The Israel Lobby showed its hand today with a new sanctions bill against Iran clearly designed to ensure that no detente is ever reached with that country. AIPAC’s bill – shepherded by Chuck Schumer and Mark Kirk, two of Israel’s most devoted supporters in Congress – would rule out any final deal that allows Iran to enrich any uranium at all. That means, as Schumer knows full well, no deal at all. Then the bill goes even further. It includes
a non-binding provision that states that if Israel takes ‘military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program,’ the U.S. ‘should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.’
As usual, English is the first casualty in propaganda. Any act of “self-defense” against a mere “program” is not an act of legitimate self-defense. In international law, you are allowed to defend yourself if attacked; you do not have a right to attack another country just because you don’t like one of their military programs (which the Iranian regime has, in any case, sworn it would never use). That would be a license to shred international law and any concept of just warfare. For the US Senate to proactively bless future aggressive military action by a foreign government when it is not justified by self-defense is an appalling new low in the Israeli government’s grip on the US Congress.
But to proactively commit the United States as well to whatever the Netanyahu government might want to do in a war of choice against Iran is more staggering. Yes, this is non-binding language. But it’s basically endorsing the principle of handing over American foreign policy on a matter as grave as war and peace to a foreign government, acting against international law, thousands of miles away. George Washington would be turning at a rather high velocity in his grave.
Today, we launched the second issue of Deep Dish, with a podcast with my old friend, Dan Savage, and a long essay on the meaning of Pope Francis, “Untier Of Knots.” We took a moment to note the bursting of the law school bubble – an ominous sign in increasingly unequal societies; I parsed the premises of a formulaic Beltway piece; I noted how tweeting is the next frontier of new media to become indistinguishable from advertizing; and applauded a Vatican re-shuffle.
See you in the morning.
(Video: from a new Netflix documentary on the campaign of Mitt Romney in 2012)