AIPAC Clarifies Position on Iran Sanctions Bill in Letter to Supporters

February 7, 2014 6:00 pm 3 comments

President Obama at the 2008 AIPAC policy conference. Photo: AIPAC.

In a letter to supporters on Friday, AIPAC President Michael Kassen clarified the group’s position on the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, currently awaiting a Senate vote. The statement follows AIPAC’s sharp about turn on Thursday calling for a vote on the bill to be delayed after lobbying hard for it.

In the communique, Kassen said that AIPAC’s position had been mischaracterized in the press and that the lobby has not abandoned its support for the bill.

Following a speech by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on Thursday, 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.”

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.

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.

Earlier Friday, in an email to supporters, the Republican Jewish Coalition claimed that the Obama Administration “enlisted Democratic members of non-partisan pro-Israel organizations to work from within to undermine the push” for the bill.

The full text of Kassen’s statement is posted below:

I am writing today to correct some mischaracterizations in the press regarding our position on the Senate Iran bill. Some have suggested that by not calling for an immediate vote on the legislation, we have abandoned our support for the bill. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, we remain strongly committed to the passage of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act. This legislation is one important part of a broad strategy that we have pursued over many years to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. As negotiations for a final agreement with Iran begin, we must—and will—continue our efforts on every front to ensure that any deal with Iran guarantees the dismantlement of its nuclear infrastructure and blocks its path to a bomb.

Yesterday, Senator Menendez—who along with Senator Kirk is the lead sponsor of the legislation—delivered a forceful speech on the Senate floor, in which he outlined what such a deal must include. In response, we issued a statement applauding Chairman Menendez’s leadership. We strongly support his assessment of the threat, his commitment to the critical role Congress must play, and his path to passage of the legislation, which includes building broad bipartisan support.

I want to thank you for your hard work thus far in earning the support of 59 senators for the Menendez-Kirk bill. We still have much work to do over the coming months. It will be a long struggle, but one that we are committed to fighting.

We will continue to work closely with friends on both sides of the aisle, in both the House and Senate, to ensure that everything is done to prevent a nuclear weapons-capable Iran.

Sincerely,

Michael Kassen
AIPAC President

3 Comments

  • Team Obama, 1 – Elders of Zion, 0
    The Manchurian President (wasn’t he promoted as the “First Jewish President”?) has solidified his dominance over the disgraceful American Judenrat.

  • AIPAC- used, abused, and cowed by the Obama administration. Where were they during the Hagel confirmation? Silent. Yet when Obama wanted support for his soon to be aborted plan to attack Syria, AIPAC was with him. Then he changed his mind, and AIPAC looked like patsies. Now they’re cowed into following the Obama line, in order not to appear “partisan”.

    Obama’s plan all along has been to weaken AIPAC as a potential challenge to his Mid-East policies. In that, he appears to have succeeded.

  • In other words the democrat Party is basically the anti Israel Party,save a few senators from Jewish areas

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

    Read more →
  • Commentary Featured Features Jewish 100 The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2014

    The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2014

    The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2014 ACADEMIA Alain Finkielkraut Moshe Halbertal Deborah Lipstadt Jacob Metzer Steven Pinker Tammi Rossman-Benjamin ARTS AND CULTURE Yaacov Agam David Blatt Leonard Cohen Gal Gadot Scarlett Johansson Ryan Kavanaugh Steven Spielberg Harry Styles INNOVATION AND ACTIVISM Meira Aboulafia Adina Bar-Shalom Nitsana Darshan-Leitner Daniel Gold Anett Haskia Ephrat Levy-Lahad Gabriel Nadaf Dumisani Washington GOVERNMENT Tony Abbott José María Aznar Ron Dermer Yuli Edelstein Abdul Fatah el-Sisi Stephen Harper Goodluck Jonathan Mitch McConnell Narendra Modi [...]

    Read more →
  • Features Jewish 100 Jewish 100, 2014: Bassam Eid – Voices

    Jewish 100, 2014: Bassam Eid – Voices

    Bassam Eid Palestinian human rights activist While Palestinians who demonize Israel as the sole reason for their woes receive no shortage of media invitations, those among them who spotlight their own leaders’ iniquities are far less in demand. Even so, the profile of Bassam Eid, the Director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, is thankfully continuing to grow. Eid’s latest campaign is for the overhaul of UNRWA, the UN refugee agency dedicated solely to the Palestinians, which he says [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.