ACTION ALERT: Stop Bibi's War -- Reviewing Netanyahu's Long History of Warnings over Non-existent Nukes
March 5, 2015
Just Foreign Policy & MoveOn.org & Murtaza Hussain / The Intercept
In 1996, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu warned the US Congress: "If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences ... for all mankind [and] ... the deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close." Almost 20 years later, Netanyahu's message is unchanged. In 2011, however, Israel's intelligence chief conclude that there was no active Iranian nuclear weapons program and that an Israeli attack could actually prompt Iran to pursue such a weapon.
ACTON ALERT: Stop Bibi's War
Megan Iorio and Robert Naiman / Just Foreign Policy
(March 4, 2015) -- Over the last few weeks, Just Foreign Policy activists have sent over 32,000 emails, made nearly 1700 calls, and delivered petitions to 20 local offices calling on Members of Congress to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech attacking the ongoing talks with Iran.
Our efforts paid off. When Netanyahu gave his address to Congress yesterday, at least 58 Members of Congress were absent — and even many of those present were not happy with what they heard.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the speech "insulting to the intelligence of the United States." 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein called Netanyahu "arrogant" for claiming to speak for all Jews, summarizing his speech as "he simply said, there's nothing that we agree with here."   President Obama also responded to the address, saying "there was nothing new" in the speech, and that Netanyahu offered no "viable alternatives." 
But Republicans in the Senate — backed by a few key Democrats — are moving quickly to do Bibi’s bidding and sabotage the Iran talks. Tell your Members of Congress to oppose these efforts TODAY:
Netanyahu’s ploy didn’t just backfire with Democratic leaders. The New York Times ran an editorial saying that Netanyahu "clearly doesn’t want negotiations."  The piece ends by addressing Congress:
Congress must not forget that its responsibility is to make choices that advance American security interests, and that would include a strict and achievable agreement with Iran. If it sabotages the deal as Mr. Netanyahu has demanded, it would bear the blame.
The sabotage being planned in Congress comes in the form of two bills. The Kirk-Menendez bill would impose new sanctions on Iran — a measure President Obama has vowed to veto.  The Corker-Graham bill would throw impossible-to-meet procedural hurdles in the way of successfully completing an agreement. 
The passage of either the Kirk-Menendez or Corker-Graham bill would blow up the talks. Urge your Members of Congress to oppose them by signing our petition at MoveOn:
Democrats: Don't Side With Republicans on Iran
Petition by Robert Naiman / MoveOn.org
To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate
Oppose the Kirk-Menendez bill and the Corker-Graham bill.
These bills are designed to blow up the talks with Iran and kill any chance for diplomacy and a negotiated agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
President Obama may be on the verge of striking a historic deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program - unless some Democrats scuttle it.  Some Democrats are considering siding with right-wing Republicans to undermine Obama’s diplomacy, thereby pushing us towards another war in the Middle East.
Two pieces of legislation in the Senate, one backed by Sens. Mark Kirk [R-IL] & Robert Menendez [D-NJ], the other by Sens. Bob Corker [R-TN] & Lindsey Graham [R-SC] are poison pills designed to kill any chance for diplomacy. One GOP senator said the "intended consequence" of any new Iran bill is to "end the negotiations."
The Kirk-Menendez bill would impose new sanctions on Iran in violation of the interim agreement. The Corker-Graham bill would throw impossible-to-meet procedural hurdles in the way of successfully completing an agreement. The passage by Congress of either bill would blow up the talks – which is exactly what the Republican diplomacy saboteurs want.
Urge your Representative and Senators to oppose these bills by signing our petition.
1. "Democrats: Don't Side With Republicans on Iran," Anna Galland (MoveOn) and Becky Bond (CREDO), Roll Call, March 2, 2015 http://www.rollcall.com/news/democrats_dont_side_with_republicans_on_iran_commentary-240443-1.html
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU'S LONG HISTORY OF CRYING WOLF ABOUT IRAN'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Murtaza Hussain / The Intercept
(March 2, 2015) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to address the US Congress tomorrow about the perils of striking a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu, not generally known for his measured rhetoric, has been vociferous in his public statements about the dangers of such compromise, warning that it will allow Iran to "rush to the bomb" and that it amounts to giving the country "a license" to develop nuclear weapons.
It is worth remembering, however, that Netanyahu has said much of this before. Almost two decades ago, in 1996, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress where he darkly warned, "If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind," adding that, "the deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close."
Almost 20 years later that deadline has apparently still not passed, but Netanyahu is still making dire predictions about an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon.
Four years before that Congressional speech, in 1992, then-parliamentarian Netanyahu advised the Israeli Knesset that Iran was "three to five years" away from reaching nuclear weapons capability, and that this threat had to be "uprooted by an international front headed by the US"
In his 1995 book, Fighting Terrorism, Netanyahu once again asserted that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in "three to five years," apparently forgetting about the expiration of his old deadline.
For a considerable time thereafter, Netanyahu switched his focus to hyping the purported nuclear threat posed by another country, Iraq, about which he claimed there was "no question" that it was "advancing towards to the development of nuclear weapons."
Testifying again in front of Congress in 2002, Netanyahu claimed that Iraq's nonexistent nuclear program was in fact so advanced that the country was now operating "centrifuges the size of washing machines."
Needless to say, these claims turned out to be disastrously false. Despite this, Netanyahu, apparently unchastened by the havoc his previous false charges helped create, immediately went back to ringing the alarm bells about Iran.
A 2009 US State Department diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks described then-prime ministerial candidate Netanyahu informing a visiting Congressional delegation that Iran was "probably one or two years away" from developing weapons capability.
Another cable later the same year showed Netanyahu, now back in office as prime minister, telling a separate delegation of American politicians in Jerusalem that "Iran has the capability now to make one bomb," adding that alternatively, "they could wait and make several bombs in a year or two."
In statements around this time made to journalists, Netanyahu continued to raise alarm about this supposedly imminent, apocalyptic threat. As he told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg in a 2010 interview, "You don't want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs," adding, "that's what is happening in Iran."
In 2012 Netanyahu said in closed talks reported by Israeli media that Iran is just "a few months away" from attaining nuclear capabilities. Later that same year, he gave a widely-mocked address at the United Nations in which he alleged that Iran would have the ability to construct a weapon within roughly one year, while using a printout of a cartoon bomb to illustrate his point.
Despite this heady rhetoric, Netanyahu's estimates of an imminent Iranian nuclear bomb have consistently been at odds with analyses made by his own intelligence agency. In 2011, departing Mossad intelligence chief Meir Dagan said in his final intelligence summary that, contrary to Netanyahu's repeated statements at the time, an Iranian nuclear weapon is in fact not imminent, and that any military action against the country could end up spurring the development of such a weapon.
Just last week, leaked intelligence cables reported by Al Jazeera revealed that at roughly the same time in 2012 that Netanyahu was brandishing his cartoon bomb and telling the United Nations that Iran was close to obtaining a nuclear weapon, Israeli intelligence had actually determined the country was "not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons."
The conclusion from this history is inescapable. Over the course of more than 20 years, Benjamin Netanyahu has made false claims about nuclear weapons programs in both Iran and Iraq, inventing imaginary timelines for their development, and making public statements that contradicted the analysis of his own intelligence advisers.
Despite this, he continues to be treated by lawmakers and media figures as a credible voice on this issue.
When Netanyahu gives his address to Congress, he can likely be counted on to say much the same thing he's been saying for the past two decades about an impending Iranian nuclear threat, and credulous pundits and politicians can be counted on to believe him.
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