Jewish Groups Split on 60-Day 'Time Out' for Lobbying Over Iran Nukes

AIPAC Won't Give White House Grace Period

Muddy Waters: Some Jewish groups have given the White House two months to work on a dialogue with Iran over its nuclear weapons program. Or have they?
getty images
Muddy Waters: Some Jewish groups have given the White House two months to work on a dialogue with Iran over its nuclear weapons program. Or have they?

By Nathan Guttman

Published November 06, 2013, issue of November 15, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

A closed-door meeting meant to iron out differences between the Obama administration and the Jewish community on Iran has instead exposed previously unseen cracks in the wall of unity that mainstream Jewish groups have maintained on the issue.

Emerging from the October 29 White House meeting, the Anti-Defamation League decided to break ranks with other mainstream Jewish organizations and accept the administration’s view that new sanctions against Iran should be put on hold for a couple of months to give ongoing negotiations with Iran a chance. Other participants, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which carries the most lobbying weight with Congress, turned down the idea.

Officials from the administration side and from Congress argued that the apparent rift would have little significance in the battle to get the Senate to pass new sanctions against Iran over the administration’s objections in the near future. On that front, several officials agreed, the pressure from pro-Israel advocates has yet to reach a level likely to overcome the administration’s stand.

“There is no real change in activity,” one Senate staff member observed. Another noted that pro-Israel advocacy for passage of new sanctions does not seem to exceed the lobby’s “regular level of activity.”

The officials would speak only on condition of anonymity so that they could comment candidly about the ongoing lobbying without fear of consequences from either side of the struggle.

These and other sources also noted that while AIPAC is still making the case for pushing the legislation out of the Senate Banking Committee, it has not mobilized its supporters to lobby for the bill in a way seen only weeks ago, when it pressured Congress, unsuccessfully, to authorize the use of military force against Syria

The October 29 meeting was called as part of broad administration strategy — described by one insider as a “blitz” — to garner support for a pause in pressure on Iran while the United States and other members of the international community try to reach a diplomatic deal with the Islamic Republic. The United States and other member countries of the United Nations Security Council, along with Germany, are currently negotiating with Iran to curb its nuclear program, which many believe Iran is using to develop nuclear weapons. The Iranians deny this.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.