Statement by William Kristol, Chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, on the withdrawal of Democratic support for a vote on the Senate Iran sanctions bill:
We commend 42 Senators for their strong letter demanding a vote on S. 1881, the bipartisan Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, which has been cosponsored by more than half of the Senate. The bill is simple and reasonable. It would reimpose existing sanctions suspended under the interim agreement if Iran cheats; it would ensure that a final agreement requires Iran to dismantle its illicit nuclear infrastructure; and it promises to impose additional economic sanctions in the future should Iran fail to agree to a final deal that dismantles its nuclear infrastructure.
As the Senators put it in their letter to the Majority Leader, “Now we have come to a crossroads. Will the Senate allow Iran to keep its illicit nuclear infrastructure in place, rebuild its teetering economy and ultimately develop nuclear weapons at some point in the future?”
The answer to this question must be no. The Senate should act now to deliver that answer. It would be nice if there were universal bipartisan support for acting now to stop a nuclear Iran. But there apparently is not. And it would be terrible if history's judgment on the pro-Israel community was that it made a fetish of bipartisanship -- and got a nuclear Iran.
Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released "Double Talk," a 30-second TV ad that will begin airing this weekend in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's congressional district.
The ad highlights Wasserman Schultz's attempt to deceive her constituents by portraying herself as a staunch supporter of Iran sanctions -- even as news reports confirm she is working behind the scenes to kill bipartisan House and Senate measures that endorse new sanctions should talks with Iran fail.
The spot will air multiple times on cable news and Sunday political shows in South Florida over the next several days.
Emergency Committee for Israel executive director Noah Pollak said, "Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is trying to play her pro-Israel constituents for fools -- telling them she supports Iran sanctions while she's hard at work in Washington trying to kill bipartisan House and Senate measures for the most partisan of reasons."
Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released the following statement on the announcement that the P5+1 had reached an agreement with Iran on implementing the November, 2013 Geneva Agreement:
Who says President Obama isn't tough?
With today's announcement of an implementation agreement with Iran,
President Obama has shown a willingness to be tough in confronting the
pro-Israel majority in Congress, threatening to veto any legislation
that would punish Iranian deception or prevent the White House from
acquiescing to a bad deal with Iran.
With Iran, on the other hand, Obama is willing to accept an agreement
that weakens even the original bad deal he announced two months ago.
It is a deal that guarantees a permanent Iranian nuclear weapons
capability and grants a new concession by allowing Iran to continue
developing ever more advanced centrifuges during the talks. It is a
deal that, as Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister boasted today, rolls back
nothing and means Iran "can return to the previous situation within a
We urge Senator Reid to allow a vote on the Menendez-Kirk bill to
ensure that the interests of America and our allies are not
subordinated to the political interests of the Obama White House.
Statement by Noah Pollak, Executive Director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, on the agreement with Iran just concluded in Geneva:
"The Geneva Agreement is a defeat for the United States and the West. It fails to uphold even the minimum demand of repeated U.N. Security Council resolutions that Iran must stop enriching uranium. For the next six months, the centrifuges will not be dismantled and will continue to spin, uranium will be enriched, the 20 percent enriched uranium will stay in Iran, and a reactor designed to produce bomb-ready plutonium will remain just months away from completion. Iran will continue its march to nuclear weapons, with perhaps a brief pause in some parts of the program -- but it will be a pause that refreshes, since Iran will be rewarded right away with significant sanctions relief, with the additional likelihood that the rest of the sanctions regime will begin to crumble.
"Congress should make clear that it does not support this deal. Congress should make clear that just because the Obama administration seems to have taken all our options off the table, our allies need not follow us down this futile path of accommodating the Iranian regime's nuclear ambitions. In particular, Congress should make clear the United States will support Israel if Israel decides she must act to prevent a regime dedicated to her destruction from acquiring the means to do so."
Yesterday, a group of 100 liberal American Jewish leaders released a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling on him to make "painful territorial sacrifices" to the Palestinians. In response, ECI has written its own letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu:
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:
We know you don’t need our advice on how to handle the peace process – but given the decision by a group of self-described American Jewish leaders to call for you to make “painful territorial sacrifices,” we felt it appropriate to convey our own thoughts on the matter.
Be assured that they don’t speak for us or for a majority of Americans. We not only question the wisdom of their advice, we question their standing to issue such an admonition to a democratically-elected prime minister whose job is not to assuage the political longings of 100 American Jews, but to represent – and ensure the security of – the Israeli people.
Indeed, it’s puzzling to us why a small group of American Jews believes it appropriate to demand “painful territorial sacrifices” of Israelis, when those issuing the demand will not experience the pain, or be compelled to sacrifice anything, should their advice prove foolish – as it has so many times in the past. We affirm the words of Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, who recently asked an American Jewish audience to “respect the decisions made by the world’s most resilient democracy.”
The “American Jewish leaders” who deign to advise you today are largely the same leaders who rarely, if ever, demand “painful sacrifices” of Palestinian leaders – or even demand that they come to the negotiating table, which they have refused to do in any meaningful way since 2008. From the safety of America, in the past they have recommended trusting Yasser Arafat, dividing Jerusalem, surrendering the Golan Heights to Syria, and withdrawing from territory that today is controlled by Iranian-backed terrorist groups.
Before rushing to issue new recommendations, we suggest that these oracles of bad advice might pause to reflect on the wisdom of the recommendations they’ve already made.
We, too, have strong opinions on the peace process – but one thing we never presume to do is instruct our friends in Israel on the level of danger to which they should expose themselves.
We trust, of course, that you are under no misapprehensions about any of this. But we felt it important that you heard from a mainstream voice in addition to the predictable calls from a certain cast of American activists for more Israeli concessions.
Statement by Noah Pollak, Executive Director, Emergency Committee for Israel, on tomorrow's meeting between Secretary of State Kerry and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan:
"Yesterday, at a UN-sponsored conference and in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that Zionism is a "crime against humanity." Moon, who was on stage with Erdogan, said and did nothing in protest. But tomorrow, the new Secretary of State, John Kerry, arrives in Ankara to meet with Erdogan.
"What will Kerry say? How will he respond to Erdogan? If he says nothing, he will be turning a blind eye to an explicit denial of the Jewish State's right to exist. The denial of Israel's right to exist is defined by Kerry's State Department as a form of anti-Semitism. Will Kerry stay silent in the face of such a reprehensible statement by a member of NATO, a major recipient of advanced American arms, and -- ostensibly -- a U.S. ally?
"President Obama likes to say that "when the chips are down, I have Israel's back." Erdogan's call for the destruction of Israel does not mean the chips are down. But shouldn't the U.S. president and secretary of state speak out when they hear such a statement? Will American leaders remain silent in the face of eliminationist rhetoric from leaders who seek our good favor? We will see tomorrow whether Secretary of State Kerry and the White House have Israel's back, not when the chips are down, but when the leader of an important country over whom the U.S. has substantial influence speaks in a way that forecasts and encourages the worst kinds of deeds."
Statement by William Kristol, Chairman, Emergency Committee for Israel, on the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense:
"We fought the good fight, and are proud to have done so. We salute all those -- Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews -- who joined with us in the effort to secure a better Secretary of Defense. We are heartened that the overwhelming majority of senators from one of the two major parties voted against confirming Mr. Hagel. We take some comfort in Mr. Hagel's confirmation conversions on the issues of Israel and Iran, and do believe that, as a result of this battle, Mr. Hagel will be less free to pursue dangerous policies at the Defense Department and less inclined to advocate them within the administration. And since hope is an American characteristic and a Jewish virtue, we will also say that we hope Mr. Hagel will rise to the occasion and successfully discharge his weighty duties. In this task we wish him well.
"This battle against Chuck Hagel is over. The fight for a principled, pro-Israel foreign policy goes on."