The latest news on the Iran Deal is that: Obama is going to win the deal, the conventional wisdom has hardened on that likelihood; and so political minds are already considering the aftermath. And that aftermath is a divided Israel lobby, in which both political parties bid for pro-Israel donors. The Republicans have AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, but the Democrats have J Street, the liberal Zionist group; and there will be intense competition for individuals from those platforms.
And Joe Biden’s people hint via Politico that he can hold Jews inside the Democratic Party.
First, Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Senator, concedes Obama will likely win, in an AP story on the nose-counting of the Iran Deal.
“He can win by getting one-third plus one of either house,” McConnell told a business group in his home state of Kentucky. “So he’s still got a great likelihood of success.”
Even if Obama prevails, however, the deal can be reviewed by the next president, McConnell said.
McConnell publicly conceding that Obama has the advantage reflects what Democrats and Republicans have been saying privately.
And still the neocons push for war. Here’s an important data point from the rightwing Israel lobby. They want what they’ve always wanted: change the regime and install a democracy, and everyone will love Israel. The ideologue is Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
— Benjamin Armbruster (@benjaminja) August 17, 2015
The New York Times reports what we picked up from the Israeli press yesterday: Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer is working Capitol Hill, against the president who recognized him in D.C. Writes Julie Hirschfeld Davis:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, a fierce critic of the agreement, also is leaning on lawmakers from afar. The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, who is close to Mr. Netanyahu, has been contacting scores of lawmakers to make the case against the agreement.
“The ambassador has met with more than 60 senators and congressmen in the last month,” said an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity without authorization to publicly detail the lobbying efforts. “He’s speaking to everybody — particularly Democrats, who ultimately will decide this issue. He wants to make sure that they hear Israel’s views directly.”
It’s all about Democrats, says the Times. And all about Jews!
They also are shaping up as a proxy fight between clashing political strains of American Jews, embodied by one pro-Israel group, J Street, on one side and Aipac on the other — each trying to demonstrate that it best represents the interests and views of pro-Israel voters.
Speaking of that battle, here are three Jewish congresspeople– Jan Schakowsky, Adam Schiff, and Sander Levin– lobbying their colleagues in favor of the deal and producing a letter from 340 rabbis:
We are writing to make sure that you saw the letter sent earlier today signed by 340 Rabbis from around the United States supporting the recently-negotiated nuclear agreement with Iran. They, like each of us, believe that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best way to verifiably prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
The rabbis, gathered by the liberal Zionist group Ameinu, call it a historic agreement and say:
Most especially, we are deeply concerned with the impression that the leadership of the American Jewish community is united in opposition to the agreement. We, along with many other Jewish leaders, fully support this historic nuclear accord.
To be clear, these Ameinu rabbis want division. So do liberal Zionists Todd Gitlin and Steve Cohen in the Washington Post. So does Daniel Levy, who has written that Netanyahu is blowing up the lobby, or breaking it apart:
Stateside, Bibi has the competing pro-Israel lobbies—AIPAC and J Street—duking it out, and Jewish community centers, federations, and synagogues are all being pulled into the fray. American Jews are being asked to ditch the Democrat president they have overwhelmingly voted for (twice) in favor of a Republican-aligned Israeli prime minister, who previously pushed for the Iraq war and is now engaged in a deeply partisan struggle, in which he wants the Israeli interest (as he interprets it) to be placed above the American interest. Many American Jews are uncomfortable with being put in this predicament. Polls suggest that a clear majority back Obama and his Iran deal….
[A] process is in motion, a growing distancing between the Jewish communities of America and Israel, born of tensions between American Jewish liberalism and Israel’s denial of basic freedoms for Palestinians and an overall drift toward greater extremism and intolerance. It is a process that has been significantly accelerated by Netanyahu’s brash and bullying foray into congressional politics.
Thus the Iran battle is foreshadowing the battle of 2016, in which Republicans are going to try and take the Israel issue, and the Israel donors, and knock down Democratic support among Jews. Will that happen?
Here is Joe Biden’s camp trying to signal to Jews that he can unite them in their traditional house of political worship, the Democratic Party. Politico’s report on his possible presidential strategy:
Meanwhile, Biden’s circle has identified what they see as their potential voting blocs: Reagan Democrats, Jews, an LGBT base that largely credits him with pushing President Barack Obama into supporting gay marriage, and Rust Belt voters.
Biden from ’07:
“I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” He also revealed that his son is married to a Jewish woman, of the Berger family from Delaware, and that he had participated in a Passover Seder at their house.