Yesterday we noted Jim Lobe’s piece saying that 47 Senators are taking AIPAC’s word over the US government’s word on the Iran deal. Lobe points out that those 47 senators who are pushing “wag-the-dog” legislation to hitch the U.S. to Israel’s war plans are a little bit shy about their support for the bill.
What is remarkable about this list, however, is that very few of the 47 co-sponsors have chosen to publicize their support for the bill to their constituents through local media or other means. A handful of the original co-sponsors put out press releases, as did Rob Portman, a late joiner. Lamar Alexander, another late-comer, courageously “tweeted” his backing for the bill. “If this were a bill senators were excited about; that is, something they thought they’d earn a lot of credit for — and not draw a lot of heat — from their voters, you’d think all of the co-sponsors would be proudly touting their support,” one veteran Hill observer told me. “Clearly, even for the Republican [co-sponsors], that doesn’t seem to be the case with this bill.”
In other words, the co-sponsors appear to be targeting a very narrow constituency — AIPAC, which is now touting their names — rather than their voters back home, most of whom probably have no idea of what their senator’s position is or what may be at stake. Which raises an interesting question: If the folks back home knew that their senator was supporting a bill that would make another war in the Middle East more, rather than less likely, would there be an outcry as there was after Obama (and AIPAC) asked Congress to approve military action against Syria? Would some senators feel compelled to reassess their support?
The reason they’re not advertising their support is that AIPAC is beginning to be a dirty word in the discourse. In a remarkably frank piece in the mainstream, Paul Pillar writes in The National Interest that the senators are backing the legislation because of AIPAC money, and that the bill “serves the policy of Netanyahu’s government.”
Their legislation serves the purpose of those who want the negotiations with Iran to fail, not to succeed. Chief among those with this purpose is, of course, the right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made it abundantly clear that he opposes any agreement of any sort with Iran and will continue to do whatever he can to portray Iran as Satan incarnate and to keep it permanently ostracized. The principal organization in Washington that serves the policy of Netanyahu’s government—i.e., AIPAC—also has its own reason to hammer away forever at the Iranian bogeyman: it’s “good for business,” as a former senior AIPAC executive explained. It is no accident that Mark Kirk is easily the biggest Congressional recipient of AIPAC funds, and Robert Menendez is also among the top half dozen recipients. Honesty would mean dispensing with the phony issue of whether more sanctions now would help negotiate a better agreement—since they clearly would not—and instead posing the real issue: whether it is in the interests of the United States for the negotiations with Iran to succeed or to fail….
Pillar wants an open debate about AIPAC and the U.S. interest. Will the left-libs in the broadcast media help out, please! Rachel? Chris? Chris? Get Pillar on your show.
All of this should be debated from the standpoint of U.S. interests. Those with a special concern for Israel can also ask parallel questions, such as whether Israeli interests are better served by an unending relationship of hostility with another major state in the region, with threats and hatred being perpetually flung by each side at the other, or by following a different path.
Let such an honest debate begin. But an honest debate will barely get off the ground unless we discard the nonsense about how something like the Kirk-Menendez bill supposedly aids negotiations.
It would seem that Obama is getting back in his own way. The British, Canadians and Irish wouldn’t be expanding diplomatic/trade contacts with the Iranians without the U.S. approving. It’s like the pressure on the Israelis coming from Europe, not the U.S. The news from an outlet in Azerbaijan:
Delegations from Canada, Ireland are expected to visit Iran in the near future, head of Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Aladin Boroujerdi said, IRNA reported on Jan. 7…
Iran Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on international affairs… said Majlis is interested in the expansion of cooperation with the Irish Parliament, calling for stronger ties between the two countries in energy, engineering, electronics and economic sectors.
It should be noted that a British parliamentary delegation headed by former foreign secretary Jack Straw arrived in Tehran on Jan. 7, for a 3-day visit, to discuss issues of mutual interest with senior Iranian officials.
On 8 October 2012, the Britain Foreign Secretary announced that the UK and Iran had agreed to appoint non-resident Chargés d’Affaires as an important step towards improving the bilateral relationship.
Thanks to Nick Wibberley.