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Iran Deal aftermath brings warnings of donor backlash against Dems

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The New York Times has an article on the “stinging defeat” to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which failed so colossally in its opposition to the Iran Deal. Unfortunately, the article leaves the news to the last couple paragraphs: a donnybrook in the next election, with big donors plotting retribution against those who supported the deal, and the pro-Deal group J Street recruiting money to help those who backed the deal. Reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis is all but explicit about the role played by Jewish donors.

[J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami] predicted that after the 2016 elections, lawmakers who backed the deal “will feel like they had the political support that they needed from the Jewish community to win re-election.”

Opponents of the accord were not so sure.

“I think you may see donors withholding or not wanting to write a check to people because they feel betrayed, and there’s going to have to be some accountability here,” said Josh Block, the president of The Israel Project, a pro-Israel public relations group. “There’s no question in my mind that people’s votes on the Iran deal are going to be an issue in the next election cycle, and the one after that, and the one after that, and they’ll be held accountable.”

The same reference to the “Jewish community” appears in a Politico piece on the deal’s aftermath: “GOP aims to make Democrats pay politically for Iran vote.”

“It will be very harmful to their chances,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

“I don’t know what else the Democrats could do to chase the pro-Israel community in the United States any further in the Republican direction,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), a former NRSC chairman.

Jeremy Ben-Ami and John Cornyn mean the same thing when they say “Jewish community.” They are not just talking about votes– Jews are just 5.8 percent of New Jersey voters, 3.3 percent of Florida’s– but money. West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, one of four Dems who opposed the deal, tells Politico:

“The smart move would have been for me to announce immediately I’m opposed to it,” Manchin said. “If you’re playing politics, it’s a no-brainer.”

Jews make up 1/10th of a percent of West Virginia’s population. Manchin is talking about money: as Eli Clifton showed the other day, he is dependent on out of state contributions from supporters of Israel, which Clifton surmises guided his decision.

There is obviously a difference between Jewish donors and Jewish voters. 57 percent of Jews support Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders as first choice in current presidential crop! Jeb Bush and Trump come in way behind. That’s polling from the American Jewish Committee. And American Jews support the Iran Deal to a far greater extent than non-Jews. This is Jeremy Ben-Ami’s bet; and the Times should have quoted him much higher in the story, higher than Dennis Ross, certainly, on what is going on here. Do those Jews have money? Are they younger? Do they care? Etc.

Jewish donors are again a theme in Mother Jones’s story on– Guess who is being resuscitated by the Jeb Bush campaign. First it was Paul Wolfowitz, now it’s W. Yes, George W. Bush is addressing NY donors, on his brother’s behalf.

George W. Bush has been conspicuously absent from his younger brother’s presidential campaign, but Jeb Bush is putting him to use—at least in private. This morning the former president was scheduled to meet in New York City behind closed doors with some of Jeb Bush’s top donors. The topic of this pay-to-attend exclusive luncheon session with W was to be the United States’ “special relationship” with Israel, according to an invitation to the event reviewed by Mother Jones.

The piece lists the names of members of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

It’s time for the press to get honest and specific about how much Jewish money is in the political process. From Sheldon Adelson to Haim Saban to Norman Braman to Bernard Marcus, this seems to be the prize, and Republicans seem to believe it’s in play. These are ardent supporters of Israel who are voting with their wallets. They are not reflective of Jews generally, and it’s affecting our foreign policy.


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10 Responses

  1. just
    September 11, 2015, 6:24 pm

    Pols need to (and can) finally get honest and tell it/yell it from the stump.

    Educate the American people~ they need to hear it. Tell them about the INSANE influence that AIPAC et al. has on US foreign policy and on their election or defeat.

    Or, they can cower, beg for money, and sell their souls all over again in order to keep their coffers full and their allegiance to a foreign state and its ruinous and un- democratic agenda intact.

    • Citizen
      September 12, 2015, 2:54 am

      Trump already bluntly told John Q Public on prime time TV that donation money rules in the US political system. He used his own experience as example, concluding “the system is broken.” Media news banter never mentioned the Israel Lobby in this context. In fact there’s been little discussion of it at all. I mean how dumb does one have to be to pick up on what Trump said, that they contact him for money, he gives it to either side on non-partisan basis–then he comes around after a while, calls them up, and they jump to do whatever he wants ASAP?

  2. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    September 11, 2015, 7:24 pm

    With the old-line hard-core Neocons vowing vengeance against Dems who supported the President, and Israel declining to prosecute those who firebombed the Dewabsha family – at least for the time being – “to protect intelligence sources,” thus greatly strengthening the likelihood of international criminal justice intervention, the question becomes, how long does it take before being targeted by AIPAC for political vengence becomes a badge of honor, votes in the bank?

    I’m reminded of the “valuable hatred” line from the Lincoln biographer Phil quoted a couple years ago, there in reference to the Abolitionists. While the larger crowd was not ready for Abolition, and regarded the Abolitionists as crazy fringe people, the eruptions of hatred they generated among the powerful slave-owners was valuable in the gradual development of a school of thought among the mainstream populace that eventually led to the popular will to fight and win the Civil War.

    • Citizen
      September 12, 2015, 3:04 am

      Lincoln said early in the Civil War that he didn’t care about slavery at all, only about preserving the union; later, when the Union Army had suffered a myriad of defeats, when Lee invaded the North, he brought out the Emancipation Proclamation to wave as more inspiring to the cannon fodder, to the boys in blue, than the abstraction of preserving the union. The shoeless boys in butternut had always had all the inspiration they needed–the union army had invaded their homeland.

      • SonofDaffyDuck
        September 12, 2015, 10:43 am

        No quite accurate!
        Lincoln had hated slavery from the beginning and had been vocal about it. Why else would his election have triggered session? BUT, he put the Union as first priority, given that the rest of the World was largely governed by powers largely anything but democratic. A split of US territory would probably have resulted in European domination and loss of our system of Government. Lincoln saw this and made a choice…but only a temporary one.

        As for inspiration to become cannon fodder, all soldiers up to the Emancipation were volunteers. While there were abolitionists among the troops, an examination of their letters and other writings supports the contention that they were fighting for “Union,” and not Emancipation of the slaves at the end of 1862 and well beyond.

        Finally, the Proclamation came not after a defeat, but after Antietam where the Confederates were forced to retreat and survived by the skins of their teeth .

    • larick
      September 13, 2015, 6:32 pm

      I think you’re on to something. Since 59 or 60 Congresspeople absented themselves from Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, and now seeing the break with the Israel Lobby/AIPAC by so many on such an important vote, we should try to understand how this break of the “don’t vote against Israel taboo” looks historically. What I got from Eric Foner’s “The Fiery Trial” about Lincoln, slavery, and the Proclamation, was that although Lincoln hated slavery he was a foremost a consumate political tactician and did not move against slavery until popular opinion became became inflamed against slavery at which point it became useful for Lincoln to publicly embrace abolitionism as policy, but one that left out the border states, since Lincoln when asked about ‘divine’ backing of the war, he said, “I’d love God’s blessing, but I absolutely need Kentucky”…(paraphrase). I believe the Palestinian rights movement, to call it that, is somewhat similar in content and in political momentum in the U.S. right now. The more outrageous Israeli policies become and the more desperate pro-Israel measures are in the U.S. the faster the increasing growth of BDS will become. Will it ever crescendo into “state policy” here, and if so when? Who knows? But, we are witnessing dramatic growth and a new trend in that direction.

  3. mariapalestina
    September 12, 2015, 2:45 pm

    My freshman Democratic U.S. congressman Ted Lieu played it safe, as expected. His recent AIPAC financed all-expense-paid zionization trip to Israel, and his total silence about it, made it seem pretty clear he was going to vote with Israel. Very sad that so-called principled elected American politicians’ souls can be bought so cheaply.

    • SonofDaffyDuck
      September 12, 2015, 9:19 pm

      We do need a appropriate glossary for this stuff.
      “zionization =(noun) the process of wining, dining and threatening legislators into believing they are Likud Members and not Democrats or Republication. No bite on the neck is required…just money in hand

      “zionize” = (verb) to subject a legislator to “zionization.”

      Zion-Zombie= one zionized (while a vampire may bite the neck that feeds him; a zion zombie never bites the hand that feeds him).

      One awaits other insighhtful contributions to the lexicon

    • RoHa
      September 12, 2015, 10:33 pm

      “Very sad that so-called principled elected American politicians’ souls can be bought so cheaply. ”

      Politicians have got souls?

  4. ziusudra
    September 13, 2015, 2:45 am

    Obama changed the power equasion with the Vienna Accord win.
    Aipac now needs the politicians of both houses more than they need Aipac. There continues to be a multitude of subjects that Congress has to push through for Israel. It’s only the US politicians that love- to hold out their hands- Israel, not the US People.
    All these ‘Moonlighters’ will ne’er go broke.

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