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‘NYT’ says that AIPAC is pushing the ‘march toward war’

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Benjamin Cardin

Benjamin Cardin

The New York Times says that the Israel lobby is pushing a march toward war with Iran. Here is some remarkably frank reporting on the new Iran sanctions legislation from the old grey lady. Mark Landler and Jonathan Weisman write:

The White House has cast the issue in stark terms, saying that a vote for new sanctions would be, in effect, a “march toward war” and challenging those lawmakers who support the bill to acknowledge publicly that they favor military action against Iran.

“It just stands to reason if you close the diplomatic option, you’re left with a difficult choice of waiting to see if sanctions cause Iran to capitulate, which we don’t think will happen, or considering military action,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser…

Behind these positions is a potent mix of political calculations in a midterm election year. Pro-Israel groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, have lobbied Congress to ratchet up the pressure on Iran, and many lawmakers are convinced that Tehran is bluffing in its threat to walk away from the talks….

A Times editorial slamming the legislation underlines the point:

Israel’s government and pro-Israel interest groups are pressing the same hard line.

USA Today slams the legislation as “a quick path to war” and calls out Israel:

[H]ard-liners in Iran, Israel and the U.S. Congress press efforts that would kill negotiations.

The Times reporters quote Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, an Israel lobby group that has opposed the Iran deal, and a lobby stalwart, Maryland senator Ben Cardin, who is on the defensive.

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland and a strong supporter of the legislation, bristled at the White House’s pressure, especially its “march to war” language. “I think they should regret using that language,” he said. “The bad actor is Iran.”

MJ Rosenberg lands on Cardin.

Note also Democratic senator Ben Cardin (MD) calling out the president for criticizing the lobby’s effort rather than calling out the lobby that he is so tight with for obstructing U.S. policy. Note also that Carl Levin, no surprise for him, is fiercely supporting the agreement and his president.

Jim Lobe, who has done heroic work against the legislation, says that the same characters who brought us the Iraq war are trying to give us an Iran war, by the same method, the manifesto signed by scores of neoconservatives. The Iran manifesto comes from a different front group, and urges passage of sanctions legislation that would kill the deal. Signatories include Lawrence Kaplan, Marty Peretz, Bill Kristol, Frederick and Robert Kagan, Mark Dubowitz (who is quoted in the Times), Leon Wieseltier, Nick Eberstadt, Josh Block, Jamie Kirchick, Lee Smith, Dan Senor, and Joe Lieberman.

Lobe quotes White House security aide Bernadette Meehan’s very strong statement against the legislation, then comments on the Democratic politics:

[Meehan said this weekend:] “If certain members of Congress want the United States to take military action, they should be up front with the American public and say so. Otherwise, it’s not clear why any member of Congress would support a bill that possibly closes the door on diplomacy and makes it more likely that the United States will have to choose between military options or allowing Iran’s nuclear program to proceed…”

The question now is whether the White House can hold nervous Democrats, particularly Majority Leader Harry Reid who controls the calendar for floor votes, in line. As I suggested yesterday, the fact that the co-sponsorship has become so heavily and conspicuously Republican — and is now, thanks to the Foreign Policy Initiative (AKA the Project for the New American Century) so closely associated with neoconservatives and other Iraq war advocates — could make that work easier. That may be one reason why anonymous Hill staffers linked to AIPAC are claiming to CNN and other outlets that the lobby group has rounded up 77 commitments to vote for the bill if it comes to the floor, making it immune to a promised White House veto if Reid lets it come to a vote.

The stakes involved were made manifest by an extraordinary statement to JTA’s Ron Kampeas by the head of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC),

That statement was by Jack Moline, the incoming director of National Jewish Democratic Council, to the JTA:

In an interview with JTA, he accused  the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the American Jewish Committee of imposing a “litmus test” on senators and using “strong-arm tactics.”

“It isn’t the business of any organization to be setting up a litmus test on a piece of legislation,” Moline said

MJ Rosenberg predicts that we are heading for an AIPAC policy conference where a tsunami of lobbying is readied:

The [Times] article states that passage of the AIPAC resolution, followed by a veto override, would be an “historic repudiation” of the president. “Democrats recognize the delicacy of Mr. Obama’s signing the first veto of his presidency on an Iran bill, and to have that first veto overridden would be a historic repudiation. But Democrats said the current lull can hold only for a matter of weeks, not months.”

That could mean that AIPAC will use its March “policy conference” as the venue for an all out campaign to defeat the agreement, thereby putting the United States, in the White House’s words, on a “march to war.”

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post publishes a nose-counting piece that puts pressure on 30 Democratic Senators who have said nothing about the bill– thereby attempting to cover their bases–  to declare their opposition to it, lest the thing actually achieves 60 votes.

By my count, more than half the Democratic caucus have been mum on where they stand….

The basic storyline in recent days has been that the pro-sanctions-bill side is gaining in numbers, while the anti-sanctions-bill side hasn’t — even though the White House has been lobbying Dems very aggressively to back off on this bill, on the grounds that it could imperil the chances for a historic long-term breakthrough with Iran. As Josh Rogin puts it, “the White House’s warnings have had little effect.”…

[I]t’s a bit puzzling that we’ve heard so little from Senate Dems who might be inclined to support the White House in holding the line against the sanctions bill right now

Unlike the Times, Sargent– and this is typical of the liberal media — fails to inform his readers of what we’re up against. Till this elliptical bit, at the end:

this conspicuous public silence — even as the White House is making a very public plea for Dems to stand down, and even as large majorities of Americans support the current nuclear deal – is a sign of just how cautious Dems are being about the domestic politics of negotiating with Iran right now.


Today Greg Sargent reports that a coalition of liberal groups are coming out against the legislation.

A coalition of liberal and foreign policy groups — including MoveOn, CREDO, the National Iranian American Council, J Street and a few evangelical groups — are sending a letter today to Senators, urging them not to support S. 1881, the bill to impose new sanctions on Iran, which the White House fears will derail diplomacy and make war more likely

The letter says that the legislation “would set us on a path toward war,” and the American people have made very clear that they do not want another war. No mention of Israel or the lobby. Code Pink is a signatory, also Jewish Voice for Peace and Just Foreign Policy.

MJ Rosenberg calls out other media for their silence.

He also makes this assertion about tail-wagging-dog:

And in his email today Rosenberg talks about dual loyalty. As if this is not an issue.

Most of the people who receive this are Jewish, To put it mildly, we have a special responsibility not to permit the lobby (and its Congressional cutouts) to obstruct the president’s effort to avert war in our name. Anyone who knows anything about Jewish history will understand that the lobby’s effort is singularly dangerous as well as wrong.

Update: Ron Fournier at National Journal is deeply disturbed by the Times reporting, in “What’s Driving Some Democrats to Defy Obama…”

This paragraph from a New York Times story on proposed new sanctions for Iran sent a chill down my spine: [paragraph mentioning AIPAC at top of Mondo post]

I don’t want U.S. foreign policy swayed by lobbyists and politics.

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36 Responses

  1. hophmi
    January 14, 2014, 12:09 pm

    “an Israel lobby group that has opposed the Iran deal”

    How is the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies an Israel lobby group? Is every organization that takes a pro-Israel position an “Israel lobby group”?

    “No foreign lobby in US history EVER tried to force a president to ‘march to war.'”

    And no “foreign lobby” is doing so now. Opposing the President’s policy on Iran is not the same as marching toward war, and the long list of conservative hawks who advocate that position are not acting in the interest of a foreign lobby.

    I remind you, once again, that this thinking, which is anti-American and McCarthyite in the worst way, because it assume that any position taken against a US President is taken in the interest of a foreign country, is very easily used against people like you, Phil.

    • philweiss
      January 14, 2014, 12:11 pm

      Gosh. That’s at the heart of FDD’s work:
      Israel is a long-standing ally of the United States in an increasingly unstable Middle East. It remains one of very few democracies in the region, with a powerful military, and a vibrant, sometimes fractious society that has struggled for decades to reach accommodations with its neighbors. – See more at:

      • Ron Edwards
        Ron Edwards
        January 14, 2014, 5:18 pm

        In support of Phil’s post: one does well to review the status of “ally” between the nations – the newsflash is that they aren’t allies and that phrasing needs to be called out at every opportunity.

      • Ellen
        January 14, 2014, 6:13 pm

        Exactly Ron and thanks for calling it out. The US and Israel have never entered a formal agreement of alliance. It can’t. It is not possible to be an ally with a country that does not have established borders.

    • Ellen
      January 14, 2014, 12:27 pm

      The language of the legislation requires that if Israel decides to go to war, the US is legally bound to join in. In other words a foreign country can decide if the US goes to war or not. All considered, it is indeed a march to war.

      Read the bill.

      • ritzl
        January 14, 2014, 4:00 pm

        Thanks Ellen.

        The most offensive part of the bill text:

        (b) Sense of Congress-

        (5) if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence;

        If there was some sign of independence, let alone clearheadedness, on terms and objectives in this rush to war, those words might have some wiggle room in them (they are contained in the preamble, i.e. not part of the binding law). Politicians could just say “No.” to the justifying level of the threat to Israel. But since Israel so outrageously defines the terms and conditions of its “existence” (threatened hegemony) and has the ability to make our politicians adhere to those definitions, there isn’t any wiggle room there.

        It’s just so hard to believe that our politicians would put the lives of US servicemembers at risk/on call with this level of blank-check corruption.

        The Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated on 28 Jun 1914. I wonder what the odds are that this bill, without any sense of irony, gets passed on 28 Jun 2014.

      • bijou
        January 14, 2014, 4:46 pm

        That is insanely vile language. Preposterous! What “laws” are they referring to that “require” us to go to war on behalf of a small obnoxious foreign power?

        What hubris…. really, our great country has sunk so low.

      • RoHa
        January 14, 2014, 8:40 pm

        “the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program”

        Military action against a weapons programme is not legitimate self-defence.
        Legitimate self-defence is defence against an attack.

      • Bumblebye
        January 14, 2014, 10:14 pm

        This is a devastating analysis of the bill by Ed Levine:

        “S.1881, the “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013,” will undercut President Obama’s efforts to obtain a comprehensive solution to Iran’s nuclear activities. To the extent that it removes the diplomatic option, moreover, it will leave the United States closer to a Hobson’s choice between going to war with Iran and accepting Iran as an eventual nuclear weapons state.

        Supporters of the bill, which was introduced on December 19 by Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Kirk (R-IL), claim that enactment of it would not impede the E3+3 (AKA the P5+1) negotiations with Iran, but the text of Title III of the bill manifestly contradicts such claims. Specifically:

        Section 301(a)(2)(I) requires the President to certify, in order to suspend application of the new sanctions, that “Iran has not conducted any tests for ballistic missiles with a range exceeding 500 kilometers.” While this objective may be consistent with a UN Security Council resolution, it moves the goalposts by making the new sanctions contingent not just on Iran’s nuclear activities, but also on its missile programs. This paragraph also does not specify a time period (although the requirement in section 301(a)(1) for a certification every 30 days might imply one), so Iran’s past missile tests beyond 500 km might make it impossible for the President ever to make this certification.
        Section 301(a)(2)(H) requires the President also to certify that “Iran has not directly, or through a proxy, supported, financed, planned, or otherwise carried out an act of terrorism against the United States or United States persons or property anywhere in the world.” Once again, there is no time period specified, so Iran’s past support of terrorism might make it impossible for the President ever to make this certification. Even if a time period were clear, however, this language would mean that if, say, Hezbollah were to explode a bomb outside a U.S. firm’s office in Beirut, the sanctions would go into effect (because Iran gives financial and other support to Hezbollah) even if Iran’s nuclear activities and negotiations were completely in good faith. So, once again, the goalposts are being moved.
        Section 301(a)(2)(F) requires the President to certify that the United States seeks an agreement “that will dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure.” But while Iran may agree in the end to dismantle some of its nuclear infrastructure, there is no realistic chance that it will dismantle all of its uranium enrichment capability. In order for the President to make this certification, therefore, he will have to argue either that “you didn’t say all of Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure” (although that is clearly the bill’s intent) or that “if the negotiators agree to allow some level of nuclear enrichment in Iran, then the facilities are no longer illicit” (which begins to sound like statements by Richard Nixon or the Queen of Hearts).
        Section 301(a)(3), regarding a suspension of sanctions beyond 180 days, adds the requirement that an agreement be imminent under which “Iran will…dismantle its illicit nuclear infrastructure…and other capabilities critical to the production of nuclear weapons.” This raises the same concerns as does the paragraph just noted, plus the new question of what those “other capabilities” might be. At a minimum, such ill-defined requirements invite future partisan attacks on the President.
        Section 301(a)(4) reimposes previously suspended sanctions if the President does not make the required certifications. This paragraph applies not only to the sanctions mandated by this bill, but also to “[a]ny sanctions deferred, waived, or otherwise suspended by the President pursuant to the Joint Plan of Action or any agreement to implement the Joint Plan of Action.” Thus, it moves the goalposts even for the modest sanctions relief that the United States is currently providing to Iran. To the extent that the currently-provided sanctions relief relates to sanctions imposed pursuant to the President’s own powers, moreover, section 301(a)(4) may run afoul of the separation of powers under the United States Constitution.
        Section 301(b) allows the President to suspend the bill’s sanctions annually after a final agreement is reached with Iran, but only if a resolution of disapproval of the agreement is not enacted pursuant to section 301(c). The primary effect of this insertion of Congress into the negotiating process will be to cast doubt upon the ability of the United States to implement any agreement that the E3+3 reaches with Iran. The provision is also unnecessary, as most of the sanctions relief that would be sought in a final agreement would require statutory changes anyway.
        Section 301(b)(1) imposes a certification requirement to suspend the bill’s new sanctions after a final agreement with Iran has been reached, even if a resolution of disapproval has been defeated. This certification requirement imposes maximalist demands upon the E3+3 negotiators. Paragraph (A) requires that the agreement include dismantlement of Iran’s “enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and facilities, the heavy water reactor and production plant at Arak, and any nuclear weapon components and technology.” How one dismantles technology is left to the imagination. Paragraph (B) requires that Iran come “into compliance with all United Nations Security Council resolutions related to Iran’s nuclear program,” which would require its suspension, at least, of all uranium enrichment. In all likelihood, however, the complete suspension of enrichment either will be impossible to achieve through diplomacy or will be achieved only for a short time before Iran is permitted to resume an agreed level of enrichment of an agreed quantity of uranium under international verification. Paragraph (C) requires that all the IAEA’s issues regarding past or present Iranian nuclear activities be resolved – an objective that the United States and its allies surely share, but that may prove difficult to achieve even if the other objectives are realized. Paragraph (D) requires “continuous, around the clock, on-site inspection…of all suspect facilities in Iran,” which would likely be inordinately expensive and unnecessary, and might also impose safety hazards.
        Taken as a whole, these requirements, however desirable in theory, build a bridge too far for the E3+3 to reach. If they are enacted, all parties to the negotiations will interpret them as barring the United States from implementing the sanctions relief proposed in any feasible agreement. Rather than buttressing the U.S. position in the negotiations, therefore, they will bring an end to those negotiations. Worse yet, they will create large fissures in the E3+3 coalition that has imposed international sanctions on Iran. Thus, even though the bill purports to support sanctions, it may well result in the collapse of many of them.”

        The article is by Jim Lobe, and I hope I haven’t overstepped by quoting the whole of his quote!

    • American
      January 14, 2014, 12:56 pm

      I remind you, once again, that this thinking, which is anti-American and McCarthyite in the worst way, because it assume that any position taken against a US President is taken in the interest of a foreign country, is very easily used against people like you, Phil”…hoppie

      These foreign lobbies are ‘anti American’, we who oppose them are ‘pro American’.
      Israelis and US I-First politicians make a big squawk about the *sovereignty* of the nation of Israel and their right to decide their own actions.
      Americans think sovereign interest and rights of a nation also applies to the US.
      In 1963 the US senate had hearings on just such activities as the zionist are still engaged in——you and they will be lucky if McCarthyism doesnt surface again if the zionist keep pushing the US into disasters.
      I for one would be all for a senate hearing on this zio fifth column and their organizations—-cause that is what they are.
      Of course we would have to get a new senate first for that to happen.

    • amigo
      January 14, 2014, 1:28 pm

      I say let Iran have Nukes. I t will shut Israel up once and for all.

      Tiresome pests and all around trouble makers.

      Is it any surprise this pip squeak nation is the most hated on the planet.

      • mijj
        January 14, 2014, 2:28 pm

        > “I say let Iran have Nukes.”

        unfortunately, Iran isn’t developing Nuke weapons. Perhaps Iran could negotiate a protection deal with the US where the US will agree to nuke whoever attacks Iran in return, say .., for using the $ to trade oil.

    • Ron Edwards
      Ron Edwards
      January 14, 2014, 5:21 pm

      Wait a minute … you’ve been tearing up the articles with comments inveighing against “leftists,” “extreme leftists,” and “radical leftists” lately, very much in the sense that such an orientation instantly obviates any value or trustworthiness. And now all of a sudden you’re criticizing something as McCarthyite?

      • tree
        January 14, 2014, 6:05 pm

        And now all of a sudden you’re criticizing something as McCarthyite?

        That’s our hophmi– putting the hip in hypocrisy!Its a tried and true practice on his part. If he has to contradict himself from post to post just to defend the indefensible he will without hesitation, as long as he thinks it helps defend Israel.

    • Cliff
      January 14, 2014, 6:32 pm

      The Israel Lobby does not have America’s interests in mind.

      Pro-Israel ideologues believe America can take the proverbial ‘hit’ for Israel.

    • traintosiberia
      January 15, 2014, 9:57 pm

      Can hophmi link to any quites or memos or letters or position paper from FDD or from any of its adhernets showing 1 anti- Israeli views , 2 showing pro -American but not pro -Isreali opinion , 3 showing pro -Arab , pro -American but not so pro Isreali stances,or 4 any criticism of any of those neoocn architects of Iraq war ?
      Opposing Obama is not same as marching to war. But these same folks who want more aggressive sanction also want more overt war.

  2. Scott
    January 14, 2014, 12:20 pm

    The FDD was originally founded as “Emet” as an anti-Palestinian lobby. It changed its name after 9/11.

  3. pabelmont
    January 14, 2014, 12:31 pm

    It seems that either a lot of MSM etc. is either VERY TIRED OF WAR or tired of Israel and AIPAC. My guess is that the operative “tiredness” is with war, and Israel and AIPAC are now, as a consequence, increasingly being named as the bad guys.

    This means that people will have to choose sides and the anti-war folks will have to burn bridges with AIPAC etc. This may be a good thing, but of course in USA the bad guys often win, and AIPAC could (once again) triumph and take us to war, this time by many accounts a very bad one (by comparison to Iraq and Afghanistan).

  4. John Douglas
    John Douglas
    January 14, 2014, 1:07 pm

    Two articles in one day indicating the damage to the U.S. and its institutions caused by the unquestioned support demanded by, and given to, Israel from Israel’s political supporters in the U.S. (1) A call by NY politicians for defunding any college that provides material support to the ASA. (And they have the chutzpah to criticize the ASA on freedom of speech grounds). (2) A push for the U.S. to enter into a war with Iran coming from Netanyahu and delivered by his ministers in the U.S. Congress. Can anyone claim that Israel is an ally of the U.S.?

    • Egbert
      January 14, 2014, 5:02 pm

      Is Israel still selling advanced military know-how to China? If so, the 59 agents of a foreign power are supporting this too. I like the way the US had to pay the cancellation fees to its best buddy in the ME. These guys never miss a trick.

  5. DICKERSON3870
    January 14, 2014, 1:08 pm

    RE: “Jim Lobe, who has done heroic work against the legislation, says that the same characters who brought us the Iraq war are trying to give us an Iran war, by the same method, the manifesto signed by scores of neoconservatives. The Iran manifesto comes from a different front group, and urges passage of sanctions legislation that would kill the deal.” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “47 Senators Take AIPAC’s Word Over U.S. Intel Community”, by Jim Lobe,,

    [EXCERPT] The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has published the list of senators who so far have agreed to co-sponsor the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, aka the Wag the Dog Act of 2014. You’ll recall that the initial list, which was introduced by its principal engineers, Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, Dec 19, included 26 co-sponsors equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, to which newly elected New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker quickly added his name. Since then, 20 other senators — all Republicans, unsurprisingly — have added their names, for a grand total of 47 — still short of a majority, let alone one that could survive an Obama veto that the White House has already committed the president to cast if the bill is passed in its present form.

    According to the AIPAC list, which is reproduced below*, 53 [now 58 ~ J.L.D.] senators , including 36 Democrats and the two independents who normally vote with the Democratic caucus, have not agreed to co-sponsor the bill, or, in the dreaded moniker used by AIPAC to score lawmakers’ voting records (presumably for the benefit of the “pro-Israel” PACs that decide how to dole out campaign cash), are labeled “DNC.” They will undoubtedly be the top targets for AIPAC’s legendary powers of persuasion when the Senate reconvenes early next week.

    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? . . .


    * S.1881 – Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (COSPONSORS) –

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 14, 2014, 1:13 pm

      RE: “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?” ~ Jim Lobe


      SEE: Don’t Let the Senate Sabotage Historic Diplomacy with Iran
      12/20/13 – Write a Letter to the Editor
      While experts from the top echelons of the U.S. and Israeli security establishment have hailed the first-step deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the senate could sabotage this historic diplomatic achievement with new sanctions. Senators Robert Menendez (NJ), Mark Kirk (IL), and Charles Schumer (NY) have introduced legislation (S. 1881) that would impose sanctions on Iran and encourage Israel to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran.
      If these sanctions passed, it would violate the first-step nuclear deal and likely lead to the collapse of the negotiations with Iran, which is why the White House has issued a veto threat. …


      The Editors:

      From the agreement to eradicate Syria’s chemical weapons to the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, 2013 will be remembered as a year of historic diplomatic accomplishments. I hope 2014 is not the year the U.S. Senate passes sanctions that sabotage our diplomats’ achievements.

      While experts from the top echelons of the U.S. and Israeli security establishment have hailed the first-step deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the Senate could sabotage this historic diplomatic achievement with new sanctions. Apparently at the behest of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Senators Robert Menendez (NJ), Mark Kirk (IL), and Charles Schumer (NY) introduced legislation last year (S. 1881) that would impose sanctions on Iran and encourage Israel to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran.

      If these sanctions passed, it would violate the first-step nuclear deal, likely lead to the collapse of the negotiations with Iran, and make war far more likely, which is why the White House has issued a veto threat.

      Consequently, I was very disappointed to learn that both Senators Chambliss and Isakson have co-sponsored S. 1881, the deceptively titled Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013 (sometimes more appropriately referred to as the Wag the Dog Act of 2014).

      Senators Chambliss and Isakson should instead oppose the very dangerous S. 1881, thereby heeding the advice from a recent U.S. Intelligence Community assessment which stated that “new sanctions would undermine the prospects for a successful comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.”

      Sincerely yours,
      John Dickerson

  6. DICKERSON3870
    January 14, 2014, 1:28 pm

    RE: “According to the AIPAC list, which is reproduced below*, 53 [now 58 ~ J.L.D.] senators , including 36 Democrats and the two independents who normally vote with the Democratic caucus, have not agreed to co-sponsor the bill. . .” ~ me above

    CORRECTION: I really botched this. Currently, according to FCNL, there appear to be 59 cosponsors. Apparently 41 senators have not co-sponsored the bill.
    Consequently, the above referenced excerpt should have read: “According to the AIPAC list, which is reproduced below*, 53 [now 41 ~ J.L.D.] senators including 36 Democrats and the two independents who normally vote with the Democratic caucus, have not agreed to co-sponsor the bill. . .”

    • Kathleen
      January 14, 2014, 5:00 pm

      And Senators who are co sponsored should be called and asked to pull their names from co sponsorship and those who have not signed should be encouraged to stand their ground. We are watching. If Clinton gets in in 2016 the next stop will be Iran. the I lobby owns her

  7. DICKERSON3870
    January 14, 2014, 1:53 pm

    RE: “Jim Lobe, who has done heroic work against the legislation, says that the same characters who brought us the Iraq war are trying to give us an Iran war, by the same method, the manifesto signed by scores of neoconservatives. The Iran manifesto comes from a different front group, and urges passage of sanctions legislation that would kill the deal.” ~ Weiss


    Senate Sanctions and Saber-Rattling Could Sabotage Diplomacy
    1/6/2014 – Contact Your Senators
    The Senate could vote in the next few weeks on dangerous saber-rattling legislation (S. 1881) that would impose new sanctions against Iran. As the White House, ten Senate leaders, and a bipartisan group of top national security experts have warned, new sanctions could immediately sabotage the delicate diplomatic progress with Iran. The bill also calls for pledging U.S. military support for a potential Israeli attack on Iran, which countless U.S. and Israeli officials have warned would be catastrophic.
    While the White House has vowed to veto these sanctions, proponents of the bill are lobbying for a veto-proof majority of sixty-seven senators to support the bill, in an attempt to have Congress prepared to override the president’s veto.

    That is why every Senate vote is absolutely critical. By filling in your zip code, you will get a message corresponding whether your senator has yet cosponsored the Menendez-Schumer-Kirk sanctions bill.
    See a full list of cosponsors of the bill and the full text of the legislation. You can also write a letter to the editor against S. 1881, and get updates on the sanctions push.

  8. Krauss
    January 14, 2014, 1:54 pm

    Try as you might, the NYT coverage was milquetoast. “Pro-Israel interest groups” sounds like you’re discussing the farm lobby.
    The “march to war” is only referenced because Obama said so, not something the Times’ endorses. They use terms like “ratchet up the pressure”.

    I guess by the low standards of the liberal media, this is better than nothing, but it is still abysmal.


    Note that Leon Wieseltier has signed onto the Iran letter. Some liberals tried to repent after the Iraq fiasco, mostly because of tactical reasons, but some like Leon hardly even bothered and even if he made a serious attempt at crocodile tears, he has now shown himself to be less attached to America than to Israel.

    Beinart’s one of the few liberal interventionists who seemed to have seriously reflected upon his mistakes.

    At any rate, they will not get their war. The president’s veto may be overridden but he can’t be forced into war by Congress. He can just refuse. And what will AIPAC do then? How far are they willing to go?

  9. Kathleen
    January 14, 2014, 2:05 pm

    New York Bloody Times fully promoted the invasion of Iraq by printing Judy “I was fucking right” Millers lying pieces about WMD’s in Iraq. Now they are helping expose who is pushing for this war. The earth is moving under our feet…because folks keep pushing

  10. annie
    January 14, 2014, 2:06 pm

    i’m really glad the lobby is getting called out over this, even if it’s not enough.

    b @ has a great post up. cites from wapo and reuters about russia and china pushing the US “to accept technical concessions that further make clear that Iran will retain the ability to enrich uranium” and then this:

    Russia and China threatened to ignore the sanctions and to thereby enable Iran to continue its nuclear program without limits while reviving its economy. The threat was issued via a Reuters “exclusive” on Friday afternoon:

    Iran and Russia are negotiating an oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion a month that would enable Iran to lift oil exports substantially, undermining Western sanctions that helped persuade Tehran in November to agree to a preliminary deal to curb its nuclear program.
    Russian and Iranian sources close to the barter negotiations said final details were in discussion for a deal under which Russia would buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.


    For now the Obama administration has given in to the Russian pressure but the difficulties will only increase with the negotiations of a permanent deal. Russia and China have now clearly set limits to the outrageous demands the U.S. is making. Even U.S. allies press for the end of sanctions and a quick deal:….


    Obama has no other sane option but to seriously go for a permanent deal. If he does not get one the sanction regime will surely fall apart. Neither is a war on Iran a viable alternative…..The Zionist are pressing Congress to blow up the negotiations with Iran by legislating new uni-lateral U.S. sanctions on third parties. Obama can blame himself for having enabled such self defeating “suffocating sanction” strategy. That strategy is failing and the way out of it will be difficult for him. But Congress will not dare to vote directly for a war on Iran.

    more at link. the lobby is just not more powerful than russia/china combined. if we go that route, the US will just show how ineffectual we are.

    • RoHa
      January 14, 2014, 7:57 pm

      Russia and China are perhaps the biggest, but certainly not the only big hitters in the game. European enthusiasm for the sanctions is heavily moderated, and Brazil, Turkey, India, and Indonesia are not too keen either.

  11. Kathleen
    January 14, 2014, 2:09 pm

    Stop Diplomacy-Killing Sanctions

    Neocons Who Brought You The Iraq War Endorse AIPAC’s Iran Bill

  12. American
    January 14, 2014, 2:38 pm

    Currently here is how our government spends its time

    1/3 on Israel & I/P.
    1/3 on Israel’s bomb Iran issue.
    1/3 on cutting the US domestic spending budget and increasing aid to Israel.

    (Even Obama’s ObamaCare Health budget got cut for 2014, while Isr missle defense aid got tripled by congress, who didnt see that coming.)

  13. amigo
    January 14, 2014, 2:40 pm

    Why is this scumbag Nietanyahu allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation through the odious aipac.

    Why does no one close the door to this criminal who could care less about American Lives.

    He is an Israel Firster and a traitor.He and his co conspirators should be persona non gratis on American soil.

  14. irishmoses
    January 14, 2014, 3:10 pm


    Life does imitate art!

    This same scenario, Congress forcing a bill on the president that requires him to support an Israeli attack on Iran is in part one of my two part novel Armageddon in the Gulf: Prelude to Disaster which I published in late 2012. It’s about a female US president, Hailey Corrigan, and how she tries but fails to stop an attack on Iran by Israel then has to clean up the mess when the attack goes wrong and the Middle East explodes.

    There are obvious similarities between her and President Obama except she finds her balls and appeals to the public to support her veto of the bill, much as President Eisenhower did in 1956 when he was trying force Israel to leave the Sinai but was under heavy pressure from Congress and Jewish groups to back off.

    It might be fun to run some excerpts from this part of the novel on MW for several days running. Looking it over, I can see a five part 5000 word section that would work, or I could expand it to a 10 part section of just under 10,000 words and include a lot more of the behind the scenes political stuff.

    Here’s an excerpt of President Corrigan’s Eisenhower-like speech asking the US public to support her veto of the bill:


    “This is Andrew Mathews, QNBC News. As you viewers probably know, the President vetoed the bill that would force the US to participate in an Israeli attack on Iran late this afternoon. That veto has been roundly criticized by many members of Congress and by various right wing pundits and other supporters of Israel. It’s expected that the veto will be overridden by an overwhelming majority by Congress in tomorrow morning’s session. Many are saying that the president’s veto will result in a one term presidency. OK, as we can see, the president is approaching the podium. Here is the president of the United States.”

    Hailey looked determined and confident.

    “Good Evening my fellow Americans. This afternoon I vetoed a bill put before me by both houses of Congress that would have required me, as the leader of our country, to join in a war of choice by Israel against Iran. It would have forced me to provide full access to Israel for all our intelligence resources in the Middle East, US air cover for Israel’s strike aircraft, search and rescue resources, the placement of a US aircraft carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf, and even US assistance in destroying any Iranian targets Israel is unable to destroy. As this bill is both unwise and unconstitutional and would put our country’s vital national security interests at risk I have vetoed it.

    “This is an election year and it will be a close election. My political advisers and others have told me to sign the bill because my veto would guarantee me losing the election. I rejected that advice because this issue is far more important to this nation than mere politics. It’s more important than my reelection. It’s an issue that involves the vital national security interests of our nation.

    “I vetoed the bill for six reasons:

    “First, because I don’t believe an attack on Iran is justified. We are currently, along with our European partners, in negotiations with Iran and we hope to soon have a reasonable compromise agreement in which Iran agrees to stop enriching uranium. These negotiations should be allowed to continue.

    “Second, our intelligence and technical experts tell me that even a successful Israeli bombing of Iran’s nuclear sites will at most delay Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon by a year and maybe just a few months.

    “Third, once Iran is attacked, it will remove all UN arms inspectors from Iran and proceed secretly toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. This is precisely what happened after Israel successfully bombed Iraq’s nuclear facility at Osirak many years ago. Iraq went underground with its efforts making it impossible for the UN or our intelligence resources to know whether it was working toward acquiring nuclear weapons. It was only after our victory in the first Gulf War that we discovered Iraq was very close to obtaining a nuclear weapon.

    “Fourth, an attack on Iran will cause a huge spike in oil prices which are already high because of just the threat of an Israeli strike. Our own country and our allies and friends throughout the world are only just recovering from the greatest recession since the Great Depression. High oil prices will stop our economic recovery and throw our nation and the rest of the world back into a full recession if not a depression.

    “Fifth, our country has been involved in two large, very expensive wars in the Middle East that have proved largely unsuccessful and harmful to our security and economic interests. I have been successful getting us out of one war and will soon extricate us from the second. Even so, thousands of our brave service men and woman will have lost their lives, and tens of thousands more will continue to suffer from physical and psychological wounds suffered in those wars. We will also be paying well over $2 trillion dollars in the coming decades for the ongoing expenses of these wars. The last thing our country needs is another war in the Middle East.

    “Sixth, an Israeli attack on Iran will likely put the lives of our men and women serving in that area at great risk. A recent war game conducted by our military, diplomatic and political experts concluded that it’s very likely that the US would be drawn into the war and that we could even lose a US Navy ship and the lives of several hundred of our brave sailors. Such an attack will also anger Muslims around the world against Israel and the US, will create great harm to US economic and security interests, and will cause a further loss of US prestige and influence in Middle East and the Muslim world in general.

    “In recent weeks, I have explained and discussed all these reasons with the leaders of Congress, from both sides of the aisle. The leadership of both parties has refused to support me, not because they disagree with me but because they fear the repercussions from Israel’s US lobby if they choose to speak out or vote against Israel’s planned attack. Several have told me privately that they agree with my position but that it would be political suicide if they oppose Israel and its US lobby on this issue. For that reason, there was virtually no debate in Congress about whether Israel’s plan to attack Iran is a good idea for our own country.

    “Even more troubling is the fact that the bill itself was secretly written and presented to congressional leaders by the head of USIPAC, Israel’s leading lobby in this country. It’s a sad day when congressional legislation is written at the direction of a lobby of a foreign nation and no one in Congress is willing to object. It’s also a very dangerous situation when our own members of Congress are so fearful of the influence of a political lobby that supports a foreign country that they cannot act or even debate whether a policy is in the interests of their own nation.

    “My fellow Americans, I have been a staunch supporter of Israel for my entire life and during my administration I have provided far more economic, military and diplomatic support for Israel than any prior administration from either party. But, for the reasons I mentioned earlier, I cannot support Israel’s attack on Iran as such an attack will likely do grave harm to our nation and do nothing to benefit Israel…..
    [speech continues]

    Sorry for such a long post, but the coincidence was too hard for me to pass up.

    • libra
      January 14, 2014, 5:34 pm

      First female US President, initials HC, trying to prevent an Israeli strike on Iran! Surely you’re stretching the bounds of credibility here, even for a work of fiction?

      • irishmoses
        January 14, 2014, 7:29 pm

        The initials probably represent some unconscious desire on my part. At least you didn’t attack my prose although I’m expecting a long followup email.

        I’d personally welcome a woman president, so long as her initials aren’t SP. The less testosterone the better. Unfortunately, President Obama has a real testosterone deficit. We need a strong women to straighten out the mess we’ve made of things.

  15. crypticvalentin
    January 14, 2014, 10:31 pm

    AIPAC also lobbied hard for US attack on Syria, also for Israel..

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