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DC NEWS JUNKIE | Blumenthal Says His Heritage Isn’t Playing a Part in Decision on Iran

by | Aug 28, 2015 5:30am
() Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Congress, Foreign Policy, Public Safety, White House


Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Thursday that he’s been listening to both supporters and opponents of the multi-national, nuclear non-proliferation agreement that’s been struck with the government of Iran. But the state’s senior senator wouldn’t say whether his Jewish heritage would play a part in his own decision to support or oppose the deal.

The agreement, which is waiting on Congressional approval, was between Iran on one side and the United States, China, France, Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom on the other. The deal would force Iran to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes only for the next 15 years, and would allow monitors to verify that fact at the development sites themselves.

Blumenthal is the only member of Connecticut’s Washington delegation who has yet to announce a position about the deal, repeating during an interview Thursday that a decision could be expected within weeks.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, issued her support for the deal late last week.

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Blumenthal also is one of three Jewish senators to remain undecided on the deal. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., became the fifth of nine Democratic Jewish senators to openly, though cautiously, support the agreement, writing an op-ed for CNN earlier in August.

“It isn’t a perfect agreement,” Franken wrote. “But it is a strong one. This agreement is, in my opinion, the most effective, realistic way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon anytime in the next 15 years.”

Besides Blumenthal, among Democratic Jewish senators, only Ron Wyden, of Oregon, and Ben Cardin, of Maryland, have not come down on either side of the debate.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is the only Jewish Democratic senator to openly break with the administration and oppose the agreement. When he did so, he specifically mentioned the destabilizing effect the deal would have on the Middle East.

“For years, Iran has used military force and terrorism to expand its influence in the Middle East, actively supporting military or terrorist actions in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Gaza,” Schumer wrote in a release. “That is why the U.S. has labeled Iran as one of only three nations in the world who are ‘state sponsors of terrorism.’ Under this agreement, Iran would receive at least $50 billion dollars in the near future and would undoubtedly use some of that money to redouble its efforts to create even more trouble in the Middle East, and, perhaps, beyond.”

Lobbyists both for and against the Iran agreement have been targeting Blumenthal in anticipation of his decision. For example, former senatorial and gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont has sponsored a series of ads and a Facebook page asking residents to “Contact Senator Blumenthal and urge him to vote yes on the Iran nuclear agreement.”

On the other side, Secure America Now, a conservative nonprofit group with a focus on foreign policy, urges residents to “Call Senator Blumenthal now and tell him to stand up for America and strike down this bad deal with Iran.”

Secure America Now lists former Arkansas governor and current Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, among others, as a member of its board of directors.

Blumenthal, whose father, Martin Blumenthal, was a Jewish immigrant from Frankfurt, said Thursday during a telephone interview that his decision will be based on what he believes to be “our national interest.”

“My decision will be based on my judgement, as a matter of conscience and conviction,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been vocal in his own opposition to the deal. Though other senators and representatives demurred, Blumenthal was in attendance when Netanyahu addressed Congress before a deal had been reached.

“The prime minister’s concerns may well lead to greater care and caution in assessing a deal if and when an agreement is reached,” Blumenthal said in March. “My view continues to be that any agreement must be completely verifiable, comprehensive, air-tight, and long lasting. If there is no deal, stronger sanctions and other possible action should all be on the table.”

But Blumenthal would not discuss how the proposed deal may or may not be in Israel’s best interests.

“I’m not going to talk about how it works for any of our allies or partners,” he said. “My conclusion will be based preeminently on my judgment on what best serves the interest of our nation.”

Jordan Fenster can be reached by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or @JordanFenster on Twitter.

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Comments

(24) Archived Comments

posted by: Rod Lopez-Fabrega | August 28, 2015  10:16am

I have the greatest respect for Senator Blumenthal as one of Connecticut’s finest attorneys-general and with his current efforts to become the kind of representative we all want here in the Nutmeg State. On the issue of the negotiations with Iran, the senator is on the fence, apparently. While we know him to be an honorable man, one can only imagine the incessant though subtle pressures he must be under from what we have seen to be a barrage of near threats, cajoles and monies the highly efficient lobbies of Israel have poured on other senators and congressmen who have hesitated to act in the interest of Israel. We sympathize with the senator, whose heritage must exert a heavy toll on him when he is trying to make the right decision for his country. I have no doubt that he will do the right thing.

Whatever he decides, I would remind him that the alternatives to negotiation and compromise with Iran are either war or a return to sanctions and a perpetual stand-off between the U.S. and Iran—most especially the burden would be ours alone since most of our European partners in the existing sanctions have already jumped to open embassies and commerce with Iran and almost certainly would not join us in initiating another abrasive round of sanctions. Actually, the third option under resumed sanctions—possibly the most damaging to us and to the world—would be that an Iran pissed off at endless sanctions would spread its nuclear capabilities, such as they are,  to the international terrorist element.

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 28, 2015  10:53am

Blumenthal is too busy with his heavy daily political news media profiling gimmickry agenda to make a decision. I would venture to say he will back up his political master Barack Obama the originator of this sellout treaty with Iran.

posted by: Rod Lopez-Fabrega | August 28, 2015  2:23pm

Here’s a P.S. from this morning’s NYTimes by Weisman and Burns:

“WASHINGTON — The attacks on Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, since he announced his support for the nuclear accord with Iran have been so vicious that the National Jewish Democratic Council and the Anti-Defamation League both felt compelled this week to publicly condemn Jewish voices of hate.

“On the other side, three Jewish Democrats in the House who oppose the deal released a joint statement denouncing “ad hominem attacks and threats” against not only supporters like Mr. Nadler but also Jewish opponents, who have been accused of “dual loyalties” and treason.”

posted by: Noteworthy | August 28, 2015  6:09pm

And what serves Blumenthal’s career. Prediction: Blumenthal goes with the Demo pack just like the rest of the CT delegation who stroked their chins, made grunt and noises about concern…and then laid down like a cheap rug.

posted by: ACR | August 28, 2015  6:40pm

ACR

Nice to see the Neville Chamberlain fan club is alive and well.

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 28, 2015  7:58pm

@Rod Lopez-Fabriga: You can’t buy off the worst terrorist state in the world by lifting sanctions against Iran. It reflects a
lack of common-sense leadership by Pres. Barack Obama who never did have any credentials of a proven statesman and he proved it once again. He failed to try to even got Iran to release four prisoners, and allowing this murderous state to police themselves is beyond comprehension..
Did anyone offer to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge?

posted by: art vandelay | August 28, 2015  8:24pm

art vandelay

@Rod Lopez-Fabrega,
Blumenthal an “honorable” man?  Is lying about serving in Vietnam honorable?  I have zero respect for a person who lies about his service, then gets elected to the esteemed position of U.S. Senator.

In your last statement you analyzed Iran’s true intentions.  Iran’s goal is to launch a nuclear weapon against Israel, Europe or the US. This treaty gives Iran the key to to the launch control system.

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 29, 2015  10:55am

The Obama sell-out peace plan with Iran has promoted a down-turn in our mid-east relations with Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the weakness has led these countries to invite
Russian interests to these countries due to the weak sister portrayal relations shown by Obama. Vladimir Putin now has a Russian upper hand in the region thanks to the inept White House failed diplomacy.

posted by: Rod Lopez-Fabrega | August 30, 2015  6:53am

Well, all these latest posts on this subject pretty well show what the senator is up against. Damned either way—but most agressivly by the Israeli lobbyists.

posted by: oldtimer | August 30, 2015  10:27pm

What a joke! Blumenthal is trying to give the appearance that he’s contemplating a difficult decision. Yet, everyone knows he will vote the party line, he will vote however Reid or Obama tells him to vote.

posted by: monocle | August 31, 2015  7:06am

I hate it when headlines don’t jibe with their accompanying story.

posted by: RDF | August 31, 2015  7:57am

RDF

Yes, let the sniping begin. Sen. Blumenthal will make a considered decision despite the cackling from the right.

posted by: madereinerue | August 31, 2015  12:20pm

madereinerue

Monocle: Spot on. Actually this headline doesn’t merely ‘not jibe with’ the story—it *flatly contradicts* the lede paragraph!

To wit (emphases added): headline,
“Blumenthal **Says His Heritage Isn’t Playing a Part** in Decision on Iran”; article 2nd sentence, “But the state’s senior senator **wouldn’t say whether** his Jewish heritage would play a part in his own decision to support or oppose the deal.”

posted by: dano860 | August 31, 2015  1:22pm

At least he said that his heritage won’t effect his decision. That’s more than we can say about one half of the Presidents heritage effecting a good percentage of his decisions.
In the grand scheme of things fifteen years isn’t long but it may be the time needed to purge some of the hate of the U.S. factions from their leadership.

posted by: Rod Lopez-Fabrega | August 31, 2015  5:51pm

To the Editor:
Time to close this page, I think, when it begins to get really ugly (as per dano 86). The undercurrent of hatred in this country makes it impossible to continue a civil discussion on political issues—or on almost anything. I would ask dano 860 to be specific and explain what the President’s biracial background has to do with negotiating with Iran?

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 31, 2015  7:27pm

A majority 73% of Americans do not approve of this bad Obama Iran peace deal. But does Blumenthal dare to oppose his political master?

posted by: NutmegDemocrat | August 31, 2015  9:19pm

As a Senator, he’s the finast consumer advocate we’ve had. (That’s not a compliment)

posted by: Rod Lopez-Fabrega | September 1, 2015  5:29am

The snarky comments would have a lot more meaning if those who submit them would have the courage to do so under their real names and not under cute pseudonyms.

posted by: oldtimer | September 1, 2015  8:29pm

Rod-Lopez… Snarky comments? Our state is represented by democratic lapdogs with Blumenthal leading the charge. Chris Murphy’s op-ed, (a few columns down), proves my point. It is Murphy’s opinion that Iran cannot be trusted on nuclear inspections, yet, he supports the deal that allows Iran to inspect their own military sites. This is insanity personified! So, while you’re worried about “snarky comments”, the rest of us are worried about our national security.

posted by: dano860 | September 1, 2015  8:30pm

Christine, this is the conversation that has been avoided. RLF you must be one of the thin skinned ones that believes that the meer mention of the facts are abhorrent.
Bi-racial, cute! I refer to him as halfrican. And that isn’t a racial slur. If I referred to him as the term I grew up with you may consider that a slur.
My reference was to the fact, as stated by Mr. Blumenthal, that his heritage would not influence his decision. Whereas many of the Presidents decisions and comments have been influenced by one half of his heritage. I will not take the time or space to quantify his many transgressions as they are a matter of public record…besides I’m rather enjoying my time on one of Maines gorgeous lakes catching…and releasing, some wonderful Of the most beautiful sunrises and days left in my life.

posted by: dano860 | September 1, 2015  9:43pm

RLF, lest I forget.
The utilization of a pseudonym is mine and others only opportunity to be vocal on many subjects. In many cases we would be paralleled to persons we are closely associated with or married to. They don’t deserve to be castigated for our beliefs!
If you have nonone but yourself to be concerned about, or you are a party troll, then thank you for being whatever or whoever you are.
I’m not going to even take the time to google you. Good luck ... Love yourself! Please.
Oh ya,  tonight in the motel I listened to Barry at the Washington U.
He wasn’t very strong in the reasoning for the “deal” but his speech writers went to lengths to capture Regan and Kennedy quotes.
For a person that has ignored an entire country for a while now, one wouldn’t think so after listening to him tonight!
I gues he is pro-Isreal now.
Now don’t take this personal…how will giving Iran a bomb hurt us? WHOOOO HORSEY.
The world is a small place!

posted by: Rod Lopez-Fabrega | September 1, 2015  10:09pm

Dano’s ramblings have made my case better than I could have. Thanks dano for letting everyone know what you are made of.

posted by: robn | September 2, 2015  8:48am

Here are the biggest interested parties…

AGAINST

AIPAC
(A powerful conservative Israeli lobbying group) which loathes Iran.

ANGA (American Natural Gas Alliance) because irans oil is 2’ below ground, easy to extract and will further erode the economics of fracking.

Saudi Arabia
Doesn’t want the competition.

FOR

Exxon Mobil
They’ll get a piece of the action.

Russia
Gets a piece of the oil action and the uranium enrichment action.

posted by: dano860 | September 2, 2015  4:48pm

RLF you are correct, I’m a person that grew up in a tobacco field. Someone that you may consider a slave, the fact remains that a person like you that hides behind two surnames is a person that can’t be trusted.
The reason that the Donald is doing what he is and garnering the populist vote is because of people and beliefs like yours.
This is a big world and country that has room for many but it comes with criteria that all elected officials need to adhere too.
Mr. Blumenthal isn’t my first choice to represent me but he may look past his heritage and do what the majority desire…..I doubt it though.
You can continue to attempt to make me the bad guy but it isn’t working….DUDE I think, if you’re a DUDET my apologies!