AIPAC defends itself against White House slander
Last week in a meeting with Jewish leaders
Obama accused AIPAC of spreading inaccurate information on the
fact-sheets the group sends around Capitol Hill, and criticized the
group for not giving administration officials more time to make their
case last month, when hundreds of AIPAC activists came to Washington to
lobby against the deal. In an email to activists on Monday, AIPAC President Robert Cohen defended his organization against the charges
Over the weekend, The New York Times published an article
about AIPAC’s relationship with President Obama and his administration.
With significant media attention on this story and on AIPAC, I want to
provide you with some context and reiterate our overall approach to this
The article reflects multiple inaccuracies stemming from claims by the administration:
Credibility: Our facts are well-substantiated and accurate. AIPAC
stands behind the credibility of our analysis — which the facts
explicitly support, and which cites the Joint Comprehensive Plan of
Action (JCPOA) for ease of reference.
CNFI Advertisement: AIPAC’s
partner organization, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran (CNFI), has run
one television advertisement. This ad does not single out the president
in any way. On its website, CNFI provides supporting citations for the
assertions made in its ad.
AIPAC’s Willingness to Engage the
Administration: For the AIPAC National Fly-In on July 28-29, the White
House requested to speak to our group and we accepted. Because the
administration did not have a venue that could accommodate our 700
participants for a mutually desired discussion, the White House asked to
send its representatives to AIPAC’s venue. We agreed and offered the
administration 30 minutes to use in any manner — which the White House
likewise accepted. The administration representatives chose to speak for
45 minutes and not use any of their time for questions. AIPAC treated
these speakers with great courtesy and respect.
AIPAC’s Role in
the Iraq War: Leading up to the start of the Iraq War in March 2003,
AIPAC took no position whatsoever, nor did we lobby on the issue.
The article highlights the great lengths to which proponents are going to make the public case for the deal with Iran.
nearly unlimited access to Congress, national media and international
leaders, the administration is leading a massive lobbying effort to win
broad approval of the deal — with assistance from congressional
supporters of the agreement.
In this context, our lobbying
campaign is appropriate, legitimate and measured. It exemplifies the
meaning of petitioning our government to address our concerns.
The article is evidence of AIPAC’s central role in creating and maintaining a vigorous debate.
underscores AIPAC’s vital work to help members of Congress understand
the loopholes in this dangerous deal, and to press them to oppose it.
should all take pride in the significant impact of our work to shape
the national debate and impact the congressional response to this bad
This campaign is at the heart of AIPAC’s mission — “to
strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways
that enhance the security of Israel and the United States.”
AIPAC’s Spokesman Marshall Wittmann is quoted, “This critical national
security debate is certainly not about an organization, but rather about
a deal which we believe will fail to block an Iranian nuclear weapon
and will fuel terrorism. We hope that all those who are engaged in this
debate will avoid questioning motives and employing any ad hominem
Finally, the article’s proposition of a “rupture” in the
relationship between the president and AIPAC is an exaggeration
promulgated by traditional and social media. In the piece itself, the
White House correctly downplays current strains as a “policy
Throughout this campaign, AIPAC — along with our
affiliated organization Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran — has taken the
high road. I ask that you join us in advancing this critical effort by
keeping the debate about the policy, not the personalities.
encouraged by recent statements by prominent members of Congress who
have publicly announced their opposition to the deal. This would not be
possible without your persistent and passionate activism.
Thank you for your hard work at this pivotal moment, and please continue to engage your senators and representatives at home.
Robert A. Cohen
Obama is really behaving like a schoolyard bully on this one. He should only get his comeuppance for it.
Labels: AIPAC, Barack Hussein Obama, Iran Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran sanctions regime, Iranian nuclear threat, neighborhood bully