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White House calls out warmongers in Congress, as lobby turns screws on Wasserman Schultz

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The Miami Herald says that Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz isn’t necessarily going to support Obama on the Iran deal, despite reports that she has the president’s back.

Update: Wasserman Schultz’s spokeswoman, Mara Sloan, said the claim [that she is opposing ratcheted-up Iran sanctions] isn’t true: “Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been a strong supporter of sanctions against Iran and will continue to be. She has cosponsored and voted for the additional sanctions bill that has already passed the house. Currently, there is not a resolution on sanctions offered in the House. As soon as one is filed, she will review the language, as she does with any legislation and decide whether it helps to ensure that Iran will never have a nuclear weapon.”

Read more here:

The earlier reports prompted the angry ad, above, from Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel. It pits the good Chuck Schumer against bad Debbie Wasserman Schultz on legislation to tie American policy against Iran to Israel’s decisionmakers.

“Pro Israel Democrats support new sanctions… She says she’s pro-Israel… Call Debbie Wasserman Schultz and tell her, stand with Israel.”

JTA says more than half the Senate is supporting the Iran sanctions bill in defiance of the president. But probably not enough to overcome a presidential veto.

The number of senators cosponsoring the bill, introduced by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), reached 58 this week, up from just 33 before the Christmas holiday break.

Notably only one of the 25 who signed up in recent days — Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) — is a Democrat, a sign of intense White House lobbying among Democrats to oppose the bill.

From Haaretz version of that report. Note the National Jewish Democrats wobbly, like Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

A number of pro-Israel groups, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, are leading a full-court press for the bill’s passage, with prominent Jewish leaders in a number of states making calls and writing letters to holdouts. Dovish Jewish groups such as J Street and Americans for Peace Now oppose the bill.

The bill would expand sanctions in part by broadening existing definitions targeting energy and banking sectors to all “strategic sectors,” including engineering, mining and construction. It would also tighten the definition of entities eligible for exceptions and broaden the definition of targeted individuals who assist Iran in evading sanctions.

The National Jewish Democratic Council, in an effort to back a Democratic president while not expressly opposing intensified sanctions, issued a mixed verdict on the bill, saying it does not support its passage at present though the option of intensified sanctions should remain open down the road if the president seeks it.

“We encourage Congress to support the President’s foreign policy initiative by making stronger measures available should they be required,” the statement said. “Final action on the legislation should be dependent upon Iran’s full compliance with its obligations.”

Rabbi Jack Moline, the NJDC’s executive director, accused AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee of “strong-arm tactics, essentially threatening people that if they don’t vote a particular way, that somehow that makes them anti-Israel or means the abandonment of the Jewish community.”

David Harris, the AJC’s executive director, said he was “shocked” by Moline’s allegations.

“We support the Iran sanctions bill, as do a bipartisan majority of U.S. senators,” he said. “Can a group differ with him on a critically important issue like Iran, where potentially existential issues are at stake, without being maligned or misrepresented, or is that the price we’re supposed to pay for honest disagreement?”

Meanwhile, the Democratic left is showing some signs of life around the measure. A friend writes:

Yesterday the Huffington Post had a prominent article again titled “White House Dares Saboteur Dems: ADMIT YOU WANT War.” After a few hours, it was replaced by a new version of the Christie story. It is still on the front page, but in a secondary location. This time the author is Ryan Grim, but the previous author, Jennifer Bendery, is cited as a contributor.

Yesterday the Democratic Underground had a front page article: “The White House is seething, and it wants everyone to know it.” The piece links to a Booman tribune article with the same theme “Bob Menendez is a Problem by BooMan.”

The White House on Thursday challenged a group of senators to admit they are working to push the country toward war with Iran, upping the tension between the administration and Senate advocates of tough new sanctions amid nuclear negotiations.

“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,” Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council spokeswoman, said in a statement. “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.”

In both cases, the focus is on Bob Menendez. I looked at a few comments, but I didn’t see any that supported the AIPAC position. Perhaps the most important point is that they support the notion that AIPAC is becoming ineffective with applications of political pressure.

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33 Responses

  1. just
    January 11, 2014, 10:25 am

    “Please, sir, I want some more”

    • W.Jones
      January 11, 2014, 12:14 pm

      Palestinians are Oliver Twist. They asked for more autonomy at the UN and for justice at the ICC and for food with the Gaza boats and they get whippings for asking: threatened cuts in aid, raids on the boat, detention. They voted for Hamas to ask for freedom and got whippings for that too.

    • pabelmont
      January 11, 2014, 1:36 pm

      Sen. Schumer (my own, my very own Senator): “Please, Sir, I want a WAR”.

      • just
        January 11, 2014, 1:44 pm

        Well done, pabelmont!

  2. Blownaway
    January 11, 2014, 12:38 pm

    Some Jewish leaders see the long term risk in this position…not to the US but to their power . From Haaretz ( you have to read Israeli press to get even a semblance of honest debate not US papers)
    American Rabbi Jack Moline, incoming director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said Friday that he thinks that some pro-Israel groups are pushing too hard for the Senate to pass new sanctions on Iran.

    In an interview with JTA, Moline accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the American Jewish Committee of using “strong-arm tactics.” He described the Israel lobby as creating the feeling among senators that voting against the new sanctions would “make them anti-Israel or mean the abandonment of the Jewish community.”

  3. bilal a
    bilal a
    January 11, 2014, 1:13 pm

    This is easy.

    Why not insist that Congress declare war but couple that with amendments that Israel will voluntarily relinquish its billions from the usa to pay for the artificial limbs, wheelchairs, and caskets for the us military forces, and for the Iranian civilians mauled in these attacks.

    Another amendment.would require Israeli pilots and soldiers first enter Iranian airspace and on the ground before any us forces could be committed.

    And why not an accelerated boot camp for all children of congressmen voting for the measure so they can join our troops in the first attacks, and no civilian MOS occupational specialties allotments, only 11B infantry.

    And then candidly tell the American people that grandma’s social security will be cut, with food stamps for the poor, and no more unemployment insurance.

    Ann Romney, Military Mom? No Romney Sons in Service and Mitt Dodged Vietnam

  4. amigo
    January 11, 2014, 1:43 pm

    It would be nice if we could put aipac in a coma for 8 yrs while the rest of the world gets on with making peace.

    At least we have one good reason to celebrate,

  5. Bumblebye
    January 11, 2014, 2:03 pm

    In a publicly aired ad (how many times, how many outlets?) the ECI demands that an American lawmaker puts a foreign country’s demands before her own governments’ policy (presumably made in the interests of her own country) – wouldn’t ordinary citizens find that at least curious?

    • just
      January 11, 2014, 3:00 pm

      One would think so.

    • Blownaway
      January 11, 2014, 3:11 pm

      That’s the trouble with the sheeple. They have been lulled into indifference. They won’t notice as they get led to slaughter

  6. American
    January 11, 2014, 2:17 pm

    MJ Rosenberg ‏@MJayRosenberg 10 Jan

    Obama needs to hint just a tad more on the dual loyalty thing & AIPAC will surrender. Terrified of that charge above all else.

    Expand Collapse Reply Retweet Retweeted
    Favorite Favorited More
    Embed Tweet 4 Retweets 3 Favorites 8:26 AM – 10 Jan 14 · Details

    • Sumud
      January 12, 2014, 9:05 am

      Terrified of that charge above all else.

      As they should be: it’s true – or even worse, more than likely they are outright traitors and loyal to a foreign country before the US.

      • American
        January 12, 2014, 12:10 pm

        @ Sumud

        I dont think Iran would need to seize on it. Think its already being seized on by many outlets, as this article also mentions the outrage over the Huffpo picture. It will be seized on more if we do indeed start creeping toward bombing Iran and all the anti semite screeching by the ADL crowd isnt going to make a dent in the obvious truth of where this call for a Iran war is coming from.

        ”Iran could seize on new sanctions bill to drive wedge between Israel lobby, U.S. public”


        ‘The message couldn’t be clearer: Menendez was a warmonger. And the people backing him, inspiring him and/or pushing him belonged to AIPAC and the pro-Israel community.
        Jewish reactions were fast and furious: David Harris of the American Jewish Committee was “appalled” by the “shameful attack” on Menendez. The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman wrote in a letter to the editor published on the Huffington Post website that the photo of Menendez speaking at an AIPAC event “implies that he was trying to ‘sabotage’ the administration’s efforts on Iran for reasons related to Israel under pressure from American Jews. We are shocked that a version of the anti-Semitic theme that ‘Jews manipulate the U.S. Government’ was boldly featured on your site.”

  7. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    January 11, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel.

    What’s the ’emergency?’

  8. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    January 11, 2014, 4:00 pm

    EU’s Ashton ‘deeply concerned’ over Israel settlements
    “I was deeply concerned to hear the latest announcement by the Israeli authorities to advance settlement plans once more,” Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
    She added the settlements were “illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make the two-state solution impossible”.

  9. James Canning
    James Canning
    January 11, 2014, 4:31 pm

    “Stand with Israel”, and demand the US prevent Iran from making a deal with P5+1. Thanks, Aipac stooges.

  10. joemowrey
    January 11, 2014, 5:07 pm

    “White House calls out warmongers.” Wow, the irony never ends.

    Just another example of the pot calling the kettle black, or in this case, one war-mongering hypocrite calling a bunch of other war-mongering hypocrites war mongers. How seriously can we take White House statements accusing members of Congress of wanting to incite a war with Iran when Barack Obomber has started more direct and proxy wars than any other president in our history. Sort of like Ted Bundy accusing John Wayne Gacy of being a serial killer.

    Just yesterday the Washington Post let us know that our Imperial War-monger-in-Chief has been illegally killing people in Somalia since October (not to mention at least 5 other countries), boots on the ground, killer drones, etc.. Of course, it’s a bit late for the Washington Post to finally be reporting on facts most of the planet has known about for quite some time. But that’s the insane world we live in. We are obliged to refer to mass murderers as “President” and to quote corporate propagandistic rags as if they represent actual “journalism.”

  11. DICKERSON3870
    January 11, 2014, 5:31 pm

    RE: “White House calls out warmongers in Congress, as lobby turns screws on Wasserman Schultz”


    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

    • Kathleen
      January 11, 2014, 5:47 pm

      Excellent John Dickerson. If only more folks would contact their Reps about this issue. All we can do is follow suit and encourage others to do the same.

    • American
      January 12, 2014, 12:20 pm

      @ Dickerson

      wee suggestion if I may?….

      ” it is obvious to the American public that Senators, etc…are representing the interest of the foreign country of Israel and not America’s in the Wag the Dog Act.”
      instead of…
      “Apparently at the behest of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Senators…”

      Time to be a bit more blunt, less pc.

  12. Kathleen
    January 11, 2014, 5:48 pm

    “Perhaps the most important point is that they support the notion that AIPAC is becoming ineffective with applications of political pressure.”

    Pressure pressure our Reps NO NEW SANCTIONS. Stop undermining negotiations. Stop pushing the U.S. closer to a military confrontation!

    • American
      January 12, 2014, 12:28 pm

      @ kathleen

      Considering the creep this bill is taking I think you need to ratchet up the pressure.

      Support for Iran sanctions bill nears filibuster-proof majority

      Menendez, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Kirk introduced the proposal late last year with 25 co-sponsors. On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) joined a growing list of co-sponsors that numbered at least 59 by Friday afternoon, according to official Senate records of pending legislation.
      Another Senate aide familiar with the talks said that a less formal tally has support among senators “in the mid-70s.”
      Senate procedural rules require at least 60 votes to help end debate on legislation.”

  13. Krauss
    January 11, 2014, 5:53 pm

    Let’s just be honest with what these people are: Israel Firsters and traitors.

    They do not care about America at all or any other country except Israel.

    • January 12, 2014, 10:58 am

      We are sheep, ruled by dogs and owned by pigs

    • American
      January 12, 2014, 12:14 pm

      @ Kauss

      And we need to be blunt about it.

  14. Taxi
    January 12, 2014, 6:18 am

    The peaceful people of the USA will punish the warmongering israel-firsters and donkey fellators, just like they did when they voted to put Obama in the WH and rejected ALL those who had eagerly voted for the illegal war on Iraq.

    Zionism is well on its way to becoming the dirtiest word in the dictionary of American politics. At the rate that aipac’s reputation is going, I reckon it’ll only take two more elections and it’ll be sayonara to the zionist occupation of Capitol Hill.

    Hollywood will be the last refuge for zionism in America. But that too will be smashed by boycotts of actors/producers/directors who are sworn zionists. Including giants like Meryl Streep, who will need deep de-programing and rehabilitation back into universalism.

  15. Les
    January 12, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Others are keeping the pressure on Israel.

    Ex-Shin Bet chief flees Denmark following leftist group’s complaint to police
    Pro-Palestinian group accuses Carmi Gillon of torture. Danish prosecutor’s office rejects complaint for lack of evidence.
    By Barak Ravid | 12:13 12

    • Shmuel
      January 12, 2014, 12:45 pm

      Danish prosecutor’s office rejects complaint for lack of evidence.

      Apart from Gillon’s autobiography, of course, in which he admits to having personally authorised the use of torture in at least 320 cases (including at least 1 death during interrogation). Not legal evidence perhaps, but a good place to start.

      Gillon is a former Israeli ambassador to Denmark (a charming idea), and vice-president for external relations for the Hebrew University (another charming idea). What was the title of that chapter in Blumenthal’s book? Oh yes, “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People”.

  16. American
    January 12, 2014, 12:25 pm

    @ krauss


  17. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    January 12, 2014, 6:09 pm

    Last week, I got this email (I’ve edited out a couple of names):

    Hi all,

    I had a request from [deleted] this morning that I said I’d share with other folks that I thought might be interested. The first “Begich Breakfast” will be Wed. Jan. 22 at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage at 7:30 AM. The recommended donation is $125 a seat. They would like the MatSu Democrats to have a table of ten. If we could come up with ten folks that have $125 to spare for Mark’s reelection campaign and can be in Anchorage by 7:30 in the morning, she said we’d get a “shout out” at the breakfast.

    Any takers? Let me know. If we couldn’t quite fill the table, maybe we could take a couple seats out of the treasury to fulfill the $1,250 total. We can talk about that at the retreat on Sat. If possible, she’d like to know before then, which is why I’m sending this to all of you.


    My response (my wife and I contribute a lot to local progressives):

    If you can get in touch with his staff and ask them if I will be allowed to devote five minutes to an exchange with him on why he supports the AIPAC-inspired Senate resolution to screw Obama’s Iran nuclear initiative, and get an ironclad guarantee from them, I’ll buy the whole fucking table. Otherwise, I probably won’t want to be there.

    Phil Munger

    The only responses I’ve gotten were sadly defensive or negative. Nobody came forward in support of my proposal, even after Begich’s staff was brought in. I doubt there will be an agreement.

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