The news from Washington is that Hillary Clinton is falling into line. Vox reports that Hillary Clinton has endorsed the Iran deal in a private meeting with House Democrats. The neoconservatives are enraged at her. I bet anything that Chuck Schumer will also endorse the deal, because American leadership says that it is good for our country, and the American people are going to be overwhelmingly For the deal; and Schumer has said that he must support the American interest not the Jewish one.
Is the Iran deal going to be a turning point for the Israel lobby? I think so: the president played his hand well, and most of the US political leadership will line up in favor of the deal, and again, it will have giant popular support, Democrats will fall into line, the liberal Israel lobby is all for the deal.
So the rightwing traditional lobby will have to choose, do we want to be on the losing side or the winning side. Peter Beinart is applying pressure to the National Jewish Democratic Council:
if most Jewish Democrats support nuclear deal with Iran, why won’t @NJDC?
AIPAC is really stuck here. It hates to lose publicly, then people think it’s not powerful and they can criticize Israel. Notice that it is hedging its bets on the Iran deal. It doesn’t like it, but it won’t condemn it outright:
We are deeply concerned based on initial reports that this proposed agreement may not meet these requirements, and thereby would fail to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror…
Tepid opposition. Then it kicks the can down the road:
We intend to examine closely the details of the agreement against that standard, and we will then issue a fuller assessment.
Hillary Clinton knows that opposing the deal is a losing hand with the American people; but she is spending a lot of political capital to support the deal. She will lose parts of the lobby over it. She has aligned herself closely with megadonor Haim Saban. She wrote a fawning letter to him promising to fight Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and promising to work “across party lines” to oppose it.
Saban can’t be pleased today. He has called for the annihilation of Iran. Last year, Rosie Gray reported:
Major Democratic donor Haim Saban said on Sunday that if he were running Israel he would “bomb the living daylights” out of Iran if the current nuclear negotiations produce a bad deal for Israel.
Speaking at a conference of the Israeli American Council at the Washington Hilton opposite Republican casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Saban said that if he were in the shoes of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the event of a deal with Iran that he judged to be dangerous with Israel, “I would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches.”
Saban is probably fretting like AIPAC. He wants to maintain his political relevance; he wants to continue to influence US policy against a Palestinian state. Now the lobby is splitting openly into right and left branches. Michael Oren published his book in June because he thought he could rally the American Jewish community against the Iran deal, but they won’t listen to him. They’re more attuned to Barbara Boxer:
“if this agreement is what the Administration says it is, it is a major, historic diplomatic breakthrough.”
J Street’s Dylan Williams says that the administration is gaining support:
Swing Democrats’ statements on the
#IranDeal have so far tracked the administration’s language on deal terms, rather than the GOP/AIPAC ones
Meantime, I’m going to get a lot of pleasure watching Bill Kristol disappear into the political margins. Today he rallies the world in Churchillian tones:
“Let us act so historians will say ‘July 14, 2105, was the bottom, the nadir, from which America went on to recover.'”
Who’s listening? Tom Cotton.