AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

And here we go.

Top House Democrats retreated Monday from an attempt to limit President Bush's authority for taking military action against Iran as the leadership concentrated on a looming confrontation with the White House over the Iraq war.

Officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) and other members of the leadership had decided to strip from a major military spending bill a requirement for Bush to gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran.

Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the change in strategy....

The Iran-related proposal stemmed from a desire to make sure Bush did not launch an attack without going to Congress for approval, but drew opposition from numerous members of the rank and file in a series of closed-door sessions last week.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev., said in an interview there is widespread fear in Israel about Iran, which is believed to be seeking nuclear weapons and has expressed unremitting hostility about the Jewish state.

"It would take away perhaps the most important negotiating tool that the U.S. has when it comes to Iran," she said of the now-abandoned provision.

"I didn't think it was a very wise idea to take things off the table if you're trying to get people to modify their behavior and normalize it in a civilized way," said Rep. Gary Ackerman (news, bio, voting record) of New York.

Several officials said there was widespread opposition to the proposal at a closed-door meeting last week of conservative and moderate Democrats, who said they feared tying the hands of the administration when dealing with an unpredictable and potentially hostile regime in Tehran.

This, plus the Cheney comments, are a clear sign that AIPAC is flexing its muscles on Iran.  It's disappointing to see political leaders buckling so quickly to such a powerful lobby in the service of such an immoral cause.  But the legislation on Iraq can still present obstacles to Bush and the Republicans.

And nothing will scare the Republicans more than putting up legislation that funds the troops, scales down the war, and restricts Bush's authority.  In related news, the web site for the Ditch Mitch movement in Kentucky launched, and the DSCC is softening up McConnell.

Americans hate this war, and they hate George Bush.

Tags: AIPAC, George Bush, Iran, Iraq (all tags)

Comments

33 Comments

I saw them

they were carrying around bags from the AIPAC conference.

it was silly and kinda scary at the same time.

by faithfull 2007-03-12 05:01PM | 0 recs
hah

beat you by 18 min big guy.

i'm not surprised tho. i'd like to frame this in a "money for the MIC" way instead of an "anti-AIPAC" way, however. AIPAC doesn't speak for israel any more than northrup or lockheed speak for america. at the bottom of all lobbying motivation is money, and i don't think this is any different. if "protecting israel" were really the goal, the AIPAC crowd would not have supported the iraq war, or any other war that breeds a new generation of haters of israel.

in the middle east, imperial adventures like the iraq war are understood by the 'arab street' as joint ventures between israel and the US. thus, invasions and occupations only decrease security in israel. but like here, the israeli MIC lobby is very powerful, and they have their own generation of neocon hacks who have careers solely because of their success in fooling people into believing what they do is for israel's benefit.

by chicago dyke 2007-03-12 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

 When I drove into my office building's parking lot this morning, I saw the Stars and Stripes and the flag of Virginia fluttering proudly on their poles.

 I didn't see any blue Stars of David on any white fields.

 Any US lawmaker who places Israel's interests ahead of America's is unfit to serve in office. Period.  

by Master Jack 2007-03-12 05:20PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

I think it is offensive to say that defense of Israel, the only democracy in the middle east and a true ally of the United States is "immoral"

by larrynj 2007-03-12 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

I stopped beating my wife a few days ago, thanks.

by Matt Stoller 2007-03-12 05:25PM | 0 recs
So what Larry Franklin did was A-OK?

by Phoenix Woman 2007-03-12 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

Lebanon had a democratically elected government until Israel, CondiLiar, and Bush destroyed.

The fact is that our officials and the military take an oath to defend the US Constitution, and not Israel's occupation agenda in the Middle East.

by fafnir 2007-03-13 06:56AM | 0 recs
Party like it's 2002


  The last time the Democrats gave Bush a blank check on the war, they rode it to smashing victories in the subsequent elections.

 And the war has worked out SO well, too...

 Heck, why not do it again? The DC consultants have it ALL figured out! Onward to victory!

by Master Jack 2007-03-12 05:22PM | 0 recs
Distraction ploy

They strip a certain provision from one bill, even as they work to get us out of Iraq.

If they were planning on attacking Iran, they wouldn't be working to get us out of Iraq.  

by Phoenix Woman 2007-03-12 10:07PM | 0 recs
Fund a mainstream Jewish, non-Likudnik ...

... organization please? Pretty please?

I know I've heard rumblings about it. But we need a fully operational battle station, soon -- there's no time to dawdle on this. AIPAC has had the microphone to itself for too long.

by Greg Greene 2007-03-12 05:27PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today
This is retarded. If AIPAC can get this provision removed, do they really believe they couldn't get those same lawmakers to vote for an attack on Iran? Even leaving aside the fact that a sober examination of the fact suggests Israel is not in imminent danger of attack from Iran, this makes no sense.
by Englishlefty 2007-03-12 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

Huh?  Not sure I understand you, but there's a world of difference between getting this provision stripped from a bill, and getting a majority in congress to specifically authorize a war with Iran.

The power to do the first does not imply the power to do the second.  

AIPAC might just want to make sure congress doesn't interfere, and Bush initiates the attacks absent any law saying he can't.  

by scientician 2007-03-12 09:52PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today
If politicians are willing to advocate to have this provision stripped, they're not willing to stop Bush attacking Iran. I don't see a real difference there.
by Englishlefty 2007-03-13 04:29AM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

This is what really scares me about Hillary - she'll be deep in AIPAC's pocket when it comes to Iran if she wins...

by brooklyngreenie 2007-03-12 06:53PM | 0 recs
Someday

Someday someone will figure out a way to pit AIPAC against the NRA.

by Disputo 2007-03-12 06:56PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

There is still the Webb bill.

by littafi 2007-03-12 07:27PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

yup.

by Phoenix Woman 2007-03-12 10:07PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

Our Congressmen better start thinking about what's best for THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND NOT ISRAEL.

If that makes me a bigot, so be it.

I'm tired of America getting into messes because of AIPAC. If Israel wants to attack Iran, they should be on their own. We have no business in Iran.

by rikyrah 2007-03-12 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

I'm just wondering, how does white-Liberals feel about the AIPAC's stronghold over the Democratic leadership? I'm asking, because everytime this issue comes up the "A" word comes up and all of the sudden the conversation gets muddy.

The interests of Israel arent the same as those of the United States.

by AnthonyMason 2007-03-12 07:59PM | 0 recs
True, but so?

"The interests of Israel arent the same as those of the United States."

Of course the interests of Israel aren't the same as those of the United States, but can you name any two countries that have identical interests? It's a true, but uninteresting thing to say and it implies that our interests are actually opposed. The truth is that's not the case. Israel, aside from being the only true democracy in the region, provides essential middle eastern intelligence, expertise on protecting us from terrorism (how we react to bomb threats needs some improving) and so on. I'm guessing you've heard all this before, so I don't need to bother going on...

by afertig 2007-03-12 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re: True, but so?
Agreed, but it's also the only nuclear-capable Middle Eastern state and very militarily capable. It just doesn't need so much support, it can look after itself 99% of the time and nobody, not even Ahmadinejad (who let's remember doesn't actually wield any authority in foreign policy terms), is going to be foolish enough to do the other 1% as America (and indeed most of the western world) would rightly crush them.
by Englishlefty 2007-03-13 04:32AM | 0 recs
Progressive Jewry

One of the many things that has bothered me has been the bizarre alliance of some Jews to hawkish, if not downright dangerous foreign policy. I have friends that work with AIPAC; they are not warmongers, but they are increasingly worried about Iran's increasing rhetoric, specifically when the leader of that nation says they want to wipe Israel off the map.

It worries me that I've met many young Jews who are progressive on a whole host of issues -- health care for all, gay rights, a woman's right to choose, labor, and so on -- but extremely in bed with the Bush Administration's foreign policy towards Israel and Iran because they are Jews.

There are many, many progressive Jewish organizations that are doing great work on numerous social justice issues. But what worries me is that oftentimes progressives cannot keep up with the money and influence that AIPAC wields. I would hate to think that there is an association being built between being hawkish and Jewish... I guess what I am trying to articulate is that progressive pro-peace Jews need to start standing up to AIPAC, while still standing up for the rights of Israel. We recognize that what is in the long term best interests of Israel is a true and lasting peace, not short-sighted support for stripping away the Constitutional power of Congress.

by afertig 2007-03-12 08:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive Jewry

"when the leader of that nation says they want to wipe Israel off the map"

Two things wrong with this:
1) Ahmadinejad is not the "leader" of Iran.  He doesn't control its military, or foreign policy, and if Iran had nukes, he wouldn't control them either.

2) That's not actually what he said.  Juan Cole, who speaks the language, translated the phrase as "vanish from the page in time" - "wiped off the map" is an idiomatic expression that doesn't exist in Iran.  It is a mistranslation by an AP wire person.  Vanish from the page in time (while not something Israelis might like) is comparable to the Soviet Union collapsing or some such.

That misquote has become a meme, and I'm sure many people sincerely believe that's what Ahmadinejad said.  Others spread it deliberately.  Either way, it might end up causing a war.

by scientician 2007-03-12 09:50PM | 0 recs
McJoan was calling you out tonight over at DKos

It's on the front page.

by Phoenix Woman 2007-03-12 10:09PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

It may have been wrong to say "the" leader. Perhaps I should have said "a" leader, as he has been the head of government since August 2005. Regardless of whether he himself controls the military, you cannot  deny that an adamant anti-Semite has a very high-level position in their government. Or am I getting the wrong Ahmadinejad?

Second, even if what you say is true that he didn't say that he wanted Israel "wiped off the map," and instead said that Israel should "vanish from the page in time," I'm not really sure what the difference is other than the idiom. It might just be my interpretation, but vanishing from time seems pretty akin to... not existing. So what's your point? That instead of saying that he wants Israel wiped off the map he wishes it had never existed and it should vanish altogether? I feel so much better.

by afertig 2007-03-12 10:15PM | 0 recs
by afertig 2007-03-12 10:16PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today
In context, particularly with the accompanying reference he made to the Soviet Union, it seemed to suggest a peaceful breakup of Israel. It's still not especially comforting for Israel, but it's a hope rather than a threat, it's unlikely to happen (what with Ahmadinejad being vastly unpopular for neglecting the only area he does have power in, internal affairs) and Israel's heard this rhetoric before and survived. No, it's not a good diplomatic place to be in, but when has Israel ever been in a good diplomatic place?
by Englishlefty 2007-03-13 04:36AM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

Agreed, Israel has never really been in a good diplomatic place. And by the way, I don't want people here to get the impression that I support Israel as a knee-jerk reaction or something like that. But come on -- a "peaceful breakup of Israel"? Give me a break.

And for those who have said that Israel can take care of itself, I just don't think that's true.

"As in previous years, Israel and Egypt are the biggest bilateral recipients under the request, accounting for nearly five billion dollars in aid between them. Of the nearly three billion dollars earmarked for Israel, most is for military credits."

by afertig 2007-03-13 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today
Israel has about 200 nukes. It has one of the world's best trained militaries, with a large amount of experience. It has top of the range military equipment, in many cases customised to make it even more effective. It has billions in aid. What's more, it wouldn't be Israel vs the entire Middle East, as in 1948, 1967 and 1973. It has much improved its relations with Egypt since then, Saudi Arabia wouldn't back an attack, Lebanon barely functions as a nation, Syria could be bought off with a bit of the Golan Heights even if it was silly enough to try to start a war, Jordan doesn't want an end to Israel because the Palestinians would cause more trouble for them and we all know the problem in Iraq. Which leaves Iran, which has a lot of rhetoric, but no way of getting to Israel, no great national enthusiasm for war with Israel and no nukes. Yes, it's a significantly more endangered position than just about any western democracy (only about 3 Muslim states recognise it diplomatically, I believe) but it's in a stronger position than any of its would-be adversaries. Even without the US stepping in, as it certainly would.
by Englishlefty 2007-03-16 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

Shouldn't the netroots be doing something about this?

by Reece 2007-03-13 05:18AM | 0 recs
I get flamed, then read posts like this

I get flamed hard for suggesting that Lieberman, an orthodox jew, may support the Iraq war because it takes pressure off of Israel at a time when it's military is weak and in need of overhaul.

Now I read here how powerful the AIPAC is, and how it can so dictate US policy.  Sounds like confirmation of my speculation, to me.  If it's not, what am I missing?  Seriously, I'd like to know.

by traveler 2007-03-13 08:49AM | 0 recs
Some of you have access I don't

to records of political contributions to Washington politicians.  Has anyone done an audit of Lieberman's haul from AIPAC relative to other politicians, and his subsequent voting record?  That would be some hard evidence either way.

by traveler 2007-03-13 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: AIPAC Started Lobbying Today

I dont want american soldiers dying because of the israel's interests.  I dont want america hostage to a middle east policy that favors israel over hundreds of millions of people....to the point where we have to go on threatening nations just for the sake of israel. I dont want aemrica spending $$ on israel, when our inner city schools are in shambles...and our healthcare system is a mess.  Of course, I know that to feel the way I do is considered borderline anti-semitic by lots of you....but what gives.

by AnthonyMason 2007-03-13 11:32AM | 0 recs

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