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Marco Rubio and AIPAC allied in effort to insert poison pill into Iran deal

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Marco Rubio just announced for president in a call to donors. First things first.

Rubio has his foreign-policy priorities down, too. He wants to insert a poison pill into the Iran deal:

Sen. Marco Rubio wants to make Iran recognize Israel’s right to exist as a condition of any nuclear agreement with Tehran.

The Florida Republican has floated his proposal as a possible amendment to a Senate bill written by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) that would allow Congress to disapprove of any deal…

The Jewish Week is calling this the Bibi amendment; Rubio got the idea from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu:

Netanyahu is insisting that any final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program include a “clear and unambiguous Iranian commitment of Israel’s right to exist.”

Douglas Bloomfield, a former legislative director for the leading Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), writes that AIPAC will join in the push if the amendment is offered:

Republicans are backing the “Bibi” language because it sets up Democrats, especially Jewish ones, to choose between supporting Israel or the administration, which opposes the amendment. AIPAC will be lobbying hard for the amendment, if it is offered, and then notify its members who the real friends of Israel are and who doesn’t deserve their contributions and votes.

The added value of the Rubio’s amendment is that it not only splits Jews and Democrats but it would kill any chance of an agreement with the Iranians.

The National Jewish Democratic Council says this transparent effort to politicize the deal is offensive. Yes but where is Chuck Schumer?

And where are the Israel liberals? They have their own poison pill. Ynet says that the expected Israeli opposition, the Zionist Camp, supposed liberals in the legislature, are demanding that the U.S. agree to incorporate an Israeli military attack on Iran into the deal if Israel doesn’t like the way the deal works out. Notice that the Israeli opposition are as spoiled-child as Netanyahu; they think they should have a back channel into the negotiations thru the U.S.

Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni laid out their Iranian policy on Sunday and called for a “comprehensive, intimate and in-depth strategic discussion with the US” on nuclear talks between world powers and Iran, saying all issues on the table must be clarified with Washington before a final agreement is signed with Tehran.

The crux of Herzog and Livni’s plan is a call on the American administration to commit in advance to approve an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities if Iran violates the framework agreement signed a week and a half ago by trying to produce nuclear weapons.

This story is further evidence of what a rightwing society Israel is.

Thanks to Max Blumenthal and Dylan Williams‘s twitter feeds.

Philip Weiss

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

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37 Responses

  1. annie on April 13, 2015, 1:37 pm

    one way to solve this issue once and forever is to pass legislation that demands any agreement the US makes with anyone anywhere, domestic and foreign have an amendment attached requiring all signatories to affirm israel’s right to exist. then we wouldn’t have to have these little debates all the time threatening to divide us.

    ….laid out their Iranian policy on Sunday and called for a “comprehensive, intimate and in-depth strategic discussion with the US” on nuclear talks between world powers and Iran, saying all issues on the table must be clarified with Washington before a final agreement is signed with Tehran.

    maybe the US should have “comprehensive, intimate and in-depth strategic discussion[s]” with israel about …everything. maybe we shouldn’t pass any legislation or make any kinds of decisions domestic or foreign without these kinds of comprehensive discussions with the israelis.

    we could probably simplify matters by just closing up shop and leaving everything to the israelis. since their such good managers. it just seems like a waste of time and money to have US elections when the knesset or aipac could run the show. they’d probably be up for it too. all we’d have to do is fork over the doe, heck let them run the friggin place.

    • pabelmont on April 13, 2015, 2:58 pm

      How about this: an amendment that requires Israel to give USA a first-read (and veto) of all diplomatic and business overtures with other countries. Why should it be the USA which is subservient all the time? Oh, Congress has no power over Israel? Gee! So what? We can order Micronesia, can’t we? We can make war with any people-of-color nation can’t we? Why not push Israel around the way it seeks to push us?

      Comedy Central would love the idea.

    • on April 13, 2015, 4:37 pm

      “One way to solve this issue once and forever is to pass legislation that demands any agreement the US makes with anyone anywhere, domestic and foreign have an amendment attached requiring all signatories to affirm israel’s right to exist. then we wouldn’t have to have these little debates all the time threatening to divide us. ”

      Come on Ann. You could require every agreement, every bit of legislation to require a loyalty to Israel oath and you and me both know Israel would then demand something else.

    • The Dirty Democrat on April 14, 2015, 10:18 pm

      How about we get there first before we start jamming rules from Congress’s limited knowledge?

      Israel isn’t even in the equation. The agreement is between the involved countries making up the rules. If Iran wants to recognize Zionist, racist, Israel is up to a separate agreement between Iran and Israel.

      Israel is gonna be pissed whether they are recognized as legit or not. As long as the negotiators are satisfied that will do.

      Truthfully, I think Israel has lost a lot of relevance in any kind of negotiations.

  2. Atlantaiconoclast on April 13, 2015, 1:53 pm

    Meanwhile, Israel has yet to acknowledge Palestine’s right to exist. Why is Israel’s recognition more worthy than Palestine’s?

  3. eljay on April 13, 2015, 2:10 pm

    The crux of Herzog and Livni’s plan is a call on the American administration to commit in advance to approve an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities if Iran violates the framework agreement signed a week and a half ago by trying to produce nuclear weapons.

    Nuclear-equipped Israel and the U.S. can’t seem to stop making existential threats against an already heavily-sanctioned and nuclear-unequipped Iran…and still some people wonder why Iran might be tempted to acquire nukes.

    • ckg on April 13, 2015, 11:03 pm

      And still some people wonder why Iran might be tempted to acquire nukes.
      Who can blame Tehran, given the history and bellicosity from Washington and Tel Aviv?

  4. John Douglas on April 13, 2015, 2:15 pm

    The definition of a political hack is a politician who legislates or decides on the basis of personal/political interests over the good of those he or she represents. Rubio, Cotton, Lindsey Graham andMenendez are illustrative examples of the circle of hacks. Jeb Bush and Chuck Schumer each has one big toe still outside of it. Give them time.

  5. HarryLaw on April 13, 2015, 2:37 pm

    No country which is in breach of so many resolutions of the UNSC, is continually expanding and cannot describe where its borders are, cannot have a right to exist. Even having an agreed border within International law, does not mean ‘any’ state has a right to exist. For instance if Scotland had voted for independence at the recent referendum and left the UK, the UK as it exists today, would cease to exist.

    • pabelmont on April 13, 2015, 3:00 pm

      Oh Harry, you are so matter of fact! Lighten up! This is comedy central time. Yuck it up! these Israeli suggestions are really funny! (Unless they cause trouble here at home among the yokels in Congress.)

  6. Boomer on April 13, 2015, 2:50 pm

    I have regarded the Congressional bluster about the Iran deal as purely for domestic consumption. That’s because I assume that even if Congress blocks the U.S. from participating in a deal, other nations will lift sanctions anyway if they perceive the U.S. backing away from a reasonable deal. In fact, it has been reported that Russia and China are already taking steps in that direction.

    Giving Israel a green-light to attack Iran whenever it wants is another matter. It is outrageous to think that elected U.S. officials would recommend doing so. To me, it would seem unreasonable for Israel actually to attack Iran, but its track record is not reassuring.

    My concern is not so much about Israel and Iran, as it is my concern that the U.S. could then be drawn in. Even if we tried to avoid it, given the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere in the region, for that matter), it is hard to imagine that there would not be negative effects for the U.S.

  7. pabelmont on April 13, 2015, 3:06 pm

    If Israel wants to attack Iran, it is easy to do so. It can ask Saudi Arabia for permission to overfly its territory, and S.A. will agree because, today, it is more at odds with Iran than with Israel.

    Of course, if Israel did start such a war, the USA would have to be ready (at a moment’s notice) either to speak against it, to act to prevent it, to help Iran defend itself (!), or to suffer the consequence of the supposition that the USA OK’d the attack. The USA is said to have ringed Iran around with military bases. If Israel attacked Iran, they’d have to fly close to an American military base, which could (I’d hope and presume) shoot them down. But would we?

    This idea is reminiscent of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty (1967). President Johnson had to hide the fact of the Israeli attack on a USA warship in order to avoid the wrath of the pro-Israel lobby voters.

    • Abierno on April 13, 2015, 4:43 pm

      The idea of Israel attacking Iran is simply a red herring to support Israel’s plaint of Iran’s posing an existential threat to Israeli security. However, the Chinese have invested heavily in developing Iran’s oil fields, with top Chinese petroleum and gas companies involved. Not unexpectedly, they have Chinese nationals on the ground in Iran providing services. Whomever bombs Iran, has China to deal with. Add this to the fact that Netanyahu is himself pivoting to China, starting a military altercation with China is not in his or Israel’s financial interest as he well knows. As Russia and China move forward in trading with this resource rich nation, the US is left isolated. Europe, particularly after the devastating financial blow back to Ukraine-support sanctions against Russia, is definitely not going to continue to suffer financial exclusion from lucrative business deals and markets available in Iran.

      Netanyahu intensely dislikes Iran as well as Obama and will do or say anything to poison this deal. If this deal dies as a result of such as McCain, Rubio, Schumer, Corker et. al, within two years, as the US economy will crash as a result of energy no longer being denominated in petrodollars but rather in rubles or, more likely, the yuan. When this occurs, the fury against these politicians will know no bounds – this country will be faced with a depression that will make the 1930’s look like a cake walk. Israeli’s economy will be doing well since they have applied (and I think been approved) to be founding members of China’s Asia Development Bank. Netanyahu is also courting the BRICS as well, emphasizing trade relations with all the BRICS.

      Obama and Kerry have done well in negotiating this agreement and are moving the US into a strengthened position as regards the darkening economic clouds and the intense competition coming with China. The Republikud position on this deal is a direct support to Netanyahu’s perfidy as well as a stab in the back for the American public who can be expected to face unbearable hardship in economic depression which will ensue from these policies.

      • Boomer on April 13, 2015, 6:34 pm

        re: “Netanyahu is himself pivoting to China,”

        Great. Let’s keep our $3 billion a year and let China pick up the tab.

      • piotr on April 13, 2015, 10:06 pm

        China has a simpler way of forcing Israel to heed to their interests. Recall that there is a racket of extorting money for alleged support of terrorism with Israeli victims, with testimony provided by Mossad. When a Chinese bank was so accused, Mossad did not show up. May have something to do with a certain businessman who could be very badly hurt by, say, investigations into details of running of some casinos in Macao, and who happens to have the prime minister of Israel as his personal tchotchke.

        OTOH, I think that it would be beneficial for USA economy to get rid of the role of the dollar as the main reserve currency. While good for the financial sector, it is a disaster for manufacturing, because USA can never run out of money for imports, while the domestic consumption is to a large extend possible because of consumer credit. The sooner this artificial prosperity ends and the country switches to a larger share of consumption consisting of domestic products made by people getting decent wages, the better.

    • Doubtom on April 14, 2015, 2:32 pm

      The US speak out against an Israeli attack on Iran? Oh, I’m sure that would work out at least as well as the US speaking out against illegal settlements.

  8. traintosiberia on April 13, 2015, 3:25 pm

    Schumer is preoccupied with silencing those who might sound like ” Baghdad Jim” .he doesn’t want any’ “Tehran Jim ‘beaming the light of the reality on the dark AIPAC corner which occupies entire American political vista

  9. Krauss on April 13, 2015, 3:41 pm

    I’m simply ecstatic over these news. I hope the amendment comes in!

    We need more loyalty tests that AIPAC is pushing. Everything in the open. Bit by bit they will preen the democratic base from Israel.

    Oh, and is anyone surprised that the so-called “Israeli left” is acting the same as Bibi?

  10. amigo on April 13, 2015, 3:44 pm

    Any nation seeking recognition of it,s right to exist should be required to produce a map of it,s borders.It should also be in compliance with all UNSCR,S relating to it.Failure to do this will result in denial of such recognition.This process should be controlled by the UN.That ought to put a spanner in Israel,s idiotic demands.

    What will they demand next.That the international community get off the planet and leave it to God,s chosen people.


    • Mooser on April 13, 2015, 9:25 pm

      “Any nation seeking recognition of it,s right to exist should be required to produce a map of it,s borders.”

      Israel has proclaimed its borders. Problem is, (if I have it right) they were already operating and taking territory outside those borders (territory they cannot and have not annexed), and have done so ever since.

  11. just on April 13, 2015, 4:25 pm

    What does Hillary say? Not that I really expect anything different…

    Who and what are these people running for?

    • JWalters on April 13, 2015, 8:22 pm

      Very hopeful, solid enumeration of progressive priorities from Senator Jim Webb, announcing his candidacy in Iowa this past weekend.

      • just on April 13, 2015, 11:22 pm

        I keep telling folks, JWalters. Thanks for linking that.

        I’ve been advocating for Jim since before he left the dysfunctional Congress.

        (That’s after I worked my tush off for him to win that Senate seat! A seat, I’m unhappy to say, is now occupied by Tim Kaine…) A recent article from AC:

        “James Webb, War Novelist

        The former senator’s literary work displays his noninterventionist past and appealing populism.

        …James Webb is hardly a pacifist, but next to Hillary Clinton he is a virtual Smedley Butler: the peace candidate, a sharp critic of our Middle Eastern entanglements and their architects.

        The tired old categories need a reset. Webb, who praises the “Southern redneck” as “the greatest inhibitor of the plans of the activist Left and the cultural Marxists for a new kind of society,” will be the most powerful voice in his party for drug-law and prison reform, an end to promiscuous military interventions, and closing the chasm between the plutocracy and the rest of us.

        Echoing the Populists of the 1890s, especially those who sought a biracial coalition against the exploiters and the imperialists, Webb denies that “America should be governed by a club of insiders who manipulate public opinion in order to serve the interests of hidden elites who hold the reins of power.”

        Nothing he writes can be mistaken for a Martin O’Malley tweet or Heritage Foundation issue paper.

        It is impossible to read Webb and conclude that he has anything but loathing for the Fortunate Sons—the Jeb Bushes and Mitt Romneys—and the epicene polemicists who do their masters’ bidding. If Webb gets anywhere near the White House, these un-American snipers will deploy, but Jim Webb has faced weaponry more potent than the chicken hawks’ pea-shooters—and he lived to tell the tale.”

      • italian ex-pat on April 14, 2015, 12:08 pm


        Candidacy for what? I would like to believe for Presidential Democratic nominee, but I can find no mention of that anywhere. Did I miss something?

      • JWalters on April 14, 2015, 6:40 pm

        italian ex-pat,
        Yes, candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. Thanks for requesting the clarification. I thought it was mentioned in the video’s intro, but I was wrong about that. The video begins in the middle of a longer event, so that context was lost.

        Thanks for that link as well; very good.

  12. Mikesailor on April 13, 2015, 6:19 pm

    Has Israel given diplomatic recognition to the government of Iran? Or is this merely a replay of what they did with the Palestinians: gained recognition while refusing the reciprocal? Funny but I remember they still owe the Iranians money for reneging on an oil deal a few years back. Is “debt” forgiveness also required by Bibi?

    • just on April 13, 2015, 11:40 pm

      No. Yes. Of course.

      Look how Israel treats their biggest benefactors for a hint on how they view the rest of the world. Pshaw!

      (a reminder:

      “Israel holding over $250m it owes Iran for oil in secret account

      A secret government bank account holds funds Israel owes Iran for oil it received before the 1979 revolution. Israel refuses to reveal who has been depositing money into and withdrawing money from the account.”

      Israel’s most mysterious bank account has been managed for 30 years in the Bank of Israel. It contains money that Israeli bodies owe to National Iranian Oil Co. for crude oil supplied before the Islamic revolution in January 1979. …”)


      Meanwhile it withholds Palestinian millions as punishment, and cuts power to the OPT because they can’t pay their electric bill…

  13. wondering jew on April 13, 2015, 7:59 pm

    The Israeli fear of an Iranian nuke seems normal rather than right wing to me. The Israeli tendency to see the cure to an Iranian nuke through military means is militaristic and you have termed it as right wing. But right wing usually means something a little bit more than just militaristic.

  14. JWalters on April 13, 2015, 8:17 pm

    “Rubio got the idea from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu”.

    That should read, “Rubio got his instructions from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu”.

  15. JLewisDickerson on April 14, 2015, 12:11 am

    RE: “Marco Rubio and AIPAC allied in effort to insert poison pill into Iran deal”

    MY COMMENT: Mario Rubio is an especially obnoxious Republican! That’s saying a lot.

    SEE: “Hegemonic Exceptionalism: Ukraine as Cold War Epicenter”, by Norman Pollack,, 3/06/14

    [EXCERPTS] . . . In fact, everyone seems to be using Ukraine as the validation of America’s greatness. Peter Baker in The Times had some choice quotes coming out of Congress: Dick Durbin, Democratic stalwart, on Putin, “[Kick] him out of the G-8”; Lindsey Graham, “Create a democratic noose around Putin’s Russia”; Marco Rubio, “Revisit the missile defense shield”; Mike Rogers, “Cancel Sochi [G-8]”. Rubio last night (3-4) spoke darkly of making Russia pay “the consequences” for its actions—he and Obama on the same page. Why the need for such validation? Why the recurring use of “TOUGHNESS”? I think psychopathology is an appropriate diagnosis here (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate at my elbow), in which “psychopathy” refers to “mental disorder; esp: extreme mental disorder marked usu. by egocentric and antisocial behavior.” Nicely fits the bill, show toughness in all things, even when, and especially when, your actions are morally and/or existentially wrong, as in: intervention (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and a host of lesser examples, particularly in the Hemisphere), regime change (as now, in Ukraine), targeted assassination (the Obama-Brennan weapon of choice in the War on Terrorism), domestic surveillance and worldwide eavesdropping—you get the idea (!) given the extensibility of the enumeration, much of which remains unknown given USG’s extreme lack of transparency and accountability. . .


  16. piotr on April 14, 2015, 8:05 am

    The fact is that Pakistan does not recognize Israel, the official position is that they can recognize Israel only after the establishment of the state of Palestine. And it get sales of weapons from USA, plus an alleged transfer of nuclear technology from Israel (in Wikipedia, “Israel-Pakistan relations”. I am lazy to check, but I think that Saudi Arabia has the same position.

    Official positions of the three states are quite similar, what is different are unofficial and disputed news about cooperation with Israel.

  17. just on April 14, 2015, 8:58 am

    “Can Senate Democrats save Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran?

    Replacement of hawkish critic Bob Menendez on foreign relations committee may make it less likely Congress is able to derail nuclear talks

    …In particular, Democrats want to use the so-called “mark-up” session scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to remove language requiring Obama to certify that Iran has not supported terrorism before allowing the deal – a clause supporters say would prove almost impossible to comply with – and water down Congress’s ability to delay the temporary lifting of sanctions.

    “Our hope – we are not there yet – is that Senator Corker and I would introduce a managers’ amendment that would incorporate certain agreed changes that would make this bill, I hope, accomplish its two principal purposes but without the language that could be offensive to the president and the strength of his negotiations,” added Cardin.

    Corker was also in positive mood on Monday evening after weekend talks aimed at crafting a compromise among more moderate figures in both parties.

    “We are moving in a very positive direction, and we’ve worked through some issues that I think have given me a lot of hope … I think that this weekend has been very productive,” he told reporters.

    But the mark-up session remains likely to be one of the tensest committee meetings for many months, with more than 50 amendments proffered, some of which would almost certainly scupper the talks if adopted.

    Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia is seeking to secure compensation for American hostages from Iran before allowing the deal, while Senator Marco Rubio, who declared his presidential ambitions on Monday night, has been pushing for an agreement from Iran to recognise Israel.”

    Congress is an embarrassment. The headline is ridiculous. This is not only “Obama’s deal”! There were other folks at the table…

    I know it’s a wild stretch of the imagination, but if this was a (white) Republican President who had made this deal, what would Congress have done?

    • Walid on April 14, 2015, 9:12 am

      Sounds like everyone is rushing in to add something to the Christmas list; recognition of Israel hostages’ compensation package, and 50 other amendments.

  18. just on April 14, 2015, 9:08 am

    “The Rubio ‘doctrine’: it’s either him or the ‘global chaos’ of Obama and Clinton

    For months, Marco Rubio has positioned himself as the defense hawk rising from the Republican rubble – a John McCain for the millennial set.

    The junior senator from Florida has taken his position on the powerful Foreign Relations Committee to remind the world that he would re-open the prison at Guantánamo Bay, defend the NSA’s dragnet surveillance and “stand up” against North Korea.

    Rubio has adopted the “Obama-Clinton foreign policy” line used by Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz and raised them an Ayatollah. Anything less than the “Rubio doctrine”, he says, would be “chaos”.

    The highly public ramp-up of his borderless credentials has built to this moment: a self-made politician is now, at 43 years old, attempting a long-shot bid to secure his party’s nomination for president as a veteran of global affairs. …”

    Run away!

  19. just on April 14, 2015, 11:56 am

    Here’s Haim Saban giving Clinton his stamp of approval:

    “…Consistently, her stance on political issues related to the Middle East conflict has defined her as a true friend of Israel. Nonetheless, whenever it was required, Clinton spared no criticism – sometimes sharply – for Netanyahu. “Her relationship with Netanyahu has had its ups and downs and I think they will work out fine when she will be the next president of the United States,” said Saban. “She will be a great president the US, for Israel in particular and the world in general. After 8 years as a presidential adviser, she was very successful, and the long years of working in the Senate, there is no candidate that can come close to the level of skills and experience. “…

    …Saban uses this story as an illustration of an additional trait of the candidate that is essential for a commander in chief: “That’s her. She’s got self-control. She’s got guts.”

    Saban, funds the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington DC. He called Clinton a staunch friend of Israel and said that she shares Israel’s goal of preventing a nuclear Iran, even if she disagrees with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the tactics. “They’ll get along fine,” he asserted.

    He is holding a fundraiser for Hillary on May 6th.”

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