Man, if this doesn’t take the cake! Buzzfeed reports that GOP senators publicly avowed that Israeli diplomats had lobbied them to oppose U.S. policy toward Iran. While I don’t want to make the case that lobbies or lobbyists are evil incarnate since they seem to be as American as Wall Street (or apple pie); this strikes me as, if not a reasonable facsimile of treason, then at least a foreign government intruding on U.S. sovereignty.
Israel intensive and intrusive lobbying campaign against the Obama administration was precisely the reason why I published Shamai Leibowitz’s top secret documents, which confirmed these sorts of slimy Israeli government tactics in this country to gin up a war against Iran.
The Senate Banking committee is considering some of the harshest sanctions yet against Iran. This legislation is opposed by the Obama administration since it’s on the verge of securing a nuclear agreement with Iran. One aspect that would be necessary to implement the agreement would be softening some parts of the anti-Iran sanctions regime. That’s why the Israeli government, which has all but called the agreement a ticket to World War III, wants even worse sanctions than currently exist. This would tie Obama’s hands and prevent him from implementing any agreement with Iran. That would be honky-dory for the Israelis who want no agreement and an eventual war against the Iranian regime.
As part of its campaign against the new sanctions, John Kerry, Joe Biden and chief nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman testified to the committee. The GOP senators complained that the witnesses would tell them nothing about the deal that’s being offered. First of all, you can read any decent newspaper and it will tell you the terms being discussed. That’s not news. Second, is it any surprise that Obama officials would not want to reveal to Republican senators who detest any possible agreement what its future terms might be?
Perhaps the most disturbing comments came from Mark Kirk, the Senator from Aipac:
Sen. Mark Kirk was even more forceful in criticizing the officials’ presentation:…“It was fairly anti-Israeli,” Kirk said to reporters after the briefing. “I was supposed to disbelieve everything the Israelis had just told me, and I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service.” He said the Israelis had told him that the “total changes proposed set back the program by 24 days.”
A Senate aide familiar with the meeting said that “every time anybody would say anything about ‘what would the Israelis say,’ they’d get cut off and Kerry would say, ‘You have to ignore what they’re telling you, stop listening to the Israelis on this.’”
There are a number of very troubling issues here: first, that Israel’s government has taken upon itself to lobby intensively for policies opposed by the current administration; second, that U.S. senators would readily attend such lobbying sessions with foreign government officials and use the briefing material offered them in order to shape their own views; third, that a U.S. senator would admit that he’d been briefed, even indirectly, by a foreign intelligence service; fourth, that a U.S. senator believes the Mossad’s views about the Iranian nuclear program represent those of a “pretty good intelligence service.”
Imagine the shoe on the other foot: Ambassador Dan Shapiro goes to the Knesset with a group of U.S. diplomats trailed by CIA analysts in order to lobby MKs on behalf of a Palestinian state or against further settlement expansion. There would be such a hue and cry from both the far-right MKs and the Israeli populace, that Shapiro would be sent back to his embassy compound and made persona non grata. But for Israel to do the same here is considered de rigueur.
Don’t know about you, but I’m with Kerry on this: he’s the U.S. secretary of state and every time he attempts to represent the U.S. administration’s view on the Iran talks or the dangers of more sanctions, he’s told by U.S. senators what the Israelis say or the Israelis want. Why wouldn’t you tell them to stop listening to the Israelis? In fact, is it the job of U.S. senators to represent Israeli interests or U.S. interests? And would torpedoing a nuclear agreement be in Israel’s interests of America’s?? I know the answers to those questions and I assume you do too. But apparently Bob Corker and Mark Kirk believe they were elected by the citizens of Israel to the U.S. senate. I hope their actual constituents might bring them to their senses with a close primary or general election race.
If possible, this is an even more disturbing quotation from Kirk. He actually claims that negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran will cause World War III:
“Today is the day I witnessed the future of nuclear war in the Middle East,” Kirk said, also comparing the administration to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who signed away the Sudetenland to Hitler’s Germany in 1938. “How do you define an Iranian moderate? An Iranian who is out of bullets and out of money.”
The Neville Chamberlain quote is lifted directly out of Bibi’s playbook. Kirk just cut and pasted and didn’t even need to change a word. As for the quip about Iranian moderates being out of bullets and money, I’d wager that one was cooked up either by the Israeli prime minister’s office or the Aipac public relations machine.
We’ve just spent a month of more watching the GOP abscond from the responsibility to rein in the Tea Party, which tried to drive the U.S. economy into the ground. Now we are witnessing the GOP, similarly bereft of independent ideas or policies, absconding to the government of Israel and allowing it to drive (or attempt to drive) U.S. policy toward Iran. This is beyond shameful. I’d call it treason, but I don’t even think these senators are smart enough to understand that what they’re doing is a betrayal of American interests.
The photo above pictures Kirk greeting anti-Iran dissident Amir Fakhravar, known as the ‘Iranian Chalabi’ (which may do a disservice to Chalabi). He is popular with Israeli intelligence officials and the Israel Lobby, but reviled by Iranian-American activists, because he supports regime change and attacking Iran to end its nuclear program.
Israeli Journalists Continue Anti-Kerry Smears
Last night, I recounted a savage smear launched by Israeli far-right Maariv reporter, Ben Dror Yemini, against Secretary of State Kerry. The Israeli journalist (I use that term advisedly) lied, claiming Kerry had supported the Gaza flotilla (he wrote a pro forma letter asking authorities to facilitate the travel of a humanitarian group, Gaza Freedom March, which sought to enter Gaza by land from Egypt).
Today, Yemini’s published a new column which regurgitates yesterday’s miasma of lies and adds an attack on my post. He doesn’t refer to me by name, calling me the “internationally-famous blogger” (snark is not his strong suit). Yemini repeats his lie that Ali Abunimah participated in the Gaza flotilla and that Kerry endorsed this project.
He also disingenuously claims that all of the material in his original column came from “anti-Israeli sources” themselves. He’d have us believe that he trolls the “anti-Israel” internet seeking out such sources. What’s disingenuous about this is that he clearly learned about these sources from the Israel official/s or Israel Lobby group which pitched the story to him. That’s the source to which I referred yesterday.
He cites as one example, Kerry’s letter, declaring that it originated from Electronic Intifada and that Abunimah himself publicized Kerry’s support. While this may be true as far as it goes, it neglects the fact that Kerry never supported any Gaza flotilla and Abunimah never joined any flotilla as Yemini claims.
Yemini claims that Codepink itself publicized its meetings with Ahmadinejad and its opposition to sanctions. While that may be true, Codepink never announced as part of any meeting with Ahmadinejad that it was forging a “common struggle” with Iran against U.S. sanctions. That was a figment of the reporter’s imagination. Not to mention that opposing U.S. sanctions is neither “anti-Israel” or “anti-American” as Yemini claims. In fact, most progressives and liberal Democrats oppose sanctions. That certainly doesn’t make us anti-American, nor, I believe, anti-Israel.
What is actually anti-Israel is the ongoing obsession with attacking Iran as a means of ridding the region of its nuclear program. Also anti-Israel is the notion that more and more punitive sanctions will either bring the Iranian regime to its knees or cause it to be toppled by dissident Iranian groups.
Among the other things Yemini questions is my statement that U.S. senators routinely offer letters of safe passage to humanitarian missions whose delegations include their home state constituents. In fact, if you have been on such missions and know of such letters written on your behalf by government officials, please send them to me.
Maariv continues its smear of Kerry by lying in its headline, claiming that Kirk said that the Kerry briefing was “one of the most anti-Israel I’ve heard to this day.” In fact, as you can see above, Kirk said the briefing was “fairly anti-Israel.” But hey, what’s a few lies among friends??!
Guy Bechor, another far-right columnist from Yediot has penned a new article in which he calls Kerry, “persona non grata” as far as Israel (or the particular ideological slice he represents) is concerned. He accuses him of being a “traitor” to Israel and accuses him (again falsely) of supporting the Gaza flotilla.
The latest poll compiled by Israel’s Channel 2 finds that 31% of Israelis believe that Israel can trust the U.S. in its negotiations with Iran. You certainly wouldn’t know that from the clamoring for Kerry’s head I’ve documented over the past two days. Considering this shower of hate and incitement, I’m surprised the number’s even that high!