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Iran Deal coalition breaks apart, and J Street looks more and more like AIPAC

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The Iran Deal was approved in part because of a diverse coalition backing the Obama administration that included liberal Zionists, establishmentarians, and non- and anti-Zionist grassroots folks. Among those pulling on the oars were J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink, and the National Iranian American Council.

Now that coalition is beginning to break apart over Israel. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, a Jewish Democrat who opposed the deal, has put forward legislation he says is an effort to “strengthen the Iran deal” that contains potential poison pills. If the U.S. determines that Iran is sponsoring terrorist activity against its allies, Congress can rapidly impose new sanctions on Iran. And Israel will get a lot more military aid. The bill is co-sponsored by eight senators who are “the most AIPAC-sensitive”, as Jim Lobe writes– attuned to the interests of the Israel lobby. Though many of them supported the Iran Deal.

The National Iranian American Council worked directly with J Street to support the deal. Now it opposes the bill as “obstruction” to the Iran deal. It could lead to another escalation of hostile rhetoric between the U.S. and Iran.

While seven of the Democrats sponsoring the bill supported the agreement, the legislation includes provisions that could prove controversial and provoke a reaction from Iran. The legislation underlines the threat of U.S. military action against Iran, authorizes the President to provide offensive military weaponry to Israel to counter Iran, and establishes a mechanism for the expedited consideration of sanctions legislation for issues outside of the nuclear sphere.

Jewish Voice for Peace has also come out strongly against the bill, as an effort to derail the deal and punish Palestinians for it:

Jewish Voice for Peace strongly opposes the legislation proposed by Senator Ben Cardin (Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015) which threatens to derail diplomacy with Iran, enhance Israel’s capacity to make war and entrench its military occupation. The antagonistic posturing and threat of military action in the legislation risks leading us on the path of increased tensions with Iran at the precise moment of a diplomatic breakthrough. The bill undermines the progress made by the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran, and could be a first step to unravel the agreement. Further, given Israel’s violations of human rights and nearly 50 years of military occupation, increasing military aid to Israel is a step in the wrong direction.

Rabbi Joseph Berman, JVP Government Affairs Liaison stated, “Authorizing the President to transfer more weapons to Israel would make Palestinians the losers in the deal with Iran.

JVP reminds us of why we supported the deal, to turn the page on the special relationship and the neoconservatives and the isolation of Iran:

The passage of the Iran deal marked a historic moment in US foreign policy, demonstrating that advocates of peace and diplomacy can win over the well-financed advocates of war. We urge lawmakers to oppose this unhelpful bill and instead, build upon the progress with Iran by also charting a new course for the Middle East that includes ending decades of repressing Palestinian rights and freedom.

But the liberal Zionist group J Street applauds the Cardin bill and calls on the Jewish community to support it.

We applaud the introduction of legislation…  and will lobby for for its passage and enactment into law.

The bill’s provisions closely track the policy prescriptions J Street put forward immediately after last month’s key votes on the accord in Congress. Comprehensive reporting on Iran’s activities, enhancement of the President’s existing non-nuclear sanctions powers and further strengthening already unprecedented US security and intelligence cooperation with Israel are steps that will bolster the agreement and its critical objective of ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon.

A solid majority of American Jews supported the nuclear agreement, and even those who did not will almost certainly want to see it strictly enforced and Iran’s nefarious activities in the region addressed. We therefore encourage Jewish communal and pro-Israel groups who may have opposed the JCPOA to support this legislation as furthering the essential security interest of the United States, Israel and our partners around the world.

J Street’s reference to the communal and pro-Israel groups is a reminder that the Israel lobby is alive and well, just somewhat reconstituted, no longer in the name of neoconservatives but just good panicky liberal Zionists who will overlook the occupation forever.

The politics of this bill are rightwing/AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) but they are clearly the politics of the Democratic/Obama establishment: the liberal Israel lobby. Jim Lobe reports that the White House has to play ball with Cardin. He quotes an unnamed White House official:

[The official] indicated that the White House prefers to work out ways of ensuring the Israel’s security against any possible Iranian threat directly with the Israeli government rather than being directed by Congress to take certain steps in that regard.

“We appreciate the bill’s focus on enhancing our relationship with Israel and on expanding our efforts to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, and we very much share those goals,” according to the official. “We look forward to working with these senators as the legislative process moves forward.”

In that interview, the official assures Lobe that President Obama will be meeting with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in November. On CNN the other day, Nicholas Burns, a leading establishment voice, said that the United States and Israel need to get on the same page again soon. He tweeted as much:

But #Netanyahu needs close ranks with #Obama and US. Quiet his campaign against Iran nuclear deal.

Democrats for Netanyahu! How many liberal Democrats are going to be cool with that? How many young Jews? As I’ve said before, you can’t put humpty dumpty together again. The Jewish establishment, once fractured, is not going to realign smoothly behind Israel. The war between AIPAC and J Street over the Iran Deal is now going to ramify into a war over Zionism inside the Democratic Party. We see the beginnings of that here. This legislation is likely to go through in some form; the President knows that Cardin has the votes, if Republicans sign on.

But as JVP’s statement shows, this legislation will inevitably turn attention to the near-50-year military occupation, and the slaughter of the Dawabshe family in Duma two months ago and the extrajudicial execution of Hadeel al-Hashlamoun in Hebron two weeks ago. This is not just a human rights issue, but a realists’ issue. The occupation is against the American interest; and the road to peace in the Middle East leads through Jerusalem.

Correction: This post original gave Hadeel al-Hashlamoun’s name as Nadeel. Thanks to Henry Norr for the correction.

Philip Weiss

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

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46 Responses

  1. pabelmont on October 3, 2015, 12:40 pm

    Too bad J-Street was ever started. Co-opts liberals who would otherwise join JVP and who would excoriate AIPAC.

    Meanwhile, in Syria, Israel is supporting al Nusra, an al Qaeda affiliate, which makes Israel a suppore3r of terrorists and an enemy of the USA and a target (I should think, but ain’t politics wunnerful?) of the USA’s post 9/11 GWOT.

    • Krauss on October 3, 2015, 1:54 pm

      There were genuine liberals in J Street in 2009-2010. Most of those have since left the organisation. A lot of fencesitters came into J Street from 2011 onwards as Ben-Ami kept pushing right.

      And as AIPAC’s reputation lies in tatters, J Street became the only game in town. I know of many examples of former J Streeters who actually expected radical change who are now in JVP instead.

      The Iran deal showed that the monolithic nature of the old Israel lobby is over, but these new developments should temper any premature enthusiasm that the war is won, and that the lobby is dead.

      Destroying AIPAC is a difficult, but straight-forward task. J Street is far more savvy. Think of them as the Ben-Gurion vs Jabotisky. Jabotisky was a tough guy but you knew where you had him. Ben-Gurion kept shifting, used liberal language and was nuanced in his strategy. Even if he fundamentally agreed with the core goals of the Revisionists he was far more finessed about it.

      So it is with J Street vs AIPAC.

      • echinococcus on October 3, 2015, 7:11 pm

        I know of many examples of former J Streeters who actually expected radical change who are now in JVP instead

        Nice of you to confirm that JVP is not “Jewish” but Zionist. No wonder the solidarity movement has been almost killed.

      • on October 3, 2015, 8:59 pm

        Echi I have no idea why you people are mislabelling a group like JVP as Zionist, when they are clearly not. What proof do you have that the group is a principally Zionist organisation? Just because you think some of its members are Zionist doesn’t make the group the same thing.

      • Mooser on October 3, 2015, 9:56 pm

        “I have no idea why you people are mislabelling a group like JVP as Zionist, when they are clearly not.”

        Well, why don’t we make this easy “a4tech” ?
        Why not simply go to JVP’s mission statement and come back and tell us what they are, Zionist or antizionist? There should be a statement at the site to make it plain to all.

      • echinococcus on October 3, 2015, 10:16 pm


        Surely you are aware of JVP. You know, the group who started by downgrading the aims of the boycott movement to only cover the “liberal” Zionist goals of post-1967 occupation –without even having a general assembly or anything, then made detection of “antisemitism” to its main objective and forbid any attacks against Zionism, then destroyed the solidarity movement by McCarthy-type witchhunts against opponents of Zionism. All this posing as a member of a movement supposed to support a population fighting for its very life and being subjected to a genocide by… the Zionists.
        Oh yeah, I remember now, you must have heard of it, as you seemed to be a sidekick of that relentlessly cavilling logorrheic Zionist calling herself Hitchcock or so.

        By the way “some members Zionist”, when the Palestinians are in a pitiliess war imposed by these same Zionists and trying to fight against genocide without any means at their disposal, is way more than enough. One is enough.

      • on October 3, 2015, 10:40 pm

        How very convenient for you, to go on making wild claims and if asked to back it up with facts, tell me to go find it myself.

        JVP is the most widely accepted and respected mainstream Jewish group existing today, and are fully committed to the values of justice and liberty as instructed in the Torah. They are Jewish first and foremost, not Zionist. They do not claim Jerusalem belong to the Jews, nor Israel is god’s exclusive gift to Jews for eternity. Instead, they claim to follow the teachings in the Torah and the rich rabbininal traditions all of which are in direct opposition of the Zionist political doctrine.

        So please, you can stop this trope of calling any Jewish organizations as being Zionist just because they are Jews. It stinks of racism and antisemitism.

      • bryan on October 4, 2015, 3:22 am

        Who said the I-P problem was insoluble? All we need to do is clone a few million a4techs. Surely it is not beyond the capabilities of Israeli technology to create a new man – who will be a hybrid of Islamic devotion, dedication to rabbinical Judaism, and uncompromising anti-racism. Problem solved.

        a4tech: “As a Muslim, even I can sense the latent anti-semitism in Allison’s so called campaign for justice for Palestinians, however subtle it may be. Not surprisingly, similar sentiment is shared by most of the prominent activists in the cause, such as Ali Abunimah, Max Blumenthal, Nora Friedman etc.”

        a4tech: “fully committed to the values of justice and liberty as instructed in the Torah…. and the rich rabbininal traditions all of which are in direct opposition of the Zionist political doctrine.”

      • Mooser on October 4, 2015, 11:14 am

        “How very convenient for you…”

        Shorter “a4tech”: “I couldn’t find a quote saying JVP is anti-Zionist. How inconvenient”

        One Google, a quick read, and a copy-n-paste is all it would have taken. One sentence. Really, it’s not that hard, lot’s of people do it. Don’t even have to link it, but don’t forget the quote marks, since it is a quote. But it’s not there, is it?

      • Mooser on October 4, 2015, 11:26 am

        JVP is the most widely accepted and respected mainstream Jewish group existing today,

        Ah, the age of miracles has not passed! Finally, a “widely accepted and respected mainstream Jewish group” which is anti-Zionist!
        I’ve waited all my life for this!

        Okay, “Grover”, and “Yonah”, and “Hophmi” and “mcohen”, you heard the man! JVP is the most widely accepted and respected mainstream Jewish group existing today. Who could argue with that!

      • Sibiriak on October 5, 2015, 1:04 am

        Mooser: Why not simply go to JVP’s mission statement and come back and tell us what they are, Zionist or antizionist?


        Well, JVP fully supports BDS and the movement’s three goals:

        End the occupation and dismantle the Wall

        End discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel

        Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinians to return to their homes

        Conclusion: JVP is anti-Zionist.

        Unless you believe Zionism is compatible with fully complying with international law and ending all discrimination against Palestinians.

      • Sibiriak on October 5, 2015, 2:12 am

        echinococcus : […] JVP. You know, the group who started by downgrading the aims of the boycott movement to only cover the “liberal” Zionist goals of post-1967 occupation –without even having a general assembly or anything…

        1) It’s simply not true that BDS “only cover[s] the ‘Liberal’ Zionist goals of post-1967 occupation.” In addition to ending the occupation, BDS also demands that Israel recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality , and that Israel protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

        Those two BDS additional demands, which have never been revised, are incompatible with “Liberal Zionism”–they would effectively undermine the foundations of Jewish supremacism in Israel/Palestine. JVP fully supports those anti-Zionist BDS demands.

        2) In July 2005, BDS’ first or three demands on Israel was:

        Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.”

        That was later changed to:

        Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall.”

        This was not a “downgrading”; it was a clarification. And it wasn’t JVP that initiated that clarification; it came from within the BDS movement itself.

        And the reason is simple. BDS does not take a position on whether there should be one or two states in the I/P territory. And the reason for that is also simple: there is no consensus on that issue within the anti-Zionist community. The demand that Israel end its “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands ” could easily be interpreted as call for the end of Israel and the creation of a single Arab Palestinian state. So that wording was changed to reflect BDS’ principled avoidance of the one vs. two state issue.

        Furthermore, BDS bases itself on international law , and international law recognizes only territory captured in June 1967 as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Thus, the revision of the first demand was necessary in order to bring it in line with international law.

        Crucially, both Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah have stated that the overwhelming majority of Palestinian organizations backing BDS support the goal of two states .

        See Abunimah’s article, “Why do Zionists falsely claim BDS movement opposes two-state solution?”

        […] any informed person would know that the< vast majority of organizations represented on the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) – the movement’s steering group and collective leadership – explicitly support a two-state solution.You can see a list of organizations that currently make up the BNC.

        Omar Barghouti makes this point in his book BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights:

        While individual BDS activists and advocates may support diverse political solutions, the BDS movement as such does not adopt any specific formula and steers away from the one-state-versus-two-states debate , focusing instead on universal rights and international law, which constitute the solid foundation of the Palestinian consensus around the campaign.

        Incidentally, most networks, unions, and political parties in the BNC still advocate a two-state solution outside the realm of the BDS movement. (pages 51-52) [emphasis added]

        If you support the creation of a single democratic state, that’s fine. If you disagree with BDS’ “rights-based” approach, that’s fine as well. But it’s wrong to blame JVP for BDS’ position on the issue. That position reflects a strategic choice based on the internal dynamics of the anti-Zionist movement and their commitment to the primacy of international law.

      • on October 5, 2015, 3:10 am

        Mooser said “One Google, a quick read, and a copy-n-paste is all it would have taken. One sentence. Really, it’s not that hard, lot’s of people do it. Don’t even have to link it, but don’t forget the quote marks, since it is a quote. But it’s not there, is it? – See more at:

        Ok Mooser, I actually took you up on that offer and googled JVP, and found their official Facebook site. Guess what was in there? A picture of a member holding a sign that says “Anti-zionism is not anti-semitism”. Here is the picture:

        I didn’t have to look hard for it either, it’s right there on the main page of their site.

      • Mooser on October 5, 2015, 2:19 pm

        “Ok Mooser, I actually took you up on that offer and googled JVP,…”

        And found a picture on a Facebook page of somebody holding a sign? No, how about something from their mission statement, or a statement of principles. That picture on Facebook is nice, but it’s gray and carries a trunk- it’s irrelevant.

        And you still haven’t talked to “Steve Grover” about JVP being “mainstream” and “Jewish”. It’s not me you have a problem with. I think JVP stands a good chance of being a Jewish antizionist organization someday. You never know.

      • echinococcus on October 5, 2015, 2:20 pm


        I stand corrected as to the agency in changing the BDS objectives –was it started by the English group?
        Anyway, thank you very much for the reasons given for that change. I still believe that it was a change operated without any publicity, and it is a fact that the many protests were not answered by a clear, cogent explanation such as the one you just gave. One can at least understand it even if not accepting it.

        Where this explanation needs a major edit is the following: this change did not bring it in line with “international law”, as you say, but a consensus of the major powers and their regional puppet regimes. International law has never recognized territory acquisition by conquest; as a result the powers that passed UN resolutions and try to pass the ceasefire line as a definitive border are just setting their own rules –certainly contrary to the treaty of Westphalia and the UN Charter.
        As for the Right of Return, interpreting this as totally out of line with Zionist tactics would be a bit of a stretch, as many “liberal” Zionists are cool with the idea, with a number of preconditions that keep the “Jewish state” character. The request for equal rights is, as you say, entirely anti-Zionist –again it gets lip service from Zionists as long as the full meaning of it is note made explicit.
        Agreed, it’s not clear that JVP is a Zionist organization. What gets my goat is its chumminess with Zionists, its forbidding serious criticism of Zionism, and of course the Masada2000-style tactics used for disrupting the entire solidarity movement in the name of objectives totally unrelated to solidarity with the resistance.

    • straightline on October 3, 2015, 6:14 pm

      It is becoming clearer in the light of the US response to the Russian air strikes that the CIA was supporting Jabhat al Nusra too. I enjoyed this:


      Israël a vivement protesté auprès de Moscou de cet incident mais les russes ont exigé des explications sur la présence d’avions de combat israéliens en plein espace aérien syrien. Cet incident indique que la protection de l’espace aérien syrien est désormais sous la protection de l’arme aérienne russe. Ce qui cause des grincements de dents à Washington.

      Google will translate. [Israel has strongly protested to Moscow this incident but the Russians demanded an explanation for the presence of Israeli fighter planes full Syrian airspace. This incident indicates that the protection of Syrian airspace is now under the protection of the Russian air force. Causing gnashing of teeth in Washington.]

      • annie on October 3, 2015, 6:59 pm

        wow, what a link straightline.

    • RoHa on October 3, 2015, 10:52 pm

      “Meanwhile, in Syria, Israel is supporting al Nusra, an al Qaeda affiliate, which makes Israel a suppore3r of terrorists and an enemy of the USA ,”

      But al Nusra is opposed to Assad and to ISIS. The USA is opposed to Assad and to ISIS. So that should make al Nusra and Israel allies of the USA. Except that ISIS is opposed to Assad and al Nusra, and the USA is opposed to Assad and al Nusra, so that makes ISIS an ally of the USA, and al Nusra and Israel enemies of the USA.

      Or maybe it’s the other way round. It’s a bit confusing.

      The main point is that we are supporting the good guys against the bad guys. We can be sure of that, because our PMs and Presidents tell us so.

      • echinococcus on October 3, 2015, 11:04 pm

        Very elegant demonstration, RoHa. A thorough grounding in formal logic will always tell: I already got a headache.

    • piotr on October 4, 2015, 10:50 am

      The support of al-Nusra is a toe of a dinosaur of insane policy. Hey, if we can cheerfully support “Jewish National” religious fanatics, why not make a coalition with other murderous religious fanatics in the region, and as we are at it, label all their opponents as “terrorists”, “illegitimate” or both, while facilitating recruiting, funding and arming of the kind of folks that we would be terrified to have at home (but out there, there are freedom fighters). In that context, whatever Iran does is “support of terrorists”.

      One little problem is that this illogical (besides being immoral) foreign policy is crumbling on its own weight, and here comes Senator Cardin to promote the insanity with rhetoric and serial criminality. Sanctions are mostly theft, while the support of our pet terrorists and barely sane princes (or mostly insane?) is being accessory to mass murder, including high tech used to convert a wedding into a goulash (we had to provide the tools, patiently explain how to use them and assists the deed with “targeting aid”).

      News flash to Senator Cardin: it is increasingly hard to view our policies as sane, and our allies suffer more and more from indigestion. If the only way out of that insanity is for nations to get together and oppose USA, eventually it will happen, and I suspect that you will not be pleased.

    • Steve Grover on October 4, 2015, 6:50 pm

      Mooser sez:
      “Okay, “Grover”, and “Yonah”, and “Hophmi” and “mcohen”, you heard the man! JVP is the most widely accepted and respected mainstream Jewish group existing today. Who could argue with that!”
      Mooser, Let me help you:
      The only thing Jewish about JVP is nothing. They cynically and farcically use Judaism in their attemp to spread their hatred of Israel. They are as full of shit as their leaders Vilkomerson, Surasky, the idiot “Rabbi” Berman and the other idiot “Rabbi” Brant Rosen. I purposely put quotes around Rabbi because they got their Smichas from the University of Phoenix. They were watching reruns of Gomer Pyle when they got hooked by the University of Phoenix commercial.

      • James North on October 4, 2015, 7:24 pm

        “Grober” got into the Manischewitz again.

      • just on October 4, 2015, 7:32 pm

        I think that he’s bathing in the Manischewitz and the stolan Golan wine regularly.

        So, Grover: Which University did you attend? Any? Rabbi Brant Rosen is a beautiful and authentic Jewish human being.

        As for Gomer Pyle:

      • Steve Grover on October 4, 2015, 7:45 pm

        This is the reaction the Israel haters Vilkomerson, Surasky, Berman and Rosen had when they discovered they were Jewish and could use it as a tool to spread the hatred:

      • Mooser on October 4, 2015, 8:04 pm

        Thanks, “Grover”, I knew I could depend on you (Oh God, let me once in my life fly-fish the stream he comes from) to take the bait.
        Look, you got no problem with me, it’s commenter “A4tech” who says:

        “JVP is the most widely accepted and respected mainstream Jewish group existing today, and are fully committed to the values of justice and liberty as instructed in the Torah. They are Jewish first and foremost, not Zionist.” – See more at:

        Talk to him about it.

      • just on October 4, 2015, 8:12 pm

        Double ditto, Mooser.

        Thanks for that. I happen to believe that both Grover and “A4tech” are Zio- supremacists.

        (Sorry to say that I think that some few in JVP are as well. As for AIPAC and J Street…’nuff said)

      • Sibiriak on October 4, 2015, 11:31 pm

        Steve Grover: [JVP] cynically and farcically use Judaism in their attemp to spread their hatred of Israel. They are as full of shit …

        Interesting. JVP is reviled by both Zionists and reverse-Zionists.

  2. RobertHenryEller on October 3, 2015, 1:10 pm

    So the Republicans will not even have to wait until 2017 to scuttle the Iran deal. Democrats and “liberal” Jewish Americans will scuttle the Iran deal while Obama is still in office.

  3. straightline on October 3, 2015, 6:03 pm

    I will say this once more. The Iran deal is a done deal! The US can choose not to be part of it but Russia, the EU, and China will just keep trading with Iran.

    These countries are not going to reverse their positions. If the US wants to miss out on significant overseas trade then I’m sure Russia, China, and the EU will be more than happy to go along with that.

  4. JWalters on October 3, 2015, 6:18 pm

    “demonstrating that advocates of peace and diplomacy can win over the well-financed advocates of war”

    That is PRECISELY the conflict today.

    Here’s Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, saying recently that W was a pawn of war profiteers, and the current crop of GOP candidates are also pawns of war profiteers.

    This man’s account fits the facts of then and today. He was deep in the inner circle.

    • Boomer on October 3, 2015, 8:41 pm

      JWalters, thanks for the link to the video. It is worth watching, but I must confess that I didn’t have the heart (or stomach) to finish it. The opening excerpt from the Republican “debate” was new to me. I don’t have cable, and had not watched the “debate.” Our nation is in terrible shape, and danger.

  5. wondering jew on October 4, 2015, 1:49 am

    The Iran deal did not pass the Congress, it merely avoided Congressional veto. To be surprised and shocked that the Congress is expressing itself in other ways against Iran, is to be shown for a naive fool. Obama staked all his chips on the Iran deal and he won it. Tension between the US congress and thus the US and Iran did not disappear just because on one play, (the major play) Obama was able to maneuver a victory. But the Congress is going to express itself. And J Street spent all its street creds on the issue that counted: the nuke deal. Now it’s time to start garnering street creds. If that surprises you then again you are naive. It’s smart politics: 1. go with a winner, and 2. time to build up some credits with anyone to the right of Peter Beinart. The disapproval of JVP and Mondoweiss is really not the mainstream that J street is concerned with.

    • Mooser on October 4, 2015, 12:11 pm

      “The Iran deal did not pass the Congress, it merely avoided Congressional veto.”

      Wow, I thought I could party hearty, but I’ve never seen a man just up-end an entire bottle of pilpul into his mouth and swallow like that! Yup, by the end of the comment he’s staggering. I hope EMTs are standing by!

  6. piotr on October 4, 2015, 11:10 am

    We owe a lot to Israel. Without it we would have to eat Roma tomatoes, or grape tomatoes, or plum tomatoes, or for the want of very durable varieties we would be at the mercy of local farmers and just eat produce grown within 300 miles from home. We would have to use a bit less convenient forms of flash memories. We would stupidly use ceramic pipes for drip irrigation instead of plastic ones. Humus would never become popular without Israeli advise. And so on and so on. But does it mean that we have to have insane and immoral foreign policy?

    Belgium is a delightful country that contributed a lot. Suppose that they had a minor request to support them running Congo Free State in the manner designed by King Leopold. Should we do it?

  7. rensanceman on October 4, 2015, 2:55 pm

    I had joined JVP with hopes of aligning w an organization advocating for an end to Zionist abuses. Imagine my surprise when they decide to ban and excoriate the very dedicated Alison Weir who I view as a dedicated, highly principled woman who has the zeal of a convert, an analogue to Medea Benjamin in dedication. How could they make such a decision unless Allison was exposing some uncomfortable facts about the sordid history of Israel’s crimes, past and on-going? If only Anericans knew of such Operations such as the USS Liberty, the Iraq war intelligence manipulation, et al. No, I believe it has a misleading title designed to be a false ally to legitimite protest groups who do really desire a change in the formula to bring justice to the Palestinians.

    • W.Jones on October 4, 2015, 10:03 pm

      Renaissance Man,

      You asked: “How could they make such a decision unless Allison was exposing some uncomfortable facts about the sordid history of Israel’s crimes, past and on-going?”

      Isn’t JVP’s official answer to your question twofold?:
      (A) During her campaign of reaching out to hundreds of outlets, Weir included interviews in the last six years (but chiefly from three to six years ago) to two racist programs and a homophobic program without sufficiently challenging their intolerance.
      (B) JVP considers focusing on the American interest and seeing lobbying as the crucial factor in US foreign policy on the conflict as “chauvinist”.

      So you have to decide if those two things are bad enough to ban all collaboration with Weir, as JVP did.

      • tree on October 5, 2015, 4:34 pm

        To be more precise, you have to accept JVP’s framing of both issues; that Weir didn’t sufficiently challenge and that focusing on American interest is chauvinistic (and/or racist-I’m not entirely clear on JVP’s reasoning here). Then, if you accept their framing you have to decide if those two points are sufficient to ban all collaboration. Then you have to likewise decide if JVP’s similar actions and statements (accepting similar interviews as well as speaking at J Street events and their framing of their involvement in terms of Jewish connections and values) violate the very same principles that it accuses Weir of violating. If so, then you have to ban all collaboration with JVP, or cut everyone, including JVP and Weir, some slack, slap a few wrists and get on with the job of fighting bigotry and oppression. And read the book.

      • Boo on October 5, 2015, 6:55 pm

        Weir recently offered a spirited defense of her interviews. In any case, this is far too crucial an issue for anyone’s strategies, reactions, etc. to be predicated on individuals. This is a trap that JVP should be savvy enough not to fall into, but it appears they may have foolishly stumbled or rashly leaped — to their discredit.

      • W.Jones on October 6, 2015, 11:10 am


        You’re right, except that activists shouldn’t even slap each other’s wrists, in my view. They should work together and make constructive criticisms, not take a penal attitude. If Weir did not advocate anti-Semitism, then she does not need slapping. She and CEIO are both anti-racists working on a major social justice issue. If they denounce each other, then it’s destructive of their efforts towards a movement that is still socially marginalized.

        The same goes for JVP. I certainly would not want the Solidarity movement to ban JVP just because it is inclusive of supporters of the concept of the Israeli State as the UN recognized that state in 1947 with the borders that the UN gave it.

        Instead, with the Weir controversy, the groups should work together to achieve the best outcome. eg. They should consider how have progressive movements treated these questions in the past to lead to positive outcomes for both parties. With JVP, the UN has declared the 2SS, so it’s a legitimate position for some people in JVP to take. Why not live and let live and work together if your allies have the same basic values and goals of social justice? Otherwise you are working against justice and peace.

  8. MHughes976 on October 4, 2015, 4:54 pm

    The liberal anti-anti-Semites should prove their liberalism by putting firmly on the table a fully worked out formula for a 2ss and therefore for the ending of the so-called Occupation, the thing which is causing major disagreements between Jewish and other people in the ME. If they would do this they would render the world good service, even if their plans were to be rejected, and their other mistakes could be overlooked. We would learn a lot when we saw who did the rejecting and for what ostensible reasons. If they clearly fight shy of doing this then they will equally clearly be supporters of the illiberal status quo.

  9. James Canning on October 5, 2015, 5:18 pm

    J Street opposes the Iran deal? PATHETIC.

  10. Boo on October 5, 2015, 6:47 pm

    First and foremost, the Iran nuclear agreement needs to be devoid of linkages. Keep it single-purpose and address other issues in other ways.

    The last thing Israel needs is offensive weaponry that would tempt them to launch a sneak attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. That specifically includes the biggest thing on their wish list, the 30,000-lb MOP (Massive Ordnance Penetrator, GBU-57).

    The MOP can only be delivered by two bombers: the B-2 and apparently the B-52. Israel, of course, has neither — and nothing remotely capable. The B-2 is currently the most advanced bomber in the world, is chock full of proprietary/top secret technology and under no circumstances should it either be sold or lent to Israel. The decades-old B-52 is no match for Iran’s surface-to-air weaponry and nobody should dream of using it on such a mission.

    Iran is a sovereign nation and has every right to repel any and all sneak attacks — by any country or countries — with whatever weaponry it possesses.

  11. Lucas on October 23, 2015, 6:27 pm

    Re: Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015 – Strongly Opposed

    Dear Senator ______:

    Our family is strongly opposed to the Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015 (“IPOA”).

    IPOA appears to be reckless and against our national interest. It is poorly drafted with counter-productive provisions and ambiguous key phrases such as “offensive security assistance” and “Iran’s grand strategy.” It reads like a lobbyist, such as AIPAC, may have authored it. IPOA appears to be a cynical attempt to increase the likelihood of an armed conflict between the United States and Iran.

    IPOA’s title and stated purpose appear to be misleading. While its stated purpose is “to provide for greater congressional oversight of Iran’s nuclear program,” IPOA fails to address Iran’s nuclear program at all and it only addresses Iran’s non-nuclear activities and increased U.S. funding to Israel.

    Under IPOA, the President is required to regularly issue a public report on, among other things, a “ten-year strategy to counter conventional and asymmetric Iranian activities and threats in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond” (italics added) and a summary of “objectives, plans, and means for building a regional security architecture capable of and committed to countering Iran’s destabilizing activities.” As set forth in IPOA, the Executive Branch is subject to voluminous public reporting requirements that are poorly categorized, counter-productive and unnecessary.

    IPOA’s key purpose appears to be encapsulated in Section 5 (Authorization of Additional Security Assistance to Israel). On account of the Iranian nuclear facilities that are subject to comprehensive oversight under the recently completed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, IPOA authorizes our federal government to provide Israel with “offensive security assistance” in the form of ordnance and delivery systems (that are among the most destructive weaponry that the United States has developed) and to train Israelis to utilize these ordnance and delivery systems. IPOA also authorizes “any additional foreign military financing to Israel in each fiscal year from fiscal year 2018 to fiscal year 2028 as may be needed to address threats from Iran” and requires our federal government’s assistance and cooperation to Israel to deter “threats supported, directly or indirectly, by Iran.”

    Section 5 of IPOA is poorly drafted and overbroad. It authorizes any financing by the United States that may be needed to address any threats to Israel from Iran or any threats directly or indirectly supported by Iran. Who determines the presence of a threat? These funds belong to the citizens of the United States. IPOA has a dubious rationale that centers on Iran’s purported “grand strategy” and IPOA authorizes excessive financial and technological transfer from the United States to Israel.

    My family and I request that you vote against the Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015. IPOA is misguided in intent, reckless in effect, and dangerous to our national interest.

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