Monday, February 10, 2014

AIPAC Gives Cover To Democrat Senators On Having To Take A Position on Iran Sanctions Bill

There have been two great stalwart Jewish organizations established decades ago doing yeoman's work in two areas: 1. fighting anti-semitism and discrimination of all types and supporting human rights in America and around the world; and 2. in supporting the state of Israel and making sure the ties between Israel and America remain forever strong.   These two organizations have been in the news recently, I submit taking a different tact. 

First let me tell you about these two great organizations: The ADL and AIPAC

ADL is the Anti-Defamation League.  From the ADL web site: "The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all."  Now the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.

AIPAC, The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was formed in 1951.  From the AIPAC  web site:"The mission of AIPAC is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of Israel and the United States."  AIPAC calls themselves America's pro Israel lobby.

I first want to praise these two great organizations for all the work they have done on behalf of the Jewish people and the state of Israel.  

In recent years, though, it seemed to me that these organizations have forgotten their bi-partisan nature and become closely more aligned with the Democrat Party.  That trend seemed to have magnified with the election of Barack Obama as president. That is why recently I was pleasantly surprised and proud of the actions of one organization [the ADL] and sadly disappointed with the other organization [AIPAC]

About a week ago, this blog praised the ADL and chairman Abe Foxman for their gutsy stand in support of Israel when they criticized the Secretary of State John Kerry in his foolhardy statement to Israel that non action by Israel [i.e., submitting to taking steps that would hurt their security in order to further peace talks with the Palestinians] could lead the way to more boycotts and sanctions against Israel.  The administration has attacked those criticizing Secretary Kerry saying he was not saying that he supported boycotts against Israel as the US is totally against boycotts against Israel.  But the administration [through secretary Kerry] doesn't get it.  Kerry's words gave an excuse to every hater of Israel to go on strongly with their anti Israel global BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement.  In other words, just by Kerry announcing those words, it would surely lead to more boycotts against Israel.  Thank God the ADL, in the strongest terms, condemned Kerry's remarks.  As a Jew I was so proud of them.  As such I praised them in this article last week: Thank You ADL For Speaking Out On Behalf Of Israel

Now we come to AIPAC which has taken a different tact.

This from the algemeiner: "In a sharp about turn, AIPAC, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, has now backed the White House in its call to delay a Senate vote on new sanctions against Iran while the U.S. and world powers negotiate with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program."  "In a statement released on the heels of an extensive speech by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), calling on both sides of the Iran sanctions debate to soften their positions, AIPAC said, “We agree with the Chairman that stopping the Iranian nuclear program should rest on bipartisan support and that there should not be a vote at this time on the measure.”    

AIPAC has sided with the Democrat Menendez' postion, that while they strongly support the Iran sanctions bill, a vote should not be held [only at this time it is said-but in reality that time may never come or worse, come too late] in order to garner bipartisan support.  Let me translate that for you.  A vote on this bill now would pass by a wide margin [proof-it has 58 co-sponsors], but it would embarrass the Democrats because it would receive almost unanimous support from Republicans in the senate but get minority support from the Democrats in the senate.  

By taking this stand of not wanting a vote on the Iran sanctions bill, AIPAC is diminishing its supposed bi-partisan nature by giving cover to the Democrats in the Senate so as not to make them take a stand against the president.  I submit they should have come out in support of a vote on the bill that they strongly support.  The bill would have passed and then when the president vetoed the bill, AIPAC could  have lobbied [on Israel's behalf] the senate to make sure the senate overrode the president's veto.  They obviously didn't want to have to do that.  But if they didn't want to at least take that gutsy stand, they could have just remained silent on the issue of when the vote should have been held.  That way, at least, they could have maintained their bi-partisan position.   By supporting the Democrats  stance not to take a vote on the bill, they have de facto taken a partisan stand.

From the Huffington Post: "
WASHINGTON -- It took a presidential veto threat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's refusal to budge, but it appears a contentious Iran sanctions bill has been laid to rest.
"The sanctions bill is on ice while the diplomatic process plays out," said a senior Senate Democratic aide. "The fact that cosponsors of the bill are now publicly distancing themselves from the measure shows just how hasty and ill-conceived this effort has been."
Another Senate Democratic leadership aide wouldn't go so far as to call the legislation dead, but conceded, "Its forward momentum has been stopped and even reversed."
Both aides requested anonymity in order to speak candidly.
The bipartisan bill had been gaining steam over the past two months, picking up a whopping 58 cosponsors -- including 15 Democrats."  

Think of that, there were 43 Republican senators co-sponsoring the bill [almost all] and only 15 Democrats co-sponsoring the bill.  That is the real reason AIPAC did an about face in wanting to not have a vote on the bill now.  There were obviously enough votes to pass the bill, but not enough votes by the Democrats to keep them from being embarrassed regarding their stance on sanctions.

AIPAC has said their position has been mis-characterized.  They say that they have and still strongly support sanctions on Iran and the Iran sanctions bill.  Yes, I agree with that and truly believe that AIPAC strongly supports the Iran sanctions bill in the United States Senate. 

The problem is, they don't want a vote on the bill.  So, supporting a bill but not wanting a vote on that same bill renders their support meaningless.  That is sad and disappointing to some of its supporters like me, who want AIPAC to remain the great strong bi-partisan lobby group on behalf of Israel.  I have respected and admired AIPAC in the past, and hope to do so in the future.  It makes it hard, though when they take partisan stands like this. 

I am asking AIPAC and those who support AIPAC's stance in delaying a vote on the Iran sanctions bill to be intellectually honest in answering the following question:  If there were 53 Democrat senators in support of an Iran sanctions bill, but only 10 Republican senators in support of the bill, and the Democrats were about to bring up the bill for a vote, would AIPAC oppose having a vote on that bill in order to gain bi-partisan support?      
Please think about that.

God Bless America!    God Bless Israel! 

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