Thursday, August 13, 2015

From Ian:

Alan Dershowitz: Netanyahu emulates Churchill in trying to influence US policy to protect Israel
Does President Obama really believe that Israeli leaders are required to remain silent and simply accept the consequences of a deal that puts its population at risk? As Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly said, Israel is not Czechoslovakia, Czechoslovakia too was excluded from the negotiations that led to its dismemberment, but it had no ability to influence the policies of the negotiating nations. Nor did it have the ability to defend itself militarily, as Israel does.
The United States would surely not accept a deal negotiated by other nations that put its citizens at risk. No American leader would remain silent in the face of such a deal. Israel has every right to express its concern about a deal that has crossed not only its own red lines but the red lines originally proposed by President Obama.
President Obama’s attack on Prime Minister Netanyahu for doing exactly what he would be doing if the shoe were on the other foot has encouraged Israel bashers to accuse opponents of the deal of dual loyalty. Nothing could be further from the truth. I and the deal’s other opponents are as loyal to our country as is President Obama and the supporters of the deal. I am a liberal Democrat who opposed the invasion of Iraq and who twice supported President Obama when he ran for president. Many of the deal’s strongest opponents also cannot be accused of being warmongers because we believe that the deal actually increases the likelihood of war.
The President should stop attacking both the domestic and international critics of the deal and engage us on the merits. That is why I have issued a challenge to the Obama Administration to debate its critics on national television. This is a wonderful occasion for Lincoln-Douglas type debates over this important foreign policy issue. At this point in time the majority of Americans are against the deal, as are the majority of both Houses of Congress. The President has the burden of changing the public’s mind. This is, after all, a democracy. And the President should not be empowered to impose his will on the American public based on one-third plus one of one house of Congress, when a majority of Americans have expressed opposition. So let the name calling stop and let the debates begin.
Jpost Editorial: After Abbas
Yasser Arafat was not able to accept the generous offer made by then-prime minister Ehud Barak at the 2000 Camp David summit. Similarly, Abbas has failed on a number of occasions to make any form of concession to Israel.
And Abbas can only blame himself for the situation he faces today. He has done next to nothing during his long term as president to prepare his people for peace.
If anything he has been counterproductive. Official PA media outlets regularly refer to parts of Israel inside the Green Line as “occupied territories.” Palestinian officials – and many Arab MKs – reject the Jewish ties to sites resonating with Jewish history such as the Temple Mount, Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb.
The PLO ’s Hanan Ashrawi, a Christian whose co-religionists are persecuted throughout the Middle East, accused US President Barack Obama of adopting the “discourse of Zionist ideology” simply because Obama acknowledged the Jewish people’s deep roots in the Land of Israel.
Palestinian violence directed at Israelis is practically a daily phenomenon in the form of stone-throwing, firebombs and other deadly attacks – David Bar-Kappara, Danny Gonen and Malachi Rosenfeld were murdered by Palestinians in the last two months.
Yet precious little is heard from Palestinian leaders denouncing this violence. The incitement continues and streets and squares are named after terrorists.
There is little reason to expect this to change when Abbas finally fulfills his often repeated threat to resign. This sad reality may be the real obstacle to any chance of a resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Michael Totten: The Forward's Dispatch from Iran
Regardless, reporters should never take what police state apparatchiks say at face value, but Cohler-Esses does so more than once.
During the course of my conversations with several senior ayatollahs and prominent political and government officials, it became clear that there is high-placed dissent to the official line against Israel. No one had anything warm to say about the Jewish state. But pressed as to whether it was Israel’s policies or its very existence to which they objected, several were adamant: It’s Israel’s policies. Others, notwithstanding their ideological objection to a Jewish state, made it clear they would accept a two-state solution to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians if the Palestinians were to negotiate one and approve it in a referendum.
You really have to read between the lines on this stuff.
First of all, anyone and everyone in Iran who talks to an American journalist flanked by an official fixer and translator knows that every word they utter will be carefully read by the authorities. That’s as true for people inside the government as it is for people on the street. Authoritarian regimes install fear in everyone, including their own officials. Nobody wants to be purged. So who knows what they privately believe?
Second, political figures even in free countries lie to routinely lie to reporters and say what the intended audience wants to hear. And Iran’s official line right now to Western audiences is that the government is increasingly moderate, reasonable, and flexible. (That’s probably the only reason a reporter from The Forward was given a journalist visa in the first place.)
Anyway, it makes no sense that Iran only objects to Israeli policy. Iranian leaders routinely scream Death to Israel. They also routinely scream Death to America.
Hezbollah in Lebanon likewise shouts Death to Israel and Death to America, and Hezbollah likewise says it’s just objecting to American policies, but come on. The United States government objects to plenty of Mexico’s policies, but not even Donald Trump or Pat Buchanan begins meetings by screaming Death to Mexico or appears at any Death to Mexico rallies.
The United States doesn’t even have Death to Mexico rallies.



Distorting the Truth About Iran and Israel
No serious observer contends that the Iranian people, like any other group on the planet, all speak with one voice about any issue. Nor is it extraordinary to learn that some of them might express a wide range of views about Israel and the United States. But to contend that the existence of some level of dissent in Iran from the positions of its government shows that the country’s policies are changing or that it is not actively seeking the destruction of Israel is to tell a lie. That’s exactly what the New York Times did today when it published a story headlined, “Reporting from Iran, Jewish Paper Sees No Plot to Destroy Israel.” The “Jewish Paper” is the Forward, which dispatched reporter Larry Cohler-Esses to the Islamist state for a weeklong visit. Cohler-Esses’ story has something of the feel of the articles produced in the past by those who visit tyrannical states in the hope of producing favorable coverage intended to blunt the revulsions of the democratic world. But while there is much to criticize in the piece, it does not claim to prove that there is “no plot to destroy Israel.” That is entirely the Times’ invention. It demonstrates how the flagship of the mainstream liberal media will seize upon the pretext to back up President Obama’s false characterizations of Iran and its leadership as posing no real threat to Israel.
Coming to grips with the reality of the anti-Semitism and hate that is at the heart of Iranian foreign policy is a difficult problem for the administration. It has struck an agreement with Iran that, at best, merely postpones the moment when the Islamist regime will get a nuclear bomb while granting its nuclear program international approval. It also gives it a lucrative cash bonus in the form of perhaps $100 billion in unfrozen assets and the relaxation of sanctions that will enrich the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. The fact that this deal will give material aid to Iran’s terrorist campaign against Israel while leaving open the door to it eventually gaining the ability to wipe out the Jewish state with a nuclear weapon ought to trouble President Obama’s supporters. Some, like The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, struggle to justify the blithe assertions from Obama that Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is “just a politician.” Obama and Secretary of State Kerry treat Khamenei’s ideology, statements and even Iran’s history of acting on his murderous goals as unimportant. They believe the chance for détente with the West, which is obviously in Iran’s best interests will always override other considerations.
Goldberg wrongly claims there are no real alternatives to the Iran deal but, unlike Obama, he understands that concerns about Iran are not purely the function of fear but rooted in reality. Just as important, he is aware that by framing the argument about Iran as one between “Jewish special interests” and “the rest of the world,” the administration and its cheerleaders are empowering anti-Semites in the Middle East as well as possibly here at home. Unfortunately, Goldberg is too much a prisoner of his own liberalism and support for Obama’s vision to draw the proper conclusions from this or the flaws in the Iran deal. He thinks it would be a good idea if it made more of an effort to signal that it knows it is dealing with vicious anti-Semites and terror supporters. But that is exactly what Obama and Kerry can’t do because they are so wedded to their vision of détente with those anti-Semites.
The Judean People's Front: Iran Supports the Two-State Solution? Not So Fast
However, despite this "positive" report, when discussing his meeting with Grand Ayatollah Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili of Qom, not only did his son say that he has no understanding of the two state solution, but said that “This is an idea much discussed in the West, but not much here.” Ardebili was very clear in his opposition to the existence of Israel:
“We believe that the State of Israel must be changed, corrected and improved. And if that is not possible, and if the nature of the state does not allow for improvement, then the state must be destroyed.”
And while he may dress it up as opposition to policies, the specific policy he and the Iranian regime oppose is the ancient anti-Semitic canard of Jewish-infanticide:
The only way to achieve peace, he explained, was for the Israelis “to stop their cruelty against Palestinians.” Israel, he said, “kills children and proudly defends killing them.”
So how exactly is it that Cohler-Esses was able to report that so many Iranian officials and ayatollahs were willing to support a two-state solution? This seems like a very moderate, mainstream position that we would expect from any Western country. That is because this solution that is presented as moderate and reasonable means one thing to us and quite another to the Iranians. Remember where Cohler-Esses said that such an agreement would need the Palestinians to "approve it in a referendum?"
Obama Falsely Claims that Pro-Deal Iranians Support U.S.
Obama spoke last week at American University – the same place where President John F. Kennedy delivered perhaps his most famous speech, outlining a plan to curb nuclear arms (!) – and compared Iranian anti-American elements with Republicans.
"Just because Iranian hardliners chant 'Death to America' does not mean that that's what all Iranians believe," Obama said. "In fact, it's those hardliners … chanting 'Death to America' who've been most opposed to the deal. They're making common cause with the Republican Caucus."
Mauro points out that it is precisely many Iranian supporters of the deal who chant "Death to America." He brings several examples of Iranian moderates, that is, supporters of the nuclear deal, who favor this position.
For instance, the President of Iran himself, Hassan Rouhani, who is clearly a supporter of the nuclear deal, said in May 2013, "Saying ‘Death to America’ is easy. We need to express ‘Death to America’ with action." 
Clearly, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei supports the deal – and he said, just after it was signed, "Our policies toward the arrogant government of the United States will not be changed at all."  What are those policies, in his opinion? In March of this year, he said, "Of course, yes, Death to America."
Former Iranian President Rafsanjani, considered a moderate and a supporter of the nuclear deal, had;this to say about Israel and Islam, in 2001: "If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel…"
Zarif: Israel's 'Plot' Against Iran Has Been Defeated
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif boasted this week that an “Israeli plot” against Iran's nuclear agreement with the six world powers has been defeated.
According to the Iranian PressTV, Zarif made the remarks on Tuesday upon his arrival in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on the first leg of his regional tour.
He said the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in Vienna last month created a historic opportunity for the countries in the Middle East region to repel “dangerous threats” such as the Israeli regime and terrorism.
Zarif expressed hope that the conclusion of Iran's nuclear talks with the world powers would benefit the countries and nations in the region.
Zarif also specifically pointed to the Israel, terrorism, extremism and violence as the major challenges facing the countries in the Middle East, according to Press TV.
Iran has continued its rhetoric against Israel and the United States even after it signed the deal with Western powers.
IRGC officer: We laugh at Obama’s ‘ridiculous’ military threats
An adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called continued American threats of a military option against Iran “ridiculous” and laughable.
Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Asoudi, Khamenei’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards, said President Barack Obama’s insistence that Iran could still be confronted militarily should it shirk its obligations under the nuclear deal had become a joke to Iranian officials, the Fars news agency reported Wednesday.
“We should thank Obama for refreshing us by referring to his ‘Options On The Table,’ including the military one,” he said while addressing troops in the city of Shahroud. “We just relax and laugh at such ridiculous words.”
Iran to Flout UN Resolution, Hold Ballistic Missile Drills
Despite an annex in the UN adoption of the Iran nuclear deal calling on the Islamic regime to desist from nuclear-capable ballistic missile activity, Iran is planning to resume long-range ballistic missile drills in the coming months according to a key army commander.
Iranian Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced on Thursday that six specialized military drills testing domestic rocketry are to be held by next March, reports the semi-official Fars News Agency.
"The Ground Force will stage six war games," Pourdastan said, noting the first drill will take part in the western part of the country in the fall, followed by a second war game in the eastern part of Iran.
Significantly, he said that specialized missile drills will also be included in the war games.
There has been a push in the Iranian parliament to resume ballistic missile drills following the nuclear deal as a show of force and a military deterrent against the US and Israel. That push comes despite the fact that the ban on Iranian ballistic missile trade is only to be lifted after eight years according to the nuclear deal.
 New York Lawsuit for Victims of Terror Goes After Kerry, Lew and Unfrozen Iranian Assets
Israeli activist legal center Shurat Hadin and New York attorney Robert Tolchin filed a lawsuit at a New York district court asking for an injunction to halt the U.S. from releasing over $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets as part of the pending nuclear deal with Iran, the New York Observer reported on Tuesday.
The lawsuit names two dozen plaintiffs who were victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism between 1995 and 2006, and the State and Treasury departments as well as their current secretaries, John Kerry and Jack Lew, respectively, are listed as defendants. Kerry and Lew were crucial in framing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) with Iran that would release at least $56 billion in frozen Iranian assets in exchange for some restrictions and monitoring of Iran’s vexed nuclear program.
The plaintiffs together hold $1 billion in claims against the Iranian government, and apparently they fear the windfall cash destined for Iran upon implementation of the JCPoA will strip them of their best leverage for getting Tehran to pay up.
Tolchin was convinced that the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 ensured that the law was on the plaintiffs’ side; the law allows victims of terrorism to claim their compensation from blocked funds.
Joe Lieberman to head group opposed to Iran deal
Lieberman, the group said in a statement, “will play a key leadership role throughout UANI’s efforts to educate and inform the American public regarding the serious shortcomings of the Iran nuclear deal.”
“UANI is honored to have Senator Lieberman, a longtime UANI Advisory Board member and close friend, assume a leadership role at this critical time,” Wallace was quoted in the statement as saying. “Senator Lieberman’s foreign policy and national security expertise is highly respected and renowned around the world. We could have no better leader as the American people consider this flawed Iran agreement.”
The US Congress is expected to vote on the agreement by September 17. A fierce battle between the Obama administration and the pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is currently raging for Congressional votes on the matter.
So far, some three dozen House members, all Democrats, have announced support for the deal, along with nearly 20 Democratic senators. The most prominent opponent of the accord is Senator Chuck Schumer, who last week announced that he would vote against the deal.
MEMRI: Kuwaiti Columnist: The Gulf States' Real Enemy Is Iran; Israel Is A Friendly Country
In an article titled "A Prudent Enemy Is Better than An Imprudent One" in the Kuwaiti government daily Al-Watan, columnist 'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq wrote that the real enemy of the Gulf states is not Israel, whom he called "a friendly country," but rather Iran. He argued that Iran's Rule of the Jurisprudent regime is fascist, and that if it attains nuclear weapons it will not hesitate to use it against the Gulf states, whereas Israel, which has possessed such weapons for years, has never used them in its wars against the Arabs. Al-Hadlaq even called upon the Gulf states to sever their ties with Iran and form an alliance with Israel by strengthening their ties with it on the political, commercial and even military levels.
This is not the first time Al-Hadlaq has expressed concern regarding Iran and, conversely, support for Israel. In fact, his position led him to be included on a blacklist of Arab writers who espouse such views, published in 2009 by papers and websites that support the resistance axis.
Washington Post: Obama Attacks on Opponents Signal Weakness of Iran Deal Merits
President Barack Obama’s often-bitter attack strategy on the Iran nuclear deal has enfeebled the very merits of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action he has sought to defend before Congress, an editorial in the Washington Post said on Wednesday.
“By not sticking to the merits of the deal, Mr. Obama implies a lack of confidence in them,” wrote the Post‘s editorial board.
The editorial chided the president for attacking critics who believe the nuclear deal legitimizes Iran to become a nuclear threshold state while not demanding any sort of steps toward regional moderation up-front through “certitude” and ad hominem attacks, especially against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Republican caucus, which Obama compared to hardliners in Iran who also want to scuttle the deal.
The editorial noted that the president’s attacks against some Republicans was disingenuous, as he had warmly praised Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) just a few months back for being “sincerely concerned about this issue,” calling him a “good and decent man.”
The Post also rebuked the White House for vindictively turning its back on New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer — a likely contender to replace Harry Reid (D-NV) as Senate Democratic leader — encouraging Democrats to “deny him the job” after the senator penned a 1,700-word treatise on why he respectfully opposed the administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.
New campaign rallies millions of US Christians to urge Congress to kill Iran deal
A new campaign is working to rally millions of US Christians to call on Congress to nix the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. The campaign, which is led by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, warns that the Islamic Republic cannot be trusted and intends to destroy both the US and Israel.
The Fellowship urges Christians to sign an online petition and to send letters imploring their congressmen and senators to vote "no" on the nuclear deal. The campaign is accompanied by a video based on the Cold War-era "Daisy" TV advert used in Lyndon B. Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign.
In the Fellowship's modern-day version of this video, a little boy counts down as a girl runs and hides under a table, before a mushroom-shaped cloud follows the sound of an explosion. This is followed by a quote by Iranian President Rouhani calling for "death to America," and a subsequent message by the Fellowship's president Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein: "Tell Washington NO to a Nuclear Iran."
The campaign is being promoted across multiple media channels and has also distributed two million emails to the Fellowship’s Christian allies nationwide. According to the group, supporters have already responded from every Congressional district in the country to every member of the House and Senate, sending tens of thousands of letters, with thousands more signing petitions.
Only 4 Pro-Iran Deal Activists Show up at Brooklyn Town Hall
Supporters of the Iran deal were in short supply at a town hall-style meeting with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) Tuesday night.
Four supporters of the deal stood up during the question-and-answer portion of the evening and held homemade signs aloft urging passage of the deal. But their position in the room prevented those in the back from hearing the speakers on stage.
“Excuse me, could you please sit down? I can’t see the congressman,” one man asked the protesters.
“Sit down!” another urged.
After a brief confrontation, the protesters were asked to leave by security. But the incident was a footnote on what was otherwise a strong outpouring of anti-deal sentiment from the Mill Basin community.
A standing-room-only crowd of hundreds at the Flatbush Jewish Center cheered as Rep. Jeffries, who remains undecided on the deal, called Iran the leading sponsor of terrorism worldwide and vowed to do his part to never allow the country to build a nuclear bomb.
Pro-Iran Deal Activists Fail to Show at California Town Hall
Pro-Iran deal activists failed to show up at a town hall meeting for Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), despite the fact that it was advertised by a coalition of left-wing groups that is trying to rally support for President Barack Obama’s effort.
The meeting, at the Colfax City Council Chambers, was listed on the “60 days to stop a war” website, which is co-sponsored by the National Iranian American Council, a pro-Iran group; MoveOn.org, an anti-war organization; Daily Kos, a left-wing blog; and other left-wing groups.
Last week, President Obama held a conference call with left-wing activists, in which he urged them to”get loud and active” in support of the Iran deal. He warned them that he needed their support: “I can’t carry it by myself,” he told them.
Despite the president’s appeal, no one appeared in Colfax, and only two supporters of the Iran deal came to an earlier town hall meeting with LaMalfa in Grass Valley.
'Even supporters of the deal know Iran will break it'
"I don't understand how J Street people can claim they are pro-Israel," Shawn Evenhaim, the chairman of the board of the Israeli American Council, said this week in an interview with Israel Hayom.
"They are far from representing American Jewry, even though most American Jews vote for Democrats," he said.
Evenhaim, who lives in California, is currently visiting Israel, where he was born and raised. In mid-October, the IAC will hold its second annual conference, in Washington, D.C.
"More than 1,000 leaders from across the U.S. will be at the conference," Evenhaim said.
Israeli politicians set to attend the conference include National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud), Construction Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu), Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog and Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah.
Recent weeks have seen great tension between the U.S. and Israeli governments over the nuclear deal signed by world powers, including the U.S., with Iran. Evenhaim believes it is the IAC's duty to oppose the deal, which he said harms the security of both Israel and the U.S.
NYT’s Friedman: Israel should’ve worked with US for better Iran deal
Friedman criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach of trying to block the deal by pushing against US President Barack Obama’s policies, and said that the Israeli leader should instead have “hugged Obama” in order gain more access to the negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 world powers of US, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany.
Closer work with the US would have meant that “we didn’t just have a P5 but that Israel was the P6, so that Israel was effectively in the room through the US because of such a tight relationship.”
“I think we would have had a better deal and Israel would have had a better deal,” Friedman said. The current agreement is, he said, “a giant bet.”
“It’s a bet by the leader of Iran that the deal with be just transactional — ‘we’ll [the Iranians] do the deal, we’ll get our money’ — but that it won’t change the region. And it is a bet by Barack Obama that the deal with not be transactional, but transformational.”
“I am frightened for Israel,” he said. “It really is a bet and what I am trying to argue for is to increase the insurance on the bet by increasing our deterrence.”
Dr. Ben Carson: White House employing ugly tactics to sell a rotten Iran deal
By reducing a vitally important matter with life and death consequences to a partisan football the president is doing a disservice to the American people. For months the president and his secretary of state proclaimed that no deal was better than a bad deal. Today, a bad deal has been reached and they have changed their tune completely, saying that the only alternative to this deeply flawed agreement is war.
It is clear that the president and his team are in full campaign mode, demonstrating a steely resolve to jam through this misguided Iran deal at all costs. They are smearing those who dare to raise questions and employing a take no prisoners approach complete with bigoted dog whistles and malicious whisper campaigns that cynically divide our country. Just imagine how different things would be today if Obama and his negotiators had demonstrated a fraction of this tenacity at the negotiating table with the Iranians.
It’s not yet too late. Democrats in Congress must put policy above partisanship and reject this very bad deal. For everyone’s sake, I pray that they will ultimately decide to do what is right for the United States as opposed to what they are being told is right for their party’s leader.
During the coming weeks the American people should continue to demand a better deal with Iran that will dismantle Tehran’s nuclear program and strengthen, rather than threaten, our nation’s long-term security.
New ADL Chief: Charges Against Opponents of Iran Deal Create “Hostile Climate” For American Jews
The new national director of the Anti-Defamation League has said that he is “deeply troubled” by some accusations made against opponents of the nuclear deal with Iran, which he wrote “can foster a hostile climate for the American Jewish community.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, who formerly worked in the Obama White House, wrote an op-ed Wednesday for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) that criticized the rhetoric of both supporters and opponents of the deal, but specifically noted that supporters, including some members of the administration he used to work for, are attaching troubling stereotypes to opponents. He wrote that he was “deeply troubled” by those who called Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) a “traitor” for opposing the deal.
As the debate over the Iran deal has gone forward, the administration has at times waded into characterizations that in the eyes of many members of the Jewish community recall malicious accusations about Jews. References to money and the well-funded opposition, while factually accurate, resonate negatively in a Jewish community that has been targeted for centuries as using its wealth for sinister purposes. This anxiety only is bolstered when one realizes that no one has raised issues about the finances and organizations of the deal proponents.
Simon Wiesenthal Center criticizes ‘gutter level’ of debate on Iran deal
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper said that many on US President Barack Obama’s side who were lobbying for the deal had engaged in tactics that were “meant to bully and demean opponents – especially Jews.”
Cooper’s comments came as some American Jews have expressed reservations about the rhetoric that the Obama administration and its supporters have employed recently in addressing the agreement’s opponents. Jewish Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) has been among the targets, with one magazine running a cartoon accusing Schumer of being a “traitor” and portraying him as a woodchuck standing in front of an Israeli flag.
“I grew up during the Cold War, [which was a period] no less complex than today when it comes to the nexus of international diplomacy, nuclear proliferation, trade, human rights, Jewry and anti-Semitism,” Cooper said.
“Debates back then were hot, often harsh, but never reached the gutter level of what Senator Schumer and other opponents to the Iran deal are confronting today,” he continued. “In fact, on baseline issues of human rights and the anti-Semitic Soviet campaigns, there was a solid bipartisan consensus.”
While he said it was understandable that Obama wanted to rally his base, “especially among progressives, some of whom have contempt for the Jewish state on a quiet day,” Cooper took issue with the charges that such groups have leveled against opponents, particularly Jewish ones – such as having the same mind-set as the Revolutionary Guard, or being in the pocket of special interest groups like AIPAC.
“Such tactics will back-fire,” he asserted.
Group of heavyweight Hollywood Jews expresses public support for Iran deal
A group of Jewish Hollywood movers and shakers has thrown its hat into the ring of public debate and has come out in support of the Iran nuclear deal that has caused fissures in the American Jewish community.
Calling themselves "American Jewish supporters of Israel," 98 prominent members of Los Angeles' Jewish community who are mostly linked to Hollywood signed a letter that will appear as a full-page ad in Thursday's L.A. Jewish Journal in which the group urges Congress to approve the agreement because it is in the "best interest of the United States and Israel," according to the Hollywood Reporter.
"We appreciate that many have reasonable concerns about the risks of a complex nuclear weapons development agreement with an untrustworthy adversary like Iran," the letter stated. "We too hold these concerns, but the deal that was reached is not founded on trust; it is grounded in rigorous inspections and monitoring."
Among the lead signatories of the ad are billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad, superstar architect Frank Gehry and TV writer-producer Norman Lear, according to HR.
Other signatories included Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, film producers Lawrence Bender and Mike Medavoy and Game of Thrones executive producer Carolyn Strauss.
The group writes that killing the deal would be a "tragic mistake."

Europeans Rush to Profit from Iran Deal
Middle East expert Ilan Berman points out that for Iran, trading with Europe is actually the perfect self-defense, a virtual guarantee that it will not face military attack if it cheats on its obligations under the nuclear deal.
Sanctions will also be lifted on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's $95 billion business empire, as well as on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which operates a vast network of companies and industries. No wonder European media outlets are referring to Iran as the "new El Dorado," the "chance of a century," and the "last untapped market."
"Conducting business with the Iranian regime means to finance the nuclear program, the annihilation threats against Israel, Holocaust denial, the export of Islamist terror and the oppression of the Iranian population." — Stop the Bomb, Austria.
"Everyone is looking at Iran with greed." — Senior French official.
Switzerland first to lift Iran sanctions after nuclear deal
Just one month after the signing of the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran, Switzerland has officially removed sanctions on Iran in what it called a sign of support for the deal.
Switzerland's governing Federal Council decided Wednesday to lift a ban on precious metals transactions with Iranian state entities and end requirements to report trade in Iranian petrochemical products and transport of Iranian crude oil, among other measures. The sanctions had already been suspended in January 2014.
The Swiss government, which also cited its "interest in deepening bilateral relations with Iran," said it reserves the right to reimpose them if implementation of the nuclear deal fails.
Other Western countries have yet to lift sanctions on Iran, pending verification that it is complying with the nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Damascus on Wednesday and met with Syrian President Bashar Assad. The two discussed the ongoing civil war in Syria and a four-point proposal Iran wants to offer to the United Nations as a way to end the strife in Syria.
Iran touts revival of stalled Pakistan pipeline
The Iranian foreign minister said Thursday that he has discussed the possibility of resuming work on a stalled Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline during his current visit to Islamabad.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, who arrived in the Pakistani capital on Thursday, was speaking after meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other officials.
The gas pipeline project was designed to help Pakistan meet its energy needs, but Washington for years had opposed it because of concerns over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Zarif said he hoped that a landmark nuclear deal reached with world powers last month could pave the way for the resumption of work on the project.
Iran has invested over $2 billion in the project, but Pakistan has yet to finish construction on its half of the pipeline.
Briefing congressmen on Iran deal concerns, PM provides no ‘Aha!’ moment
On Sunday, Netanyahu hosted a group of 22 Democrats headed by House Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Maryland). On Wednesday, he met with 36 Republican lawmakers led by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA).
“He did not tell us how to vote,” McCarthy, who is on the record opposing the deal, told Israeli reporters Thursday in Jerusalem. “He’s much like every leader of every other country, [who] convey what they see.”
Earlier this week, Hoyer — who has not yet announced how he’s going to vote — said Netanyahu made his case in a “respectful” and “moderate” fashion. “He understands that the decision is up to the members of the House that owe their judgment to their constituents,” Hoyer told the Haaretz daily after the prime minister’s meeting with the Democratic legislators.
“He didn’t tell them to vote one way or another,” said Hoyer, “but it was clear he hopes they will vote against the agreement because it is a bad deal that will allow Iran to have a path to a nuclear bomb in 13 years. He said, ‘It is not my place to tell you how to vote. It is up to you — but my opinion is…’”
New York Jews Strongly Oppose Iran Nuclear Pact, Poll Shows
Fifty-three percent of New York City Jews oppose the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, a poll by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut revealed on Tuesday, underlining growing opposition to the landmark agreement pursued by the Obama administration.
Only 33% of Jewish respondents in New York said they supported the nuclear deal with Iran that would unfreeze billions in assets for the regime in Tehran in exchange for some restrictions and monitoring of the country’s nuclear program.
New York Republicans represented the most polarized group, with a full 70% saying they opposed the deal, while 15% said they supported it.
Although New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, announced his opposition to the deal last week, only 33% of New York Democrats said they opposed the deal, according to the survey. Forty-three percent were in favor and 24% said they did not know enough about the deal to make up their minds.
Among the five boroughs, Staten Island was most opposed, with 76% rejecting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is officially known, and only 11% in favor.
Republicans Less Sure of Votes Against Iran Deal
Republican senators, including some vociferously opposed to the Iranian nuclear deal, are now less confident they will be able to overcome a veto by US President Barack Obama of a resolution removing US sanctions against Iran.
"I still believe the president will have enough votes to sustain a veto," Arizona Republican junior Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said in an interview.
That the Senate will be able to pass a bill supporting the sanctions and opposing the Iran deal is not in question, Flake believes, but overriding a presidential veto of the bill is another question, he said.
Just last week, senior Arizona Senator John McCain said that that he was “confident” there were 60 Senate votes against the deal. Although he was less positive about getting the 67 votes needed to override a veto, he was encouraged by the prospect of New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and other Democrats voting to keep sanctions.
This week, however, a number of Democratic senators have declared their support for the Iran deal, putting the prospect of a veto override further out of reach, Flake believes.
White House Doesn't Want To Let Pentagon Release Report On Russia's Violations Of Nuclear Treaty
The White House is interfering with release of a Pentagon report that assesses risks involved in Russia’s breach of the 1987 Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Some lawmakers in Congress want the assessment to be released, so they can begin to address treaty violations through legislative countermeasures. GOP Rep. Mike Rogers became aware of the report’s existence last month and has since been pushing for its release, but despite his best efforts, it still “seems to stay tied up in the White House,” the Washington Free Beacon reports.
“As we look to the near-term future, we need to consider how we’re going to respond to Russia’s INF violations,” Rogers said, according to the Free Beacon. “Congress will not continue to tolerate the administration dithering on this issue.”
It’s no secret that the United States believes Russia has violated the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. A Department of State report released in early June determined that Russia continues to brazenly ignore the treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.
Kerry Warns Israel That If They Oppose Iran Deal, He Will Personally Deliver 10,000 Electric Bikes to Tel Aviv (satire)
United States Secretary of State John Francis Kerry issued a chilling ultimatum to Israel earlier today according to credible sources. Per these sources, in a closed-door session Kerry informed Israel’s Ambassador Ron Dermer that if Israel continued to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, that Kerry would personally deliver 10,000 electric bikes to downtown Tel Aviv. “10,000 effing bikes, Ron. You think I’m bluffing? C-17 baby. I can bring all the electric bikes I want” Kerry continued, “I will personally hand out these bikes. Then just try walking down the sidewalk or crossing the street….. But I’m not finished. You cross me and my Embassy will sponsor a week-long 24/7 matkot tournament . With mizrahi pop music. Lots and Lots of mizrahi pop music. How you like them apples, Ron?” Kerry went on to promise that if Israel continues to oppose the deal, he would kick off the matkot tournament, give away the electric bikes by hand, and then go windsurfing.
In Support of Iran Deal, 29 Top Nuclear Scientists Say Death by Nuke Relatively Painless (satire)
In a letter endorsing President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, 29 of America’s leading nuclear scientists vowed that death by nuclear annihilation is generally quick and painless.
“After reading the agreement cover to cover and hearing from both critics and proponents of the deal, we can confidently say that having a nuke dropped on your city is a relatively peaceful way to go,” the letter read. “You’ll be gone before you realize what’s happened.”
“While those within the explosion’s air blast radius will die nearly instantaneously, citizens in the radiation radius will experience severe burns and will likely suffer for days or weeks,” the letter states. “However, as long as people make sure they are either within 0.7 kilometers of the detonation or beyond 2 kilometers from the blast point, they will be able to avoid a slow, painful death.”
The ringing of endorsement of the scientists is expected to give a boost to Obama’s efforts to win Congress’ support for his agreement, though several senators have expressed apprehension over their constituents being instantaneously reduced to ash.
“Some warmongers keep insisting that there’s a better deal to be had,” President Obama said, shaking his head. “But they have yet to offer an alternative, less painful way for the Iranians to achieve their goal of ‘Death to America.’”


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