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Pro-Israel, anti-Iran Deal donor holds a fundraiser for Biden, insists he’s to the right of Obama on Palestine

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On September 5, Democratic donor and American Jewish Congress president Jack Rosen held a fundraiser for Joe Biden at his Manhattan home. Rosen is known for being an adamant supporter of Israel and a critic of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.

In an interview with Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh, Rosen said he trusted Biden’s judgement on Israel and didn’t think there would be any “cracks in the friendship.” He also drew a distinction between Biden’s position on Israel and the policies of the Obama administration that he belonged to. He told Kornbluh:

[Biden] has a long history of support for Israel. He has his own point of view. I never heard him say anything that would make me believe he’d follow [former Secretary of State John] Kerry’s method of finding a resolution to the Palestinian problem. He’s never said to me that he would use the U.N. as a tool to force Israel into a position, which President Obama did. I haven’t heard those things from Joe Biden. You know, he was the vice president at the time. But I think I trust that he’s got a balanced view.

Biden’s campaign said that he talked about bringing the international community together to rebuild aspects of the Iran Deal, but Rosen says he told Biden that he doesn’t believe candidates who return to the exact deal should be taken seriously. He also said that the Trump administration’s aggressive Iran policy has opened the door for a the next president to negotiate a better deal.

In 2017, the American Jewish Congress put out a statement supporting the Trump administration’s violation of the Iran Nuclear Deal:

At the time of the signing, it was the Obama Administration’s belief that the agreement would serve to bring Iran in from the cold and strengthen the moderates in the regime. However, the simple fact is that this not happened, and worse the Iranian regime has grown bolder and more dangerous. Unencumbered by the crippling sanctions that were working, they have continued to spread terror around the region.

Biden has been friends with Rosen for decades and has repeatedly bragged about his connections to pro-Israel organizations. In 2008, he told Shalom TV that he was a Zionist before declaring Israel “the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East.” At a dinner in 2011 he told members of Detroit’s Jewish community, “I’ve raised more money from AIPAC than some of you have.”

The Rosen fundraiser came just a day after the New York Times published a long piece on the history of U.S. and Israeli hawks pushing to attack Iran. The piece, which was written by Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti, features an anecdote about Biden from former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren. After the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu broke down, the Israeli Prime Minister began telling people that the former president was “part of the problem.” At a White House meeting in 2010, Biden threw his arm around Netanyahu adviser Uzi Arad and declared, “Just remember that I am your best fucking friend here.”

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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5 Responses

  1. Kay24 on September 7, 2019, 7:12 am

    So it looks like another amateur has been given the hopeless task of obtaining peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. Kushner has realized it is a no win situation. Berkowitz was supposedly instrumental in giving Jerusalem to the occupier, and will be easily manipulated by Crooked Bibi. Another biased American zionist in charge of brokering peace, something experienced diplomats could not do.

    A dishonest broker.

    “Before his promotion this week to a leading role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, 30-year-old Avi Berkowitz filled a number of odd jobs in the West Wing. They have included shepherding distinguished visitors — the likes of Kim Kardashian, Jeff Bezos, Sheldon Adelson — around the White House, and hanging onto Jared Kushner’s phone while Kushner is in meetings, a duty that sometimes had Berkowitz responding to messages on his boss’ behalf.”

  2. Misterioso on September 7, 2019, 9:58 am

    I’m beginning to wonder if given Trump’s “out reach to Iran,” Washington is at long last realizing that economically and geopolitically, a positive relationship with Iran (population 83 million – a huge potential market) could be most beneficial for the U.S. in the long run, whereas a war would be an utter disaster for all concerned. For obvious reasons, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, certain Gulf states and of course, “Israel” are very much alarmed. Time will tell.

    Analysis “Iran Overture and Greenblatt Departure Cloud Trump-Netanyahu Paradise” Haaretz, Sept. 6/19, by Chemi Shalev

    “Double diplomatic whammy reinforced by curious decision to visit British PM Boris Johnson in his time of misery of defeat”

    “Thursday morning started badly for Benjamin Netanyahu and things went downhill from there. Before taking off for London, Netanyahu seemed to be criticizing his lord, ally and lifeline Donald Trump for reaching out to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, saying, ‘This is not the time to talk to Iran.’

    “After realizing the grievousness of his crime – and its potentially cruel punishment – an anxious Netanyahu pounced on the first opportunity to clarify that 1. His barb wasn’t aimed at Trump, heaven forbid, but at the misguided French President Emmanuel Macron and 2. Trump is still his hero, one who would bring ‘sobriety and responsibility’ to any talks he might hold with the Iranian leader, Netanyahu said. At least he didn’t include Trump’s renowned ‘dignity’ and ‘honesty’ as well.

    “Then, in a double whammy, Trump’s peace envoy Jason Greenblatt resigned, depriving Netanyahu of his chief cheerleader and casting more doubt on a peace plan increasingly seen as a joke anyway. ‘His dedication to Israel and to seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians won’t be forgotten,’ Trump tweeted, an assertion that was, to the President’s credit, half-true.

    “Greenblatt’s unabashed public support for Netanyahu and his right-wing policies along with the blunt broadsides he regularly threw at Palestinian leaders and officials were indeed memorable, even unprecedented. Greenblatt’s contribution to peace, on the other hand, were forgotten the moment he resigned, because there was hardly anything to remember.

    “The rumor mill was working overtime on Thursday in an effort to uncover the logic behind the timing of Greenblatt’s resignation. But whether it was for personal reasons, the outcome of a power struggle with his peace team counterpart Ambassador David Friedman – or, as many Twitter comments asserted, his previous involvement as lawyer and chief accounting officer for the Trump Organization, which is under criminal investigation – Greenblatt’s exit on the eve of the supposed publication of the peace plan undermined its credibility even further. If Netanyahu knows Trump, he must surely be worried about how he’ll react.

    “All this against the backdrop of Netanyahu’s curious decision to visit the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson just as he tries to recover from a humiliating hazing by the British Parliament over Brexit. Netanyahu apparently believes that hobnobbing with Johnson, however briefly – the British PM dedicated all of half an hour to his Israeli guest – enhances his stature as a world statesman. One wonders, however, why he wasn’t deterred by the risk that some of Johnson’s personal and political misery, as well as the temporary collapse of the no-deal Brexit endorsed by Trump and other nationalist leaders, would rub off on him, on the eve of upcoming election.

    “Netanyahu’s main concern, however, is that neither one of the two trouble spots, Iran and Palestinians, erupt in his face during the ten days left before the September 17 ballot, although they are hardly of equal weight. Greenblatt’s resignation deprives Netanyahu of a valued spokesman and lobbyist but changes virtually nothing, because there’s nothing to change. Trump’s outreach to Iran, on the other hand, is a time bomb waiting to explode, before the elections and for years to come, potentially, if Netanyahu is re-elected.

    “Despite his trust in Trump’s ‘sobriety’, the U.S. President is making Netanyahu jittery. Trump’s obvious reluctance to risk armed conflict with Iran has already deprived the U.S. of the deterrence needed to fulfill Netanyahu’s plan of pressuring Tehran to capitulate. A Trump-Rouhani photo-op, especially one that resembles the president’s smiles-over-substance summits with North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un, would be perceived in Israel as a harsh presidential slap on their prime minister’s face.

    “In many ways, Netanyahu is now a hostage of the high expectations he himself created. In exchange for Trump’s historic gestures of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the Golan, Netanyahu glorified the U.S. president and came close to deifying him. With a president such as Barack Obama, sharp disagreements were taken for granted. With Trump, even the slightest tensions – never mind the distinct possibility that he could blow his top on any given day – will be seen both as a major development and as Netanyahu’s personal failure. That’s the risk of filling a balloon with too much air – the slightest scratch can make it explode.

    “Trump and Netanyahu’s alliance is still strong, their mutual interests intact and their ‘scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ collaboration in each other’s internal politics is probably still in force. But for the first time since the start of Trump’s term, there are indications of approaching turbulence. The skies are still crystal and blue but it’s possible to faintly discern a few dark clouds on the far horizon. Though he confidently pretends otherwise, Netanyahu knows that it could start raining in the Trump-Netanyahu paradise at any given moment. And it will be he, and not Trump, who will get drenched.”

  3. davisherb on September 7, 2019, 11:46 am

    Nominee I won’t vote for. Hope the Dems wake up soon.

  4. Misterioso on September 7, 2019, 3:15 pm

    Breaking news:

    “China Defies Trump on Iran Big time with $400 billion Belt-and-Road Investment, 5000 Red Army Troops” by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, Sept. 7/19

    “Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in Beijing recently for what turns out to have been the biggest triumph of his career. China has decided it has nothing further to fear from the Trump administration, and has decided to incorporate Iran into its One Belt, One Road plan with investments totaling some $400 billion. So says Simon Watkins, writing at Petroleum Economist.

    “I suspect Iran would rather have had this deal with Europe, but Trump breached the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and slapped severe sanctions on Tehran, and has been bullying big European firms into joining the financial blockade. Iran had to seek its economic future with China, whether it likes it or not.

    “To guard the China-built oil and gas facilities, China will put 5,000 People’s Liberation Army troops into Iran. This troop presence in that country will be as big as the US military footprint in today’s Iraq or what the Pentagon plans for Afghanistan in 2020. It is likely meant as a deterrent to US adventurism (visible in Iraq and Afghanistan), inasmuch as any major US military strike on or action against Iran would risk hitting Chinese army personnel and spiking tensions with a nuclear power.

    “China bought nearly a million barrels a day of petroleum from Iran last month, and probably more, since it buys Iranian oil and keeps it floating offshore as a reserve. It is only accounted for if it is actually offloaded at a port. Under US severe sanctions, Iran’s exports had fallen to almost nothing last spring. The US Treasury Department went around strong-arming countries not to buy Iranian petroleum, threatening them and their corporations with sanctions if they used dollars in their Iran trade.

    “China is getting around these US sanctions in part by paying Iran in the soft currencies from Africa and Asia that Beijing has accumulated. It may also pay in Chinese renminbi. Iran will give China a ten percent or so discount on all its petroleum products, and then will suffer another ten to fifteen percent loss on exchanging the soft currencies in friendly European banks. So China is getting about a quarter to a third discount in toto. But since Iran was selling almost no oil last May, 70% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

    “Iran has suffered since 1979 with world opprobrium over its right wing, populist revolutionary government, and US and sometimes international sanctions have deterred the international oil and gas companies from developing Iranian fields. Iran still has no expertise in liquefied natural gas (LNG).

    “China plans to step in with large development projects of Iranian oil and gas , according to Global Construction Review. Iran will buy all its equipment in this sector from China, giving Beijing a monopoly. In addition, China will build new pipelines and roads, putting $120 bn. into transportation networks. One of the pipelines will take natural gas to Turkey, which is also defying the Trump severe sanctions on Iran. Beijing’s plan for Iran is similar to the Chinese Pakistan Economic Corridor, except it is ten times as ambitious (CPEC is a $50 bn. or so commitment).

    “Zarif said Iran is eager to be incorporated into its massive globe-straddling ‘One Belt, One Road’ plan to connect Asia to Europe with new sea and road and rail and pipeline infrastructure. China is clearly obliging in a massive way. This plan is one of the great turning points in modern geopolitics. And it is the first such highly significant development since WW II to leave the United States completely on the sidelines.”

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