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February 6, 2014 11:27 pm

In Sharp About Turn, AIPAC Joins Obama in Call to Delay Iran Sanctions Vote

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President Obama greets AIPAC supporters following his speech to the group in 2012. Photo: Ruvi Leider.

In a sharp about turn, AIPAC, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, has now backed the White House in its call to delay a Senate vote on new sanctions against Iran while the U.S. and world powers negotiate with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.

In a statement released on the heels of an extensive speech by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), calling on both sides of the Iran sanctions debate to soften their positions, AIPAC said, “We agree with the Chairman that stopping the Iranian nuclear program should rest on bipartisan support and that there should not be a vote at this time on the measure.”

Menendez, who together with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), is a lead sponsor of the bill known as the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, did not explicitly call for a delay in a vote which dozens of Republican senators have pushed for, but he did warn against the Iran issue becoming a “partisan process trying to force a vote on a national security matter before its appropriate time.”

Menendez also critiqued the White House’s stance on Iran, saying, “We have placed our incredibly effective international sanctions regime on the line without clearly defining the parameters of what we expect in a final agreement.”

AIPAC praised the New Jersey senator for “his strong and eloquent statement on the Senate floor today outlining the threat of Iran’s nuclear program and the imperative of dismantling it.”

“We remain committed to working with the Administration and the bipartisan leadership in Congress to ensure that the Iran nuclear program is dismantled,” the pro-Israel lobby added.

Last November, when details of an interim deal between Iran and world powers were first revealed, AIPAC and other Jewish groups criticized the agreement as giving up too much for too little, and vowed to push hard in Congress for new sanctions.

“AIPAC continues to support congressional action to adopt legislation to further strengthen sanctions and there will absolutely be no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts,” AIPAC President Michael Kassen said at the time.

The Obama administration strongly opposed the effort, leaning on lawmakers to tow its line. In his “State of the Union” address last Tuesday, Obama said, “Let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it.”

On Monday, The New York Times claimed that AIPAC’s influence in the Senate had been “blunted,” pointing to slow progress with the bill.

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  • Beatrix

    AIPAC needs our support more than ever.

    Jewish vote for Obama was 72% in 2008 and 68%in 2012. Substantial Jewish money backed Obama. We have influential people in congress, and skilled people in the White House. Obama is not Hitler, he’s a liberal American President who disagrees with the majority of Jews, much as Roosevelt did in the 1940s. Most Jews were too timid then to try to save the lives of the 6 million.

    Israel is under attack. AIPAC is under attack. We don’t have the influence that anti-Semites ascribe to us, but we have the influence of any concerned American group that’s willing to unite for a cause whether it’s to save the whales or to save Israel and America’s contribution to Israel —AIPAC.

    Jews need youthful, vibrant leadership that not only unites Jews but non-Jews who agree with us. Most Jews are liberal. There is no reason we’re losing liberals to the anti-Semites.

  • Fritz Kohlhaas

    AIPAC is making a mistake!

  • Beatrix

    Shiite Iran is not going to nuke Israel, the only country in the Mideast capable of nuking her back. She’ll nuke the Sunnis. The main battle in the Mideast is between the Sunnis and the Shiites and with America gone, it’s going to get worse.

    Bush was right to attack Afghanistan after we were attacked 9/11. He was wrong to use a huge 20th century war against a 21st century terror attack.

    Israel had wiped out Iraq’s nuclear facilities in 1981 and so there was no way Saddam Hussein had the means to use WMD. But he was a sadistic, war mongering, trouble maker who had started too many wars and should have been removed. Our mistake was in leaving Iraq completely.

    We still have a presence in Japan and Germany for Pete’s sake, and they used to be worse.

  • Beatrix

    We”re not in the Mideast because of Israel any more than we were in Europe because of England during WW2. But England was a secure ally in that 20th century hot spot, just as Israel is in the Mideast.

    Obama had less than 4 years in the Senate and few of his bills had to do with foreign policy. Stephen Walt, his foreign policy adviser teaches government, but has no government or foreign policy experience.

    Obama is removing America from any areas of conflict. Walt is removing us from Israel, removing America’s power, and expressing admiration for Iran and in the past, for Libya. This is 21st century America led by two schoolteachers.

    A weak America always gets attacked, and we’ve never been weaker than this.

  • m_

    This is the time for all Jews to unite behind AIPAC, the strongest and most powerful voice of pro-Israel sentiment in the U.S if not the world.

  • m_

    AIPAC made the right decision. This country needs to have a bi -partisan approach to Iran. Saber rattling and shouting and mean spirited accusations against U.S.leadership doesn’t help the bargaining position of the U.S. or maintain the important bi-partisan support Israel already has in the U.S. Congress. We must give peace a chance while maintaining U.S. national interests and making it clear to Iran that a nuclear or conventional attack on Israel is unacceptable to the U.S. and will be met by force. Actually that is something Iran’s Mullahs already know and it may be the main reason Iran has not attacked Israel with its long-range missiles.

  • Tessie M

    Just a thought or fear…..Could AIPAC be caving under the weight of a severe threat by the American administration?

    Israel is ground zero for ALL Jews and has suffered so much to come this far…..Netanyahu should never compromise for threats of boycotts. Boycotts are a small price to pay for Jerusalem.

    No matter what Israel gives up, there will always be reasons to hate,blame and persecute Jews. It has been that way for thousands of years. Not one thing would change under the sun.

  • Howard Wohl

    Is this like Gilda Radner? Nevermind, that’s not what AIPAC said. Call off the Huns, the NeoCons and all the others who believe anything they read as long it is from one of their fellow (you can fill in whatever word you choose)

  • MartyNYC

    Israel’s threat is not an Iran with an atomic weapon.
    Its concern is having a country of 80 million with a lot of oil to sell being economically unshackled for the first time since the Shah.

    Israel would prefer that United States, in spite of the Iraq and Afghanistan disasters, take on Iran. That would also keep us too busy to meddle with Israel’s domestic affairs.

    Shortly after Obama was elected he secretly* sent Israel 100 bunker bombs. He now realizes that another Iraq may
    very well bring food and/or water riots among our shrinking
    middle, cum poor, class. Most of our people don’t have the stomach for another war of our or Israel’s choice.

    It seems that AIPAC is trying to do Netanyahu damage control.

    * Thanks to Chelsea Manning’s cable dump.

  • rick f

    I am done with AIPAC no more money and I removed them from my Email

    • Kris Kristian

      I agree with you.
      AIPAC is a failure.
      They should either look at themsleves in the mirror, and see what they are doing to Israel, or close shop. they are weak.

      just like the important Jews in the arch Jew hating government of Roosevelt.
      That president has thousands of the blood of Jews on his hands. He refused entry to German Jews trying to escape the Holocaust.
      May he rot in hell with Hitler and Arafat

      AIPAC is not worth anything today. They are weak instead of fighting Obama, they joined him.
      When it is too late. will they say> “SORRY, WE MADE A MISTAKE”???

  • AbbaGuutuu

    Let me make a bold and politically incorrect statement: I believe in El Shaddai (the Almighty God) – Who gave to Israel the land under its control+. God’s honor, faithfulness is on the line. He has defended and will continue to defend His honor no matter what! Despite what the atheistic liberals are doing/trying to do against the only one Jewish state (Israel), Israel should quickly mobilize its friends from within and out and take appropriate and systematic, timely and effective actions – the sooner the better!
    The world respects power. Israel is not weak as some of its opponents may think. Shame on those who knowingly or inadvertently give support and comfort to Israel’s/Jews enemies at this critical juncture. First and foremost, it is up to the Jews within and outside of Israel to stand with their only nation by keeping aside whatever differences (ideological and person ambitions) they may have to have a strong, peaceful and a country well respected by its friends and feared by its enemies.
    Fighting among the Jews at this juncture is a luxury, that should be avoided.

    • MartyNYC

      Where was God when the nazis were filling their ovens?

  • Beatrix

    According to Lee Smith columnist for the Weekly Standard and Tablet, Obama’s Middle East policy is based on Stephen Walt’s article and Walt and Mersheimer’s book “The Israel Lobby.” They do not believe in special relationships in the Mideast and are especially critical of America’s “special relationship” with Israel, which they believe is foisted on us by the Israeli lobby, AIPAC.

    When AIPAC let the anti-Israel Chuck Hagel nomination go by unopposed, Obama knew AIPAC wasn’t that tough, and he’s right. Now they’ve capitulated on the Iran sanctions bill. It looks like Obama has no intention of stopping Iran from getting the bomb, apparently believing that this will contribute to a balance of power between the Sunnis and Shiites in the Mideast.

    Obama has given Israel more arms than any other President and Kerry is trying to establish a peace agreement with Palestine. This apparently isn’t out of friendship, but simply trying to leave a former ally in good shape.

    • Kris Kristian

      Dont forget Kerry. Why did AIPAC not object to those two?

      • Beatrix

        AIPAC is not a radical left wing group complaining about the USA. They are a moderate, American group representing Christians and Jews who support Israel, which polls say is backed by the majority of Americans. But not by the left. Obama is on the academic left and wants to “free” America from this support. How AIPAC handles this I don’t know. Right now they’re backing down. Obama got 68-72% of the Jewish vote, and feels confident that Jews prefer supporting him to supporting Israel. Some do.

  • Saba

    The best thing to do now that the damage is done by to AIPAC, is to withdraw support from AIPAC. It’s not worth supporting an organization that puts Israel in danger.

  • Steve Klein

    Correction:

    Richard, I did not vote to re-elect Bush-Cheney after what George W. Bush said and did in the aftermath of the 9/11/2001 attacks in New York and Washington. Nonetheless I challenge your assertion that what Obama-Kerry are trying to do to Israel is full-throated support just because it doesn’t come from the “Cheneys and the other neo-Cons.”

  • NCS

    So now Obama has mesmerized AIPAC?

  • steve kramer

    Pat, you are quite right. It reminds me of the so called “Court Jew” syndrome during WWII (Frankfurter, Morganthau, Stephen Wise et al) who refused to demand that FDR bomb the railways.

    We now have our own Court Jews of the Obama Administration. Up until now it was Dershowitz, ADL led by Foxman, the Hollywood moguls, the Silicon Valley moguls and now, to my surprise it is AIPAC.

    What will Kashman do if he wakes up to hear that Iran has tested a nuclear bomb? Say, like Obama, “gee, sorry about that.”

    There is no way that our so called intelligence will determine whether Iran is about to go nuclear. Our “intelligence” completely blew it on Pakistan, blew it on India and blew it on North Korea.

    Iran will not dismantle its facilities unless they are forced to do so and Obama doesn’t have the stomach for it. Just look at what he did when Assad crossed his red line. Obama went wobbly. If he went wobbly on a third rate dictator like Assad, do you seriously think he will stand up to Iran. Iran’s leaders must hurt themselves from laughing when they hear Kerry (he of the “one unbelievably small attack” on Syria fame) and Obama say “all options are on the table.” Iran’s leaders know that Obama wants a deal – any deal- that he can parade as support for the Nobel Prize that he won back in 2009 and for his legacy and Kerry wants his Nobel Price too.

    • JOHN TRAIN

      Unmentioned are Iran’s extensive and very successful development and testing activities relating to ballistic missile propulsion, ballistic missile guidance, and warheads specifically designed to carry and detonate nuclear weapons.

      Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran:’The Entire Nuclear Activity of Iran is Going On’ (VIDEO)

      Iran’s nuclear chief, Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, in Tehran, in a two-part interview with semi-official state news television Press TV on Tuesday declared that rather than being dismantled, “The entire nuclear activity of Iran is going on.

      Salehi told the interviewer that the recent Geneva agreement with world powers allows Iran to switch over ALL of its centrifuges working to make 20 percent enriched uranium to produce to the 5 per cent threshold. “The nuclear facilities are functioning; our enrichment is proceeding, it’s doing its work, it’s producing the 5 percent enriched uranium and those centrifuges that stopped producing the 20 percent will be producing 5 percent enriched uranium. In other words our production of 5 percent [uranium] will increase. The entire nuclear activity of Iran is going on.”

      You can come and see whether our nuclear sites, nuclear equipment and nuclear facilities are dismantled or not. The only thing we have stopped and suspended – and that is voluntarily – is the production of 20 percent enriched uranium and that’s it.”

      He said the agreement does not impact Iran’s ability to develop even more efficient centrifuges, which it is working on now, and would test run for two years before putting them into mass production.

      Watch the Press TV interview (part 1 and part 2) below:

      Press TV’s Interview with
      Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi, Head of the Atomic Energyganization of Iran

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExBfdO-Tob0

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T51nrSv8OkY

  • irving katz

    1939 all over again-Asher, you are 100% right-stupid spineless jews-I fear for my grandchildren

  • Steve Klein

    I expect to wake up, in the not too distant future, to the news Iran tested its first nuclear weapon in some remote location. Hope I am wrong.

  • Tess

    AIPAC, this year we give Iran economic growth and nuclear capabilities. Next year we give them Jerusalem.

  • M.A. Kinamohn

    ALL of Israel belongs to the Jews!

  • Dov

    This seems to be a great move, because President Obama goes against the interest of the Jews, now its Obama’s turn to make an about face on Iran.

    • Efram Paul

      Dream on.

  • Bernard Weinbach

    I’m very disappointed in these turn of events. It appears that Team Obama did their arm twisting and is out to hurt Israel.
    Hopefully the Israeli leaders can see through this and make the tough choice of going at it alone vs Iran. Never Again should be NEVER AGAIN.

  • Asher Pat

    AIPAC, the ADL, the French CRIF (I think) have all succumbed to the old Jewish disease – liberalism. Their defence of Israel, and the Jews (do you hear, ADL) isn’t as unwavering and staunch as before, many are not much different to the anti-Zionist J-street.

    • Steve Butman

      Unfortunately, you are 100% correct. It seems that American (liberal) Jews don’t know what’s best for their people.

      • Efram Paul

        I am a liberal Jew, and extremely pro-Israel and against the bullies of the world burning crosses (metaphorically) on Israel. It is not liberal Jews, such as Ed Koch who are the problem, it is the PSEUDO-liberal Jews, who have been hijacked by the insidious danger of politically-coerced censorship.

    • LIBERALISM IS NOT A DISEASE BUT A WELL THOUGHT OUT VIEW OF THE WORLD. OUR FULLTHROATED SUPPORT OF ISRAEL CARRIES MORE WEIGHT JUST BECAUSE IT DOESN’T COME FR0M THE CHENEYS AND OTHER NEO-CONS WHO ARE ALWAYS LPPKING FORWARD TO YHE NEXT WAR THEY CAN PROFIT FROM,

      • Steve Klein

        Richard, I did not vote to re-elect Bush-Cheney after what I George W. Bush say and do in the aftermath of the 9/11/2001 attacks in New York and Washington. Nonetheless I challenge your assertion that what Obama-Kerry are trying to do to Israel is full-throated support just because it doesn’t come from the “Cheneys and the other neo-Cons.”

      • JOHN TRAIN

        These were written by Zvi November . I have modified them to reflect MY observations based on my 30 year involvement in the Islamic world.

        For more than one hundred years there has been ongoing conflict between Moslem Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. The Arabs are the aggressors and the Jews are on the defensive. Before Israel was established in 1948, Jews living in the British mandate organized self-defense units and kibbutz settlements still have protective fences around them.
        Throughout this long century the Arab battle tactic has been primarily based on terror: the 1929 Hebron massacre, the 1936-39 uprisings that targeted Jews, plane hijackings, the 2000-2005 Intifada bus and market bombings, and the continuing rocket bombardment of southern Israel from Gaza that aims at the civilian population. These attacks are all war crimes but Israel spokesmen rarely if ever describe these atrocities as such.”¨”¨Israel’s representatives complain to the UN once in a while and prime ministers frequently declare that ‘we will never yield to terror’. However, officials, especially after the left-wing Labor party’s electoral victory in 1992 emphasize peace and ignore Arab blood lust. Public figures proclaim that no price is too high to pay for peace.
        So the 1993 Oslo “peace” process was concocted.
        The Israeli government run by Peres and Beilin, converted the PLO terror organization into a negotiating “partner”. They recognized supposed Arab “rights”, installed Arafat and his militia in Jericho, Gaza and Zone A in Judea and Samaria. Almost instantly (from February 1994) attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians increased dramatically. The Rabin government’s suicide initiative was termed a “peace process” and anyone who questions surrender to the Arab foe is labeled “an enemy of peace”.
        The first thing to notice about Israel’s “peace” promoters is that 99% of them are secular people who identify themselves as westerners. They consider “liberal values” and “democratic ideals “as holy precepts that must be applied to Israel.
        A second theme that is an inherent component is their fatigue. Both former prime ministers Rabin and Olmert publicly stated that ‘we are tired of fighting and winning on the battlefields’.
        These stressed-out, weary peace seekers do not distinguish between real peace and temporary fragile cease fires. They advocate the “two-state” solution. Israel’s survival they assert depends on the creation of a Palestinian state in the historical Jewish homeland. They further declare ‘that we all know what the final status will be and the enormous painful price we will have to pay’. The peace” brigade is as dogmatic as the Catholic Church and mocks those who dare question the “wisdom of surrender to an implacable enemy”. Those who prefer the current status quo or back the annexation of all or parts of Judea and Samaria are disparaged as “extremist right-wingers”, even “racists” intent on turning Israel into an apartheid state.
        A third motif is that we cannot and must not antagonize the ‘international community’. Accordingly, Israel must accede to US and European demands and threats because Israel is a tiny highly vulnerable country dependent on American and European good will. Coincidently, many of Israel’s “peace” organizations are substantially funded by the EU, some Western European governments and anti-Israel churches.
        The Left’s double standard is always directed against the Jews and never Arabs.

        • Efram Paul

          Very well put.

        • Kris Kristian

          JOHN TRAIN.
          YOU HAVE WRITTEN SO WELL, THE TRUTH.

          ABOUT TIME FOR ISRAEL TO WAKE UP. IT APPEARS AS THOUGH MANY CHURCHES IN USA AND CANADA ARE ADVOCATING HATRED OF JEWS AND ISRAEL.
          ISRAEL HAS TO BE STRONG AND TELL THOSE WHO ARE OUT TO DESTROY THE JEWISH LANDS, THAT ISRAEL WILL NEVER BOW DOWN TO ANTI SEMITIC PRESSURE. ISRAEL KNOWS WHAT TO DO AND WILL DO WHATEVER HAS TO BE DONE.

          GOD BLESS ISRAEL.

    • Efram Paul

      They have not succumbed to liberalism, they have succumbed to politically-coerced censorship, or left wing fascism. There is nothing liberal about that.

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