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October 14, 2015 / 1 Heshvan, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Senate Dems Vote Against Protecting Israel and Rescuing American Hostages from Iran

Friday, September 18th, 2015

In an attempt to wrest some positive concessions from the Iranians in exchange for lifting sanctions against them under the Nuclear Iran Deal, an effort was made to require Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to release American hostages from captivity through the form of an amendment on Thursday, Sept. 17.

Senate Democrats rejected the attempt, preferring to preserve the Nuclear Iran Deal in its current form, rather than to make even these limited demands on the Iranians.

The amendment was offered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The vote was 53 – 45, and 60 senators were needed to move the measure forward.

Only one Senate Democrat voted in favor of the Protect Israel and Free Our Prisoners amendment, Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Even the other three Democrats who publicly declared their opposition to the Nuclear Iran Deal, Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ), Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) and Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) voted against the amendment.


Under the terms of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Corker-Cardin), Sept. 17 was the final day on which Congress could stop the deal from moving forward by passing a disapproval resolution.

The Obama administration will likely be permitted to enforce this aspect of Corker-Cardin despite its own failure to comply with another substantive requirement, although why that should be so is a question that needs to be addressed.

The failure of the administration to provide Congress with all documentation of all aspects of the Nuclear Iran Deal was set forth very clearly in Corker-Cardin. Congress’s 60 day review period was to begin only after the White House provided those documents. It has not done so.

No documentation was provided to Congress regarding significant portions of the Deal, the so-called secret side deals that deal with Iran’s military site at Parchin and any possible military dimensions of Iran’s previous nuclear weapons program, as was revealed over the past several weeks.

Not a single member of Congress, including all of those who declared their support for the deal, read a single document or description of those side deals. Not only that, but even the vaunted nuclear physicist, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, did not have access ever to the details or description of those matters. To the extent that members of Congress relied on Moniz’s advice to support the deal, they did so despite his failure to ever lay eyes on those all-important side deals.

The Obama administration is certainly acting as if the work regarding the Nuclear Iran Deal is over and it will begin to go into effect next month.


On the same day that the Senate rejected protection of Israel and return of American hostages from Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry named former ambassador to Poland Ambassador Stephen D. Mull as Lead Coordinator for the Nuclear Deal Implementation.

In his announcement of Mull’s appointment Kerry noted: “as we move past the 60 day Congressional review period.” Some review period.

Kerry described Mull’s experience dealing with Iran’s nuclear program:

Steve played a key role in designing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, which imposed additional nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, and marshalling support for its adoption by the Council. He also worked closely with the U.S. Mission to the IAEA in pressing for full accountability in Iran’s nuclear program. Steve traveled frequently to engage with foreign partners and worked across the U.S. government in support of our Iran-related efforts

There surely would have been intense criticism if Mull had not been involved in the Iran nuclear portfolio prior to this appointment. Still, having someone in the position of primary American coordinator for implementation of the Nuclear Iran Deal who oversaw a program that the administration said was insufficient to prevent Tehran from forging forward on its path to nuclear weapons is unsettling.

What is more unsettling, however, is that the administration did an end run around the majority of Congress which opposes the deal, as well as the majority of Americans, who also oppose the deal, in order to impose a new framework which guarantees Iran will become a threshold nuclear state.

The supporters of the Nuclear Iran Deal have worked overtime to prevent the Senate from actually expressing its view on the deal, even though it marks President Obama’s effort to fundamentally change the posture America has maintained for decades regarding power in the Middle East.

Compare Obama’s Rosh HaShanah and Eid-ul-Fitr Messages [Video]

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

President Barack Obama laced his annual Rosh HaShanah greetings with political overtones, in stark contrast to his message to Muslims last July on their Eid-ul-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

President Obama reminded Jews that the “Book of Life is open.” Assuming a posture as a Jew, he added:

As millions of Jews ask God to inscribe their names in that Book we recognize how much lies beyond our control.

It was a pointed reminder to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that besides God, there also is President Obama who pulls the strings when it comes to world affairs, such as the nuclear agreement with Iran.

The President then preached peace, which he said is “hard, but right now the book is open.  Not just for God but for us.”

That is a theme that was totally absent from his speech to Muslims in July, when he noted:

The end of Ramadan is a time to reflect spiritually, build communally, and aid those in need. While Eid marks the end of Ramadan, it marks a new beginning for each individual – a reason to celebrate and express gratitude on this holiday.

President Obama then devoted nearly half of his greeting to talk about how millions of Muslims go to mosques for prayers and then have “festive gatherings, gift exchanges, and feasts among friends, neighbors and families.”

He emphasized how “the diversity of traditions paint the vibrant images we see from around the world capturing the spirit and excitement of Eid – colorful dresses or white garments decorating the masses of people standing in lines for prayer, lanterns and ornaments lighting up bazaars and neighborhoods, intricate henna designs painted on hands of young girls and women, and an abundance of delectable foods and aromatic cuisines.”

Then he boasted that Eid-ul-Fitr now is a an official holiday in New York City public schools, and he praised Muslims for helping to raise money “for  the churches burned in the wake of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina” by a white racist.

The greeting to Muslims was absent of any reference to radical Muslim violence, peace in the Middle East, or the nuclear threat from Iran. It was a typical patronizing greeting made by every leader to partisan groups.

Now let’s go back to 2009 for President Obama’s first Rosh HaShanah greetings:

I want to extend my warmest wishes for this New Year. L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – may you have a good year, and may you be inscribed for blessing in the Book of Life….

At the dawn of this New Year, let us rededicate ourselves to that work. Let us reject the impulse to harden ourselves to others’ suffering, and instead make a habit of empathy – of recognizing ourselves in each other and extending our compassion to those in need.

Let us resist prejudice, intolerance, and indifference in whatever forms they may take — let us stand up strongly to the scourge of anti-Semitism, which is still prevalent in far too many corners of our world….

And let us work to achieve lasting peace and security for the state of Israel, so that the Jewish state is fully accepted by its neighbors, and its children can live their dreams free from fear.

All of that was absent from this year’s greeting, which also did not mention anti-Semitism and certainly not anti-Zionism, lest he prompt reminders that Iran’s idea of peace is a world without Israel.

President Obama was elected on a motto of “change.”

He has fulfilled his promise.

He indeed has changed.

House Passes Bill Blocking Obama from Lifting Iran Sanctions

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

At the very last minute the House of Representatives is acting as if the house is on fire. Finally.

First, the House voted on Friday – the day after the Senate seemed to hand the President a victory – against the approval of the Nuclear Iran Deal. The vote was 269 to 162.

The House also acted on a bill which was introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

That bill, HR 3460, blocks U.S. President Barack Obama from in any way lifting sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program, or from releasing individuals from specially designated terrorist lists which would otherwise be released under the proposed terms of the Nuclear Iran Deal.

The bill not only seeks to prevent the president from lifting sanctions now, it seeks to prevent him from lifting them until the end of his term as president, which is January 21, 2017.

The bill passed by a vote of 247 to 186.

Following the passage of HR 3460, Congressman Zeldin said,

“The President must not lift sanctions on Iran to implement this fatally flawed deal. The leverage that brought the Iranians to the table was the sanctions relief. Negotiating away our leverage while leaving so much out of the agreement is a historic strategic mistake.

“Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism, actively working to overthrow foreign governments, while pledging to wipe Israel off the map and chanting Death to America in their streets. So much wasn’t even part of the negotiations, including Iran’s continued efforts to develop ICBMs, blow up mock U.S. warships and unjustly imprison American citizens, including a U.S. Marine, a Pastor and a Reporter.

“This is a fatally flawed deal that paves the path to worsening instability and turmoil in the Middle East and is on track to trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. Furthermore, Congress has not even received the entire agreement yet from the President, specifically the critical components of the deal that would outline the verification agreements entered into between the IAEA and Iran. The President says this deal is not based on trust; it is based on verification, but we don’t even know the full details of the verification regime. It’s unfortunate that some members of Congress choose party loyalty over national security. I also want to thank Congressman Roskam for his very thoughtful and determined effort with this noble cause.”

Congressman Roskam said, “This dangerous nuclear agreement is what happens when the Administration capitulates to the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism. Under no circumstances should Congress be complicit in giving Iran a $150 billion cash infusion to further fund attacks against the United States and our allies. That’s why today the House passed this important bill to prevent President Obama from lifting statutory sanctions against Iran under this deeply flawed deal. I want to thank Congressman Zeldin for his leadership on this issue critical to U.S. national security.”

The following is the text of the bill that was passed by the House on Friday, September 11.

A BILL To suspend until January 21, 2017, the authority of the President to waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions pursuant to an agreement related to the nuclear program of Iran.  Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


(a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, prior to January 21, 2017, the President may not— (1) waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions described in subsection (b) or refrain from applying any such sanctions; or (2) remove a foreign person listed in Attachment 3 or Attachment 4 to Annex II of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action from the list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons maintained by the Office of Foreign Asset Control of the Department of the Treasury.

House Passes Resolution Obliging Obama to Follow the Law

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced, and the House passed, a Resolution intending to require President Barack Obama to follow his obligations under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Corker-Cardin).

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), both of whom served in the U.S. military, sponsored House Resolution 411. The Resolution was introduced and then approved by a vote of 243-186 on Thursday, Sept. 10, the same date on which the U.S. Senate filibustered the Iran Deal to prevent the House from pushing forward a disapproval vote and requiring members to publicly vote on the deal.

The Resolution points out that despite the President’s obligation under Corker-Cardin “to transmit the agreement, including any side agreements” to “the appropriate congressional committees and leadership,” and the term “agreement” is exhaustively defined as including any

agreement related to the nuclear pro- gram of Iran that includes the United States, commits the United States to take action, or pursuant to which the United States commits or otherwise agrees to take action, regardless of the form it takes, whether a political commitment or otherwise, and regardless of whether it is legally binding or not, including any joint comprehensive plan of action entered into or made between Iran and any other parties, and any additional materials related there- to, including annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.

Because the President has not provided Congress with the documentation regarding the secret side deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the President has failed to comply with Corker-Cardin.

And because Corker-Cardin has been breached by the President, the 60 day Congressional review period, the Resolution states, has not yet begun to run.

“Despite the reckless efforts by President Obama and Senate Democrats to force the implementation of the terribly flawed Iran nuclear agreement, I am proud of my colleagues in the House for getting it right and passing this important resolution today,” said Pompeo.

“This resolution is crucial to reining in the president and forcing him to live up to his obligation under Corker-Cardin, which he himself signed into law just a few months ago. The lack of access to the roadmap makes it impossible for a member of Congress to support this agreement; therefore, the president must show Congress the agreement in its entirety. A bad deal with Iran is not worth risking the safety of Kansans and the American people. I will continue to work hard and do everything in my power to stop this agreement.”

Following the passage of the Resolution, another opponent of the Nuclear Iran Deal, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), said “President Obama broke the very law he signed by failing to provide Congress with the Iran-IAEA side agreements. Withholding these documents from the American people and their elected representatives completely discredits the transparent review process the Administration was legally obligated to provide. In light of this vote, I believe the House should pursue legal action against the Administration for its blatant disregard for the law.”

Trump Calls Obama an ‘Amateur’ and Vows to Re-Negotiate Deal

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Donald Trump said Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran was his “amateur hour” and that the deal will be re-negotiated if the real-estate mogul is elected to the White House.

Trump wrote in an op-ed in USA Today:

It is hard to believe a president of the United States would actually put his name on an agreement with the terrorist state Iran that is so bad, so poorly constructed and so terribly negotiated that it increases uncertainty and reduces security for America and our allies, including Israel.
It was amateur hour for those charged with striking this deal with Iran, demonstrating to the world, yet again, the total incompetence of our president and politicians. It appears we wanted a deal at any cost rather than following the advice of Ronald Reagan and walking away because ‘no deal is better than a bad deal.’

Trump assumed he will be the next president of the United States and said that he “will renegotiate with Iran — right after I enable the immediate release of our American prisoners and ask Congress to impose new sanctions that stop Iran from having the ability to sponsor terrorism around the world.”

He will be one of the most boisterous and photographed leaders at an anti-deal rally Wednesday at the Capitol.

The Republican candidate’s continuing popularity, in the face of all predictions that he is a passing fad, is scaring the hell out of challengers, who no longer can ignore him and have been forced into criticizing him, giving him even more publicity and attention.

Jeb Bush said Trump cannot be trusted to deal with Iran, and he posted a video of Trump praising then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Bush’s going on the attack of past declarations is one of the weakest possible strategies. The GOP candidates are going to have to do a lot of soul-searching and come up with the something better in order to stop the Trump train.

Lawmakers Opposed to Iran Deal Introduce Measures Addressing its Flaws

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) have finally done what so many opponents of the Nuclear Iran Deal have been waiting for. Whether their efforts will achieve the goal of opponents will soon be revealed.

The two Republican House members each introduced legislation late on Tuesday, Sept. 8, addressing procedural flaws in the administration’s conduct of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Gohmert introduced a resolution that recategorizes the JCPOA as a treaty (and presidents have no veto power over Senate votes on treaties) and Roskam introduced a resolution which rewinds the clock on Congressional review of the JCPOA because the administration has not provided Congress with all the relevant, required documents relating to the agreement.

Gohmert introduced into the Rules Committee a Resolution declaring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action a treaty. The effect of such a move is that rather than two-thirds of the Senate having to oppose the JCPOA, which is the case under Corker-Cardin (the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act), if the JCPOA is classified as a treaty it means that two-thirds of the Senate is required to approve the measure.

As Gohmert explained to the members of the House Rules Committee late on Tuesday, a treaty is “any agreement between the U.S. and another country that affects, changes or modifies an existing treat is a treaty.” Because the JCPOA affects, changes and modifies the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Q.E.D., it is a treaty.

Corker-Cardin explicitly provided that the agreement that the U.S. and its partners was going to enter into with Iran would not lift the embargo on the supply of ballistic missiles to Iran and that the act was only to apply to sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program.

As later became public, the Nuclear Iran Deal includes all kinds of relief for Iran which are totally unrelated to Iran’s nuclear program, such as lifting embargoes on conventional weapons  and ICBMs.

In addition, the two “secret side deals” between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran only became public well after the JCPOA was announced, and the INARA explicitly requires all the material dealing with the JCPOA be provided to Congress by the administration by Sept. 7.

All of this means, as explained in Gohmert’s Resolution, that Corker-Cardin cannot be the oversight mechanism for the JCPOA, given the many fundamental differences between what Corker-Cardin was written to cover and the many dramatically different aspects of the JCPOA which have since been revealed.

Gohmert’s Resolution also reveals that Secretary of State John Kerry’s explanation for why the JCPOA could not be considered a treaty was a farce. Kerry undermined his own explanation – that no treaties could be ratified by the Senate – by announcing the ratification of treaties by the Senate within days of making that statement.

The Resolution calls for the Senate to deliberate on the ratification of the Nuclear Iran Deal within 30 days of the passage of the Resolution.

Roskam’s effort states that under the INARA, the administration is required to provide to Congress all of the substantive material detailing the agreement, including the so-called “secret side deals.”

The administration has not provided Congress with that material, so the 60-day congressional review period has not begun to run, and won’t begin until all such materials are provided to Congress. And, of course, no vote on the JCPOA can take place until it does.

A hearing on Gohmert’s Resolution, H.J. Res. 64., will take place in the House on Wednesday, Sept. 9, beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s ‘Jewish Heart’ Backs Iran Deal

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Florida Jewish Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, one of the most senior Democrats in the party and Democratic National Committee chairwoman, has come out in favor of the nuclear deal with Iran, the Miami Herald reported Sunday.

Her district includes a large number of Jews, and she has been under heavy pressure to oppose the agreement. Last week, Vice president Joe Biden met with her and with Florida Jews and apparently helped sway Schultz.

Her support is a blow for opponents to the deal, who were given an uplift last week when Maryland Jewish Sen. Ben Cardin finally announced he will vote against the agreement but proposed an alternative.

Schultz issued a five-and-a-half page statement to the Herald, in which she wrote:

I have subsequently come to the conclusion that the agreement promotes the national security interests of the United States and our allies and merits my vote of support…

This agreement is not perfect. But I join many in the belief that with complex, multilateral, nuclear non-proliferation negotiations with inherent geopolitical implications for the entire world, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ deal.

Like most other Democrats supporting the bill, she voiced concerns and specifically stated she worries about Iran getting “additional resources to divert to their nefarious activities.”

Schultz added:

Initially sharing those concerns propelled me to thoroughly explore the viability of an alternative agreement… [but] analysts across the academic and political spectrum agree that if the U.S. walks away from this agreement, it will be impossible to maintain a robust sanctions program against Iran.

She expressed little worry about Iran’s holding to the agreement’s requirements for monitoring systems and inspections, saying:

Even if Iran cheats, with this agreement in place it is clear to me that we will know much more about their nuclear program than we do now, which will give us the ability to more effectively eliminate it if that ever becomes necessary

The statement is an incredible admission of one of the plan’s biggest holes because by the time the P5+1 powers “know much more about their nuclear program than we do now,” Iran would already have a bomb. That would make it even more difficult to “effectively eliminate it if that ever becomes necessary.”

Even more worrisome for Jews is her statement that her decision was partly based on her being “a deeply committed member of the Jewish community. Schultz said last week she would announce her decision on the Iran agreement with her “Jewish heart.”

Schultz thinks she is supportive of Israel and stated:

The thorough, pragmatic, and factual analysis I have done and my fervent desire as a Jewish mother to ensure that Israel will always be there — l’dor v’dor — from generation to generation — leads me to the conclusion that this agreement provides the best chance to ensure America’s, Israel’s and our allies’ security today and tomorrow.

One of the mistakes of opponents to the nuclear deal with Iran was focusing on its danger to Israel. Their argument should have centered on the agreement’s being a danger to U.S. citizens, whether they are Jewish or not.

Anyone deciding with a “Jewish heart” to support the deal while maintaining that she or he is committed to Israel’s security has not been able to explain why almost every Israeli leader, including Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog, is against the deal.

Most Americans also are against it, including those in Florida.

A Quinnipiac poll last month showed Florida voters oppose the pact 61 percent to 25 percent.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/debbie-wasserman-schultzs-jewish-heart-backs-iran-deal/2015/09/06/

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