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The Year AIPAC Lost—A Lot

For the last few weeks, we've been presenting some of the success stories of 2013. Today, we want to do something a bit different. Let's talk about some of this year's losses—AIPAC's losses, that is.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee—known popularly by its acronym, AIPAC—has acquired a reputation as an organization that pretty much always gets what it wants. When it somehow doesn't—like in 2008 when our coalition got its Iran blockade bill shelved—it's a really big deal. So one of the most surprising—and exciting—things about 2013 was the sheer amount of times AIPAC failed to achieve its goal.

Let's go back to the beginning of the year. President Obama wanted Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary. AIPAC didn't, and launched a major campaign against him. JFP, along with our coalition partners, pushed back. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC sent 300 lobbyists to the Hill to push for US military strikes on Syria. We succeeded in delaying a decision long enough for a diplomatic deal to be reached. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC did not want a rapprochement between the US and Iran in the wake of Hassan Rouhani's election. We encouraged diplomacy. 131 Members of Congress backed a reinvigorated effort to engage Iran. The Obama administration ended 30 years of silence by engaging in high-level talks that brought about an interim deal. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC and its friends in Congress have been trying to nuke the Iran deal by pressuring Congress to pass new sanctions and other incendiary legislation. But Congress just ended its last session of the year—and no legislation passed. On top of that, we got Sen. Elizabeth Warren to back the interim deal during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. We won (twice!); AIPAC lost.

Victory! Sen. Warren Backs Interim Iran Deal (Video)

At a Senate Banking Committee hearing on December 12, Sen. Warren backed the interim Iran deal between the P5+1 and Iran.

Thank you, Sen. Warren, and thank you to the over 14,000 JFP supporters who signed the petition!

Watch the clip here.

Here's a transcript:

Senator Warren: (To Chairman Johnson) Thank you Mr. Chairman; (to Ms. Sherman and Mr. Cohen) thank you for being here.

We stopped one war. We can stop another

This month, we're recounting the success stories of 2013. Last week, it was getting the US to talk to Iran. Today's win: preventing war with Syria.

Back in August when President Obama announced his intention to bomb Syria, Just Foreign Policy was the first progressive organization to say that the President should go to Congress to seek authorization. We mobilized the grassroots to urge their reps in Congress to demand that Obama come to them for approval. We then urged Congressional Democrats to sign Virginia Republican Scott Rigell's letter demanding the President come to Congress. We also worked with Rep. Barbara Lee's office to get a similar letter going for Democrats.

As a result of these efforts, 192 Members of the House went on record demanding that Obama come to Congress. The next day, President Obama announced that he would go to Congress for authorization.

The fight that resulted in Congress—and the resistance to another war that erupted on the streets across the US—delayed military action long enough for a diplomatic solution to present itself.

Just Foreign Policy was a first responder in the Syria fight. Because we're small, we can move quickly. And as we've proven, that comes in handy.

We need to raise $25,000 by the end of December. Help keep us in the game by making a tax-deductible contribution of $10 (or more!) to Just Foreign Policy today.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

If you would like to send a check instead, here's our address:

Just Foreign Policy
4410 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, #290
Washington, DC 20016

Thank you for all you do to help prevent another US war,

Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Tell Congress TODAY: Don’t Help AIPAC Blow Up Iran Diplomacy

For seven years, we’ve been urging that the U.S. government resolve its differences with Iran through diplomacy. Now that the Obama Administration is finally making progress some in Congress are trying to blow up the peace train.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is planning to ignore the Administration's request, and–with the assistance of AIPAC, which is going to be on the Hill this week—to introduce a bill that would mandate new sanctions and try to tie the hands of U.S. negotiators by demanding that a final deal stipulate that Iran not be able to enrich any uranium at all–Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand, which everyone knows cannot be achieved through diplomacy.

Call your Representative NOW at 1-855-686-6927 and say:

I urge you to oppose Rep. Cantor’s legislation that would undermine diplomacy by imposing new sanctions and tying the hands of U.S. negotiators from reaching a realistic deal with Iran.

You can report your call below.

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2013: The Year of the Citizen Activist

If we had to sum up 2013, it would be the year that proved that we ordinary citizens can impact US foreign policy. In fact, we've had so many successes this year that we decided we couldn't possibly do them justice in one email, so we're spreading the stories throughout the month, making this end-of-year campaign one of true reflection and rejoicing.

We start today with our most recent success, but our oldest campaign.

Just Foreign Policy was founded in 2006 amidst US threats to go to war with Iran. We called for diplomacy, not war, and pushed for the US to take positive steps toward talks that would bring about a comprehensive agreement.

President Obama's election in 2008 brought with it a promise to pursue diplomacy. During his first term, that pursuit was stilted and insufficient, so we continued to push. Finally, this year, President Obama did what no other US president has done in over 30 years: he talked to Iran. And now, we have an interim agreement that lays the groundwork for a comprehensive deal.

President Obama once said to activists, “my job is to govern; yours is to push me.” Over the years, Just Foreign Policy supporters have sent tens of thousands of emails to Congress and the White House supporting diplomacy. You've written thousands more emails to major news outlets telling them to report the truth about Iran. Our collective push for diplomacy is what enabled reason to triumph over the strife promoted by AIPAC and its ilk.

Next year will be a critical year. Peace is within reach—and we have the power to bring it about. Help us raise $25,000 by the end of the month by making a $10 tax-deductible #GivingTuesday contribution.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

If you would like to send a check instead, here's our address:

Just Foreign Policy
4410 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, #290
Washington, DC 20016

And if you haven't already, tell Hillary to publicly support the interim deal with Iran.

Prepare yourself for a fright!

Forget the scary costumes and gory Hollywood movies. If you're looking for a true fright this Halloween, just take a look at the video of a panel discussion that took place at New York's Yeshiva University last week in which Sheldon Adelson, a major donor for numerous organizations and political candidates who promote strife, called for the US to nuke Iran—and the audience applauded!

For years, Adelson and his ideological kin have been using examples of Iranian rhetoric—often exaggerated and sometimes even fabricated—as an excuse for opposing any US-Iran rapprochement. Yet, in a disturbing attempt to evade responsibility, Adelson's spokesman insisted that his boss's comments shouldn't be viewed in the same light as those coming from Iran because he was obviously “using hyperbole to make a point that … actions speak louder than words.”

Yes, Mr. Adelson, actions do speak louder than words. Just as the US and Iran embark on the most promising talks in years, Adelson's cheering section on the Hill is brewing up some major sabotage, with the Senate threatening to pass further sanctions, and the House considering an authorization for the use of military force.

Isn't it scary that US and Iranian negotiators could be on their way to an agreement and Congress could just flip a switch and potentially blow the whole deal? We think so. That's why we've been working to give Obama the political space to pursue diplomacy.

Iran Cooties: Will Obama Meet with Rouhani Tuesday?

In international diplomacy, gestures matter. This is particularly true for efforts to promote real diplomacy between the United States and Iran.

For three decades, the United States has mostly pursued an "Iran cooties" policy. We can't meet with Iranian leaders, because someone might interpret that to mean that we think that the Iranian government is "legitimate." OMG! We might get Iran cooties!

It sounds ridiculous, and it is. And it has a real cost in human lives. Because of the "Iran cooties" policy, it's harder to use diplomacy to help end wars in the Middle East, like the Syrian civil war, or the war in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, President Obama has a historic opportunity to end the "Iran cooties" policy. Iran's newly-elected, pragmatic, pro-diplomacy President Hassan Rouhani is going to be addressing the United Nations General Assembly. So is U.S. President Barack Obama.

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Tell the WaPo: Stop Getting Ahead of the Facts on Iran!

The Washington Post is at it again.

A September 15 article in the Post contained the following gem (emphasis mine): [1]

Israel’s security establishment fears that a failure to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons could encourage Tehran, Syria’s ally, to continue to enrich uranium for a bomb.

This sentence implies that Iran is currently enriching uranium for a nuclear bomb. But there is no evidence at all that this is the case. [2] In fact, both US and Israeli intelligence agree that Iran is not trying to build a nuclear weapon. [3] So the Post should correct this sentence.

We've been through all of this before with the Post's former Ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, who acknowledged that a header and subheader the Post printed back in 2011 was misleading because it implied that Iran was trying to build a nuclear weapon. [4] Asked to weigh in on the current controversy, Pexton responded on Twitter that [5]

That sentence is easy to miss but I think it should be corrected. No govt has yet said Iran is enriching for a bomb.

Unfortunately, the Post eliminated the Ombudsman position earlier this year when Pexton's contract ran out. [6] He was "replaced" by Douglas Feaver, who holds the title "Reader Representative." But Feaver has yet to respond to numerous calls over the last month to correct misleading Post passages on Iran's nuclear program. [7]

Let's flood Feaver's inbox so he can't ignore the truth any longer. It only took 1500 emails to get Pexton to issue his original correction. [8] With your help, we may be able to stop the Post from getting ahead of the facts on Iran yet again.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/wapo-iran-facts

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

WaPo: Back to Getting Ahead of the Facts on Iran

The Washington Post is at it again. A Sunday article entitled "Kerry tells Israel that Syria accord is no prelude to Iran deal" contained the following gem:

Israel’s security establishment fears that a failure to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons could encourage Tehran, Syria’s ally, to continue to enrich uranium for a bomb.

Saying that something could encourage Iran "to continue to enrich uranium for a bomb" implies that Iran is currently enriching uranium with the purpose of using it for a nuclear bomb. There is, of course, no evidence that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon or that it is diverting uranium from its civil program, which is under IAEA inspection. In fact, both Israeli and US intelligence agree that Iran has not made a decision to pursue nuclear weapons. Since there is no evidence that the aim of any Iranian enrichment is "for a bomb," this passage in the Post is misleading.