer”

    Scrooge McDucks

    “Fighting Bob La Follette, the great Senator from Wisconsin and the founder of this magazine, warned throughout his career about the looming threat posed by corporate power. When he ran for President in 1924, he said: “Democracy cannot live side by side with the control of government by private monopoly. We must choose, on the one hand, between representative government, with its guarantee of peace, liberty, and economic freedom and prosperity for all the people, and on the other, war, tyranny, and the impoverishment of the many for the enrichment of the favored few.”

    It’s the great American cancer.

    “but they are so kind in their philanthropic programs” LOL

  13. amigo on November 27, 2013, 9:16 am

    “Americans back a newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran by a 2-to-1 margin and are very wary of the United States resorting to military action against Tehran even if the historic diplomatic effort falls through, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.”haaretz

    The findings were rare good news in the polls for U.S. President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings have dropped in recent weeks because of the botched rollout of his signature healthcare reform law.

    According to the Reuters/Ipsos survey, 44 percent of Americans support the interim deal reached between Iran and six world powers in Geneva last weekend, and 22 percent oppose it.

    Should put a spanner in the works for the war mongering die-hards.

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