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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Brad Sherman’

Language Skirmishes on the Iran Deal (‘Opposition’ May Not = Voting No)

Friday, August 14th, 2015

It is not only the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that needs to be parsed carefully – we all know about that, at this point. “Snap-back” does not mean actually “snapping,” it will, if anything, be more like lumbering, and “immediate, 24/7 inspections” sometimes means inspections after 24 hours times 24 days.

The statements uttered about the Nuclear Iran deal by congressionally elected representatives can be almost as tricky.

For example, California Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA-30) issued a press release on July 14, the day the JCPOA was announced. Sherman referred to the Nuclear Iran deal in pretty dismissive language, calling it “the good, the bad and the ugly.” But it wasn’t until Friday, Aug. 7, that Sherman conclusively stated he would vote against the JCPOA when it comes before Congress in September.

The latest example of this equivocal language arose when Nebraska’s Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE-2) spoke about the Agreement. The freshman Congressman sits on the House Armed Services Committee and the subcommittees on Emerging Threats and Capabilities and on Strategic Forces.

Ashford returned from an American Israel Public Affairs Committee trip to Israel earlier this week, and immediately was quoted in several Omaha papers as opposing the Iran deal. In fact, he does oppose the Iran deal, saying it “is not good enough” and that it is “not the right deal at this time.”

Ashford spoke to several Jewish groups as well as to news reporters after returning from the Middle East, and told them exactly that.

After speaking with political, military and intelligence officials about the deal and how it could ultimately affect security in the Middle East, Ashford told the Omaha World Herald that “the agreement, as currently constituted would unfetter Iran’s ability to spread terrorism without ultimately stopping the regime from pursuing a nuclear weapon or missiles capable of reaching the United States.”

The OWH also quoted Ashford as saying,”If that’s what we get to vote on, I’m not going to vote for it the way it is.’’

That’s when people began putting Ashford in the “voting no” column.

But there still seemed to be a little bit of space between what the Nebraska Congressman was saying and a firm commitment to vote against the Agreement.

When the JewishPress.com spoke with Ashford’s communications director, Joe Jordan, it became apparent that Ashford cannot be put in the column of solid “no” votes against the Nuclear Iran deal.

What the Congressman really wants is the opportunity to vote on a different agreement, one that has more safeguards in it. He definitely does not believe this is the best deal or even that it is the one Congress should be voting on.

But it is virtually certain that the options he prefers are not ones that will be available.

Jordan tried hard to be as clear as possible and apologized for “splitting hairs,” but ultimately the best we could agree on is that Ashford goes in the “undecided” column.

Let that be a lesson for all Nuclear Iran deal list makers.

Eleventh D in Congress Opposes Nuclear Iran Deal

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

And now there are 11.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL-10) announced Thursday, Aug. 13, that he opposes and will vote against the Nuclear Iran deal when it is placed before Congress in September.

The Florida Democrat also seeks to make it clear to Iran that should that nation cheat on the Agreement if it is implemented, the military option will not only be on the table, it will be poised for immediate use.

Hastings, currently serving his 12th term in Congress, is a senior member of the House Rules Committee and co-chair of the Florida congressional delegation. He raised the same troublesome details of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that have been repeatedly criticized as unacceptable by many of his colleagues.

The acronym for those primary pitfalls, NASM24, may help to remember that the deal allows Iran to become a Nuclear threshold state; it lifts bans on conventional Arms and ICBMS in eight years or fewer; that the Snapback of sanctions will be cumbersome and time-consuming, if possible at all; that it funnels into Iran, the number one supporter of global terrorism, billions of dollars (Money); and it allows Iran up to 24 days before suspected but unconfirmed nuclear weapons sites can be inspected. These concerns were all raised by Hastings as the bases for his opposition to the JCPOA.

And if the Agreement is approved, over his and his colleagues’ objections, Hastings informed the public about two acts he has taken.

First, Hastings made it known that a month ago he sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, urging him to appoint a “high-ranking military official” to oversee the implementation of the deal, should it be approved. He did this, Hastings explained, because “Iran needs to understand that our commitment to ensuring compliance with this deal would be unwavering.”

The second thing Hastings has done is to draft legislation which he will introduce on Sept. 8, “that authorizes the sitting president or his successors to use military force to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.”

Hastings joins his Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives who have announced they will vote against the JCPOA: Rep. Grace Meng (NY) Rep. Juan Vargas (CA), Rep. Albio Sires(NJ), Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY), Rep. Nita Lowey (NY), Rep. Steve Israel (NY), Rep. Ted Deutch (FL), Rep. Eliot Engel (NY), Rep. Brad Sherman, (CA) and Rep. David Scott (Georgia), who came out quietly but unequivocally against the deal in mid-July.

Another Congressional Democrat Will Vote No on the Iran Deal

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

It took awhile, but California Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA-30) officially announced that he intends to vote against the Iranian nuclear deal the U.S. negotiated with its P5+1 partners and the Islamic Republic of Iran. And the announcement was not only firm, but biting.

Sherman issued a negative review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action last week, calling it “the good, the bad and the ugly,” but it wasn’t until Friday, Aug. 7 that the San Fernando Valley Democrat clarified that he intended to vote against the deal.

The California Congressman explained that he has been focused on preventing Iran from having nuclear weapons for the past 19 years.

This agreement, Sherman said,

contains the good and the bad in the first year, and gets ugly in the years thereafter. The Good: Iran gives up 97% of its stockpile of enriched uranium and decommissions 2/3 of its existing centrifuges.  The Bad: Iran gets access to at least $56 billion of its own currently-frozen funds, and free access to the international oil markets.  The Ugly: In 15 years or less, Iran is permitted to have an unlimited quantity of centrifuges of unlimited quality, as well as heavy water reactors and reprocessing facilities.

And then Sherman took a step beyond the point most members of Congress have been willing to go. He wants it to be clear that “future Presidents and Congresses are not bound by this Agreement – not legally, not morally, not diplomatically.”

The Congressman went on to explain that according to “international Law and the U.S. Constitution, the Agreement is a mere ‘executive political agreement’ and is not binding on America, Europe or Iran.

However, if the Agreement is not only signed by the President but also by Congress, it may appear binding. Appearances matter. In future years, many would argue as long as Iran appears to be complying with the Agreement, America cannot insist on modifications or extensions of nuclear restrictions. A strong Congressional vote against the Agreement is the best way to make it clear that the Agreement is not binding on Congress, the American people or future administrations.

Sherman made three additional points in his statement. First, he said that the President and the negotiating team made incredible efforts to prevent Iran from moving forward in its nuclear program, and he thanked the President for being so focused on such an important issue.

In his second additional point, Sherman listed off the various specific problems with the deal such as the flaccid inspections regimen and the infusion of billions of dollars from sanctions relief, some significant amount of which it is likely to use to siphon to its terror proxies in the region and around the world.

The third point packed quite a punch.

President Obama has been harshly criticized for dog whistling about critics of the JCPOA, using code language to suggest that the Jews supported the Iraq war, and they are the same people who are opposing the Iran deal. Well guess who else supported the Iraq war?

As Sherman said: “The President reminds us that many prominent critics of the Agreement supported the invasion of Iraq. It should be noted that many supporters of the Agreement also supported the invasion of Iraq, including: Vice President Biden, Secretary Kerry and Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.”

Bam!

The nineteen year House Democrat sits on the important House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is a member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.

Sherman joins the following eight (so far) other Democratic members of Congress who have committed to voting against the JCPOA: Cong. Meng (D-NY), Cong. Vargas (D-CA), Cong. Price (D-NY), Cong. Sires (D-NY), Cong. Lowey (D-NY), Cong. Deutch (D-FL), Cong. Israel (D-NY) and Cong. Engel (D-NY).

Hillary, Bernie, Endorse Iran Deal as Republican Presidential Candidates Vow to Re-Impose Sanctions If Elected

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

(JNi.media) Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday announced the Iran nuclear deal “is worthy of support,” Reuters reported, citing House Democrats Earl Blumenauer and Brad Sherman. In fact, according to the sources, she believes “it puts us in a potentially stronger position.”

Politico’s Michael Crowley recalled Tuesday the 2008 presidential campaign, in which Obama said he would meet with Iran’s leader without preconditions, and Hillary called him “reckless and naïve.”

“I thought that was irresponsible and frankly naive,” Clinton the Iowa Quad-City Times in July, 2007.

In a debate in Charleston, SC, Obama was asked by a questioner via YouTube if he would be willing to meet without precondition, in his first year as president, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

“I would,” he responded.

Two down, three to go.

Clinton said she would not. “I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes,” she said, adding that she would first send out envoys to test the waters.

What a difference eight years make—four of which Obama was her boss.

Hillary’s main competitor for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, twieeted:

“The #IranDeal is a victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling and could keep us from being drawn into another never-ending war.”

He’s actually right, should Iran attain its nuclear bombs behind the shield of this deal, the ensuing war would not be the never-ending, but the really-quickly-ending kind.

The Republican presidential candidates were busy competing who would vilify the deal more.

Lindsey Graham told Bloomberg:

“If the initial reports regarding the details of this deal hold true, there’s no way as president of the United States I would honor this deal. It’s incredibly dangerous for our national security, and it’s akin to declaring war on Sunni Arabs and Israel by the P5+1, because it ensures their primary antagonist, Iran, will become a nuclear power, and allows them to rearm conventionally.”

Say what you will, the man knows his Middle East politics.

A president who wants to kill the deal can use his or her (should Carly Fiorina win) executive authority to re-impose the suspended US sanctions on Iran and to withdraw from the organizations involved in implementing the agreement.

It would anger the entire world, naturally, and it’s likely no one would support such a move, leaving those renewed sanctions quite toothless.

Scott Walker released a statement that could have been written by the same guy who writes PM Netanyahu’s tweets:

“President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran will be remembered as one of America’s worst diplomatic failures … the deal rewards the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism with a massive financial windfall, which Iran will use to further threaten our interests and key allies, especially Israel.”

Chris Christie released a statement:

“The president is playing a dangerous game with our national security, and the deal as structured will lead to a nuclear Iran and, then, a nuclearized Middle East. The deal threatens Israel, it threatens the United States, and it turns 70 years of nuclear policy on its head.”

Mike Huckabee moralized on Twitter:

“Shame on the Obama admin for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to ‘wipe Israel off the map.’”

And Marco Rubio said in a statement:

“I have said from the beginning of this process that I would not support a deal with Iran that allows the mullahs to retain the ability to develop nuclear weapons, threaten Israel, and continue their regional expansionism and support for terrorism.”

The deal also gives the mullahs a lot of mullah. $80 billion, give or take. They’ve already collected $19 billion in their assets abroad as incentives during the talks.

State Dept Embrace of PUG Won’t Be Group Hug

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The official word from the State Department – the latest official word, anyway – is that the U.S. government intends to work with the newly-formed “Palestinian Unity Government” (PUG).  At least some U.S. legislators are expressing a very different opinion.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said at the daily briefing for reporters on Monday, the day the PUG was formed, that it would both continue to work with the new government and continue funding that government.

“At this point, it appears that President Abbas has formed an interim technocratic government that does not include ministers affiliated with Hamas,” Psaki told reporters.

“Moving forward, we will be judging this government by its actions. Based on what we know now, we intend to work with this government, but we’ll be watching closely to ensure that it upholds the principles that President Abbas reiterated today,” by which Psaki meant Abbas’s commitment to honor past peace deals and peace principles.

If that’s the standard the State Department intends to use, the only thing Hamas has to alter is its truthful approach. So long as the Hamas members are able to start saying in English that they support peace, it doesn’t matter what they actually do. That must be what Psaki meant.

However, senior legislative leaders were not quite so willing to buddy up with the new PUG.

Senior U.S. lawmakers said on Monday Washington should suspend aid to the new unity government until it is sure of the Islamist group’s commitment to pursuing peace with Israel, according to Reuters.

That would be because U.S. law currently prohibits this government from providing aid to “any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on world leaders to reject the PUG. Instead, one of the first phone calls he received about the PUG was from Secretary of State Kerry, stating that the U.S. intends to treat the PUG just as it has been treating the PA government under Abbas.

The Hamas Charter calls for all Muslims to “fight and kill the Jews,” and that all of historic Palestine belongs to Islam, as does any land ever conquered by Muslims (such as Spain). This is a religious, non-negotiable imperative.

Article 13 of the Hamas Charter specifically rejects the notion of peace negotiations, conferences or initiatives.

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight.

The only path for Hamas is jihad.

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.

The Hamas Charter also requires every Muslim to fight to liberate the land referred to as Palestine. In Article Twenty, the Charter refers to Jews as Nazis.

At least one member of the U.S. Congress issued a statement rejecting the idea of embracing the PUG.

On the same day that the PUG was formed, June 2, Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn, representative of Colorado’s fifth congressional district, released a statement. Lamborn had this to say about the new Palestinian unity government:

The United States must immediately suspend our aid to the Palestinian government following the creation of a unity government which includes the Hamas terror organization. This move would be in keeping with US law barring the transfer of US funds to a terror organization. To date, Hamas — which has carried out scores of suicide bombing against Israeli civilians resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Israelis — refuses to recognize Israel, renounce violence or accept past peace agreements. A facade of bureaucrats cannot hide the fact that this is a Palestinian government that supports terrorism.

Lamborn is one of the co-chairs of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus. The other co-chairs are Cong. Brad Sherman (D)(CA-30), Cong. Eliot Engel (D)(NY-16), and Cong. Trent Franks (R)(AZ-8).

Two Letters to Bibi: Congress Welcomes, Jews Warn

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Within four days last week, pro-Israel congressional leaders Cong. Brad Sherman (D-CA-30) and Cong. Doug Lamborn (R-CO-05), gathered signatures from nearly 100 of their colleagues for a letter urging that a congressional invitation be extended to Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The bi-partisan congressional letter called upon the leadership of the House of Representatives to invite Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of congress when he visits Washington this spring.

The letter cites the importance of inviting the leader of “our closest ally in the Middle East” to speak to congress, particularly given the widespread instability and turmoil in the region.

“Given the importance of our relationship with Israel we ask you to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a Join Session of Congress. Doing so would send a clear message of support for Israel,” the letter states.

“The strong support we have received for this initiative shows our close relationship with the State of Israel which is based on deeply shared values, as well as moral, historical and security ties,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) in a release issued on Thursday, Feb. 13.

At virtually the same time as members of congress were joining together in an effort to demonstrate support for America’s closest ally in the Middle East, another group of Americans were drafting a letter with a very different message to Netanyahu, Israel’s democratically elected leader.

JEWS LAUD KERRY’S EFFORTS; WANT NETANYAHU TO FOLLOW SUIT

This second letter was primarily drafted and signed by members of the Israel Policy Forum, a group once considered iconoclastic because it chose to follow a path that differed from the centrist American Israel Public Affairs Council.

The IPF, formed in the early 1990s, is largely indistinguishable from the newer J Street, other than that the leadership and membership of J Street is much younger. The IPF membership is not only significantly older than J Street, most are extraordinarily wealthy.  Moshe Dann wrote an informative article on the IPF membership in 2012. They have billionaires and heiresses and a felon, oh my!

The central plank of the IPF, like that of J Street, is that a “Two State Solution” to the Middle East conflict is imperative and American diplomatic strength must be deployed to push Israel to accept that policy immediately.

In keeping with that position, the IPF letter to Netanyahu on Wednesday, Feb. 12, lavishes praise on the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his “extraordinary resolve” in advancing the “efforts to pursue a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states for two peoples.”

The IPF letter explained to Israel’s elected leader that they believe what Kerry is doing presents the best opportunity for Israel’s future.

We believe Secretary Kerry’s determined diplomatic effort offers an unprecedented opportunity to ensure Israel’s security, to enhance its prosperity, and to avoid the existential threat to the Jewish posed by bi-nationalism.

Those signing the letter express “hope” that the acting leader of the Palestinian Arabs, Mahmoud Abbas, will help to advance the talks.

Describing this as being a  “pivotal moment of decision making” and a “critical juncture for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” the IPF signers implore Netanyahu “to move forward to pursue a lasting peace agreement.”

The letter is signed by 150 American Jews. Although they refer to themselves as a “cross section of American Jews,” most of them have been involved with the IPF for more than 20 years. Apparently they believe the inclusion of Professor Alan Dershowitz, a harsh critic of the boisterous J Street young bucks, gives them diversity creds.

Most recently (prior to last week’s letter) virtually the same passel of peaceniks wrote to Netanyahu in April, 2013.  That time they sent him a finger-wagging letter, imploring him to, in the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the Middle East, “respond to President Obama’s call for peace.”

House Panel Approves $2 million for US-Israel Energy Cooperation

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has allotted $2 million for U.S.-Israel energy cooperation in the fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.

The money in the bill is the latest such appropriation under the 2007 U.S.-Israel Cooperation Act, which created a grant program to support research and development of renewable energy sources.

“Our national security depends on the development of alternative energy,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a lead sponsor of the Act said in a statement. “Funding for the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Program has already advanced innovative new energy projects.”

Other lawmakers pushing for the allocation included Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/house-panel-approves-2-million-for-us-israel-energy-cooperation/2013/07/14/

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