Israel going to the mat on the Iran deal


It is clear that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pulling out all the stops to defeat the nuclear deal arrived at recently between the P5+1 nations and Iran. The Israeli lobby in the US is leading the charge on Netanyahu’s behalf by working on the members of the US Congress. Congress has sixty days to pass a vote of disapproval on the deal. Given Republican majorities in both houses and the desire of that party to defeat any significant act by president Obama, that vote seems to be a foregone conclusion and you can expect to hear every Republican candidate condemn the deal at tomorrow’s debate. It is also clear that Obama will then veto that vote. So the real question is whether Congress can muster the two-thirds majority to override the veto.

Israel and the Israel lobby are going all out to try and muster that supermajority. Phillip Weiss writes that Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu is going to make a special appeal to American Jews show their loyalty to the Jewish state by exerting pressure on Congress to kill the deal and he has already issued the first of such appeals. The congressional vote on the Iran deal is shaping up to be a test of the power of the Israel lobby to bend the US Congress to its will and derail the deal. They tried earlier with the infamous letter sent by 47 Republican senators to the Iranian leaders not to trust any deal arrived at with Obama’s administration. Both Iranians and US observers treated this extraordinary effort to undermine American diplomacy with both incredulity and contempt. Significantly, not a single Democratic senator signed the letter and the key question is how many Democrats will break with their own party’s president and vote to scuttle the nuclear deal, what Obama clearly sees as a signature achievement of his administration.

There was a time when this would not have even been an issue because the opposition of Israel and the Israel lobby to a deal would have prevented things from getting even this far. Recall the boast over a decade ago by Steven Rosen, then director of foreign-policy issues at AIPAC, to a reporter at lunch, “You see this napkin? In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”

That was at a time when even talking about the existence of the Israel lobby, let alone its power over Congress, was taboo in the US media. That changed with the publication in 2007 of the book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt that brought the topic out into the open. That discussion has made the lobby have to work harder and the vote on the Iran deal shows the extent of the effort.

On Monday, almost every freshman member of the US Congress will jet off on an all-expenses paid trip to Israel for a week of briefings and lobbying intended to ensure they vote against the Iran nuclear deal agreed on 14 July.

The junket is an annual affair organised by Aipac, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, and very few freshman turn it down. More than sixty out of a total of 70 are expected to go this year, flying business class and staying at five star hotels. Aipac’s aim is that at least 80% of any Congress has been on one of its trips to Israel at least once. It is an unparalleled example, among the world’s democracies, of one country’s influence on the political system of another. Aipac did not respond to a request for comment.

The journalistic shorthand for Aipac used to be “the Jewish-American lobby” but that is less and less accurate, particularly over the Iranian nuclear deal. Polls suggest a solid majority of American Jews support Obama and his administration’s diplomacy. A survey commissioned by the LA Jewish Journal, found the spread was 48% to 28% in favour of the deal. But Aipac is fervently against it.

Peter Beinart, a US political commentator for Haaretz says the divergence is explained by the fact that AIPAC’s politics are controlled by a few wealthy donors rather than American Jews in general. He wrote: “The principle that structures organized American Jewish life is not democracy. It is plutocracy.”

Not only does Aipac not represent mainstream American Jewish opinion, it also presents quite a narrow window into Israeli opinion, faithfully echoing the hawkish line of Binyamin Netanyahu’s government. According to sources familiar with planning for the trip, it has resisted appeals to include briefings from former members of the Israeli security establishment who are supportive of the deal.

Aipac expects to spend some $40m on an ad campaign in about 40 states, focusing on vulnerable Democrats, turning up the pressure on them in their home states over the summer recess. Its liberal, pro-deal counterpart, J Street, can only hope to spend up to $5m.

Jessica Rosenblum, J Street’s director of communications said: “They have money on their side, but we have the actual weight of American Jewish opinion on ours. AIPAC and RJC’s strategy is to sink a lot of dollars into making a lot of noise in order to try and compensate for the fact that, when it comes to where American Jews stand on this deal, the numbers are working against them.”

A lot of the Israeli lobbying effort is being targeted at influential Democratic New York senator Charles Schumer to not only oppose the deal but to lobby his fellow Democrats against it. Schumer actually boasts that he has a mission from god to be a protector of Israel. He had initially indicated that he would support the deal because it was in the American interest but the heavy lobbying seems to be making him uncertain. Greg Sargent does some calculations and thinks that despite Schumer’s defection, the deal looks safe.

In the House of Representatives, one of the Democratic leaders Congressman Steven Israel has said that he will vote to oppose the deal and also campaign against it.

But other groups are organizing counter-lobbying efforts in support of the deal, although they do not have the same financial clout as AIPAC.

This vote will reveal if the lobby still has the power that Rosen boasted about a decade ago.

Comments

  1. aashiq says

    AIPAC is empowered because no matter what it does, Israel gets more aid. It is still classified as a domestic lobby, this classification enables it to operate in the shadows.

    Israel is not a sacred object. It is just a foreign country.

  2. raym says

    Israel is not a sacred object.
    Whilst that is true for any rational person, it would seem not to be so for a substantial, vociferous, and influential fraction of the US population, including, it seems, pretty much every Republican member of congress.

  3. busterggi says

    And this is why I am anti-Zionist – I’m sick of a foreign country dictating the policies of my country.

  4. polishsalami says

    One factor that is never mentioned: the other nations involved in this deal. Does the deal still stand if one nation rejects it?

  5. says

    Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu is going to make a special appeal to American Jews show their loyalty to the Jewish state

    Is Netanyahu deliberately trying to give anti-Semites shit to work with?

  6. Chiroptera says

    polishsalami, #4: Does the deal still stand if one nation rejects it?

    My understanding is that the sanctions against Iran were put in place by the international community acting through the UN security council for specific reasons and were to be lifted if Iran met certain conditions. The international community, acting through the UN security council, agreed that Iran has agreed to meet those conditions and the sanctions are to be lifted as the agreement is fullfilled.

    So my understanding is that if the US decides to reject the deal and continue sanctions while Iran meets its obligations, it will do so alone.

  7. Chiroptera says

    By the way, this is why Pres. Obama can accept this deal without Congressional approval; my understanding is this deal is not a treaty; the President is acting under authority already given to him to lift the sanctions if Iran agrees to meet and does meet the conditions place on it.

    The President is acting under authority already given to him by law. The only way that Congress can stop this agreement is to pass what would essentially be a law rescinding it, which the President has the authority to veto.

  8. StevoR says

    So the real question is whether Congress can muster the two-thirds majority to override the veto.

    It is?

    I’d have thought the real question would be is this really a good deal and will it actually stop Iran getting nukes and thus make the region safer?

  9. nrdo says

    The establishment part of the lobby will lose this one because it’s clear that the deal is the best option available for all parties involved – including Israel and Iran. Even former Israeli intelligence officers like Efraim Halevy support the deal.

  10. StevoR says

    I’m not saying I know the answer to that “real question”* as posed above either although I do have my inklings and think there reasons to doubt that it is and think it could’ve been much stronger and better than it has been – but honestly, I don’t know.

    * Among other “real questions” and what is meant by “real question” anyhow?

    A few other real questions :

    1. Can we trust the totalitarian Iranian theocracy to keep their promises and be straightforward in their dealings here?

    2. Did the Iranians play Kerry / Obama and the others for suckers here and come out far better than they deserved?

    3. is Iran really playing the long game and forgoing an nuclear Bomb now for the sake of improving its position when it does (plan?) to get one in fifteen. twenty or who knows how many years time – are they thinking long term and playing a chess game where they’ve just positioning their pieces for checkmate in a long term strategy whilst we’re celebrating a blocked move of their pawn?

    I don’t know – not yet – and i don’t think too many if any people really do. Time will tell.

  11. StevoR says

    @1. aashiq : “Israel is not a sacred object. It is just a foreign country.”

    Not just any foreign country and a strong US ally and a place that holds a lot of meaning for Jewish people all around the world including in America. It is a foreign country that means an awful lot and does an awful lot and contains about eiht million human individual lives.

    See : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel

  12. StevoR says

    @3. busterggi :

    And this is why I am anti-Zionist – I’m sick of a foreign country dictating the policies of my country.

    Wait, shouldn’t you then equally hate Saudi Arabia with its oil lobby? Or the United Nations (Okay , technically not a country but still.)

    Why single out Israel?

    Because you believe in conspiracy theories about Teh Ebilll Jooz!!!11ty

    Because Israel out of all nations on the planet isn’t allowed to have its own relations with and lobby in the USA?

    Because, well, why exactly please tell?

    @polishsalami : “One factor that is never mentioned: the other nations involved in this deal. Does the deal still stand if one nation rejects it?”

    I’m pretty sure the deal is off if Iran breaks it! The other nations, dunno but suspect equally so. Who else are you suggesting is likely to break the deal here? Russia? France?

    @ Chiroptera : “The only way that Congress can stop this agreement is to pass what would essentially be a law rescinding it, which the President has the authority to veto.”

    Could be mistaken here but then if Congress has a 2/3rds vote against the POTUS can’t it over-rule his / her veto then? E.g. Obama’s veto of the Congressional repeal of his Iran deal then gets overruled and the deal is off? If that happens as suggested?

  13. Chiroptera says

    StevoR, #12: Could be mistaken here but then if Congress has a 2/3rds vote against the POTUS can’t it over-rule his / her veto then?

    The President can always veto after the first pass. After the veto Congess can override it with a second vote if they can get a 2/3 majority in both Houses in that second vote.

  14. says

    a place that holds a lot of meaning for Jewish people all around the world including in America

    Gotta say so friggin’ what on that one. Every place has a lot of meaning for people all around the world including in America. As for the individual lives, what about those of the Iranians that would suffer under increased sanctions or the all out war Netanyahu keeps pushing for?

    I’m also not terrified about Iran getting a nuke. No matter what ranting people do about “mad mullahs”, if they get one they’re not stupid enough to use it. But it would make their own people safer from foreign warmongers.

  15. says

    Wait, shouldn’t you then equally hate Saudi Arabia with its oil lobby? Or the United Nations (Okay , technically not a country but still.)

    Why single out Israel?

    Because you believe in conspiracy theories about Teh Ebilll Jooz!!!11ty

    Because Israel out of all nations on the planet isn’t allowed to have its own relations with and lobby in the USA?

    I’m not an anti-Zionist, but come on StevoR, aren’t you being a little disingenuous here? Are serious political candidates ever expected to pledge to stand with Saudi Arabia or the UN? There is only one foreign country American politicians are regularly expected loudly voice support for.

  16. busterggi says

    Hey StevoR – When have you heard me say anything positive about the Saudis?

    i just don’t think 21st century politics should be dictated by bronze-age mythology.

  17. Who Cares says

    @StevoR(#10):
    1) The entire deal is based on distrust. Not just the west not trusting Iran but also Iran not trusting the west. That is where most of the difficult parts of the negotiations could be found. How to make sure the other side couldn’t ignore the agreement without suffering the consequences.

    2) Did the Iranians get out better? Yes and no. They got out better then when the 2003 talks fell apart (mainly due to the same symptom that plagues the U.S. opposition today claiming there is a better deal while ignoring that the only better deal was/is total surrender of the nuclear program). They got out a lot worse then observers initially expected, based on the red lines put down by Iran and which were eventually crossed.

    3) The best counter to this is that what is being played by the other parties (P5+1) is also a long game. One of the prongs for example on this is that integration of Iran in the world economy will stop this due to the crippling nature of new sanctions once the NPT teams find the implementation of a new nuke building program.

  18. raven says

    As has been mentioned above already, this is an international agreement. It’s P5 +1 not the USA and Iran.

    If the USA decides to not agree, it’s no big deal.

    The rest of the world will just ignore us and do what they want. so we will have boycotts and sanctions against Iran and no one else will. It will have an effect but not much of one.

    The 3 million Israelis who voted for Netanyahu may be able to push around the last superpower with 319 million people AKA the Headless Giant but they aren’t going to push around Europe, Russia, or China.

  19. says

    Not just any foreign country and a strong US ally and a place that holds a lot of meaning for Jewish people all around the world including in America. It is a foreign country that means an awful lot and does an awful lot and contains about eiht million human individual lives.

    None of which has the slightest relevance to the merits of the Iran deal.

    I don’t know – not yet – and i don’t think too many if any people really do. Time will tell.

    First you try to pretend you’re the only one who understands the true nature of the evil Iranians. Then, when that falls flat, you try to pretend NO ONE knows ANYTHING. What a fucking joke. Can’t you just admit your own ignorance without trying to pretend no one else can ever be smarter than you?

  20. says

    Why single out Israel?

    Because Israel is the country trying to dictate our policy, without regard for our own legitimate interests. Even the Iranians aren’t demanding that US officials pledge allegiance to Iran.

  21. raven says

    Why single out Israel?

    We aren’t in the least singling out Isael.

    Israel is singling us out!!!

    Because they can or think they can. I don’t see any other Last Superpowers with 319 million people and no head. Israel doesn’t have any other options any more, having alienated the entire rest of the world. At one time, they had friends in Europe especially the Netherlands, Denmark, and France. Probably not any more.

  22. invivoMark says

    StevoR, as usual, wears his hypocrisy on his sleeve.

    “[Israel] is a foreign country that means an awful lot and does an awful lot and contains about eiht[sic] million human individual lives.”

    “Did the Iranians … come out far better than they deserved?”

    Iran is a foreign country that means an awful lot to a lot of people and contains about 78 million individual human lives. To StevoR’s mind, Israel is to be defended when they lobby heavily to disrupt foreign agreements in which they take no part, but StevoR isn’t sure whether Iranians “deserve” to be treated like they live in a functional nation that is allowed to engage in trade with the world.

    I guess those 8 million individual human lives in Israel are just more deserving of economic security than 78 million other individual human lives, for some reason. And apparently we should pander to the militarists of Israel, who have shown their eagerness to murder hundreds of civilians in a concentration camp, while fearing the militarists of Iran, on the off chance that a generation in the future their offspring decide to self-destruct and start a war they know they can’t win.

  23. StevoR says

    BTW. Holms if you’re reading this I haven’t forgotten your earlier challenge to me over on ‘Despatches’ and will respond in a while – just been extremely busy.

  24. StevoR says

    @22. invivoMark : No. That is NOT what or how I think. Those 78 Iranians do deserve better which is good reason to oppose their current rulers.

  25. Holms says

    #8 War Crimes Apologist StevoR
    I’d have thought the real question would be is this really a good deal and will it actually stop Iran getting nukes and thus make the region safer?

    Yes practical function that was the first question in need of address, but since it was answered in the affirmative, reasonable people have moved on to the next question: implementation.

    ___

    #10
    1. Can we trust the totalitarian Iranian theocracy to keep their promises and be straightforward in their dealings here?

    No, which is why there is a rigorous inspection requirement. Related to this however is ‘can we trust the flagrantly belligerent Israeli warmongers to refrain from attacking in defiance of UN resolutions?’ If you think I am being fanciful here, remember that they have done exactly that in the past.

    2. Did the Iranians play Kerry / Obama and the others for suckers here and come out far better than they deserved?

    No, it takes years for them to see the first benefit of this deal, and all of the benefit is rescinded if they misstep once. Perhaps a major indicator of this comes from their own contingent of warmongers, who are complaining that the inspection in this deal have scuttled their desire to nuke or otherwise severly damage Israel. If those guys consider their own plans foiled, this is at least somewhat positive!

    3. is Iran really playing the long game and forgoing an nuclear Bomb now for the sake of improving its position when it does (plan?) to get one in fifteen. twenty or who knows how many years time – are they thinking long term and playing a chess game where they’ve just positioning their pieces for checkmate in a long term strategy whilst we’re celebrating a blocked move of their pawn?

    Your hopelessly distant hypothetical demonstrates your dishonesty.

    #11
    Not just any foreign country and a strong US ally and a place that holds a lot of meaning for Jewish people all around the world including in America. It is a foreign country that means an awful lot and does an awful lot and contains about eiht million human individual lives.

    …So what? None of these are reasons for the nation to have such huge influence on another nation. Note that America is also close allies with Australia and Britain, yet neither of those nations have anywhere near the level of influence Israel has over American policy, nor should they. Also note that Iran has 78 million lives… surely they are worth consideration too? The sanctions were burdensome on them, specifically to exert pressure on their leaders to cave in to a deal of some sort. This is that deal.

    Unless you think they should be sanctioned indefinitely…? I which case you are a) cruel and b) ignorant of the fact that sacntions have not stopped North Korea achieving the bomb. Meaning, that the only way of stopping a nation exerting its soveriegnty in achieving nuclear arms is to override that sovereignty altogether by invading. Thus, in the real world, even the ‘indefinite sanction’ route means eventual violence anyway. This is the peaceful alternative that results in the least violence.

  26. Holms says

    # StevoR
    BTW. Holms if you’re reading this I haven’t forgotten your earlier challenge to me over on ‘Despatches’ and will respond in a while – just been extremely busy.

    I seem to have forgotten issuing a challenge… link?

  27. naturalcynic says

    If anything could possibly make me anti-Semitic, it would be AIPAC. But I am admitting that I am anti-Adelson.

  28. Chiroptera says

    StevoR, #8: I’d have thought the real question would be is this really a good deal and will it actually stop Iran getting nukes and thus make the region safer?

    That question has been answered many times. If Iran wants the bomb, Iran will get the bomb. Without this deal, Iran can get the bomb in only a few years. In this case, the only thing that might prevent this is going to war. And with the US and allies’ hands tied up with Daesh and (in Afghanistan) Al Qaeda and the other warlords, and with our “allies” in the Middle East acting at cross purposes in the various escalating conflicts, and the obvious history that every time we escalate militarily in the region, the situations get worse and we become less secure, you would have to be a fool (or a politician so evil that your own political career is more important than the lives and well-being of millions of people) to think military actions is the solution to this problem.

    This deal doesn’t make it impossible for Iran to go nuclear. What it does is delays Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and gives us time to integrate Iran into the international community so that their perceived need for the bomb is decreases and, in fact, as renew sanctions will become a threat to an improving economy they even have an incentive to not acquire nuclear weapons.

    And even if they do acquire nuclear weapons, like India, being integrated into the international community will create dire costs if they were to use a nuclear weapon.

  29. StevoR says

    Cut’n’pasting and responding here in case it disappears from Ed Brayton’s blog – Holms comment # 152 there was :

    @139. Holms : “No links and no evidence provided as per usual. Unsuprised. (StevoR-ed)

    I directly quoted you from this very thread, with the post number; clearly, you didn’t even read my post.

    Actually no Holms you didn’t. You quoted #104 Dingojack, I think referring to my comment #101 or #108 in which I noted that the most recent Gaza war was the result of Hamas kidnapping and murdering Israeli teenagers then firing rockets into Israel from Gaza. (As well as digging tunnels from there to attack Israel too.) That;’s simply stating historical fact. Hamas admitted as much later.

    Since you are slow or disingenuous (or both), (ED : Actually neither!) here: in my comment #139 I quoted you justifying the offensive against Palestinians by citing the murder of three Israelis and the rocket fire from the Gaza strip. But starting a war against the many for the crimes of the few is a war crime: collective punishment. By justifying / endorsing actions that are war crimes, you are therefore a warcrimes apologist.

    No, stating Hamas caused the last Gaza war as they did is a simple statement of fact. It is also self-defence on Israel’s part and by your definition every war ever pretty much is then a “war crime” because a minority who lead a nation (or two or more) into war cause the collective suffering for the majority who then have to suffer from war. Your definition would render the term war crime essentially meaningless.

    “You ain’t as funny as RB and I wouldn’t have have either of you banned. Even if I could which I can’t.” (- StevoR, ed.)
    And there it is, an admission that you knew prefectly well your ‘threats’ were a f***ing (Ed for swear words – unsure if okay on Mano Singham’s blog here?) laugh. Walk the threats back, good boy.

    No, there is yet another example of your lack of reading comprehension, Holms. I’m not making any threats here and noting that I wouldn’t choose to ban you – or actually Raging Bee – even if I could which I can’t.

    “Doesn’t change anything else I’ve said about you though. You are an anti-Semitic Israel-basher, you can’t read or understand for shit and, well, you generally suck. Think about that if you will.” -StevoR (ed)
    Since I performed your request of citing my claim that you are a war crimes apologist – even though that claim was perfectly obvious – please return that gesture by citing these accusations against me or admit said accusations are unsupported by… anything I have ever said. Some cautionary notes before you try (assuming you even bother; I suspect you know you can’t find shit):
    – Anti-semitism means attacking / disparaging etc. people for simply being jewish. It does not include criticisms of jews based on their actions, words or policies.
    – Since you demanded direct quotes plus source, I require the same. And no you can hardly complain about that, you even had the cheek to demand I source quotes from this very thread.
    – Consider using good faith arguments this time? Maybe?
    – I ‘generally suck’? SICK BURNS BRO.

    Okay see your comment # 38 here :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2015/07/26/the-phony-suggestions-for-making-the-iran-deal-better/#comment-4316888

    Calling Israel bloodthirsty, racist etc. is not anti-semitism, because it is not a criticism of their jewish ancestry, but a criticism of their current policies. “Bloodthirsty” and “murderous” are directly linked to their current calls for war against Iran instead of the recent agreement; “racist” is borne out by their policies towards the muslim world in general and Palestinians in particular… “verminous” and “filthy” on the other hand are blatant insults and thus aren’t constructive, but find it hard to fault given that it is common to insult those whose actions are considered repugnant. – Holms

    Actually it is anti-Semitic because you are collectively demonising an entire nation of eight million human individuals based on your sweeping generalisation and prejudices against them. Singling out Israel for constant excessive criticism is , I and many others would say, very much anti-Semitic and part of a long established pattern on your part.

    I’ll also note that those comments didn’t specify any policies etc ..as “bloodthirsty” but rather said that “Israel” is “bloodthirsty” etc .. which is false and anti-Semitic and exactly the sort of thing you’d rip anyone apart for if it was said about say Iran or Gaza or Pakistan instead. Indeed that’s the variety of generalisation that you or /and others from the Horde criticised and abused and hounded me for doing back in the old Pharyngula days years ago.

  30. StevoR says

    @29. Chiroptera : “And even if they do acquire nuclear weapons, like India, being integrated into the international community will create dire costs if they were to use a nuclear weapon.”

    I’m sure that’ll be a huge comfort to the millions of dead Israeli human individuals if that happens – not!

    @26 Holms :

    #8 … (snip – Needless & false personal abuse removed) .. StevoR : “I’d have thought the real question would be is this really a good deal and will it actually stop Iran getting nukes and thus make the region safer?”
    Yes practical function that was the first question in need of address, but since it was answered in the affirmative, reasonable people have moved on to the next question: implementation.

    It was answered in the affirmative you say? Answered by who and accepted by how many? Not by me and many other critics of the Iran deal who still see this as – at best – a very open question.

    #10
    “1. Can we trust the totalitarian Iranian theocracy to keep their promises and be straightforward in their dealings here?” -StevoR
    No, which is why there is a rigorous inspection requirement. Related to this however is ‘can we trust the flagrantly belligerent Israeli warmongers to refrain from attacking in defiance of UN resolutions?’ If you think I am being fanciful here, remember that they have done exactly that in the past.

    Or at least that’s your opinion as is your opinion that the Israelis are “war mongers” etc .. and, hang on weren’t you earlier asking me for evidence of your anti-Semitism? Well look right above there! That bit demonising all Israelis as “.flagrantly belligerent Israeli warmongers..” that’d be more proof that you *are* anti-Semitic. Not that it was needed really, but thanks anyhow. No the Israelis ain’t – that’s a very diverse, democractic and argumentative bunch of individuals you’re lumping into one there & they haven’t started many wars -just defended themselves very well when others haev attacked them, clearly a huge offence for some!

    Also the UN has long since lost credibility in the Israel resolutions area due to its well-known Judaeophobia and Isreal-bashing penchant. That Dictators Debating Club is not a source of any real moral authority here.

    it takes years for them (Iran’s dictatorship) to see the first benefit of this deal, and all of the benefit is rescinded if they misstep once. (& are caught quickly enough just maybe – ed!) Perhaps a major indicator of this comes from their own contingent of warmongers, who are complaining that the inspection in this deal have scuttled their desire to nuke or otherwise severly damage Israel. If those guys consider their own plans foiled, this is at least somewhat positive!

    (Emphasis added.)

    That’s easy to say but also an point that is quite dubious. Re-imposing the sanctions if Iran is caught breaking them won’t be that easy many think and have said who should know. You’ve already admitted that Iran’s regime cannot be trusted and this I think is well known fact that should not be ignored or understated.

    “3. is Iran really playing the long game and forgoing an nuclear Bomb now for the sake of improving its position when it does (plan?) to get one in fifteen. twenty or who knows how many years time – are they thinking long term and playing a chess game where they’ve just positioning their pieces for checkmate in a long term strategy whilst we’re celebrating a blocked move of their pawn?”-StevoR
    Your hopelessly distant hypothetical demonstrates your dishonesty. -Holms

    No, my analogy there demonstrates long term thinking, imagination and risk assessment skill. Your snide and abusive one line personal attack there shows your lack of those things without addressing the point and being an unsupported non-sequiteur as well.

    #11 “Not just any foreign country and a strong US ally and a place that holds a lot of meaning for Jewish people all around the world including in America. It is a foreign country that means an awful lot and does an awful lot and contains about eight million human individual lives. “ -StevoR
    …So what? None of these are reasons for the nation to have such huge influence on another nation. Note that America is also close allies with Australia and Britain, yet neither of those nations have anywhere near the level of influence Israel has over American policy, nor should they.

    I think you may be overestimating the level of influence Israel has – especially with the current Obama US govt which has totally snubbed Israel and given its duly elected PM a very cold shoulder and hard time. You also seem to be playing the “the Jooz have two much powah an’ influenzzz!11ty” card here which again reveals your anti-Semitism.

    Also nice of you to overlook all those points raised about strong alliances, international relationships and the huge significance Israel has as a refuge and socio-culturally ichiban* significant place for Jewish people globe-wide. Do you also mock Muslim affinity for Mecca as if that means nothing and spit on other minority groups ideas of what matters to them? Or are the Jewish people here again your chosen people scapegoats?

    Also note that Iran has 78 million lives… surely they are worth consideration too?

    Yes they are. Their tragedy is that they have the horrific rulers that they have despite their best efforts to overthrow the Ayatollah’s rule and end the oppression of their Islamic revolution. We should do as much as we reasonably can to help the majority of Iranians achieve this, free themselves and oppose the Ayatollah’s iron grip on lives that have so much more potential than they are allowed to express.

    The sanctions were burdensome on them, specifically to exert pressure on their leaders to cave in to a deal of some sort. This is that deal.

    It is? You assert that, I disagree.

    Many others who are intelligent and knowledgeable people (& also generally and know more than both of us & have much more at stake personally than both of us) also disagree.

    Unless you think they should be sanctioned indefinitely…? I which case you are a) cruel and b) ignorant of the fact that sacntions have not stopped North Korea achieving the bomb. Meaning, that the only way of stopping a nation exerting its soveriegnty in achieving nuclear arms is to override that sovereignty altogether by invading. Thus, in the real world, even the ‘indefinite sanction’ route means eventual violence anyway. This is the peaceful alternative that results in the least violence.

    I think the sanctions against Iran should continue until Iran ends its support -funding, arming and diplomatic for terrorism, recognise Israel and agree to end state supported hatred for its neighbours and the wider world. Thatm makes me cruel and a bad person?

    Whelp, I guess you also argued against sanctions on apartheid South Africa because the alternative to that was war as well or something? ‘Spose you also agree with me that the whole anti-Seitic BDS movement of thinly veiled anti-Semitism in its “anti=-Zionist” Israel-bashing guise is equally cruel and wrong, yeah? No?

    * Nihongo (japanese) = number one

  31. Chiroptera says

    StevoR, #32: …dead Israeli human individuals….

    Did you mean “Saudi” human individuals? ‘Cause the main opponents to Iranian security and hegemony are the Gulf states. If the Iranian leadership really were to engage in a non-retaliatory, offensive nuclear strike, Saudi Arabia would probably be at the top of the list.

    Not that I would find dead Saudis any less tragic than dead Israelis, but assuming that Iran’s main Middle Eastern opponent has to be Israel shows how little you understand about the region.

  32. StevoR says

    ^ PS. As for your (b) there, North Korea got its Bomb through diplomatic stalling hiding its real intentions and breaking agreements it made.

    That remind you of something very close to the topic at hand here? Its example demonstrates and supports my case much better than it does yours and argues against the current Iran deal I think.

    @21. raven : “We aren’t in the least singling out Israel. Israel is singling us out!!!”

    Huh?

    Israel – a nation of 8 million individual people is specifically singling out a few commenters on Mano Singham’s blog and a few other FTB ones? Seriously? Evidence?

    I have a lot of respect for you, raven , but really, you think Israel even knows you exist? (FWIW. I doubt it knows or cares that I exist as a person. Or even all of FTB for that matter.)

    Because they can or think they can. (i) I don’t see any other Last Superpowers with 319 million people and no head. (ii) Israel doesn’t have any other options any more, having alienated the entire rest of the world. At one time, they had friends in Europe especially the Netherlands, Denmark, and France. Probably not any more. (iii)

    (Markers added for reference)

    (i) Huh? What /who are you even talking about here? They who, can what? Single out FTB / You / America / huh again?

    (ii) Again, WTF!? The USA has no head – except, say, Obama who hates Israel and Congress who hates Obama and the Supreme court which, well, dunno. Also the US people which vote for a Congress and a POTUS who appoints the Supreme court and generally still supports Israel.

    iii) Australia for one remains a close ally of Israel as I think do many other nations. Yes a lot of tinpot Arab dictatorships hate and loathe Israel a lot of the time because it is aligned with the USA. Europe generally has a lot of issues and probably a lot less global influence than it thinks it has. Not sure of Japanese, Chinese, Indian and other Asian nations relations with / feelings towards Israel but suspect many are , well, indifferent but not hostile to it. Russia ,well has its antagonism to Israel because, US ally.

    Anyhow, yes, Israel has a lot of international enemies (Esp. Third World Dictatorships and Islamist dictatorships and theocracies, go figure!) it does also have its allies on this planet and in any case it has the ability to defend itself on multiple levels if it has to -which sadly for everyone it frequently does. The point of that is ..??

    Sorry, raven but really that sure wasn’t one of your better comments here was it? You are usually much better and clearer than that comment makes you seem.

  33. StevoR says

    @33. Chiroptera : I meant Israelis there.

    Because Iran has said it wants to kill them (among others) and I take that threat seriously.

    Ignoring threats to exterminate Jewish people has been tried in the past with horrendous results and we should really probably learn from that and not repeat that mistake ever agian.

    Saudi Arabian lives matter too and also should not be threatened nor should Kuwaiti and other Arab lives wherever possible as well. All human lives matter and are the existence of individuals who deserve respect. (well, mostly, almost always.)

    Iranian lives too matter and will be lost in all likelihood if Iran ever gets the Bomb it’s zealot rulers claim not to seek but really seem to be trying to get. The majority of Iran’s population I strongly suspect also want its current regime stopped from getting any more powerful and oppressive and want them removed so they can grow and flourish and become happier and freer and better than they now are.

  34. says

    StevoR…

    “Related to this however is ‘can we trust the flagrantly belligerent Israeli warmongers to refrain from attacking in defiance of UN resolutions?’ If you think I am being fanciful here, remember that they have done exactly that in the past.”

    Or at least that’s your opinion as is your opinion that the Israelis are “war mongers” etc .. and, hang on weren’t you earlier asking me for evidence of your anti-Semitism? Well look right above there! That bit demonising all Israelis as “.flagrantly belligerent Israeli warmongers..” that’d be more proof that you *are* anti-Semitic.

    That “all” you threw in there has got to be one of the most blatantly dishonest things I’ve ever seen you do on these blogs. Any fair and reasonable observer would not take Holms as referring to all Israelis but just the ones hungering for war with Iran. You know, the belligerent warmongers who also happen to be Israeli. There are flagrantly belligerent American warmongers but to say I’m demonizing all Americans would be dishonest bullshit. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  35. StevoR says

    @ ^ Tabby Lavalamp : Really?

    You don’t think it fits the pattern of Holms (among others) demonising all Israelis for the views of a few?

    You see any cases where Holms (among others) acknowledges the issue there and points out that most Israelis aren’t bad people and ever tries to see their side of this issue?

  36. says

    StevoR, you know what I grew tired of long, long ago? The incessant need some people have to demand qualifiers whenever a subject is discussed. If you can point out to me a post where Holms (among others) says something like “Israelis are warmongers”, I will concede that xe (or some else among others) is a bigot.

    There is a reason though that “not all men” is widely and rightly mocked.

  37. StevoR says

    PS. Who exactly is “hungering for war” with Iran anyhow and what evidence do you have that shows that conclusively?

    *Some* people – incl. experts and those living under direct Iranian threat – may think that war is their best hope of stopping Iran getting The Bomb – but does that truly mean they want that to happen? I suggest not.

    I suggest you look at the alternative idea that such opponents of Iran’s Bomb do NOT wish for war but merely wish that war can be avoided if possible – although they may realistically consider that that may not be possible – and dream that Iran could perhaps one day chill out and change and behave reasonably instead. Meaning, among other things, ending its hostility to Israel’s mere existence. Also ending their nuclear program, their support for Jihadist terrorism and their ambitions of dominating their Sunni neighbour states too.

    (If Iran want alternative energy they are as bountiful in sunshine as they are in oil. They have an awful lot of oil. Plus Sun plus other resources. They have no need for nukes.)

  38. StevoR says

    @38. Tabby Lavalamp : How about comemnt # 26 where Holms says ‘can we trust the flagrantly belligerent Israeli warmongers’ eh?

  39. says

    *sigh*

    So, StevoR, when I ask you for an example you use the very same quote I chastised you for putting an invisible “all” in front of “Israelis”? There very same quote where I bemoaned the incessant need for qualifiers? The very same quote that does NOT say “Israelis are warmongers”?

    http://artsblog.dallasnews.com/files/2013/09/really-seth-and-amy.jpeg

    And I’d be more willing to believe you that opponents of Iran’s nuclear capabilities (the term “Iran’s Bomb” is… *sigh*) don’t want war if Netanyahu hasn’t been spending the last couple of decades Chicken Littling that Iran getting the bomb was a clear and present danger that needs immediate action. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/04/resist-netanyahu-iran-hawks-push

    Meaning, among other things, ending its hostility to Israel’s mere existence. Also ending their nuclear program, their support for Jihadist terrorism and their ambitions of dominating their Sunni neighbour states too.

    Only if Israel ends its form of Apartheid and reverses its expansionist “settlement” campaign.

  40. patrick2 says

    Is there any evidence that Iran is after nuclear weapons at all? They have a nuclear program, yes, which they are entitled to under the NPT. They may also be developing their military, which is normal state behaviour, and pretty much all intelligence analysts I’ve seen write about this (including from the US) believe their military development is for deterrence purposes only. Iran’s worst sin seems to be that it’s a regional power not subservient to the US/the West. I’d be more willing to take the Iranian threat seriously if there was actually evidence for it.

  41. says

    patrick2 (#43) –

    Is there any evidence that Iran is after nuclear weapons at all?

    The CIA and Mossad both say Iran doesn’t want weapons, but what do they know? Their reports are only valid if they support special interests (e.g. corporations, Israel, religion, etc.) and genocidal politicians (e.g. Netenyahu, Bush).

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/23/leaked-spy-cables-netanyahu-iran-bomb-mossad

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/mossad-and-cia-concur-iran-is-not-seeking-nukes/29843

  42. StevoR says

    @42. Tabby Lavalamp : “The very same quote that does NOT say “Israelis are warmongers”?”

    Except that that quote contains those exact words in that exact order. As for an lacking an invisible “all” in front of it – it also doesn’t have an invisible “some” in front of it or leaders / government /etc .. after it either.

    Anyhow, its all a moot point really. The deal is signed and isn’t going away. Time will tell just who is right here. I hope this works and the skeptics of it – including myself are ultimately shown to be wrong about it.

  43. Holms says

    #30
    My reply to your ‘challenge attempt’ is in that thread.

    ___

    #32
    It was answered in the affirmative you say? Answered by who and accepted by how many? Not by me and many other critics of the Iran deal who still see this as – at best – a very open question.

    Um, answered by many many nuclear experts and diplomats, and accepted by China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, and Iran. They agreed to it enough that they even signed it!

    ___

    Or at least that’s your opinion as is your opinion that the Israelis are “war mongers” etc ..

    My opinion, plus recorded history, that Israel has a penchant for going to war with its arabic neighbours, and has been especially oppressive toward Palestinians. Criticism based on action, policy or word is not bigotry.

    ___

    That’s easy to say but also an point that is quite dubious. Re-imposing the sanctions if Iran is caught breaking them won’t be that easy many think and have said who should know. You’ve already admitted that Iran’s regime cannot be trusted and this I think is well known fact that should not be ignored or understated.

    Hence the inspection regime. If they are caught, the trade sanctions are back in place. Also note that the International Atomic Energy Agency seems to think they know how to spot the difference between compliant and non-compliant nuclear facilities; since they are the International Atomic Energy Agency, I think they would be the ones to consult on this point.

    ___

    No, my analogy there demonstrates long term thinking, imagination and risk assessment skill. Your snide and abusive one line personal attack there shows your lack of those things without addressing the point and being an unsupported non-sequiteur as well.

    Your scenario is ridiculous simply because if they wanted the bomb, they were actually on track to get that technology much sooner than your hypothesised ‘fifteen, twenty, or who knows how many years’. North Korea is a perfect example of this: despite living under internation trade sanction as discouragement against their pursuit of nuclear technology, they managed to acheieve it anyway. If a suicidal nuclear attack on Israel truly was the goal or Iran, this deal is worse for them because of the concession they have to make in the near future, which includes a drastic reduction in their enriched nuclear fuel stock.

    ___

    I think you may be overestimating the level of influence Israel has – especially with the current Obama US govt which has totally snubbed Israel and given its duly elected PM a very cold shoulder and hard time. You also seem to be playing the “the Jooz have two much powah an’ influenzzz!11ty” card here which again reveals your anti-Semitism.

    Are you even remotely aware of the fact that the Israel lobby is currently exerting its influence directly on the American congress, and may even have enough to nullify America’s participation in the treaty? It’s hard to overstate this. Israel has enough influence in American politics that they may even be able to change American foreign policy towards nations that aren’t Israel. We’ll have to see if they can pull it off.

    ___

    Many others who are intelligent and knowledgeable people (& also generally and know more than both of us & have much more at stake personally than both of us) also disagree.

    Something you are completely ignoring, even though you know this full well: while there are people that disagree with this deal, there are many more people, with more expertise, that think this deal is sufficient. Including the aforementioned Internation Atomic Energy Agency, who really are the leading name when it comes to knowing things about nuclear energy. Because they’re the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    ___

    I think the sanctions against Iran should continue until Iran ends its support -funding, arming and diplomatic for terrorism, recognise Israel and agree to end state supported hatred for its neighbours and the wider world. Thatm makes me cruel and a bad person?

    It has already been pointed out here that your stipulations for a better deal are utterly unworkable. By insisting on continued sanctions until an unworkable deal is made, you are insisting on continued sanctions indefinitely, because that deal is simply impossible. So, yes, I consider your position to be one of cruelty, though perhaps out if ignorance rather than malice.

  44. Chiroptera says

    Holms, #47: It has already been pointed out here that your stipulations for a better deal are utterly unworkable. By insisting on continued sanctions until an unworkable deal is made, you are insisting on continued sanctions indefinitely, because that deal is simply impossible.

    Plus, without this agreement, Iran can have a nuclear device within a couple of years. I really don’t understand how rejecting the agreement is supposed to prevent or even delay Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

  45. StevoR says

    @ ^ Chiroptera : By forcing Iran to accept something tougher than the current deal. Something that really does unequivocally and without doubt whatsoever prevent Iran from getting nukes, somehow. Ideally ends it sponsorship of terrorism and rhetoric against its neighbours too.

    What part of that don’t you grok?

    Not that that’s going to happen now. The deal is done and will be very hard to overturn. Now we’ll just have to hope Obama and Kerry and the deal makers got it right and time ultimately tell one way or the other.

  46. StevoR says

    @ Holms : Cut’n’pasted fromDespatches in case that gets wiped soon :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2015/07/30/no-the-iran-deal-doesnt-let-them-develop-a-nuclear-weapon/#comment-447903

    (BTW. Never did get an answer there as to what was going to happen to Ed’s old posts and threads here on FTB – they are still up as of now.)

    @ Holms : So, it wasn’t you but .. you saw comments that were anti-Semitic and didn’t call that anti-Semitism out? Oh that’s so much better, you see anti-Semitic comments and let them go without comment on your part. (Oh & then attack the person or people who point that anti-Semitism out. Bra-voh!)

    Your “cautionary note” is rejected as the disingenous falsehood which it is – excessively singling out Israel, the worlds one and only Jewish nation for disproportionate criticisms is anti-Semitic as I’have already noted in #184.

    There is only one Israel and it is tiny – even if you include all of Judea and Samaria. The Arabs and Musliosm have a vast number of countries and land under their control. Israel is unique and facing circumstances no other nation really does.. maybe consider taking that into account eh?

  47. StevoR says

    PS. For clarity. Yes I know the Iranians are Persian not Arab and there’s only one Iran too. Look at an atlas. Iran is a tad larger than Israel . (Understatement!)

    Also nobody is bitterly determined to wipe Iran off the map and insistent that it (or the Persians generally) has no right to exist.

    No nation or people should be wiped off the map – but Kurdistan should be added to it. The Kurds deserve far better treatment and their own homeland too as do the Tibetans and West Paupans.

    (BTW. The Boston bombers were Chechens not Kirghiz FYI, Holms.)

    Anyhow, once again, moot point. The Iran nuke deal is here and won’t be changed. Time will show if that’s a good thing or not. prob’ly mixed, hope the worst isn’t true of it and the best is. Which would make me wrong but glad to be so.

  48. Holms says

    I was asked to cite you defending a war crime, and I did so, pointing to you endorsing the warcrime of collective punishment. I then returned the challenge – prove that I am anti-semitic or pro-terrorism, citing anything I have written. I pointed out that criticising actions is not prejudice, but I see you have ignored that and have simply declared me an anti-semite without citing anything prejudicial that I have written. You fail the challenge.

    P.S. Israel does not get a free pass on its conduct just because there are no other jewish theocracies in the world.

    P.P.S. I would actually greatly prefer it if there were zero theocracies of any religion in the world, including christian ones.

    P.P.P.S. Both Boston Bombers had Chechen ancestry, but were Kyrgyzstani citizens.

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