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August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘American Israel Public Affairs Committee’

Black Monday: Iran and P5+1 to Sign Deal

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

It’s all over except for the shouting and the crying, according to an Associated Press report that a deal with Iran has been completed and will be signed on Monday.

However, a senior State Dept. official maintained that “major issues remain to be resolved in these talks.”

AP’s Matt Lee, a veteran and highly reliable journalist, reported Sunday:

Negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks are expected to reach a provisional agreement Sunday on a historic deal that would curb the country’s atomic program in return for sanctions relief, diplomats told The Associated Press.

The two diplomats cautioned that final details of the pact were still being worked out Sunday afternoon and a formal agreement still awaits a review from the capitals of the seven nations at the talks. They said plans now are for the deal to be announced on Monday.

The regime’s PRESS TV headlined, “Iranian MPs hail nuclear negotiators’ resistance against US’ excessive demands.”

The legislators issued a statement that included a rejection of “any inspection of the Iranian military sites, interviews with Iranian scientists and imposing restrictions on the country’s nuclear research and development.”

The key issue of inspections will be examined with a microscope, especially by Congress, which will have 60 days to review a final agreement.

A deal will be bitter if not deadly pill for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to swallow, and Israel can be expected to hound Congressmen to try to torpedo it, which will not be simple.

President Barack Obama undoubtedly will dismiss as rhetoric for local consumption the belligerent sneers from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the United States is “the absolute embodiment of arrogance” and an enemy of Iran.

Politico reported last week it is “very unlikely” that Congress can kill the deal unless there is a full-scale rebellion by Democrats. Americans, already gearing up for next year’s Congressional and presidential elections, view the ISIS , the economy and immigration policies as more serious issues than a nuclear-armed Iran, which President Obama will claim won’t happen under the agreement.

Congress would have to come up with a solid majority, perhaps even a veto-proof two-thirds majority, in order to nullify the agreement. Ironically, it is the Arab countries that might be able to twist Congressmen’s arms against the deal.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told Politico:

If the Arabs come out and say this is a bad deal, if AIPAC says this is a bad deal, if public opinion says we don’t trust this deal, then our Democratic colleagues will hopefully come forward to say, ‘We can do better.’

Israel Saved Obama’s Neck on Assad’s Chemical Weapons

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Israel let President Barack Obama off the hook on which he hanged himself by saying he would bomb Syria because of Bashar Assad’s’ use of chemical weapons, former Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote in his new book.

The man behind the covert plan was none other than Yuval Steinitz, who at the time was Minister of Intelligence. He also is one of the loudest hawks when it comes to warning that President Obama and the other P5+1 powers are in the midst of making a terrible if not lethal mistake by dealing with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.

Assad’s use of chemical weapons, a war crime – as if he were not guilty of others – was discovered in 2013.

President Obama had done everything possible to avoid getting directly involved in the war in Syria, where any result would be a bad result.

However, the use of chemical weapons was a red line President Obama could not ignore.

Obama threatened several times to bomb Syria, and after a month he suddenly changed course 180 degrees.

Oren said it was due to Steinitz, who with the approval of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came up a plan for Assad to turn over his chemical weapons stockpile to Russia, Assad’s ally.

Bloomberg News reported that Oren wrote in his new book “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide,” to be launched next week but not yet released to the public, that Israel was not against an American aerial attack but was willing to help the president avoid it.

Steinitz was the source of the idea even if it was not a plan so much as an off-the-cuff remark that set off a domino chain reaction.

According to Oren, Steinitz mentioned the idea to the Russians, and then to the State Dept., which did not take him too seriously. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took it very seriously, and the plan quickly moved forward in the United States and United Nations, with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s blessing.

Oren wrote:

The idea originated with an Israeli minister, Yuval Steinitz, who first pitched it to the Russians, who were eager to avoid an American intercession that they could not stop. Netanyahu next brought it to Obama and received a green light.

Before Obama changed course, he had gone so far as to ask the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby to lobby for a war resolution, Oren writes.

Obama never credited Israel, which Steinitz and Netanyahu agreed would not be a good idea,

Steinitz told The New York Times that that he and Prime Minister Netanyahu kept their mouths shut about their role in helping Obama so that no one would say “it’s an Israeli strike [or] Israeli conspiracy, [and] maybe it’s a reason to stop it.”

He told the newspaper:

They never asked if they can give us credit, and we never asked them to give us credit,” he added. “Until today, it was a secret.”

Israel didn’t want credit, giving both Russia and Obama the opportunity to boast.

Oren wrote:

In subsequent interviews, Obama rarely missed the chance to cite the neutralization of Syria’s chemical capabilities as an historic diplomatic achievement.

Russian president Vladimir Putin also took credit for the initiative and praised this ‘vivid example of how the international community can solve the most complex disarmament and non- proliferation tasks.’

Israel’s role remained unmentioned, but its citizens were relieved not to have to sign up for more gas masks.

Granted that President Obama may not think that Israel should bow down to him for not bombing Syria instead of risking retaliation against Israel and the horrendous scene of Israelis walking around with gas masks on their faces because of a chemical attack.

And granted that Obama should not let Israel dictate policy on key issues just because Israel helped him in another area.

But it is one thing not to thank Israel, at least not in public so the the Arabs won’t get upset, and it is another matter to create an image of hate of the leader of an ally that, intentionally or not, may have saved President Obama from one of the worst of the many disasters of his foreign policy.

No one is asking him to say, “Thank you,” but it is reasonable to expect a bit of civility. Obama simply can’t get over his control trip complex.

The president’s obsession with the non-existent “peace process” and with a deal with Iran, no matter what, has blinded him into treating Netanyahu like a voodoo doll in which he has to stick pins.

AIPAC Opposes Iran Nuclear Agreement Act Amendments

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

In an effort to ensure “bipartisan support” for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is opposing amendments to the bill.

Noah Pollak, executive director for the Emergency Committee for Israel, posted a letter online that was sent to all senators, asking them to oppose proposed changes.

“We know that senators will offer amendments on a wide range of initiatives, many of which AIPAC would ordinarily support,” said the letter.

“However, our paramount consideration during Senate consideration of this bill is to ensure speedy enactment of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Act by preserving its broad, bipartisan support – so that Congress assures itself a seat at the table in deliberations on any nuclear agreement with Iran.”

Among the amendments being considered was one by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio that would add a requirement for Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist as part of any nuclear deal.

The two senators added the proposed amendment Thursday as an agreement was being completed on how to deal with some 66 amendments submitted for the bill. The senators are trying to avoid a presidential veto of the measure.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misidentified Noah Pollak as an AIPAC official.

House Overwhelmingly Passes Bill Enhancing Israel Security Cooperation

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The House of Representatives almost unanimously approved a bill that would enhance U.S. security cooperation with Israel.

The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, introduced last year by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), enhances cooperation in the energy and cybersecurity areas, among others; transfers excess U.S. armaments to Israel for stockpiling and possible use; and pushes closer cooperation in missile development and trade.

It also encourages fast-tracking Israel into the Visa Waiver Program, which would allow Israelis to enter the United States without prearranged visas once Israel meets the program’s requirements.

“Even as this bill advances the security of Israel, it ultimately serves as a reminder to the world of the depth of the United States-Israel relationship,” Deutch said Wednesday in a floor speech before the 401-1 vote, with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) the dissenter.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which made lobbying for the bill’s passage a centerpiece of its annual conference this week, praised its passage.

A similar bill is under consideration in the Senate.

“AIPAC urges the Senate to act on this critical legislation,” the lobby said in a statement.

Netanyahu at AIPAC: No Peace without Recognition of Israel as Jewish

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to work for a “durable peace” with the Palestinians in the coming weeks and reiterated his refusal to accept a deal with Iran that included any uranium enrichment capacity.

Netanyahu, in his speech Tuesday morning to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference, embraced an optimistic vision of peace with the Palestinians as the key to broader regional stability.

“I’m prepared to make a historic peace with our Palestinian neighbors,” Netanyahu said.

“Peace would be good for us, peace would be good for the Palestinians, but peace would open up the possibility of establishing formal ties between Israel and leading countries in the Arab world,” he said. “Peace with the Palestinians would turn our relations with them and with many Arab countries into open and thriving relationships.”

Netanyahu repeated a number of his demands of a peace agreement, including Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a long-term Israeli military presence on the Jordan-Judea and Samaria border, but he suggested that a deal could come soon.

“As we work in the coming days, in the coming weeks, to forge a durable peace, I hope that the Palestinian leadership will stand with Israel and the United States on the right side of the moral divide, the side of peace, reconciliation and hope,” he said.

He paused, waiting for the AIPAC supporters to applaud this vision, and when they did not, he explicitly solicited their applause.

“You can clap — you want to encourage them to do that!” he said.

Netanyahu’s message came a day after meetings he held with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Obama, before meeting Netanyahu, had told Bloomberg News that he would impress upon him the need to embrace the framework agreement Kerry hopes to unveil soon, and in Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech, he appeared to do so.

The two leaders also discussed the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers, and in this area, Netanyahu did not appear to budge from his insistence than any deal include a total dismantling of Iran’s nuclear capability, including an end to enrichment.

“The leading powers of the world are talking about leaving Iran with the capability to enrich uranium,” he said. “That would be a grave error.”

Obama and officials in his administration have indicated that leaving Iran with a limited enrichment capability is the likeliest outcome of the talks.

Netanyahu said that Israel could not accept such a status.

“We will never be brought to the brink of extinction again,” he said. ”As prime minister of Israel, I will do whatever I must do to defend the Jewish state of Israel.”

Netanyahu also repeated his call for enhanced sanctions on Iran, something that Obama has rejected, saying they could scuttle the talks.

“You know how you get that agreement with Iran?” Netanyahu said. “Not by relieving pressure, but by adding pressure!”

A focus of Netanyahu’s speech was the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel, which he described as anti-Semitic.

“Those who wear the BDS label should be treated as we treat any anti-Semite and bigot — they should be exposed and condemned,” he said. “The boycotters should be boycotted!”

Harriet Sherwood Completely Mischaracterizes Iran Sanctions Bill

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

A March 2nd Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts (Binyamin Netanyahu visit will test strains in US-Israel relationship) included the following claim regarding efforts in the US Senate to pass a new Iran sanctions bill:

…the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

This is a complete mischaracterization of a bill (S.1881 – Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013) which, by all accounts, is designed to put more pressure on Iran so that they’ll comply with any nuclear agreement that is reached with the six world powers.

The bill (sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez, along with 58 co-sponsors) has been accurately described by multiple media sources:

Washington Post

The measure introduced Thursday, if approved, would impose harsh new sanctions on Iran’s petroleum industry while also threatening U.S. allies and partners with financial restrictions unless they sharply curtail trade with Iran. The sanctions would go into effect if Iran violated the terms of the temporary accord reached last month or if it failed to reach a permanent agreement with world powers in a timely manner.

New York Times

A bipartisan group of senators, defying the White House, introduced a bill on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Iran if it failed to conclude a nuclear agreement, or stick to the terms of its interim deal, with the United States and other major powers.

The bill would seek to drive Iran’s oil exports down to zero and penalize its engineering, mining and construction industries. But the sanctions would not take effect before the six-month term of the interim deal expires, and they could be deferred for up to another six months, at Mr. Obama’s request, if the talks looked promising.

ABC News:

A bipartisan group of 26 senators introduced new legislation today proposing potential sanctions against Iran if the country fails to uphold the P5+1 agreement made last month or if it fails to reach a final agreement to terminate its nuclear weapons program.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., which calls for additional reductions in purchases of Iranian petroleum and creates more penalties for parts of the Iranian economy, including engineering, mining and construction.

The bill also provides the administration with up to one year from implementation of the agreement to try to reach a diplomatic solution that would completely end Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Business Insider

The legislation proposes sanctions in the event that Iran breaches the terms of the interim agreement reached last month in Geneva — or if world powers fail to come to a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Politico:

The sanctions legislation would impose conditional economic penalties on Iran if the country fails to follow through on an interim deal or pulls out of ongoing global negotiations to permanently curtail its nuclear ambitions in return for some sanctions relief.

CNN

Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would authorize new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches an interim agreement to limit its nuclear program or fails to strike a final accord terminating those ambitions.

Clearly, the bill would increase sanctions against Iran only in the event negotiations with the six world powers (P5+1) fail to produce an agreement, or if Iran fails to abide by an agreement.  So, the claim made by Sherwood and Roberts that the bill would “block Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran” is untrue.

Kerry to AIPAC: I Will Always Oppose Boycotts of Israel

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told AIPAC’s annual policy conference that he would always oppose boycotts targeting Israel.

“I will continue to staunchly, loudly and unapologetically oppose boycotts of Israel,” Kerry said Monday evening at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference, drawing a standing ovation. “That will never change.”

Last month, Israeli leaders had complained about Kerry’s remark at an international conference in Munich that Israel faced increasing isolation and boycott calls in the absence of peace. He later explained that he was not advocating boycotts but warning of the likelihood of their increased popularity.

In his AIPAC address, Kerry — who is set soon to unveil a peace agreement framework for Israelis and Palestinians — pushed back against arguments that Israel ceding territory to the Palestinians as part of a peace agreement would lead to violence.

“There is a distinction between a unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon or Gaza where nothing is resolved and a phased withdrawal which is negotiated,” he said.

He described security mechanisms proposed by U.S. Gen. John Allen along the West Bank and Jordan border that would be part of any agreement.

“We will never let the West Bank turn into another Gaza,” he said to applause.

Kerry also pledged that the United States would not make a deal with Iran that allows it to develop nuclear weapons.

“No deal is better than a bad deal,” Kerry said

He defended nuclear talks now underway between Iran and the major powers. Kerry said that President Obama was committed to diplomacy because a military option presented so many dangers.

“Those who say strike and hit need to check what might happen after we do that,” he said. “Only strong diplomacy can guarantee that a nuclear weapons program goes away for good instead of going underground and becoming more dangerous.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kerry-to-aipac-i-will-always-oppose-boycotts-of-israel/2014/03/04/

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