Apparently in a panic, US President Barack Obama held a conference call on Thursday evening, urging Jewish supporters to counter opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran by “well-financed” lobbyists.
The White House sent an invitation to J Street, Tikkun and other “progressive” American Jewish groups to join a conference call on Thursday evening in order “to discuss the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran…and its importance to the country and the international community.”
Rather than a discussion, it was a 20-minute appeal for financial support and advocacy in favor of the agreement. “You guys have to get active…and make your voices heard because the lobbying on the other side is fierce, well-financed and relentless,” Obama pleaded, urging his listeners to contact their “friends with big cheques.”
A “bunch of billionaires who happily finance super PACs [political action committees]” are “putting the squeeze on members of Congress” to kill the deal, he said.
The remarks regarding an affluent campaign against the Iran deal seem to refer to Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, which is affiliated with AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), and the many groups that organized a protest rally two weeks ago at Times Square in New York City, in which 12,000 Americans participated.
“I want everyone on the phone to get moving,” he said, after repeating his key talking points in defense of the deal while offering no opportunity for questions.
He claimed repeatedly that opponents of the deal come from the same “forces that got us into the Iraq war, leading us away from an opportunity for a diplomatic solution,” pointing to “columnists and former administration officials that were responsible for us getting in the Iraq war and were making these same claims in 2002-2003 with respect to Iraq.”
In fact, Israeli officials had warned then-President George W. Bush against invading Iraq, and AIPAC lobbied neither in favor nor against the Iraq war. In contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been warning ceaselessly against what he describes as a dangerous agreement, an issue on which he has full support across the Israeli political spectrum, including the opposition.
Majority of Americans Against the Deal
“I am absolutely convinced that this is not just the best in a series of bad alternatives but actually a very good deal that we should be proud of and that achieves critical security objectives not just for the US, but for our allies and the world, including Israel,” Obama declared during the conference call.
According to the email communication that included the invitation to join the call, “The White House urged us to urge you to not send this invite to anyone outside the TIKKUN and NSP [Network of Spiritual Progressives] community and not to put it on your Facebook or other social media.”
By Atara Beck, United with Israel
To listen to an unedited audio version of the conference call, click below. With thanks to davidbrianbender.com.