‘A better relationship with Iran’ is the deal’s secret promise, but supporters can’t say so

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

President Obama is still out front of his supporters on message. Three days ago he called his opponents on the Iran Deal “the crazies.” Will someone please give the president some support on this idea? No; political insiders are all afraid of the neoconservatives and the Israel lobby. So Obama is spending all his own political capital in what time he has left.

Though Chris Matthews also went after the crazies last night without calling them that. I’ve never seen him so emphatic in support of the Iran Deal. He pronounced Netanyahu like an epithet.

Let me finish with something really important, this agreement with Iran.

Some are asking now for President Obama to commit the United States to bombing Iran if it appears to be headed toward weaponizing 15 years from now. They want him to also give Israel a 30,000 pound bomb able to destroy even the most deeply buried Iranian nuclear facility.

What is the purpose of these demands? Is it to ensure that the agreement is carried out in good faith? Is it to further the possibility of a better relationship with Iran down the road? Really? Would committing ourselves to an attack at this point, in effect putting a gun to Iran’s head, achieve such a goal? Would giving Israel our giant penetrating bomb and giving Prime Minister Netanyahu the discretion on if and when to use it?

Notice that Matthews admits the possibility that Iran and the U.S. can become friends! This is the great unspoken benefit of the agreement, which its supporters are not allowed to express, again because of the presence of the Israel lobby in our politics. Even as British legislators champion this aspect of the agreement, a new chapter between the west and the ancient civilization of Persia, U.S. deal supporters are trapped in the rhetoric that Iran is irredeemably evil and can’t be trusted and the best way to contain that evil is through the mechanism of this deal. Matthews breaks out of that frame.

The folks who want Iran to get that huge bomb are Dennis Ross, Israel’s lawyer in the United States, and David Petraeus.

No one but Obama is calling opponents of the deal crazies because the opponents are generally Israel-supporters, and they have purchase inside the Establishment. Israel’s interest continues to dominate the American discussion of the issue.

Washington Senator Patty Murray’s statement in support of the Iran deal mentions Israel more often than it does the United States: Israel or Israeli, 11 times. United States or U.S., 9 times.  She is a liberal Democrat. And there’s no glimmer of hope that Iran can change in the statement. No, Iran is evil forever.

My support for this deal isn’t based on the hope that it will cause Iran to become more moderate, more trustworthy, or friendlier toward the United States and Israel.

Murray praises Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer for lobbying her on the question, and speaks repeatedly of working with Israel “hand-in-hand”:

Fourth, our support for Israel should continue and be strengthened to make it crystal clear to all in the region that we will stand with our ally to enforce this deal and make sure Iran doesn’t hurt our shared interests in any other way.

“As a strong supporter of Israel, I know full well the risks Israelis face every single day as the only democracy in a region where their some of their closest neighbors are also their fiercest enemies. I deeply value my friends in Washington state who have worked with me for decades to help me understand the region, its people, and its needs. I have traveled with them to Israel and I have seen the emotional, personal, and economic ties between our two countries. I have been a strong supporter of sanctions on Iran, military and economic support for Israel, and standing with our ally hand-in-hand toward our shared goals of peace, security, and prosperity in the region. There are strong supporters of Israel on both sides of this issue, and I deeply value the thoughts and guidance I received from those who share my view that the United States has a strong interest in protecting Israel and making sure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon. And I am looking forward to working with supporters of Israel to make sure that this deal is implemented and enforced in a way that works for our strong friend and ally.

The brave NY Congressman Jerrold Nadler continues to get slammed for his support for the deal. “I never expected the vicious nature of the opposition,” Nadler told Jewish Week. Nadler has more Jews in his district than any other congressperson, and the religious ones in Brooklyn are up in arms, and threatening to primary him next year. This rightwing Jewish site says, “Traitor Congressman commits treason again.” Nadler has called the rhetoric poisonous:

Responding to the critics and accusations, Nadler told JP [Jewish Political updates] on Friday that the comments made against him “poisonous” and “absurd.”

“Saying that someone who supports the deal is an enemy of Israel is absurd; saying that anyone – Senator Schumer or someone else – who opposes the deal is guilty of dual loyalty or treason is absurd,” Nadler told JP. “That kind of rhetoric poisons a rational debate and poisons politics. It is just wrong and has to be discouraged. You know, it’s ‘sinas chinam’ (gratuitous hatred) – we’ve had that before – it’s just sinas chinam… The kind of rhetoric that talks about motives is poisonous.”

Here is a J Street petition to support Nadler in his hour of need. Notice that it mentions Israel but not the United States!

Thanks for speaking out in support of the international agreement with Iran.

As a supporter of Israel, I know that this deal is the best way to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

This is a tough fight, but your constituents have your back. We’re glad you’re standing up for diplomacy.

J Street must know its constituency: liberal Jews who still love Israel. Writes one: “Memo to US Jews: Listen to Isr security officials & SUPPORT #IranDeal.” To be clear, Zionism is still the predominant strain inside American Jewish life. Anti-Zionist Jews are still outliers in that community. We’re catching on among the young, but the young don’t give tens of thousands to political campaigns. And Jews who don’t care about Israel may well be a majority in Jewish life (as Jon Basil Utley says), but the lobby is the active voice.

The National Jewish Democratic Council is backing Nadler. Brooklyn power rabbi Andy Bachman is doing so. NY City Council Member Brad Lander is too. And three other Jewish NY congresspeople have come out against the attacks on Nadler. “No matter where you stand on the Iran deal, comparisons to the Holocaust, the darkest chapter in human history, questioning the credentials of long-standing advocates for Israel, and accusations of dual loyalty are inappropriate.” Chuck Schumer “issued a statement calling Nadler ‘one of the most steadfast supporters of Israel’s security.'”

Obama lost another NY congressperson, Carolyn Maloney, but picked up a California rep. J Street’s spokesperson:

Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Alan Lowenthal [Democrat from Long Beach, CA] announces support for the . Pro-deal Jewish lawmakers outnumber those opposed 12 to 7

I am often attacked for counting Jews in powerful positions. Let’s be clear that Israel supporters are also counting Jews. They do so for the same reason I do, because Jews have disproportionate power in this discussion. Keep in mind that Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill and Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly have supported the Iran Deal without Nadler’s repercussions. “Expected legions” did not materialize at town halls. So the Christian Zionists don’t really care that much about this, while the ardent Jewish ones do.


Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I have not read this MW article yet, but already agree with it’s banner. Just want to get this out there: A Palestinian Novel Par Excellence:

Nice to know What’s good for Israel is the chief concern of in-fighting; who cares about US best interests, or the World’s? Nobody with influence. As a non-Jewish American, I am very depressed & frustrated about this. You’d think by how this is playing out that Jews comprised 98% of… Read more »

Philip Three days ago he (Obama) called his opponents on the Iran Deal “the crazies.” As I commented here before I do strongly think that saying Obama called his opponents of the Iran deal “the crazies” is a mischaracterisation of what he actually said. Bush Sr.’s CIA Briefer Ray McGovern… Read more »

I want to ask a question here: does anyone here, after watching the “Iran debate” and “The Lobby’s” antics ever question the shibboleth that all of European “antisemitism” was irrational and based solely on a racist hatred? Cuz you can read a million and one French, German, English, Spanish, Russian… Read more »

The people who are against “counting Jews” are in effect saying let’s not talk about Jewish power. Like Rothkopf, who is rushing to declare the lobby dead at first moment he can. Or the liberal Zionists in Haaretz, including Bronfman, who keep urging unity and to suppress open debate. I… Read more »