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Posted at 1:22 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Reaction to Schumer/Levin letter

By Jennifer Rubin

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor tells me that the White House did not urge Sens. Chuck Schumer and Carl Levin to write to AIPAC supporting ratification of New START. "The White House doesn't tell members of Congress who to send letters to," he wrote in an e-mail.

He did not answer my query about whether the White House approves of the strong-arming. But it is clear that the administration is trying to link the treaty to other issues, at least for the sake of drumming up support. From Vietor's e-mail:

We're urging support for ratification of New START because cooperation with Russia is critical to achieving a number of our foreign policy goals - including cooperation on Afghanistan, Iran, and our broader non-proliferation efforts. The alleged criticism [from pro-Israel activists] you reference seems to miss the point that Russia was critical to building the P5+1 unity that lead to a very robust set of UN sanctions against Iran, and that Russia went the extra mile and unilaterally cancelled the sale of the S-300 missile contract to Iran. These are both issues that are very important to Israel.

The outreach, however, puts pro-Israel groups in a peculiar position. AIPAC has so far declined to comment, but those familiar with the thinking of its leadership say that the group doesn't presume to have the expertise to evaluate a complex arms control treaty. Another Jewish organization reports that it has received a request from the office of House Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman to endorse ratification. A decision has not been made as to whether to do so. Unlike his Senate counterparts, however, Berman did not try to bully the group into a treaty endorsement by publicly releasing the letter.

I asked Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League why his group chose to wade into the debate and come out in support of START. Through a spokesman, he replied:

ADL's perspective on the ratification issue is informed by our longstanding and publicly stated concerns about the Iranian nuclear threat which is a grave issue for Israel, a national security threat to the U.S. and could result in regional instability and nuclear threats to many areas of the world. We know that Russia is a critically important player in the effort to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability. The administration has pursued a policy of "resetting" the U.S.- Russia relationship and we believe that diplomatic approach played a role in Russia's decision to join the U.S. to increase the severity of international sanctions through the latest Security Council resolution. We decided to express our concern that failure to ratify the New START treaty could disrupt U.S.- Russia relations and have an adverse impact on the momentum in support of the administration's ongoing diplomatic steps to get Iran to change its behavior.

Who from the administration reached out? The ADL claims that it decided on its own to give the White House a hand: "Given the high profile of the issue, we decided to speak out." I suppose it was merely coincidental that the leftwing, George Soros- funded J Street and the National Jewish Democratic Council reached the same decision at the same time.

Stay tuned. This likely is not the last group to make its views known.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 1, 2010; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  American Jews, foreign policy  
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Next: Emergency Committee for Israel blasts senators


Man, Jennifer

you are moving fast on the topics today

how are we supposed to keep up with you

Welcome again - Let's give those liberals a good run at it.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight. The WaPo crams the Opinions section full of Will, Krauthammer, Parker, and Thiessen on a regular basis, and now decides it needs yet another right wing demented voice? Who is making these decisions? The WaPo might as well start calling itself the Washington Times. Please, editorial staff. Just because right wingers in American are significantly louder and persistent in American doesn't mean there are actually more of them who need to be placated. In fact, most self-identified right wingers turn out to actually be "liberal" (gasp!) if you ask where they actually stand on issues, instead of which rhetorical bombast they listen to. Get a clue, would you?

Posted by: jerryo2 | December 1, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Why have more than one right-wing voice? They all say the same thing.

Posted by: jacaf19 | December 1, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama is showing his White House decorations.

I wonder if the Karl Marx Christmas ornaments are on the trees this year.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

jerryo2 at 1:43 PM

Is that any way to greet our new blogger at the Washington Post ???

That comment was pretty rude and disrespectful.

What ever happened to Freedom of Speech - and tolerance for opposing view points???

Everyone else has to read the liberal views which you appear to like so much.

So, please, give us all a break. Show some respect. State your opinion on the topics and leave it at that.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting to note that in Washington DC, there is no J Street

The story is that in french, or in french 200 years ago, there was no letter J, so L'Enfant, who designed the city streets, did not include a J Street.

I don't know if that story is true - however it shows how out-of-touch Soros is.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it was merely coincidental that the leftwing, George Soros- funded J Street and the National Jewish Democratic Council reached the same decision at the same time.

No it is in no way coincidental. The treaty is up for a vote. Those in favor and those opposed are now speaking out.

You insult your readers' intelligence, Ms Rubin.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | December 1, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Rubin

I have a potential future topic for you to look into.

The Departement of Health and Human Services is running commercials aimed at seniors - to remind them to sign up for Medicare plans in a yearly window.

HOWEVER, the commercials throw in some comments about the new health care law - one is talking about the donut hole. It appears to be to be a BLANTANT political ad - funded by the Federal government. The ad is designed to build support for Obama's health care plan - not to solely remind people to sign up for the Medicare program in the yearly window.

This is just another example of how Obama and his people are abusing the Federal government for political purposes.

Is there anyway you can look into that?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

If Obama is trying to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons by signing an arms limitation treaty with Russia, then he is even more misguided and misinformed than I thought possible. If Obama somehow believes that if Amrican Jewish organizations offer their support for this treaty that it will positively influence it's outcome in the Senate, then I think the shot he took to the jaw knocked him silly. Barack Obama has already shown that he lacks the maturity, experience, and knowledge to effectively manage America's foreign affairs, for God's sake, Obama cannot even convince an American ally, Israel, to accede to his demands. Further, if Obama's team of foreign policy advisors really believe that Russia's foreign policy is as a result of this treaty going to become pro Israel then they are perforce so amateurish and naive as to be practically clownish.
The Iranian mullahs have their own goals of destabilizing the Middle East, their own agenda of regional military domination and isolating and if possible destroying Israel, and their own peculiar way of thinking that they can either survive an Israeli nuclear counterattack or at least enter heaven after they are all dead.
A START treaty with Russia thus has no impact whatsoever on anything Iran plans to do, and probably has little to do with reducing the Russian nuclear arsenal. Indeed, this treaty probably has more to do with Obama's wishful thinking and his desperate desire for almost any foreign policy achievement whatsoever.

Posted by: Beniyyar | December 1, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow - a letter is "strong-arming"?

It's only fair. AIPAC consistently works to push Israeli concerns above US interests in foreign policy. Here we have an area where our interests should coincide. Is it wrong for senators who have worked for Israel and with AIPAC in the past to ask them to get on board and show a little reciprocity? It the way politics work.

Rubin, you're a nut!

Posted by: j3hess | December 1, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"The outreach, however, puts pro-Israel groups in a peculiar position."

You mean, a more peculiar position than their usual peculiar position as pressure groups for a foreign government?

Posted by: fzdybel | December 1, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

RFR wrote:

"That comment was pretty rude and disrespectful.

What ever happened to Freedom of Speech - and tolerance for opposing view points???"

. . . and Karl Marx christmas ornaments isn't?

C'mon, you know you can't get away with that kind of stuff when I'm here.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 1, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"Let me get this straight," importunes jerryo2, before going on to complain about the appearance of a new WaPo blog with an avowedly conservative viewpoint. And this on a day when the very same op-ed page is graced (OK, I stretch a point) by the likes of Milbank, Myerson, Sargent, and a museum-quality 60's-style useful idiot like vanden Heuvel? One hardly knows what to say. But a reasonable first stab might be simply to point out that before jerryo2 can get anything straight, (s)he's going to need more than someone's permission.

Posted by: Jeroboam | December 1, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

54465446 | December 1, 2010 3:40 PM

Oh, yes I can -

The Karl Marx stuff just shows how unAmerican Obama is -

That is not a point about Freedom of Speech

our leaders have different standards -

Obama can't claim Freedom of Speech if he starts saying all this Nazi stuff, can he?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse


So you complain about others being disrespectful and then include Karl Marx and Naziism against the President?

Too bad, I guess a leopard can't change his spots after all.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 1, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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