Senators Lindsey Graham and Robert Menendez(AP)
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Is AIPAC Readying U.S. for “War With Iran?”

No, and some pundits are distorting a pro-Israel resolution to say so

Zach Novetsky
February 28, 2013
Senators Lindsey Graham and Robert Menendez(AP)

For more than thirty years, we have constantly been almost going to war with Iran. With Passover just around the corner, why would today be different than any other day then?

Ali Gharib, writing in Open Zion, warns that “a joint resolution set to be introduced declares U.S. support for an Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear program.” Not to be outdone, Hayes Brown, in a hyperbolically titled article (“Hawkish Senators Ready Backdoor To War With Iran”), puts the point still bolder: “Two hawkish Senators want to set U.S. policy in favor of prematurely pulling the ‘military option’ trigger against Iran, pledging American backing of absolutely any strike by Israel against Iran and its nuclear program.”

Worse, Mr. Gharib tells us that the resolution “will be supported by the thousands of delegates to the [AIPAC] annual conference that will stream through the Capitol this weekend.” I don’t know about you, but I’m scared.

So is an attack on Iran imminent? (I really thought Israel would attack last summer.)


The resolution does not “press to green light” an Israeli attack on Iran, nor are these “hawkish” senators seeking a “backdoor” to war with Iran and its nuclear program, which a majority of Americans already support.

The actual text of the Joint Resolution:

Urges that, if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.”

The Resolution goes on to note:

Nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war.

In other words, the Resolution does not mention supporting a strike against Iran’s nuclear program, as Mr. Gharib suggested. Nor does it mandate that the US support “any” strike by Israel against Iran and its nuclear program, as Mr. Brown alleged. Instead, it contains the rather banal statement that the US should “stand with Israel” if it is “compelled” to take military action in “self-defense” (two qualifiers in that sentence). It is noteworthy, too, that the Joint Resolution, in talking about military action, does not mention Iran directly.

Would AIPAC like for the US to state unequivocally that it supports any military action Israel may undertake against Iran and its nuclear program? Maybe–perhaps they believe a credible Israeli threat, backed by the US, will make Iran think twice about taking a hardline at the negotiating table. Does this Resolution state that? Absolutely not.

So rest easy: Your friends and the “thousands of delegates” going to the AIPAC conference are not warmongers after all.