AIPAC enters the fray

Until now the Obama administration seemed to have domesticated and neutered AIPAC, the proudly pro-Israel lobbying group. Michael Oren’s memoir Ally, published this past Tuesday, confirms this impression.

Attending the annual AIPAC Minnesota dinner in Minneapolis last month, however, I was struck by the strong position taken on the imminent Iran deal. AIPAC set forth five criteria for an acceptable deal that would obviously obligate the organization to oppose the deal. I wondered: would AIPAC follow through? and if not now, when?

Last week AIPAC posted its five minimum criteria for an acceptable agreement. Eli Lake reports here, adding details and context to the story.

AIPAC articulates the five criteria as follows:

1. Inspections and Verification
Inspectors must be granted unimpeded access to suspect sites for “anytime, anywhere” inspections, including all military facilities.

2. Possible Military Dimensions
Iran must completely explain its prior weaponization efforts. Otherwise, it will be impossible to establish a baseline to measure Iran’s true capabilities and future actions.

3. Sanctions
Sanctions relief must only begin after the International Atomic Energy Agency certifies that Iran has complied with its commitments under the agreement.

4. Duration
A deal must last for decades to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear threshold state with a virtually instant breakout time after 12 or 13 years.

5. Dismantlement
Iran must dismantle its nuclear infrastructure such that it has no path to a nuclear weapon.

These five are, to repeat, minimum criteria. Taking what is said here at face value, each of the five is essential from AIPAC”s perspective.

I think that Obama is about to go 0 for 5. AIPAC is about to go into opposition. Perhaps its opposition can be dismissed as parochial, yet its minimum criteria obviously make sense from the perspective of the United States as well as Israel.