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Carl Levin, the Israeli Lobby and Iran

March 13, 2012

Last week, both US President Barack Obama and Michigan Senator Carl Levin attended the annual policy conference hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Both the President and Carl Levin made sure that their allegiance to Israel was unconditional. Both Obama and Levin made it clear that they will continue to support Israel and both emphasized their commitment to demonize and punish Iran for challenging Israeli and US hegemony in the Middle East.

This is no surprise, since every US President since Richard Nixon has endorsed the State of Israel and made them the largest recipient of US foreign aid for more than three decades. As for Senator Levin’s commitment to Israel, one only has to look at the fact that he has been one of the top recipients of Pro-Israel PAC money over the past 20 years.

According to Open Secrets, Levin has received $1,656,735 from Pro-Israel groups in the US, with AIPAC being the largest contributor to the Michigan Senator. Levin has also consistently voted in for legislation that defends Israel, even when Israel commits war crimes, as they did in the 2009 assault on Gaza.

The main reason for Levin’s visit to the AIPAC conference was to make sure that the major Israel lobby would know that he supports Obama’s plan to marginalize Iran. Here is what the Senator had to say last week to those who attended the AIPAC conference:

I worked closely with the President Obama recently, when as David said my Armed Services Committee adopted a bipartisan Kirk-Menendez Iran sanctions bill as part of our defense authorization bill. That’s where it belongs: Defending Israel as part of our defense authorization bill. And that bill is now law and has been signed by the president. The sanctions which are in our bill with the support of the president will cripple Iran’s access to international financial markets and its ability to sell oil.”

In that speech Levin continues the anti-Iran position by claiming if Iran has nuclear weapons Israel will be in great danger. Levin fails to mention that Israel has possessed nuclear weapons for more than 2 decades, an admission he begrudgingly made in a recent interview with MLive.

When an MLive reporter asked Levin if Israel possessed nuclear weapons, the Michigan Senator said, “I think they do. They’re not going to use them. But they have them. Anybody who thinks they can use nuclear weapons is mistaken. They are totally unusable. That’s not the point. The point is that nuclear weapons are not usable except to deter. I believe that Israel has nuclear weapons. I think most of the world believes Israel has nuclear weapons. They were threatened with extinction. They felt that was one way to deter attacks on them that might be aimed to actually wipe them off the face of the earth.”

Later in his AIPAC speech Senator Levin lets it be known that he supports the President’s commitment to protecting Israel from Iran at all cost and that if Iran pursues nuclear capability the US will likely declare war on Iran.

When he (Obama) says all that options are on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran, he means it. I believe him. The world will believe him. I hope the Iranians are rational enough to believe him, because Iran ignores the president of the United States and his words at their peril.”

This hawkish and imperialistic position demonstrates once again that Senator Carl Levin and the majority of the Democratic Party that supports this policy towards Iran, are just as committed to war as any Republican administrations in the past.

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