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August 11, 2015 12:20 pm

In Letter to Supporters, AIPAC President Rebuffs New York Times Article Based on Obama Admin ‘Inaccuracies’

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President Obama addresses AIPAC. Photo: AIPAC.

President Obama addresses AIPAC. Photo: AIPAC.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) distanced itself on Tuesday from recent White House criticisms of the lobbying efforts against the nuclear deal with Iran.

Taking a notably non-combative tone, AIPAC President Robert A. Cohen wrote in a letter sent out to supporters that the pro-Israel lobby had “taken the high road,” keeping the debate about policy rather than personalities.

Still, Cohen struck back specifically at a New York Times portrayal over the weekend of AIPAC’s millions-of-dollars campaign on Capitol Hill and throughout the country that is urging lawmakers to vote in September to reject the nuclear deal with Iran, saying the piece was based on “multiple inaccuracies stemming from claims by the administration.”

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Despite President Barack Obama’s assertion that opponents of the deal are either “ideological” or “illogical,” AIPAC said its “facts are well-substantiated and accurate,” and stood behind the credibility of its analysis, which largely mirrors criticism out of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — mainly, that the deal offers Iran windfall sanctions relief without dismantling its nuclear infrastructure, does not provide effective verification mechanisms, does not address concerns that the Iranians were working to develop nuclear weapons, and provides Iran with a window after 15 years to become a legitimized nuclear threshold state.

AIPAC also took issue with the Times’ claim that a $25 million subdivision of the lobby was running television “spots” in New York City, saying the group has only run one politically gentle advertisement that does not single out the president “in any way.”

Though the Times wrote that Obama had taken offense to an AIPAC activists meeting in Washington, DC where top administration officials including Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and White House Chief of Staff Denis R. McDonough were unable to answer questions or “confront the ‘inaccuracies'” the White House claims are being spread over the deal, Cohen insisted “AIPAC treated these speakers with great courtesy and respect.”

Cohen also distanced the lobby from White House charges that the same “warmongering” individuals opposing the Iran deal today supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003: “Leading up to the start of the Iraq War in March 2003, AIPAC took no position whatsoever, nor did we lobby on the issue.”

 

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  • .

    Bernhard Rosenberg Dear facebook friends and any others reading my material:

    I am literally sleeping four hours a night trying to spread the work through the media regarding events in Iran, America and Israel. I cannot afford ads because I don’t have the financial backing Boteach and others have. My communication is dependent upon word of mouth. Numerous calls have come in from radio, newspapers and tv stations for interviews and I will send them out. Please help by notifying your local media outlets.

    As someone born in a displaced person camp after World War II, I am considered a refugee. My parents survived several concentration camps and could only find one surviving cousin between them after the war. There is no doubt in my mind that if Iran gets the nuclear bomb they will use it against Israel. We are living in pre 1933 Germany where Jewish politicians like Senator Schumer are being labelled traitors. Most of my Rabbinical colleagues remain silent, as was the case before the Holocaust. Never Again!

    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

  • .

    Dear facebook friends and any others reading my material:

    I am literally sleeping four hours a night trying to spread the work through the media regarding events in Iran, America and Israel. I cannot afford ads because I don’t have the financial backing Boteach and others have. My communication is dependent upon word of mouth. Numerous calls have come in from radio, newspapers and tv stations for interviews and I will send them out. Please help by notifying your local media outlets.

    As someone born in a displaced person camp after World War II, I am considered a refugee. My parents survived several concentration camps and could only find one surviving cousin between them after the war. There is no doubt in my mind that if Iran gets the nuclear bomb they will use it against Israel. We are living in pre 1933 Germany where Jewish politicians like Senator Schumer are being labelled traitors. Most of my Rabbinical colleagues remain silent, as was the case before the Holocaust. Never Again!

    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

    Like Comment Share

  • Ben Kramer

    It was Wolfowitz, Feith, Wurmser and Perle pushing for the Iraq war with Nethanyahu’s approval.

    • Phil

      Ben Kramer: first of all, Netanyahu did not “approve” of the Iraq war. Second, why are you only listing obviously Jewish names as administration officials who were “pushing” for the war? You sound like Pat Buchanan. All in all, a disgusting and inaccurate post full of distortions, omissions and lies.

      • Ben kramer

        Phil- How about this?

        Bush believes toppling Saddam would alter Middle East

        By Ken Fireman
        WASHINGTON BUREAU

        February 28, 2003

        Washington – President George W. Bush’s latest defense of his policy of confronting Saddam Hussein has shone a spotlight on one of its main strategic underpinnings: the belief that ousting Hussein can trigger a chain reaction of favorable events that will transform the Middle East.

        This view, which Bush endorsed explicitly and in detail Wednesday night, has been relentlessly advanced by a network of neo-conservative intellectuals who hold important policy-making jobs in the administration. They include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith, State Department adviser David Wurmser and Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon.

        Their advocacy of the view that toppling Hussein is a key to democratic transformation of the Middle East began in the earliest days of Bush’s presidency, and in some cases well before. In 1996, when they were out of government and working at think tanks, Perle, Feith and Wurmser co-wrote with five others a strategy document for then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that raised the idea of ousting Hussein, which they said “could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly.”

        Bush has alluded to this rationale for removing Hussein from power in earlier speeches, but until now it was a peripheral argument, clearly subordinate to the goal of disarming Iraq. On Wednesday the president elevated it to near co-equal status, saying: “America’s interests in security and America’s belief in liberty both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq.”

        Bush painted a vivid portrait of a democratic post-Hussein Iraq serving as a powerful beacon to the Arab and Muslim worlds, giving impetus to what he called an existing movement toward political reform “from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond.” He argued that Hussein’s fall would facilitate the difficult search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians by removing a source of terrorist support and giving other regimes “a clear warning that support for terror will not be tolerated.”

        But several foreign policy experts – including some who agree Iraq must be forced to disgorge its weapons of mass destruction – said Bush’s optimism about the broader ramifications of ousting Hussein was seriously misplaced.

        “There’s an incredible dreamy quality to it,” said Thomas Carothers, a specialist on the promotion of democracy at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

        Anthony Cordesman, a national security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, dismissed Bush’s speech as “reflecting a neo-conservative ideological view of the Middle East that is decoupled from reality.”

        The experts said it was highly naive to believe removing one odious dictator would trigger a wave of reform in a region riven by social and political divisions and deeply suspicious of Western intentions.

        A U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, they said, would likely increase political tensions in the region and harden the anti-American attitudes of Islamic militants, who are already angry over U.S. support for Israel and its hard-line government.

        “The war will not deter the small margin of true Islamic extremists in the region or their willingness to use terrorism,” said Cordesman, who has long warned about the dangers of Iraqi weapons programs. “They will see it as the vindication of all their fears. … The president’s focus on democracy will appear to be an effort to impose Western secularism on an Islamic world.”

        Carothers said the reason democracy has failed to take root in the region has nothing to do with the lack of a prominent example. Arab and Muslim societies are hardly isolated from the rest of the world and understand how democracy functions, he said; the problem lies in a fundamental stalemate that a new regime in Iraq will do nothing to alter.

        “All the regimes are stuck in a bind,” Carothers said. “Nondemocratic ruling groups have been in power in these countries for a long time. The only real opposition they face is Islamist groups that they don’t want to allow into the political space. So you have a gulf in these countries. That’s why they’re stuck where they are.”

        Carothers said he recently spent two weeks in Egypt meeting with various politically engaged people and encountered widespread derision when discussing the administration’s view. “When I told them the Americans intend to spread democracy by fighting in Iraq, they burst out laughing,” he said. “One Egyptian told me, ‘If you think 3,000 cruise missiles and an American invasion will make democracy appealing to us, think again.'”

        Kenneth Pollack, a Clinton administration official who supports confronting Iraq, said Bush was right that a stable and democratic Iraq could be a positive example. But he said that would happen only slowly and questioned the wisdom of citing it as a rationale for war.

        Some Bush critics have focused on the role of the administration’s neo-conservatives, painting them as a semi-clandestine group that has stealthily influenced U.S. policy. Administration officials strongly reject that notion, and Carothers said it was rather overblown. The main source of strength for the confront-Hussein policy, he said, was Bush.

        “President Bush is convinced that this is a good thing to do,” he said. “Anyone who thinks they can stop this [war] is kidding themselves. It’s going to happen.”

        • rulierose

          nice cut-and-paste job, troll. please go away. you’d probably be happier over at Stormfront.

        • Phil

          Once again, I cannot believe your prejudice. First, were there neocons that were not Jewish? I didn’t know that Bush, Cheyney and Rumsfeld were tools of Netanyahu like you are implying or the Jewish advisors like Perle and Wolfowitz. Why didn’t you mention them instead of writing like Pat Buchanan? Third, Israel was not in favor of the war and Bush did not need Israel’s permission to go to war. This accusation is simply a lie and the product of disgusting bigots. Obviously,the beliefs of the neocons about installing democracy in Iraq were pipe dreams as Arab society remains very tribal. However, Bush and his administration, including Cheney and Rumsfeld ignored the advice of their generals and did not have the sufficient number of troops to pacify Iraq after the war.

        • Max Cohen

          Ben Kramer: The topic of the Times article was on the Obama contribution to peace in the world by creating a deal that ensures Oriental tyranny in the Middle East, and spreading thence to Europe. Ken Fireman’s article had no relation to the current deal. Obama’s dream of a gradual fade of Islamic dictatorship in Iran is supposed to naturally follow Khamenei’s destruction of Israel and the U.S.?

        • RobGinChicago

          Don’t see anything to back up your assertion that Netanyahu backed up or approved Bush’s invasion of Iraq and overthrow of the existing government. Netanyahu saw that overthrowing Saddam would open the door to Iran.

    • leon klement

      So

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