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August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Israel’

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).

Nearing Double Digits in the Democrat Defection from Bad Iran Deal

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Yesterday’s count had four Congressional Democrats coming out against the Iran Nuclear Deal.

But since yesterday, that number has nearly doubled. And, amazingly, the latest three are all Jewish members of Congress. That’s a surprise because in their effort to appear impartial, many Jews in public office bend over backwards to avoid the appearance that they are voting a particular way because they are Jewish, regardless of their actual assessment of the matter. Few if any other minority group members act this way.

So who are these Congress members?

Both Nita Lowey (D-NY-17) and Steve Israel (D-NY-03) represent New York congressional districts. Lowey’s district is just north of New York City, including parts of the Hudson Valley, and Westchester and Rockland counties. Cong. Israel represents northeastern Queens into the beginning of Long Island.

Ted Deutch (D-FL-21) represents a southern east coast section of Florida that includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. Deutch is a senior member of the  all-important House Foreign Affairs Committee, which deals with economic sanctions and diplomacy. He is also the Ranking Democrat on that Committee’s Middle East and North Africa’s subcommittee.

In announcing that he opposes the Iran deal, Deutch ticked off the list of reasons for his decisions. They included Iran’s role as the central supporter of terrorist groups and the nearly universal agreement that Iran will seek to cheat on the deal “in any way it can.”

The Florida three-term congressman is appalled that the deal “makes it nearly impossible to reinstate sanctions” commensurate with those currently in place.

While Deutch says the deal may temporarily slow down Iran’s march towards nuclear weapons capability, the giveaways included in the deal “speeds up the enrichment of the Revolutionary Guard and the Iranian terror proxies that endanger security and stability in the Middle East.”

Lowey, who has been representing New Yorkers in Congress since 1989, serves on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

As with all the other members of Congress who have thus far publicly stated their opposition to the JCPOA, Lowey believes there are not sufficient safeguards to counter the grave risks it embraces.

In her statement of opposition to the deal, Lowey mentions the sanctions relief as well as relaxing of bans on conventional arms and ballistic missiles, and the release of billions of dollars to a terrorist and terrorism-supporting regime. Like her colleagues, Lowey is also wary of the lack of full disclosure of previous military work which may have included nuclear activity, and a less than robust inspections regimen.

The”agreement will leave the international community with limited options in 15 years to prevent nuclear breakout in Iran, which will be an internationally-recognized nuclear threshold state, capable of producing highly enriched uranium,” Lowey wrote.

“I am greatly concerned that the agreement lacks a crystal clear statement that the international community reserves the right to take all military, economic, and diplomatic measures necessary during the course of the deal and beyond to deter Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon.”

Rep. Israel disclosed to Newsday that he would not support the deal. Calling the Iran deal “one of the most important foreign policy and national security issues” the Congress is going to vote on, Israel said he was not satisfied with the safeguards in the deal.

The New York Congressman’s concerns were primarily the likelihood that Iran will cheat – he called that a high likelihood that Iran would “exploit ambiguities in the deal”; the lifting of the arms embargo; and the ability of Iran to so quickly attain nuclear capabilities at the termination of the deal.

Nancy Pelosi Will Oppose Iran Deal Legislation

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) will oppose Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R) legislation that allows Congress to review President Obama’s Iran deal, according to a report in The Hill.

Pelosi warned that the proposal by Senator Corker threatens to kill Obama’s deal.

Pelosi said, “Senator Corker’s legislation undermines these international negotiations and represents an unnecessary hurdle to achieving a strong, final agreement.”

But not all Democrats aren’t on the same page with Pelosi.

Rep. Steve Israel (D) implied that Pelosi was a partisan-based decisions when he said, “If President Bush had proposed this deal, I would demand the right to review it and to vote on it. President Obama is proposing this deal, I reserve the right to read it and vote on it… It shouldn’t matter who the president is, Congress has a constitutional responsibility to weigh in on deals of this magnitude and that’s exactly what we should do.”

There are apparently enough votes in Congress and the Senate for the proposal to pass, but President Obama has threatened to use his veto if it does.

If all the Republicans support the measure, only 45 Democrats would be needed to override the President’s veto.

Congress to Obama: Time to Punish Arabs for Blowing Up Oslo and Blowing Off the US

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

A bi-partisan majority of congressional members sent a letter to U.S. President Barak Obama late last week.  In the letter, the members insist that the time has come for this U.S. government to hold the Arab Palestinian leadership responsible for their bald refusal to comply with repeated requests from the United States government to refrain from seeking an enhanced status at the United Nations General Assembly, as is required of the Arabs under the Oslo Agreements under which it is bound.

The PLO pledged in the Oslo Agreements that it would take no unilateral actions to change the status of the disputed territories and Gaza.

Congressional leadership that has long been involved in working with Israel and the Arab Palestinians in attempts to resolve the Middle East conflict, such as U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee, U.S. Reps. Edward R. Royce (R-CA) and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY, Chairman-designate and Ranking Member-designate, respectively, of the Committee, along with more than 230 other members of  Congress, signed and sent the letter to the President on Friday, December 21.

The letter informed the President that “we believe the United States must react strongly to the ‘Palestinian’ leadership’s failure to uphold its obligations,” and explained that in order to send a clear message of U.S. disapproval, the Arab leaders must learn that their actions are not “cost-free,” and, “at a minimum, they result in setbacks to U.S.-‘Palestinian’ relations.”

Congressional members suggested that the minimal steps the U.S. should take at this time would be to close the PLO office in Washington, D.C. and to call on the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem – who is, illogically, responsible for relations with the Arab Palestinians but not Jewish or Arab Israelis – back to Washington for consultations.

The congressional letter to President Obama points out the necessity for the U.S. government to ensure that the UNGA vote on November 29 “does not serve as a precedent for elevating the status of the PLO in other UN bodies or international forums.”

Should the PLO attempt to force its hand by seeking membership in those other UN institutions, the congressional members told President Obama that, “we should do everything possible to make sure that does not happen, including by reaffirming our commitment to maintaining and enforcing U.S. laws that require withholding U.S. contributions from any international forum that grants membership to the PLO.”

The PLO envoy in Washington, Maen Aerikat, told the Palestinian News Agency Ma’an, that the congressional letter “is an attempt by Congress to undermine the U.S. administration in any possible role it is planning to play in Palestinian affairs.”

In addition to pointing out that “punitive measures won’t pay off.  If they were effective we would have already changed our mind,” Aerikat railed at Israel, suggesting it was behind the congressional effort.  He said, “It is a political decision, a decision on the part of the Israeli government to escalate things against the Palestinian people at home and here…the U.S. is their other front.”

In a letter circulated to members of Congress by the PLO Envoy on December 14, Aerikat sought to dissuade Congress from responding to the PA provocation.  Aerikat makes several points in his letter, one of which should qualify for the Chutzpah Hall of Fame.  Perhaps he forgot that the action taken by Congress was in response to the decision by his colleagues to spurn dialogue and negotation, and instead to take unilateral action by introducing a one-sided resolution at the U.N.  This is what Aerikat wrote:

Engagement and dialogue is the only way to express the views of Congress.  Biased and one-sided resolutions cannot contribute to an atmosphere that is conducive for a political resolution to the conflict.

Not all Jews supported the congressional effort.  In the interview with Ma’an, Aerikat appreciatively listed both J Street and Americans for Peace Now as organizations that oppose the initiative to punish the Arab Palestinians for violating the Oslo Accords by seeking unilateral changes through the UN vote.  Although not mentioned by the PLO Envoy, the Union for Reform Judaism has also actively lobbied against congressional efforts to shutter the PLO Office.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/congress-to-obama-time-to-punish-arabs-for-blowing-up-oslo-and-blowing-off-the-us/2012/12/25/

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