I recently proposed that we should rethink the aid that we provide Israel after Congressional Republicans wrote a letter to Iran in an attempt to sabotage nuclear peace talks. That letter, which was also signed by long-shot presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal, stated that Congress ultimately would have to approve any deal – or in other words, Congress is in charge, not President Obama.
Now it comes to light that members of Congress were allegedly receiving information from the talks via Israeli spy agencies in order to create opposition on Capitol Hill to any deal with Iran on their nuclear program that did not meet their requirements.
The report in The Wall Street Journal comes amid increasing tensions between the U.S. and Israel, and just weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech to Congress — at Boehner’s invitation — warning against an emerging deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program. Before the speech, the Speaker privately huddled with Netanyahu in the Capitol, but Boehner said Israeli officials had not shared intelligence about the Iran talks with him.
“I read that story this morning, and frankly, I was a bit shocked,” Boehner told reporters. “There was no information revealed to me whatsoever.”
Asked to clarify his reaction to the story, Boehner replied: “I’m shocked by the fact that there were reports in this press article that information was being passed on by the Israelis to members of Congress. I’m not aware of that at all.
“I’m baffled by it,” he added. (Source)
I’m finding it very hard to believe Speaker Boehner didn’t know this was going on. Either he has completely lost control as Speaker of the House, or he knew that something was going on and willfully ignored it in order to maintain plausible deniability – or he’s just outright lying about the whole thing.
It becomes more and more obvious that Benjamin Netanyahu and Republicans are only going to be happy with a war with Iran – nothing less will satisfy them. It’s also not a huge secret that some members of Congress like Louie Gohmert are beating the drums for war as part of a religious belief that requires a huge conflict in the Middle East in order to fulfill “End Times” prophecies that many fundamentalist Christians are very much invested in.
Israel is also supposed to be our ally, but due to the fact President Obama is not willing to resort to military action without exhausting all diplomatic options first, Netanyahu and the hawks in Israel and Washington are willing to do whatever it takes to drag us into a regional conflict that could potentially set off World War III. This includes coordinating behind President Obama’s back to sabotage these peace talks which could help further stabilize the Middle East, and even mend some ties between Iran and the United States.
As Zack Beauchamp at Vox.com points out, Netanyahu wouldn’t be out of line to continue to oppose the peace deal and lobby others for tighter sanctions, but this interference crosses a line.
None of this is to say the Netanyahu government has to just sit down and accept an American Iran policy it opposes. It’s perfectly within bounds for Netanyahu to publicly oppose the ongoing negotiations in which international powers are seeking to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for relief on its crippling economic sanctions. It’s fine for Netanyahu to lobby the French, who have an important role in the negotiations, to push for more stringent limits on Iran’s nuclear program. That’s all normal international politics.
But Republicans’ vote count in Congress isn’t. (Source)
These acts by Congressional Republicans show us that they represent the interests of defense contractors and war-hungry religious fundamentalists, not the rest of the United States. While their actions are not treasonous in a prosecutable manner, it further illustrates their lust for armed conflict with Iran by any means necessary. No petitions will remove these lawmakers from office; the only way to get rid of them is to get out the vote in 2016.
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