It is hard to believe that even though 64% of the American public favors a negotiated settlement with Iran over its nuclear program fully 37% of those polled also believe that the United States actually needs Israel’s permission before coming to any kind of agreement. To paraphrase the late great Mitt Romney, is that a percentage that we will never be able to reach no matter how good the arguments are for "taking responsibility" and restoring American sovereignty in the area of foreign affairs? One has to suspect that the percentage consists mostly of the Christian-Zionists, who lately have been conducting a large scale "action alert" email campaign directed at Congress and the White House to force the cancellation of talks. They are perhaps heeding the demand of Harvard Professor and professional Israel apologist Alan Dershowitz that the "entire pro-Israel community must unite" to stop any agreement.
Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas provided his own explanation for why "a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do" to the House of Representatives last Wednesday saying "There are many who have been aware of Scripture, and it has often been a guide in our relations with Israel. Some of us believe that the Bible is accurate. Certainly, so many prophesies have been fulfilled, and if that is true, this administration, unless they can find a verse that accurately says that those who betray Israel will be blessed, then this country is being dug in a deeper hole by this administration, and its betrayals of Israel’s trust and Israel’s friendship." Gohmert, for all his sublime ignorance, is unfortunately not alone. By virtue of the evangelism and fine example set by the likes of Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin the scripture thumpers have escaped from the Bible Belt and are now to be found everywhere.
Congress is also doing its bit among the national security crowd, taking its lead from American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which supports "…congressional action to adopt legislation to further strengthen sanctions and there will absolutely be no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts." Leading Senators named Kirk, Schumer, McCain, Ayotte, Corker, Graham, and Menendez who have long been close to Israel are undercutting White House efforts to develop a formula that would break through the wall of mutual hostility between Tehran and Washington, insisting on new and harsher sanctions that would devastate the already struggling Iranian economy. Lindsey Graham even explained what we should all know about Iranians: "How do you define an Iranian moderate? An Iranian who is out of bullets and out of money." Mark Kirk, who denounced a Kerry Senate briefing on the talks with Iran as "anti-Israeli," apparently was briefed in advance by Israeli intelligence before the committee meeting began.
Even the normally somnolent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seems to be wavering under pressure from AIPAC, saying "I hope we can work something out with Iran, but I am a person who really believes in the State of Israel." And Senator Rand Paul also appears to know where his bread is buttered, tweeting last Tuesday that "Amidst the chaos of the Middle East we have always had one friend that never leaves our side – Israel. As an ally, Israel has never wavered."
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