AIPAC is trying to stay out of sight, but it will be worth watching the CPMAJO’s daily alert

White House to Congress: Help protect Israel
Jonathan Allen, Politico, Sep 1 2013

If you wish to read the CPMAJO’s Daily Alert, there’s no difficulty, just go here. It’s bizarre that James Petras never bothered to give a link, since he talked about this damn thing all the time. Anyway, it’s clearly very excited about being able to jerk off over Syria – RB

The Obama administration is using a time-tested pitch to get Congress to back military strikes in Syria: It will help protect Israel. Israel’s enemies, including Iran and Hezbollah, could be emboldened if Congress fails to approve action against the Assad regime, senior administration officials said Saturday. And for the second day in a row, Obama publicly cited the threat against Israel if Assad’s reported use of chemical weapons goes unchecked. Obama said Saturday in the Rose Garden:

It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.

Jackass Kerry also referred to Israel repeatedly as he made the rounds on all five major Sunday morning news shows, as well as comparing Assad to Adolf Hitler. Jackass told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace:

I think the stakes of upholding the international standard of behavior that has been in place since 1925, after WW1, that only Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein have breached that in time of war since then, and now Assad joins them, I think to contemplate that the Congress of the US would turn its back on Israel, on Jordan, on Turkey, on our allies in the region, turn its back on innocent Syrian people who have been slaughtered by this gas and those who yet may be subject to an attack, I can’t contemplate that the Congress would turn its back on all of that responsibility and the fact that we would have in fact granted impunity to a ruthless dictator to continue to gas his people.

The White House will need every vote it can get on the Syria resolution, and the senior administration officials left little doubt that Israel would be a point of emphasis in private discussions with members of Congress. The Capitol is filled with strong supporters of Israel who understand the argument, one of the officials said. But Israel’s security is a political razor blade that could cut both ways. As Obama has weighed potential military action, the politics of Israel’s interests have become more delicate. The prospect of strikes against Syria triggering reprisals from Iran and Hezbollah is real enough to bolster the case against authorizing the president to use force, too, congressional insiders say. Devin Nunes, a member of the House Intelligence Committee who has spent time in the region, said:

You’re going to see people arguing the exact opposite. An Israel play could really backfire.

Rand Paul raised similar questions shortly after Kerry spoke on Sunday’s news shows, saying on NBC’s Meet the Press:

I would ask Jackass: do you think if it’s more likely or less likely that we’ll have less refugees in Jordan, or if Israel will suffer an attack?

Even a convincing case that Israel’s security depends on US intervention in Syria might not be enough to overcome what Capitol Hill sources say is significant opposition to the president’s proposal for using military force against Assad. Washington’s pro-Israel lobby, typically highly critical of the Syrian regime, has been publicly silent in recent days, and Netanyahu has asked officials in his government not to speak about possible US intervention in Syria. Former Israeli Deputy Ambassador to the US Dan Arbel told Politico earlier this week:

Everyone is in a wait-and-see mode about where this is all leading. The fact is, right now, the picture is not so clear.

Indeed, AIPAC wrote on its website Thursday that the Syrian crisis underscored the need to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions, delicately sidestepping the question of whether Obama should strike Assad. A senior House Democratic aide said:

The success of the administration’s case that intervening benefits Israel will turn on the reactions of the leading Jewish Congress critturs, and what the rest hear from pro-Israel groups in their communities. It doesn’t have to be AIPAC writ large, but the local AIPAC lay leaders that they have personal relationships with need to be validating. The Israel angle only has a major impact if it’s getting validated from others.

House leaders are likely to use prominent Jewish members who are hawkish on Israel as a bellwether. That group includes Henry Waxman, Eliot Engel, Steve Israel, Ted Deutch, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Brad Schneider. Engel announced on Friday that the administration had convinced him it was appropriate to make punitive strikes against Assad, though he had been pretty clearly in the camp favoring action before that. Engel said on NBC’s Today:

We cannot stand idly by. If we stand idly by, then every despot in the world thinks they can commit war crimes and no one will do anything.

Jan Schakowsky, a leader in the progressive caucus who is Jewish, released a statement Saturday night praising Obama for seeking congressional approval for the use of force in Syria. But she stopped short of endorsing his authorization measure. She said:

We need to determine the best way to respond to the heinous use of chemical weapons in Syria and how we can act effectively to protect civilians from further massacres.

The true test, congressional sources said, may have much less to do with the politics of Israel than district-by-district domestic politics for lawmakers who are both weary and wary of war. Nunes, who opposes the use-of-force resolution because he believes Obama has not articulated a clear military objective, said:

At this point, it seems to be fairly far-fetched that there would be even close to enough votes to authorize.

Or as the Democratic aide put it:

The critturs are going to get the shit kicked out of them at home this week. This is going to be a really hard vote for people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.