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August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Charles Schumer’

NY’s Senator Schumer and Cong. Engel Will Vote Against the Iran Nuclear Deal

Friday, August 7th, 2015

If there was one member of Congress upon whom all eyes came to rest to see which way he would vote on the Nuclear Iran Deal, it was New York’s senior senator Chuck Schumer.

Schumer, a Democrat who all understand is in line for a leadership role in the Senate, was watched closely for many reasons: He is Jewish, he represents New York State, he is a senior senator, and being pro-Israel has always been a badge he proudly wore.

Still, many of those watching Schumer have been seeing him through jaundiced eyes. No matter which way he decided, he would greatly disappoint supporters who have enormous control over his political future. Would he risk angering the leadership of his party and the man at the top of his ticket? Or would he vote to support the Nuclear Iran agreement and anger many of his constituents?

Those with practiced eyes concluded that Schumer would split his decision, first voting against the agreement in the initial round, but then either not voting to override the veto if the vote was close, or voting to override, but only if the count was such that the veto could not be overridden, not matter how he voted.

But the reasoning Schumer provided in his statement announcing his decision may lock him into voting for the same outcome, both times.

Schumer broke the agreement down into three different categories: the restrictions on Iran in the first ten years of the agreement; the restrictions on Iran after ten years; and the non-nuclear components and consequences of the deal. As his guide for which way to vote, he asked himself whether we are better off with this agreement or better off without it.

The senator explained that he sees various weaknesses during the ten year lifespan of the agreement, such as insufficient inspections access, including the need to obtain a majority of the other parties to agree to an inspection, and a cumbersome snapback mechanism. Schumer said that while there were problems with this portion of the agreement, it was possible to decide either way.

During the period following the sunset clause of the agreement, however, Iran would be stronger financially and “better able to advance a robust nuclear program.” Even more importantly, at the end of the agreement and with Iran as a threshold nuclear state, it would also enjoy the blessing of the world community. In other words, its leap into nuclear weapons capability would be sanctioned by the leadership of the world’s leading nations.

Schumer concluded that we would definitely be better off without the deal than with it, given the scenario at the conclusion of the JCPOA.

Finally, the non-nuclear aspects of the deal gave Schumer the most pause. In his opinion, the infusion of billions of dollars into Iran in the wake of sanctions relief could lead to catastrophic consequences. Unless one believes that Iran will moderate and cease its support for terror across the region, the lack of restrictions on how the money will be used was a fatal flaw.

if one feels that Iranian leaders will not moderate and their unstated but very real goal is to get relief from the onerous sanctions, while still retaining their nuclear ambitions and their ability to increase belligerent activities in the Middle East and elsewhere, then one should conclude that it would be better not to approve this agreement.

Schumer does not believe that Iran is about to moderate or that it will become more moderate during the course of the agreement.

Therefore, I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power. Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be.

Schumer’s decision became public just hours after the junior senator from New York, Kirsten E. Gillibrand, also a Democrat, announced that she will support the agreement.

New York Congressman Eliot Engel (NY-D-16) also announced on Thursday evening that he would oppose the JCPOA.  The reasons he gave were similar to Senator Schumer’s: the limitations on inspections capability, the influx of massive amounts of money in the wake of sanctions relief and the lifting of bans on intercontinental ballistic missiles and advanced conventional weapons.

Engel is the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Organizers of ‘Stop Iran Now’ Say Times Square Rally Drew 12,000 Protesters

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

(JNi.media) It is written in psalms, “The guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” Likewise, New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who has described himself as a “guardian of Israel,” is not likely to get much sleep in the next 60 days, as Congress discusses the Iran nuclear deal while opponents will be protesting loudly and lobbying tirelessly to ensure that Congress votes against it.

On Tuesday, a “Stop Iran Now” rally kicked off what is planned to be a 60 day battle for the hearts and minds of legislators to oppose an agreement that would mean an end to sanctions against Iran, in exchange for assurances about limiting its nuclear program. The deal also unfreezes funds for Iran, and critics are concerned that that money could go right into the pockets of Hezbollah and Hamas, which are supported by Iran.

Organizers said there were 12,000 protesters that congregated between 42nd and 38th street, but the police said there were more like 8,000. Speakers included US Representative Allen West, Caroline Glick, Former CIA director James Woolsey, Alan Dershowitz, and former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morganthau.

While Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was booed when her name was mentioned because of her support for the deal, the other name that came up frequently was that of Chuck Schumer, who, as a prominent pro-Israel Democrat, has a key influence on how members of his party may vote. Some were already critical of the senator, and held up signs saying “Schumer not a Shomer (guardian),” expressing disapproval over the fact that he was meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry.

Schumer said in a statement, “I’ve read the agreement and I’m seeking answers to many questions I have. Before I make a decision, I am going to speak at length with experts on both sides … it’s a serious issue, and I’m studying it carefully.”

US Representative West said, “I want President Obama to know one thing: You may say you have done something no one else has ever done. You know why no one else has ever done it? ‘Cause it’s a damn stupid thing you just did!”

Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post said the deal “gives mullahs $150 billion as a signing bonus … that’s real money that you’re putting in the hands of murderers.” Glick then addressed Senator Schumer and other New York legislators: “Unless you have no honor and no shame,” to vote against the deal and persuade others to reject it as well.

Amid chants of “Where is Chuck? Kill this deal,” former CIA director James Woolsey criticized Obama for ignoring the pro-democracy protests in Iran in 2009.

Alan Dershowitz, a Clinton supporter, said, “I’m here opposing this deal as a liberal Democrat.” Dershowitz said the President’s approach in this agreement was undemocratic, since it can be seen as a treaty that requires 2/3 approval in Congress. He was also critical of President Obama’s taking the military option “off the table” and warned that Benjamin Netanyahu might be taking “whatever actions” necessary to stop Iran.

Robert Morgenthau was another prominent Democrat expressing opposition to President Obama’s Iran deal. For 34 years, Morgenthau served as Manattan’s District Attorney, and one of his last cases involved prosecuting banks for laundering money for Iran’s support of terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas. His father, Henry Morgenthau, was Secretary of the Treasury in the FDR Administration.

Joan, Robert Morgenthau’s sister told Martin Ostrow, a filmmaker, “My father’s relationship with the President was … one of the most important things to him in his life, and he didn’t want to push things too far … as a Jew, he felt he needed to be almost extra careful to be sure he was speaking first as an American and only secondly as a Jew … he didn’t want to push it as a Jew.”

Henry Morgenthau approached FDR about reports that the State Department was suppressing information on the mass murder of Jews in Europe, and fortunately, he did not have to stand alone; at that time, in 1944, activists known as the Bergson group were having rallies and placing newspaper ads to raise awareness about atrocities against Europe’s Jews. Morgenthau told FDR that if he did not respond to the growing outcry, he would be seen as indifferent. In response, FDR started the War Refugee Board, which rescued 200,000 refugees in the final 15 months of the war.

Congressmembers: No More Money for Talks With Iran

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Some members of Congress are insisting there be a limit to the ongoing negotiations to convince the Islamic Republic to agree not to produce nuclear weapons.

In a letter sent on Thursday, March 26, to the Chair and the Ranking member of the subcommittee on Foreign Operations of the House Appropriations Committee, several members of Congress, spearheaded by Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY), sought the insertion of language in the upcoming foreign operations appropriations bill that would prohibit the inclusion of funding for continuing talks with Iran by the U.S. with the P5+1 member nations.

The letter, addressed to Cong. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Cong. Nita Lowey (D-NY), described the ongoing negotiations with Iran as “dangerous” and a “failed effort” to “ensure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapons capability.”

The letter pointed out that, despite assurances to the contrary, the administration has already made dangerous concessions to Iran, including the decision to permit Iran to maintain a “peaceful nuclear enrichment program.”

As pointed out in the Congressional letter, “there is no such thing as a peaceful Iranian nuclear enrichment program.”

In addition, the March 26 letter recounts the highlights (or, rather, low points) of what is understood to be included in a final deal, which would permit Iran to maintain its current stockpile unmolested now, and then the complete lifting of any restraints on Iran in ten years time.

A House staffer who spoke about the current status of the negotiations with the JewishPress.com was piqued by the administration’s refusal to share details of the deal with members of Congress. The language the administration has employed is particularly irksome. Saying that Congress will “see the agreement” once it is completed is hardly reassuring to those with grave concerns about what it contains.

The staffer explained that while this request to Appropriations, even if implemented, would not kick in for another 19 months, it is significant because Congress needs to continue demanding “it has a role to play,” and this is one way of alerting both the administration and the public that Congress has not yet been heard on this critically important topic. Congress has, essentially, “been left in the dark.”

FORDOW ENRICHMENT TO CONTINUE UNDER DEAL?

The Congressional letter was sent the same day that an absolute blockbuster scoop from the Associated Press revealed yet another dangerous concession allegedly made by the U.S. to Iran: that Washington is poised to allow the Iranians to continue enrichment activities at its Fordow facility. This is the one that is an underground military bunker. Fordow is built into the side of a mountain and is all but impervious to an air attack.

Really? Spinning centrifuges in a bunkered facility? Any members of Congress who are not standing up on their hind legs and demanding the right to review and make changes to a final deal with Iran on what is perhaps the most important treaty of modern times deserves to lose their seat.

RALLY FRIDAY OUTSIDE SENATORS SCHUMER AND GILLIBRAND’S OFFICES IN NYC

And there are some New Yorkers who will be sharing that view with their U.S. Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, tomorrow, March 27, at noon.

There will be a rally in front of the senators’ offices, at 780 Third Avenue between East 48th and 49th Streets in Manhattan. The purpose of the rally is to press the senators to commit to overriding President Obama’s promised veto of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, better known as the Corker-Menendez Bill.

Neither Schumer nor Gillibrand have stated publicly how they will vote on an override of the president’s promised veto of INARA. Concerned constituents want the senators to be counted among those elected representatives who will demand Congress plays a role in ensuring that any deal with Iran will not allow it to acquire nuclear weapons.

Post-Bibi Bipartisanship May Result in Congressional Ability to Review Iran Deal

Friday, March 6th, 2015

In what may be the most significant direct result of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress last Tuesday, March 3, Democrats and Republicans are now within spitting distance of  ensuring that Congress will be able to review the details of the nuclear capabilities agreement the administration and the other members of the P5+1 are currently negotiating with Iran.

Just a few days ago it did not look as if any bipartisan breakthrough was in the cards any time soon, especially given several real tangles between the parties before, during and immediately after Netanyahu’s speech.

The Israeli prime minister’s speech to Congress became, despite Netanyahu’s claimed efforts to avoid that to the contrary, a wildly partisan mosh pit, with allegations of disrespect hurled at Netanyahu by certain Democrats and allegations of anti-Semitism smeared on those who refused to attend.

But Democrats and Republicans escorted Netanyahu into the chambers, and there was enthusiastic applause for the Israeli head of state from nearly everyone in the room (Rep. Pelosi’s very public meltdown notwithstanding).

And then, just a few hours after the address, Netanyahu met with a small bipartisan group of Senators in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office.

That meeting included Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

But the boxing match bells went off signaling yet another round when Sen. McConnell (R-KY) announced later on Tuesday that he intended to call a vote next week on proposed legislation which would require congressional approval of any deal with Iran.

That legislation, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, had been introduced by Sen. Corker (R-TN) last Friday, Feb. 27.

INARA would delay the lifting of sanctions on Iran and block the implementation of any agreement between Iran and the P5+1 at least until after a period of Congressional review takes place.

The Democratic co-sponsors of that legislation were infuriated by McConnell’s move. They said they understood there had been an agreement to wait to bring the bill up for a vote until after the March 24 framework deadline for the negotiating parties.

Nine Senate Democrats and one Independent (Angus King, of Maine) who had supported the congressional approval legislation penned a curt letter to McConnell, which was sent on Wednesday, March 4

The letter was signed by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and others, and informed McConnell that there was no need to rush the bill out for a vote, as no final agreement with Iran was expected before the end of June.

“We remain committed to working on this bill in a bipartisan manner,” the senators informed McConnell, but they warned him, “we will only vote for this bill after it has gone through the regular mark-up process in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and after the March 24the deadline for the political framework agreement.”

Without the support of the Democrats who signed the letter, there is no way the INARA could survive President Obama’s promise of a presidential veto.

McConnell, ceding to the wishes of the Democrats who are willing to support INARA, so long as the timing is right, chose to undo his decision to call up INARA for a vote next week.

As a result of McConnell’s concession, INARA won the support of an additional four Senate Democrats: Chuck Schumer (NY), Ben Cardin (Maryland), Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) and Chris Coons (Delaware).

In other words, this exercise in bipartisan cooperation means that INARA is now only three votes away from a veto-proof majority, and with lots more time to seek additional supporters.

Senior US Sen. Charles Schumer Urges Fellow Democrats to Attend Netanyahu Speech to Congress

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

New York’s senior Senator Charles Schumer called on fellow Democrats to put principles above politics this week and be in their seats March 3 when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu walks to the podium in Congress.

The U.S. has always maintained a “bipartisan policy” on its relationship with Israel, Schumer said during a radio interview in New York.

“Democrats and Republicans have always worked together on it; we ought to keep it that way.”

Vice President Joe Biden’s office announced that he will be “out of the country” when Israel’s leader addresses American lawmakers.

Schumer offered the opinion that House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu “could have been done in a different way.”

As the leader of an ally in the Middle East that is “helping us fight terrorism,” Schumer said, Netanyahu has “every right to come here and speak, but he ought to do it in a bipartisan manner.”

Both of New York’s Democratic senators and all but two of its Democratic representatives will attend the session.

Long-time Congress member Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) is one of the ‘won’t go’s.

“I am certain his motivation comes more from Israel than from his American friends,” Rangel told the New York Daily News — as if the Israeli prime minister should put America’s interests above those of his own nation’s citizens.

“I think that they would have to realize that this is not in the best interests of Israel, that he does this for his campaign,” he added. The remark leads one to wonder why a New York Congress member would suddenly make a reference to an Israeli national election when the address – and the topic – was arranged months earlier.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) also plans to be absent for the session, according to the report. Congress member Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) did not respond to a query by the Daily News about her plans; Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told the paper he is “consulting” with his constituents in Brooklyn before deciding. All other New York City Democrats plan to attend, the paper reported. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) commented that skipping the speech would be a political move. “I am not choosing to participate in those politics,” she said.

“I hope that things can be worked out to salve some of the legitimate wounds that people feel,” Schumer said. “I will go to the speech out of my respect and love for the State of Israel.”

Meanwhile, Iran continues to behave in the manner predicted by Israel, which deeply concerns its leadership over the likelihood Tehran will reach a nuclear threshold.

Iran is still not cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters. The agency remains unable to clarify outstanding measures of explosives tests and other activity that could be used to create nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Data in both areas were to have been provided to the IAEA by August 2014.

But this is not new behavior; Tehran long ago mastered the technique of buying time for more nuclear development by stringing along Western leaders with promises of “new talks” and “negotiations” in return for delays on sanctions. The current P5+1 negotiations, slated to end in a “new agreement” by March 24, are just more of the same.

It is precisely the danger inherent in the repeated delays – and time granted to Iran that allows it to progress in its nuclear activities – that has finally prompted Netanyahu to turn to Congress directly.

Netanyahu Tells GOP Sen Graham PA Incitement Led to Firebombing

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told visiting South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham Saturday night that Palestinian Authority incitement led to the firebombing attack that has left 11-year-old Ayala Shapira fighting for her life.

“The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, has compared Israel to ISIS,” the Prime Minister said. “This is the same Palestinian Authority that joins hands with Hamas, incites constantly against Israel, the kind of incitement that has led to an attack that we witnessed just two days ago of a Molotov cocktail thrown at a little girl….”

“But the same Palestinian Authority is going to try to bring to the UN Security Council a resolution that seeks to impose on us conditions that will undermine our security.”

Sen Graham was an easy audience. He has been a strong backer of Israel and this month signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the Obama administration must now allow the United Nations to pass a resolution that would impose a future Palestinian Authority on Israel.

“We write to express concern about ongoing efforts to impose the terms of a peace agreement on our friend and ally Israel outside of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” wrote Senators Graham and Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York.

We urge you to make clear that the United States will veto any United Nations resolution and would oppose any efforts to bypass direct negotiations and impose peace terms on Israel through the United Nations Security Council and other international bodies.

For decades, the United States has consistently opposed efforts to bypass direct negotiations and impose terms on Israel through the United Nations Security Council…. A failure to decisively announce that we will veto any resolution from the United Nations that dictates the peace process runs counter to decades of American foreign policy and only gives momentum to these counterproductive proposals.

Netanyahu also told Graham that Israel continues to face a threat from Iran, which he said conducted a test on a suicide drone today.

“I believe that what is required are more sanctions, and stronger sanctions,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.

BiPartisan U.S. Effort to Ensure Hamas Disarmed Before Ceasefire

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Three U.S. senators wrote a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to ensure that any ceasefire promoted by the U.S. must eliminate the ability of Hamas to continue terrorizing Israel.

New York’s senior senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), along with Delaware’s Senator Ben Cardin (D) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.) pointed out that it would be of no utility to impose a ceasefire until Israeli citizens can be assured that they will not continue living under a constant threat.

Unlike many public statement emanating from Washington, D.C., these three senators did not equate Israel’s killing of civilians, with the targeting of civilians by Hamas.

The three senators wrote that Israel’s military has taken “great pains to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties.” Whereas the rockets launched by Hamas “have only one purpose: to kill as many innocent Israelis as possible.”

“Any cease fire should create a situation in which Israeli citizens no longer face the threat of brazen terrorist attacks,” said the senators.

“Israeli citizens have faced over 1800 rocket launches from Hamas since June.  While Iron Dome has saved countless lives, over five million Israelis live in fear of incoming rockets fired indiscriminately from Gaza.  Twenty-eight tunnels have been discovered by the IDF since the ground operation in Gaza began.  Israel has an absolute right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel.

“The threats posed by Hamas rockets and tunnels whose only purpose is to kill and kidnap Israelis are intolerable, and Israel must be allowed to take any actions necessary to remove those threats.  Any effort to broker a ceasefire agreement that does not eliminate those threats cannot be sustained in the long run and will leave Israel vulnerable to future attacks.”

It is not  known whether the senators intend to introduce a resolution into congress so that the message would have a little more bite than simply a letter. A resolution does not have the effect of law, it is merely an expression of the sentiment of congress, but it would require other legislators to take a position.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bipartisan-u-s-effort-to-ensure-hamas-disarmed-before-ceasefire/2014/07/25/

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