The push for new sanctions on Iran in the event that the interim nuclear deal fails to stop the regime’s nuclear program has been abandoned.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the country’s leading pro-Israel lobby, had pushed for sanctions successfully for years, and won support from both Democrats and Republicans. But with Democrats balking at President Barack Obama’s veto threat, AIPAC is pulling out.
Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) had assembled 59 co-sponsors for new sanctions in the Senate, and claimed that they had a likely veto-proof majority. However, Democrats are reluctant to confront President Obama during a midterm election year. AIPAC, which has been at pains not to alienate the White House, initially held firm but quietly accepted defeat in the name of preserving a “bipartisan” image.
“We agree with the Chairman [Menendez] 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 said in explaining its reversal, according to the WorldJewishDaily website.
Critics of AIPAC–this author included–have long argued that it has often abandoned winnable political fights to protect Democrats from the consequences of their dwindling support for Israel. It has allowed Democrats to dilute the definition of what it means to be a pro-Israel member of Congress, with the result that Israel is more vulnerable than ever. Increasingly, it faces the threat of Iran alone.