Bibi and 47 Senators Strike Dark Discordant Note

by James M. WallScreen-Shot-2015-03-11-at-5.01.01-PM

A week before Prime Minister Netanyahu’s March 3 campaign speech to the U.S. Congress, Secretary of State John Kerry warned the Congress that the Israeli leader was up to his old tricks.

Not only did the Israeli leader shamefully interfere in delicate U.S. foreign negotiations, he also inspired an embarrassing ill-informed letter from 47 senators to “Iranian leaders”, designed to undermine President Obama’s negotiations with Iran.

With the encouragement of AIPAC, the letter was circulated by newly-elected Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, shown above on the left standing with Bill Kristol, an important figure in the neocon drive to support President Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, now considered one of the nation’s major foreign policy disasters.

Unfazed by the Iraqi debacle, Kristol remains a zealot for U.S. militarism. He now has a new protege with whom he can swing his weight around the halls of Congress. With a massive financial push from Kristol late in the 2014 campaign, Cotton won an upset victory over Arkansas’ Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Pryor.

Over the previous decade, Cotton and Kristol developed a bond derived from a common brand of  conservatism and a desire to remake Washington in the neocon image. Kristol raised close to one million dollars to help then-representative Cotton defeat Pryor.

Kristol’s successful funding effort also guaranteed that Cotton would have the support of the four biggest funders of major anti-Iran organizations.

Huffington Post reports on those funders:

“In the past four years, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have emerged as the preeminent funders of the Republican Party through a network of super PACs and nonprofit groups. At the same time, they have been among the biggest funders of groups that oppose any deal with Iran over that country’s nuclear program.

Along with Adelson, there are three other donors who fund both anti-Iran groups and the Republican Party’s super PAC infrastructure: hedge fund directors Paul Singer and Seth Klarman, and Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus.

These four right-wing, pro-Israel donors gave a combined $11.5 million to some of the biggest opponents of the Iran negotiations from 2011 through 2013, and pumped $115 million into Republican Party super PACs in the 2012 and 2014 elections.of major anti-Iran organizations.”

Newly-elected Senator Cotton and neocon leader Bill Kristol are now doing the work of AIPAC, and their pro-Israel, anti-Iran funders, standing with a foreign leader on a foreign policy issue against their own president. 

In the process they have pulled 47 Republican senators into their scheme. Some of those senators are expressing doubt over their decision to sign a letter they had quickly read and endorsed.

Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, once a highly respected foreign policy-oriented senator, actually pointed to the approaching snow storm as an excuse to move so quickly on a matter of such importance. 

In his testimony before that U.S. House Oversight Committee in 2002, Bibi Netanyahu told  members of the Committee:

“If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.  .  .   The task and the great opportunity and challenge is not merely to effect the ouster of the regime, but also to transform the region.”

John Kerry’s response to that disastrously wrong assertion, “we all know what happened with that decision.”

Mondoweiss’ Philip Weiss has written: 

“Kerry’s criticism links Netanyahu implicitly with the neoconservatives who pushed the war to transform the Middle East, and makes all but explicit the idea that the neocons pushed the war out of concern for Israel’s security.”

In the video clip below, Netanyahu’s 2002 testimony before the House Committee  sounds ominously like the speech he delivered to Congress earlier this month.

In this video, the man sitting behind Netanyahu, visible over the Prime Minister’s left shoulder, appears to be a younger Ron Dermer, a former Republican operative from Florida.

Dermer, currently Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., gave up his U.S. citizenship in order to enter government service in Israel. His latest political coup was to arrange Netanyahu’s speech to Congress through Republican Speaker John Boehner.

Gareth Porter, whose most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, writes in Anti-War:

“The views that Cotton and the other Republicans have espoused on Iran were the product of assiduous lobbying by Israeli agents of influence using the inducement of promises of election funding and the threat of support for the members’ opponents in future elections.

Those members of Congress don’t arrive at their positions on issues related to Iran through discussion and debate among themselves. They are given their marching orders by AIPAC lobbyists, and time after time, they sign the letters and vote for legislation or resolution that they are given.”

Former AIPAC lobbyist M.J. Rosenberg has concluded “Nothing happens on Capitol Hill related to Israel, unless and until Howard Kohr (AIPAC chief) wants it to happen. Nothing.” 

Tuesday, March 17, Israeli voters will render their verdict on the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu.  Under Israel’s election system, the jury will remain out until the competing parties agree on the next Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud Party continues to run second in the polls against the Zionist Union, the center-left joint slate led by the Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni,  

Likud and Zionist Union will then bargain with smaller parties to determine which political coalition will select the next prime minister. 

It could be Netanyahu again, even if he runs second in the final results. If the Herzog-Livni coalition is successful, they have already announced that they will rotate the office of Prime Minister.

Whatever the final outcome, AIPAC will be standing by, awaiting its marching orders.

About wallwritings

From 1972 through 1999, James M. Wall was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, lllinois. He was a Contributing Editor of the Century from 1999 until July, 2017. He has written this blog, wall, since it was launched April 27, 2008. If you would like to receive Wall Writings alerts when new postings are added to this site, send a note, saying, Please Add Me, to Biography: Journalism was Jim's undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. He is an ordained United Methodist clergy person. He served for two years in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF reserve. While serving on active duty with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years. James M Wall died March 22, 2021 at age 92. His family appreciates all of his readers, even those who may have disagreed with his well-informed writings.
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4 Responses to Bibi and 47 Senators Strike Dark Discordant Note

  1. AWAD PAUL SIFRI says:

    Jim, thanks for expertly putting together the pieces of the puzzle. You have clearly demonstrated how, between AIPAC and Israel, and many of our “mercenary” US Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen, the “occupation” of primary US foreign policy matters by extremist “Neo-Cons” is complete.
    It is pitiful that none have been phased by their continuing disaster in Iraq. No lessons learned.
    And they want to follow it with a sequel in Iran that will be a hundred times more disastrous and explosive, primarily aimed to support Israel’s tyrannical occupation of Palestine?
    Yes, ALL roads lead to Palestine.
    The Zionist extremist fundamentalist barbarians, wearing suits and ties, with fingers on buttons, have not only led to the deliberate, pre-planned, pre-determined destruction of Iraq; they “own” the genocide of 1.5 Million Iraqis – including 500,000 thousand children – that they have perpetrated through their inhumane, imposed sanctions on Iraq, even before their invasion in 2003 to add well over 100,000 mostly civilians slaughtered, and hundreds of thousands who have been injured and maimed.
    And this is even before we count our own treasured American lives that have included several thousands killed and over 30,000 injured and maimed for life, and many more with various degrees of mental health problems and disabilities that affect untold thousands of families.
    This is what the WORLD sees, but our own mainstream is forbidden to see, hear, or learn about it.
    This alone is a huge, gigantic barrier that faces our “pundits” to “win the hearts and souls”. Had it not been so tragic, it would have been a dark joke, indeed.

    And all this is but a partial list, before we start counting what happens next in Iran.

  2. Fred says:

    Our congress mideast policy is run by AIPAC and other Israel firsters, like Sheldon Adelson with their huge funds of money. Sheldon Adelson is a multi billionaire who said his only interest is what;s good for Israel. These individuals and the congresspeople who vote for Israeli interests are disloyal to our nation and don’t belong in Congress.
    Unless we get this bribery out of our political system, we will remain a plutocracy, and the Israel Firsters will control our mideast policies.

  3. J. Martin Bailey says:

    This excellent report needs widespread distribution. I hope that it will be circulated by progressive persons who clearly are seeking ways to tell this story for what it is: meddling in the democratic process of our government through a variety of well-sharpened tools: lobbying, including payola to congress persons, propaganda, carefully managed news, and well-funded organizations (to mention only a few). We desperately need to develop methods of getting information like this before the electorate.
    It seems possible that Netanyahu has angered so many thoughtful Israelis that he will lose ground in the upcoming Israeli elections. But even if he loses, the big dollars are there to influence Congress and play all the strings of the instrument that is the dysfunctional U.S. Congress now dominated by a party that wishes to turn the clock back.

  4. Samia Khoury says:

    Thanks Jim for this excellent exposure of how Israel is able to influence the US foreign policy to suit the vested interests of Israel despite the disastrous effect on the US itself. How can a country that considers itself a super power and claims a democratic system be taken for a ride one time after the other. Did not Netanyahu’s latest speech to the congress ring a bell and bring back the memory of his testimony regarding Iraq which you so appropriately included via a theatrical video in your article. Once again he was pulling wool over the eyes of the congress, making them forget that his ill advice many years ago brought disaster to the American families whose young people served in that war, as well as to the whole region which has not seen an end to the suffering up to this day. With money playing such a crucial role in American politics, it is not surprising that those senators would be willing to stand with a foreign leader on a foreign policy issue against their own president. What a shame!!!!

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