Trending Topics:

Schumer defection raises fears about firewall on Jewish support for Iran Deal

on 45 Comments

Chuck Schumer’s decision to oppose the Iran Deal is causing some fear among deal supporters that he has broken down the Democratic Party firewall of support for the deal by giving American Jews who are fencesitters an excuse to come out against it.

Indeed, the rightwing site Breitbart has a poll, conducted before Schumer’s announcement, saying that Jews are changing their minds and swinging against the deal. And Bill Kristol of the Emergency Committee for Israel says: “Administration wanted Schumer to wait till the end if he was going to be against deal. His announcing now opens a path to 67 (& 290) votes [against the deal].”

From the start, I have focused on the extent to which the politics of the deal are an inside-Jewish game. The White House has at times treated the matter as such, with special and lengthy briefings for Jewish leaders and politicians. “White House begs to send its top officials to brief 700 Aipac activists,” Laura Rozen writes, underlining that dynamic. And two of the three officials the White House sent to that meeting, Wendy Sherman and Adam Szubin, “who also happened to be two of the key negotiators, are Jewish,” writes Ilan Goldenberg, a former Obama official who is Jewish and has been an outspoken advocate for the agreement. Of course, the fact they’re Jewish is not just a coincidence. Pro-Israel Jews are just that important in the power structure and Middle East policymaking.

Today Jeremy Ben-Ami of the liberal Zionist group J Street, which is working overtime for Obama on the deal, tried to hold the line on Jewish support. Here is a portion of his email, emphasizing the large numbers of Jewish backers of the deal.

I know Senator Schumer’s decision is causing concern among the deal’s supporters. But recognize this: the growing coalition in support of the agreement is impressive in quality and depth…

Florida’s Bill Nelson and New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand — who between them represent almost 2.5 million Jewish Americans in Congress — both came out this week courageously arguing that the agreement is the best option to stop the Iranian nuclear program and safeguard American and Israeli security.

And several Jewish and staunchly pro-Israel members are among the most outspoken advocates for the deal, including Congress’s senior Jewish voice, Rep. Sander Levin, and the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee California’s Adam Schiff….

Notice that some of J Street’s appeal involves bolstering Israeli militants:

Throughout the Congressional recess, J Street will continue our multi-million dollar ad campaign to educate and inform undecided Americans and Members of Congress about the merits of the deal. And, critically, we’ll bring veteran Israeli national security leaders to the States to explain why this deal is by far the best option for the US and for Israel.

Make no mistake, some of these security leaders are likely war criminals. They are a necessary part of the pro-deal’s lobby, given the constitution of the power structure. Jim Fallows and David Bromwich (neither of whom is a Zionist) touts their support. But when the deal goes through, its significance in American politics and Jewish politics, is that the neoconservatives will be routed. J Street will gain immeasurable prestige politically; the Israel lobby will be reconstituted as a liberal Zionist lobby. Bill Kristol will have to get some other sales job.

But non-Zionist, pro-boycott organizations have also worked hard for this deal, notably Jewish Voice for Peace. The rejection of rightwing Zionism/neoconservatism will open the next chapter in the Jewish ideological debate over Israel. BDS– boycott, divestment, and sanctions– will be openly debated in the 2016 election campaign.


Philip Weiss

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

Other posts by .

Posted In:

45 Responses

  1. Donald on August 9, 2015, 1:59 pm

    “BDS…will be openly debated in the 2016 campaign.”

    Trivially true. It’s debated now, but not by politicians, most of whom would denounce it if the subject came up.

    • just on August 9, 2015, 2:25 pm

      Hillary had already begun wrt BDS way back in 2009, Donald.

      I linked to some articles about this earlier today, and Phil just put this stunner up:

      “Why did Sec’y of State Clinton stick her nose into $465 donation to Edinburgh Film Festival in ’09? (BDS)” – See more at:

      • Donald on August 9, 2015, 2:55 pm

        I mistyped–I meant to say that to the extent most politicians would bring it up they would denounce it. Phil’s comment sounded to me like he imagined candidates debating it, which. I find hard to imagine in 2016. A debate sounds like someone would support it. Maybe Keith Ellison or a handful of others. Maybe Phil meant it would be debated by non- politicos on a larger scale. That. I could see.

    • Citizen on August 9, 2015, 5:29 pm

      I won’t hold my breath to see somebody supporting BDS & drawing analogy to boycott of apartheid South Africa on US mainline TV news & infotainment shows. Maybe one or two simple mentions of the BDS movement, with no follow up at all by the news host or interviewer. BDS will fly over the heads of Dick and Jane like “XYZ.” It won’t even register.

      • Boomer on August 9, 2015, 6:45 pm

        re: “BDS will fly over the heads of Dick and Jane like “XYZ.” It won’t even register.”

        Actually, I suspect that most Americans who are not Jewish, Muslim, readers of this site, or otherwise particularly interested and informed regarding the Middle East (i.e., most Americans) will assume that “BDS” refers to some kind of kinky sexual practice.

        I’m all for BDS: it is among the best strategies available, but I fear that it has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream. I hope that I’m wrong.

      • gracie fr on August 10, 2015, 2:14 pm

        In an effort to enumerate the global impact of BDS, I looked at the impressive list of countries where action has had had an economic effect:

        It’s Time to Boycott US Ben & Jerry’s

        Palestine Solidarity Campaign-Thailand launched a report denouncing Thailand’s complicity with Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.

        UK University of Exeter students vote to boycott Israeli settlement products in a landslide
        The King’s College London Student Council voted overwhelmingly to condemn the involvement of the university in an EU-funded research project that also includes Ahava
        Campaigners for Palestinian human rights today delivered rotten fruit to the lobby of the London office of the British-American investment firm Apax Partners over its ownership of major stakes in Israeli companies.
        British Trade Union Congress strengthens support for BDS –

        Ireland’s biggest food retailer drops Israeli produce, as European boycotts surge

        France Cartoonists to Angouleme Festival: Drop SodaStream
        Palestinian civil society warmly welcomes the declaration of the Arab Youth and Sports Council of Ministers in support of a boycott of Adidas due to its sponsorship of an Israeli marathon that violates international law and whitewashes Israel’s illegal occupation of Jerusalem –
        The tribunal of the 17th magistrate’s court of the Paris law courts has given a most important and clear ruling on the right of citizens and consumers to call for a boycott of Israel and its products.

        The Netherlands Dutch pension giant divests from 5 Israeli banks
        Netherlands: Retailers ban goods from settlements

        Italy Italian Water Festival condemned over Veolia and SodaStream links
        Two of Italy’s biggest supermarket chains suspend sales of settlement produce –

        Belgium Federation of Francophone Students in Belgium calls for academic boycott
        South Africa
        More than 10 000 South African School Students March Against Woolworths over Israel Trade
        Protests at the South African store will continue after it emerged that it will continue to sell Ahava products, which are produced in an illegal Israeli settlemen
        South Africa’s Karsten Farms have indeed violated the Palestinian BDS call by having a trade agreement with an Israeli cooperative, Hadiklaim (which also operates in Israel’s illegal settlements). –
        Australia First Brisbane BDS Walking Tour a great success
        Victory for Australia’s boycott campaign as charges of blockading chocolate store dropped

        Norway Major Norwegian retail chain stops sales of occupation products from Ahava
        14 June 2010 – The old Grorud borough district of Oslo, Norway’s capital, voted last week to boycott Israel, Norwegian news service NRK reported Friday. –
        40% of Norwegians: Ban Israeli products

        Japan Distributor in Japan Drops Israeli Company due to its Illegal Practices‏ –
        Scotland Glasgow Caledonian Palestine Society are delighted that Eden Springs no longer provide water anywhere on our campus.
        Switzerland The National Coordination produced a journal giving details about the Consumer Boycott Campaign in Switzerland –
        Sweden Coop Sweden stops all purchases of Soda Stream carbonation devices

        Argentina Argentinians call for boycott of Maim
        Global diamond industry Tell the Kimberly Process: Israeli diamonds are blood diamonds –
        Spain The Palestinian Campaign of Boycott, Desinvestments and Sanctions against the State of Israel in the province of Valladolid (Spain) Platform of Solidarity with Palestine-Valladolid It has been now five years since 9th of July of 2005.

    • Linda J on August 9, 2015, 7:57 pm

      Well, we “talked” to Sen. Sanders about Palestine yesterday at his 12,000-15,000 person event in Seattle:

    • Lillian Rosengarten on August 10, 2015, 11:13 am

      Pro Israel Jews?? Give me a break. These “Jews” are supporting apartheid , ethnic cleansing, firing “test chemical ” missiles on Gaza that also contain white phospherous. Burn, Burn, collective punishment against the Last Victims of the Holocaust. Now it is Jew against Jew. An outrage as settlers burn babies alive and their parents, forgetting they are human beings..I am ashamed of these Jews and ashamed of my people who perpetuate and support these crimes.

      • DavidDaoud on August 15, 2015, 7:57 am

        Lillian, I love who you are.

  2. JLewisDickerson on August 9, 2015, 2:00 pm

    RE: “But when the deal goes through, though, its significance in American politics and Jewish politics, is that the neoconservatives will be routed. J Street will gain immeasurable prestige politically; the Israel lobby will be reconstituted as a liberal Zionist lobby.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: I am very much for the deal agreement, but there is a long-term silver lining in the event it is defeated by the Likud Lobby. For one thing, it would really drive a wedge between Europe and the United States. I believe the EU would then feel free to ignore the US’ position on Israel/Palestine. I also believe there would be a good possibility of a backlash here in the US.
    In addition, BDS would really take off big time!

    • JLewisDickerson on August 9, 2015, 2:14 pm

      • No money for war hawks

      In response to Senator Schumer’s decision to side with partisan war hawks,’s 8 million members are immediately launching a Democratic Party donor strike. We will organize grassroots progressives across the country to withhold campaign contributions from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and from any Democratic candidate who succeeds in undermining the president’s diplomacy with Iran. Our goal will be to secure commitments to withhold $10 million in contributions within 72 hours after this campaign launches.



      Sign the petition: Defend the Iran deal and stop Republicans from starting a war with Iran

      This is the final showdown to stop Republicans from starting a war with Iran.
      The United States, Iran and five other world powers announced a historic deal to dramatically curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing international sanctions on Iran.
      Republicans are trying to sabotage the deal, put us back on the path to confrontation with Iran and start a war – but they can’t do it unless Democrats help them.
      We need to build an impenetrable firewall in Congress to prevent Republicans from passing any legislation to kill the deal and putting us back on the path to confrontation and war. Tell Democrats to go on record in support of the deal.
      We’ll send your message to your senators and member of Congress, as well as to House and Senate Democratic leadership.
      The petition reads:

      Republicans are trying to take us to war by sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal. I urge you to support the deal and stop the Republicans from starting another war of choice in the Middle East.




      Tell Congress: Support this deal.

      The international agreement reached in Vienna is the best chance for keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It meets all the requirements of a “good deal.”

      It creates the most rigorous, intrusive inspection regime in history. It opens Iran’s program to the light of day, keeping illicit military uses off the table. It protects the international sanctions regime, allowing them to snap back into place if Iran cheats. It puts a long-term, lasting end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And it cripples Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, blocking every pathway to a bomb.

      Tell Congress: you support this deal. They should too.


      A strong negotiated agreement is the best way to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and this agreement meets all the key points needed for a “good deal.”

      As an American who’s concerned about the security of Israel, the Middle East, and the entire world, I strongly urge you to support this agreement.


      • JLewisDickerson on August 9, 2015, 2:21 pm

        P.P.S. EMMA GOLDMAN (1909):

        The history of the American kings of capital and authority is the history of repeated crimes, injustice, oppression, outrage, and abuse, all aiming at the suppression of individual liberties and the exploitation of the people. A vast country, rich enough to supply all her children with all possible comforts, and insure well-being to all, is in the hands of a few, while the nameless millions are at the mercy of ruthless wealth gatherers, unscrupulous lawmakers, and corrupt politicians.
        The reign of these kings is holding mankind in slavery, perpetuating poverty and disease, maintaining crime and corruption; it is fettering the spirit of liberty, throttling the voice of justice, and degrading and oppressing humanity. It is engaged in continual war and slaughter, devastating the country and destroying the best and finest qualities of man; it nurtures superstition and ignorance, sows prejudice and strife, and turns the human family into a camp of Ishmaelites.

        SOURCE –

      • JLewisDickerson on August 10, 2015, 12:56 am

        P.P.P.S. ■ Sister Gertrude Morgan – ‘He Wrote The Revelation’ and ‘If You Live Like Jesus Told You’
        • Gertrude Morgan –
        • Sister Gertrude [VIDEO, 05:04] –

    • Bornajoo on August 10, 2015, 9:28 am

      “I am very much for the deal agreement, but there is a long-term silver lining in the event it is defeated by the Likud Lobby. For one thing, it would really drive a wedge between Europe and the United States. I believe the EU would then feel free to ignore the US’ position on Israel/Palestine. I also believe there would be a good possibility of a backlash here in the US. In addition, BDS would really take off big time!” (JLD)

      +100 JLD! Thanks for summing up exactly what I also believe but which you have expressed so well. I want them to defeat the deal for the reasons you have stated. It will be a huge plus for the Palestinian cause

      • JLewisDickerson on August 10, 2015, 11:34 am

        ALSO SEE: “What If Bibi Wins? ~ by John Whitbeck,, August 10, 2015
        LINK –

      • Bornajoo on August 10, 2015, 11:51 am

        Thanks for the link JLD! John Whitbeck certainly sums it up perfectly. This is exactly why it would be beneficial for the deal to be defeated

        He says:

        “Since this diplomatic agreement is obviously good news for the world, the UN Security Council has unanimously approved it and only one of the UN’s 193 member states, Israel, is currently opposed to it.

        The choice before members of Congress is thus a clear and simple one: Do they owe their primary allegiance and loyalty to the United States of America or to Israel?

        The great majority of members of Congress have traditionally seen less personal career risk in favoring Israeli desires over American interests than in favoring American interests over Israel desires. There has been good empirical evidence to support this self-serving calculation. Several prominent and patriotic American politicians have lost their reelection bids as a result of the perception that they put American interests ahead of Israeli desires, and it has become a truism in American politics that “no one has ever lost an election for being too pro-Israel.”

        However, the choice facing members of Congress has never been so clear-cut and consequential as in the imminent “disapproval” votes on the Iran nuclear agreement.

        At first glance, it appeared that President Obama had outsmarted the Republican Congressional leadership by getting them to agree that approval of American participation in any Iran nuclear agreement would not require an inconceivable two-thirds majority of the Senate but, rather, only a post-veto one-third minority approval in one of the two houses of Congress.

        However, particularly since the influential Democratic Senator from New York Chuck Schumer, poised to become the next Democratic leader in the Senate, has confirmed his personal allegiance to Israel and consequent intention to vote for “disapproval”, it is by no means certain that even one third of one house of Congress will choose the United States over Israel.

        What if Prime Minister Netanyahu does defeat President Obama in the American Congress? How might Obama and John Kerry react to a defeat more crushing and humiliating than any defeat ever suffered by any American president and secretary of state?

        In Obama’s case, one can envision three alternatives, one cowardly and two courageous:

        1. He could accept his and his country’s humiliation and retreat into irrelevance for the remaining 16 months of his term in office; or

        2. He could go before the American people, announce that he has no desire to continue to represent a country in which more than two-thirds of the members of the legislative branch owe their allegiance to a foreign country and resign as president; or

        3, He could seek patriotically to restore the independence and dignity of his country (or simply to take personal revenge against Netanyahu) by supporting or not vetoing a new application by the State of Palestine for full member state status at the United Nations and by supporting or not vetoing a UN Security Council resolution imposing meaningful sanctions on Israel until it withdraws fully from the occupied State of Palestine and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

        In Kerry’s case, one may hope that he would resign as secretary of state and run again for the Democratic nomination for president, this time with an America-First focus on restoring the independence and dignity of the United States.

        Palestinians and those who seek some measure of justice for Palestine and the Palestinian people must view this remarkable spectacle with mixed emotions.

        All the signs suggest that, if Obama “wins”, even by a hair’s breadth, he will immediately seek to “compensate” Israel for his unprecedented act of disobedience though a significant increase in the amount of America’s annual tribute payment to Israel, through even deeper military largesse and cooperation and through continuing American diplomatic and political support at the United Nations and elsewere.

        However, if Netanyahu “wins”, Obama just might finally do the right and decent thing for Palestine, the Palestinian people and the United States.

        To cite the ancient Chinese curse, we are living in interesting times.”

        I agree with him. Thanks again JLD

      • ziusudra on August 11, 2015, 5:00 am

        Greetings Bornajoo,
        on a linear observation:
        If Obama & Kerry lose the vote?
        If Schumer takes over the position of Reid?
        Pres. Obama’s only recourse would be to turn off the lights.
        PS Not even US Jewry wish this.

      • JennieS on August 13, 2015, 12:06 am

        I am also in agreement with JLD and the John Whitbeck article in Counterpunch is brilliant. I think there is at least a 50% chance of a veto-proof “no” vote in Congress because of the energy and passion that Bibi’s mob are bringing to the argument versus the rather cold and hesitant rhetoric from Obama et al.

  3. just on August 9, 2015, 2:22 pm

    “And two of the three officials the White House sent to that meeting, Wendy Sherman and Adam Szubin, “who also happened to be two of the key negotiators, are Jewish,” writes Ilan Goldenberg, a former Obama official who is Jewish and has been an outspoken advocate for the agreement. Of course, the fact they’re Jewish is not just a coincidence. Pro-Israel Jews are just that important in the power structure and Middle East policymaking.”

    US foreign policy in MENA has really only been an abysmal failure, until this negotiated agreement. One has to question if it’s because of the importance of these “Pro- Israel Jews” in the WH, in Congress, and in the many think tanks that also lobby on behalf of Israel in the US.

    Thanks for the article, Phil.

  4. Kay24 on August 9, 2015, 2:28 pm

    This reminds me of the time before the attack on Iraq. Polls showed that the majority of Americans did not want to attack Iraq, then came the neocons and the American zionists in the Bush administration, and the media, who started the campaign of false information and the demonizing of Iraq, making it the bogeyman. After weeks of beating the war drums, and making Americans feel Saddam Hussein was out to get them (they were warned of missiles hitting our shores too), the tide turned the most Americans were ready to unilaterally shock and awe a nation, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.
    All that to topple one man, and decimate a country. Iraq still cannot recover from that blow.

    These war criminals now focus on the next victim, Iran. Same BS propaganda but different country.

    • lysias on August 9, 2015, 5:23 pm

      Attacking Iran would be a much more serious venture than attacking Iraq was. If it went badly, as it probably would, it would have the potential of breaking the U.S. military. (And since the U.S.’s privileged economic position with the dollar as the world’s reserve currency depends on America’s military dominance, that could also mean breaking the U.S. economy.)

      • Kay24 on August 9, 2015, 9:55 pm

        Iran, unlike Iraq will not take this lying down. They will retaliate so fast Booby man’s head will spin.

  5. Kay24 on August 9, 2015, 2:34 pm

    Some of the poll questions are biased to say the least. Ideally Americans especially the Jewish folk should be asked:

    “”Israel is an important ally, the only democracy in the region, and should we support it EVEN IF IT HURTS AMERICA” ?

    That would be an interesting to know. Schumer and his ilk should be asked the same thing too.

    • yourstruly on August 9, 2015, 3:04 pm

      Another interesting but yet to be asked polling question: “Members of Congress who put the interests of Israel before those of the U.S. are 1) Israel-firsters; 2) traitors; 3) impeachable; 4) all of the above.

      • Citizen on August 9, 2015, 5:47 pm

        Such a poll question will never see the light of day.

  6. gracie fr on August 9, 2015, 3:08 pm

    Why did Chuck Schumer originally decide to oppose the Iran Deal is open to speculation…..
    From The Real News:

    • just on August 9, 2015, 4:07 pm

      Thanks, gracie.

      I wish we could see that kind of discussion on MSM.

    • Boomer on August 9, 2015, 4:30 pm

      Interesting site, thanks for the link.

  7. ritzl on August 9, 2015, 4:19 pm

    Really. BAD. Shit.

    If the prospective situation described in the article comes to pass – a bloc movement against the deal by Jews following Schumer’s lead – it will make it look like it’s becoming Jews against the rest of us (the unbought) in domestic US politics on questions of war and peace and who’s kids get sent off to kill and die in endless and unnecessary war for Israel.

    How can Schumer even remotely have the power/effect hypothesized in the article? Is the metaphysical hold of Israel and tribe SO utterly compelling that such an 11th hour, high profile, bloc move could happen? If it does it would abandon all pretense of Jews in power being anything other than subservient to Israel. It would be a public declaration that they are subservient AS A GROUP.

    I find it shocking in the extreme that “fence-sitting” Jews would follow Schumer’s tribal lead on this. I find it shocking in the extreme that it is even a possibility.

    Really. Bad. Shit.

    God, I hope these “fence-sitters” vote their own minds, and it varies, Yea or Nay.

    “just” just posted an article lamenting the fact that Tablet went overboard, calling Obama anti-semitic because he mildly alluded to the very real reflexive Jewish political group-think and money flow on Israel (and against the Iran deal). The Tablet OpEd was kinda sad really because it called documented public reality, anti-semitic. How is one supposed to react to such a desperate, power-clingy, fantasy accusation? Yawn is my guess.

    But now this:

    Chuck Schumer’s decision to oppose the Iran Deal is causing some fear among deal supporters that he has broken down the Democratic Party firewall of support for the deal by giving American Jews who are fencesitters an excuse to come out against it.

    If Obama’s vague and heavily-couched remarks were antisemitic, how does one describe this phenomenon in a PC way? I don’t think it’s possible, particularly when debating a life and death issue.

    If these Jewish lawmakers follow Schumer’s lead as a “Jewish thing” and as a bloc, that reality WILL be described as such. Fun times ahead for Tablet as they screech in a vacuum.

    As an aside and as a non-Jew, sometimes it’s hard to tell if PW is writing something outrageous to spur a Jewish reaction, or matter-of-factly describing something that is normal intra-Jewish banter but which objectifies the rest of us. This is one of those times.

    • Boomer on August 9, 2015, 4:35 pm

      re: “it’s hard to tell” . . . yes. I have my own ideas about that, but either way, I’m glad he’s on the job.

      • ritzl on August 9, 2015, 4:38 pm

        Agree Boomer. Either way, a part of the necessary mix.

    • annie on August 9, 2015, 5:37 pm

      I find it shocking in the extreme that “fence-sitting” Jews would follow Schumer’s tribal lead on this. I find it shocking in the extreme that it is even a possibility.

      i don’t. i don’t underestimate the power of the lobby. just as obama was pissed schumer didn’t hold off — the decision to come out for the deal now was likely calculated to apply pressure on other jewish congresspeople, who are undoubtedly under more pressure to stay in line. they are probably receiving threats aa well as promises they’ll get no more support from the lobby if they don’t turn against the deal. i think we have no idea what they’re up against. still, cowards as far as i am concerned.

      re just’s haaretz/tablet link you mentioned, i’ve got an article up about it here:

      • ritzl on August 9, 2015, 11:31 pm

        Yeah, Annie. I hadn’t seen your article when I wrote this. Thanks to you and Phil for writing it up. Spot on!

        Wrt “shocking,” it’s amazing to me that a group that is so sensitive to, and in fact relies upon, the dual-loyalty claim to be false in order to wield power, is seemingly going out of its way to publicly prove it true.

        Hypothetically, at the moment.

        “i don’t underestimate the power of the lobby.”

        Words to live by, but should this bloc vote/shift come to be, the realization that so many Jews in positions of power can be “Goldstoned” into adopting a common opinion supporting the demonstrably lunatic and deadly ravings of Netanyahu & Co., takes not “underestimating the power of the lobby” to an entirely new level, imo.

        I guess until now I had thought (or wanted to think) that Judge Goldstone was uniquely susceptible to that kind of pressure. That may shortly prove to have been an extremely naîve belief.

        The other implication of Phil’s speculation in this article is the question of whether to go on the offensive in pointing this out or wait around to react (to the next political loss on an issue of war and peace) and complain.

    • Citizen on August 9, 2015, 6:01 pm


  8. hophmi on August 9, 2015, 9:59 pm

    You are dreaming.

  9. subconscious on August 9, 2015, 11:06 pm

    A new front has now opened up to confront BDS efforts – by Tehran U.! Aren’t they undermining the academic boycott of Israel?

  10. Qualtrough on August 10, 2015, 7:59 am

    Anyone know who Humpme thinks is dreaming?

  11. Misterioso on August 10, 2015, 1:01 pm

    Foreign Policy – August 9/15

    Chuck Schumer’s Disingenuous Iran Deal Argument – by Jeffrey Lewis

    The good senator from New York may be voting his conscience, but he’s got the facts all wrong.

    What can be said of the role that the U.S. Congress has tried to establish for itself when it comes to foreign policy? At the risk of out-Dicking former Vice President Cheney himself on the subject of executive authority, Congress is a “branch of government” in precisely the same way that college basketball fans are a “sixth man.” We don’t let fans call plays, other than as some kind of preseason stunt. I am not particularly interested in congressional views about the Iran deal.

    Could the debate in Congress be less dignified if the members removed their shirts, painted themselves red or blue, and started screaming like the Cameron Crazies?

    Which brings us to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

    Schumer is one of the most powerful members of the Senate, which is not quite the same thing as saying he’s dignified. Back in the 1990s, when he was a congressman, his House colleagues had a phrase for waking up to find he’d upstaged them in the media: to be “Schumed.” Washingtonians have long joked that the most dangerous place in town is between New York’s senior senator and a microphone. The Washington Post’s Emily Heil has suggested we retire that hackneyed cliché, replacing it instead with this bon mot from former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine:

    “Sharing a media market with Chuck Schumer is like sharing a banana with a monkey,” Corzine was quoted as saying in New York magazine. “Take a little bite of it, and he will throw his own feces at you.”

    On Thursday evening, right in the middle of the first GOP debate, Schumer reached back, took aim, and heaved a large one. He penned a long piece for Medium that some anonymous hack described as “thoughtful and deliberate.” Uh, ok. Maybe compared to Mike Huckabee’s outrage about “oven doors,” but good grief our standards for political discourse have fallen.

    Schumer’s missive came across a bit like your crazy uncle who gets his opinions from talk radio and wants to set you straight at Thanksgiving.

    (I’m probably not the only one who thinks so. But then, I don’t have to pretend Schumer is some great statesman lest he put a hold on some future appointment or nomination.)

    Consider how Schumer describes the inspections regime in the Iran deal.

    Schumer starts by repeating the claim that “inspections are not ‘anywhere, anytime’; the 24-day delay before we can inspect is troubling.” This would be very troubling if it were true. It isn’t. The claim that inspections occur with a 24-day delay is the equivalent of Obamacare “death panels.” Remember those? A minor detail has been twisted into a bizarre caricature and repeated over and over until it becomes “true.”

    Let’s get this straight. The agreement calls for continuous monitoring at all of Iran’s declared sites — that means all of the time — including centrifuge workshops, which are not safeguarded anywhere else in the world. Inspectors have immediate access to these sites.

    That leaves the problem of possible undeclared sites. What happens when the International Atomic Energy Agency suspects that prohibited work is occurring at an undeclared site? This is the problem known as the “Ayatollah’s toilet.” It emerged from the challenge of inspecting presidential palaces in Iraq in the 1990s, which — despite the U.N. Special Commission’s demands for immediate access — the Iraqis argued were off-limits.

    Far from giving Iran 24 days, the IAEA will need to give only 24 hours’ notice before showing up at a suspicious site to take samples. Access could even be requested with as little as two hours’ notice, something that will be much more feasible now that Iran has agreed to let inspectors stay in-country for the long term. Iran is obligated to provide the IAEA access to all such sites — including, if it comes down to it, the Ayatollah’s porcelain throne.

    But that’s not all. The Iran deal has a further safeguard for inspections at undeclared sites, the very provision that Schumer and other opponents are twisting. What happens if Iran tries to stall and refuses to provide access, on whatever grounds? There is a strict time limit on stalling. Iran must provide access within two weeks. If Iran refuses, the Joint Commission set up under the deal must decide within seven days whether to force access. Following a majority vote in the Joint Commission — where the United States and its allies constitute a majority bloc — Iran has three days to comply. If it doesn’t, it’s openly violating the deal, which would be grounds for the swift return of the international sanctions regime, known colloquially as the “snap back.”

    This arrangement is much, much stronger than the normal safeguards agreement, which requires prompt access in theory but does not place time limits on dickering.

    What opponents of the deal have done is add up all the time limits and claim that inspections will occur only after a 24-day pause. This is simply not true. Should the U.S. intelligence community catch the Iranians red-handed, it might be that the Iranians would drag things out as long as possible. But in such a case, the game would be over. Either the Iranians would never let the inspectors into the site, or its efforts to truck out documents or equipment, wash down the site, or bulldoze buildings, etc., would be highly visible. These tactics would crater the deal, with predictable consequences. (Schumer also takes a shot at the snap back. Say what you will about the probability of getting all parties to agree to reimpose sanctions, but agreements like this have never had such an enforcement provision before.)

    Even if nefarious Iranian runarounds could be hidden, these efforts, over the course of a few weeks, would not suffice to hide environmental evidence of covert uranium enrichment. Schumer even admits as much. But, he insists, other weapons-related work, like high explosive testing without any nuclear materials, might go undetected.

    This, too, is a specious objection. For comparison, opponents of this deal have spent enormous amounts of time demanding access to Iran’s Parchin facility, where precisely this sort of weaponization work appears to have taken place between 1996 and 2002. That was more than a decade ago. There is a certain tension between the claim that a few weeks is much too long and that access to a site 13 years after the fact is absolutely necessary. A person might get suspicious that these arguments aren’t to be taken at face value.

    The simple truth is, some aspects of weapons work are hard to detect — no matter what. So what’s the alternative? To not prohibit that work? To permit Iran to do things like paper studies on nuclear weapons development because it’s hard to verify the prohibition? Again, that’s crazy. The Iran deal defines weapons work in far more detail than any previous agreement. That’s a good thing — and those of us who are skeptical of Iranian intentions should welcome it, not use it to attack the deal. The law insists that drug dealers pay their taxes. They don’t, but every now and again the feds put a gangster away for tax evasion. (Ask Al Capone.) Western intelligence services have shown considerable ingenuity in acquiring documents from Iran’s nuclear program. Even if it’s not guaranteed they would do so in the future, the prohibitions in the deal create additional opportunities to stop an illicit weapons program.

    Some of us might think it’s good that the agreement puts defined limits on how much Iran can stall and explicitly prohibits a long list of weaponization activities. Opponents, like Schumer — apparently for want of anything better — have seized on these details to spin them into objections. A weaker, less detailed agreement might have been easier to defend against this sort of attack, perhaps.

    But let’s not be too critical of Schumer’s insincerity. Despite having repeated these and other arguments against the Iran deal, Schumer, although a member of the Democratic leadership, has gone out of his way to signal that other caucus members should vote their conscience.

    Congress has a long history of members voting against agreements while working to pass them. Sen. Mitch McConnell, when he was minority leader, openly opposed the New START agreement, while paving the way for a small number of Republican senators to cross party lines to secure its ratification. Schumer appears to be doing something similar in this case, stating his personal opposition but not whipping votes against the deal.

    That might be something less than a profile in courage, but it’s how Congress works. And I think it’s a pretty good reason not to let these characters anywhere near foreign policy. But then again, I would have advised the president to veto the Cardin-Corker bill that established this farce of a process. But Obama signed it and here we are.

  12. michelle on August 10, 2015, 5:22 pm

    seems like we Americans are Israel sharecroppers surenuff
    G-d Bless

  13. Kay24 on August 10, 2015, 5:27 pm

    Looks like one Congressperson has decided to support his President. Thank you, Sen. Schatz.

    “REUTERS – Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, said on Monday he backs the U.S.-led international nuclear deal with Iran, becoming the 16th senator to do so and moving President Barack Obama one vote closer to locking in enough Senate votes to make the deal fly. 
    A liberal, Jewish-born lawmaker from Hawaii, Schatz had been expected to come down in favor of the deal. But his decision was noteworthy because it came just a few days after another Jewish senator, Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York, announced his opposition to the Iran agreement. 
    Schumer’s decision last week caused an uproar as he usually lines up behind the president. He is the No. 3 senator and wants to become Senate Democratic leader after the 2016 election. 
    read more:

    • eljay on August 10, 2015, 6:29 pm

      A liberal, Jewish-born lawmaker from Hawaii …

      1. According to Wiki, he was born in Michigan, not in Jewish or Hawaii.
      2. Ha’aretz mentions his religion* – why is Ha’aretz so bigoted?
      (*At this time and according to hophmi, Jewish is a religion.)

      • Kay24 on August 11, 2015, 7:22 am

        Haaretz does have this nasty habit of mentioning some person is “Jewish” every time they have an article about that person. Sometimes I know someone is Jewish when I see an article relating to the person, like celebrities. As if people really care about that aspect when reading the news.

  14. michelle on August 10, 2015, 10:59 pm

    is the POTUS conducting a government strip search
    do you see what ‘i’ see
    G-d Bless

Leave a Reply