Danny Danon: Mahmoud Abbas’s map of lies
That Abbas brought his map to the highest level of international diplomacy suggests that he believes that the world is ready to entertain this revisionist history of the Middle East. Sadly, in this regard, he may not be mistaken.
Rewriting history has long been a tactic of overtly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic organizations. On college campuses, anti-Israel groups regularly use a version of this map during the notorious Israel Apartheid Week. The anti-Semitic BDS movement features this graphic in its campaign materials. Al Jazeera, the propaganda arm of Qatar that has a growing audience among younger generations in America, has a “Vanishing Palestine” interactive video as part of its “Palestine Remix” channel.
What is most insidious, however, is the growing use of the map in mainstream venues. In October 2015, MSNBC displayed these maps during a live segment discussing a recent spate of Palestinian violence on the Temple Mount (for which it later apologized). In 2017, Columbia University published the maps on advertisements for a workshop on “Citizenship and Nationality in Israel/Palestine.” Last September, a high school matriculation exam in Finland included the maps.
The use of the “Map of Lies” in mainstream media and academic circles in particular will have the effect of normalizing its content and message.
For Israel and the Jewish people, this presents a real danger. Efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State are growing louder, with the United Nations recently releasing a “blacklist” of Israeli companies that operate in Judea and Samaria being only the latest example of revisionist history having tangible consequences.
One’s interpretation and understanding of the past forms their assumptions about the present and determines their vision for the future. Believing Abbas’s “Map of Lies” will do more than dishonor the past; it will irrevocably damage the cause of peace.
Ambassador Friedman heads the three-man American delegation now sitting down with the three-man Israeli delegation on the Mapping Committee.
Gantz has been powerless to stop the formation and work of the Mapping Committee. Indeed Gantz urged Trump to release his peace plan before the elections. Gantz has not even requested that one of his nominees be part of the Israeli delegation on the Mapping Committee.
In ignoring the Mapping Committee – Gantz is signalling the continuation of his policy opposing Israel extending its sovereignty into Judea and Samaria with America’s approval.
Gantz has made his own policy very clear:
“After the elections, we will work to apply [Israeli] sovereignty on the Jordan Valley. We will do this in a nationally agreed process and in coordination with the international community.”
Believing the international community would ever agree to Israel extending its sovereignty into any part of Judea and Samaria – without swaps of existing Israeli sovereign territory – is totally unrealistic. The international community has been fixated for decades on seeing another Arab State created in the entirety of Judea and Samaria – or in an area of the same size including land currently part of Israel.
Gantz – in limiting sovereignty to just the Jordan Valley – is dashing the hopes of an estimated Jewish population of 464,353 in 131 settlements seeking unification with Israel.
Israeli voters now have a clear choice to end the political deadlock that has followed two indecisive elections held in the past twelve months:
Is it Netanyahu – promising the restoration of sovereignty in parts of the heartland of the Jewish people’s historic and biblical homeland for the first time in 3000 years?
Is it Gantz – promising more of the same in Judea and Samaria that has been going on for the last 53 years?
A third deadlocked election result now seems increasingly unlikely.
The choice is stark and the direction Israel will take for generations to come is at stake.
One of the most egregious examples is the NGO for Palestinian “prisoner rights” Addameer. Addameer leaders regularly meet with EU officials and are very involved internationally. It even participated in the UN Human Rights Council’s discussions on Israel in 2018, and urges the ICC war crimes probe of Israel. They also hold “educational” events on campuses with students in the US. Multiple Addameer employees and leaders have a long and rich track record of terrorist convictions and, in several cases, have been Addameer employees and PFLP operatives simultaneously. It is problematic, to say the least, for the EU or UN to be advised on their decisions by organizations with such extensive ties to an EU-recognized terrorist organization.
From 2013-2019, Addameer received nearly $2.1 million from the EU and European member states, including Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain. The Basque autonomous community alone has given it over $920,000 in grants between 2014 and 2019. From 2014 to 2017, Addameer received $498,700 from the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (according to their website), a joint funding body financed by Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. With such significant EU investment, heightened transparency is an absolute necessity.
If the EU is not prepared to cut funding completely, they must double down and demand not only that Palestinian NGOs commit to not working with terrorist organizations, but also that they demonstrate complete financial transparency as to how their money is being spent. Palestinian NGOs should also be required to prove, in light of the evidence, that their employees and leaders are not active PFLP members, perhaps by a new disclosure requirement of past and present civil society affiliations.
The fact that the ties between Palestinian civil society groups and terrorist organizations have significantly deepened over the years, and that simultaneously their ties to European countries have also deepened, should alarm anyone. The EU, and other European states, have an obligation to ensure their grants are not being used to fund the expansion of terrorist activities. They also have an obligation to ensure that decisions made at the UN and EU regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are not unduly influenced by groups with PFLP ties.
The Triangle area in Israel’s North will not become part of a Palestinian state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with Israeli Arabic-language channel Hala TV on Tuesday night.
Asked about the section of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan that raises the possibility of trading the predominately-Arab Triangle area – which includes Umm al-Fahm, Kafr Kara, Baka al-Gharbiya and more – to the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu responded: “There is some vague statement [in the plan] that has no meaning.
“There will not be any population transfers under any circumstances: I oppose it in principle,” he added.
In recent years and in the immediate aftermath of the plan’s release last month, Netanyahu said that he will not have people forced from their homes on the Israeli or Palestinian side.
The US “Peace to Prosperity” plan did not call for any populations to be moved but did suggest that the border could be redrawn such that the Triangle’s approximate 250,000 Arab citizens of Israel be in a future Palestinian state. However, this was not a core point: the map in the 180-page plan shows Israel swapping land in the Negev near Gaza and Egypt with the Palestinians, and keeps the Triangle in Israel.
The idea of swapping the Triangle was highly controversial and sparked protests in the North and in Tel Aviv. Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has said he opposes it.
Netanyahu also told Hala TV that he does not rule out the establishment of a Palestinian state.
MEMRI: Arab-American Researchers: Arabs Don’t Want Peace with Israel – They Want Respite in order to Regain Power and Wage War Again; Any Palestinian Leader to Make Real Peace with Israel Will Be Assassinated like Sadat
On their Al-Hurra (U.S.) TV show, Syrian-American human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid and Egyptian-American researcher Samuel Tadros spoke about the Deal of the Century. Egyptian-American Samuel Tadros said that if people really want a “free Palestine” they should demand a Palestinian state that is free, not only from Israeli occupation, but free from the corruption, oppression, and dictatorship, which exist in Arab countries. Syrian-American human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid said that it was the Arabs who started the Arab-Israeli conflict by rejecting the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947. Tadros asked whether the Arabs really want peace with Israel. He suggested that what the Arabs want is a truce and they will resume war with Israel after they regain power. He said that currently they are dealing with Israel because they are weak and have no choice. He continued to say that support for the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees means the rejection of the State of Israel and changing the country’s demographics. Abdulhamid added that the Arabs are “mentally and culturally disposed” to refuse to accept the right of Israel to exist. Later on in the show, Tadros said that the “hands of the Palestinian leadership are tied.” They know that any leader who comes up with a final peace accord with Israel will be assassinated, like Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. He said: “All the Palestinian leaders know that they cannot pay the real price of peace.” The show aired on February 6, 2020. For more from Ammar Abdulhamid and Samuel Tadros, see also MEMRITV clip no. 7438 and MEMRI special dispatch no. 8246.
Arab-American Researchers: Arabs Don’t Want Peace with Israel – They Want Respite in order to Regain Power and Wage War Again; Any Palestinian Leader to Make Real Peace with Israel Will Be Assassinated like Sadat pic.twitter.com/qvYaIwl2v7
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) February 19, 2020
JPost Editorial: The tragic isolation of the Palestinian Authority
The Palestinian Authority plays a dual role when it comes to hosting meetings with Israelis and then quietly collaborating with the incitement against them. While high-level Palestinian officials want to meet Israelis to communicate their views, they know that they will face threats from within their own society for doing so. The Palestinian voices who are open to meeting Israelis understand that if you want to make peace or convince Israel to withdraw from the West Bank then it must be done in the framework of a meeting, not just by violence. Violence has achieved nothing for the Palestinians over the last decade. It has left them divided politically in Gaza and Ramallah and led to more suffering.
The committee in Ramallah tasked with interaction with Israeli society is headed by Mohammed al-Madani. He has graciously hosted people over the years. But he has also faced difficulties not only from Palestinians but also Israeli officials who sought to prevent him from entering Israel. This is because on both sides there is agreement among radicals that meetings, coexistence, or even discussion and interaction, is unacceptable. The extremists in both societies not only agree on this but have worked together historically to sabotage anything that looks like even a modicum of coexistence. Groups that seek to bring people together are attacked as “traitors” in Israel and “normalizers” in Palestinian areas. They face both verbal abuse and physical violence. Eventually, most give up because the energy needed to travel and meet people across the divide alongside the threats at home, is too much to bear.
The Palestinian Authority today is isolated diplomatically and internationally. It has not received much support, despite its calls for the world to oppose Trump’s plan. It has little to offer the next generation. This should concern some of the duplicitous voices – such as Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi – who called it a “disgrace” for Israeli journalists to hold meetings in Ramallah.
Unfortunately most Israelis and Palestinians today grow up without meeting each other, unlike generations in the past. This has hardened the divisions and also weakened the desire for peace. Incitement and attacks against Palestinians who want to reach out are harming the few courageous voices who would like to open minds about a future that can be different.
Now more than ever, it is clear to everyone that former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Ebban was correct to state that “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Instead of embracing US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” as a starting point to begin negotiating for independent statehood, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas instead sought the passage of a UN Security Council resolution condemning the peace plan.
Although the UN Security Council resolution set to condemn the “deal of the century” was ultimately removed from the agenda, that was due to a lack of international support, not a change of heart in the Palestinian Authority. Abbas still addressed the UN Security Council in order to condemn the “deal of the century,” which he rejected before he even had the chance to see it.
In fact, the Fatah Facebook page has been even more blatant in its rejection of the ‘deal of the century,’ resorting to threats, ad hominem insults, and foul language: “We’ll redeem Palestine with blood. Over our dead bodies, we won’t let it pass and if you want to overstep my limit, Trump, we’ll blind you; and if you want war, we’ll declare it and only Allah will be able to extinguish it. We’ll drive your Israel crazy and turn it upside-down. Trump, gather up this deal quickly, fold it and roll it up, you idiot, put it in the center and shove it up your ass.”
In such an environment, how can we even begin to contemplate the creation of a pro-terrorism Palestinian state? All the facts indicate that the Palestine Liberation Organization remains in a state of war with Israel and is not interested in living in peace beside Israel.
The Center for Near East Policy Research recently reported that Dalal Mughrabi, a female Palestinian terrorist who murdered 34 Israelis and injured 71 others, is systematically presented as a role model for children in Palestinian schools: “The terrorist Dalal Al Mughrabi stars in the Palestinian curriculum as a super-heroine, equal in status to Yasser Arafat and to the Prophet of Islam’s wife Aisha.” The fact that Palestinian female terrorist is presented as a role model for young children makes the idea of promoting a PLO state morally bankrupt.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki declined to answer what the PA is doing to bring about the release of the four Israeli captives in Gaza, during remarks to the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
MEP Charlie Weimers, of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, pointed out that the European Parliament passed a resolution in 2018 that called for the safe return of Israelis Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayde and the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, held by Hamas.
“What is the Palestinian Authority doing to ensure the safe return of Israeli civilians currently held against their will in Gaza?” Weimers asked.
The MEP pointed out that the UN adopted resolution 2472 on “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict – Missing Persons in Armed Conflict” in June, reaffirming the importance of giving the captives’ families information about their missing relatives.
“Hamas blatantly violates this,” Weimers stated, adding that Hamas denies the captives “care by the International Red Cross, all in complete violation of international law and moral decency.”
A source in the committee said al-Maliki showed “uncomfortable” body language and did not reply to the question.
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) February 18, 2020
The ICC’s judicial panel is ruling on territorial jurisdiction. You believe that even if they determine the court does not have jurisdiction the ICC investigation of these fake war crimes allegations should still go ahead? https://t.co/BzgVJA6Ztl
— Rɪᴄʜᴀʀᴅ Kᴇᴍᴘ ⋁ (@COLRICHARDKEMP) February 18, 2020
But so much else about this situation is unprecedented, including the number of state parties that don’t regard another state party as a state. https://t.co/hqmOj3V3IW
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) February 19, 2020
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) February 19, 2020
The IDF attacked a group of snipers from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group in the southern Gaza Strip near Khan Younis, after the terrorists fired at Israeli soldiers in Israeli territory on Wednesday, according to an IDF spokesperson.
Palestinian snipers managed to hit an IDF surveillance camera near the area, according to the Palestinian Sawa news.
The Yamam CT elite counter-terrorism unit was involved in the operation, in connection with the incident that took place earlier when terrorists opened fire at IDF offices. The unit spotted the snipers and responding by opening fire at the terrorists.
There were no Israeli injuries in the incident. Palestinian media reported that a Palestinian was lightly to moderately wounded by IDF soldiers. It is unclear if the injured Palestinian was one of the terrorists.
Former Likud MK Yehuda Glick was arrested Wednesday morning, the third time he has been arrested in less than 24 hours, before being released.
Glick was arrested Tuesday night after police conducted a search of his home, on suspicion he took documents from a police investigation.
After leaving the police station Wednesday, Glick told reporters that investigators were trying to ‘blow up’ what he said was an honest mistake, and claim that he had intentionally taken police documents.
Glick said police were looking to draw attention away from their discriminatory treatment of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, following his arrest at the holy site Tuesday morning.
“Police cannot remove the core issue here, which is the degrading treatment Jews often face on the Temple Mount by police,” said Glick.
The former MK also said police had threatened him during questioning Wednesday, warning him that if he continued to criticize police behavior, they would leak embarrassing information about him from their investigation.
The police investigating Glick are simply seeking to discredit him, the former MK claimed. “They don’t want a real investigation, it’s not about human rights – they just want to cover themselves after my false arrest yesterday.”
Jewish Activist Yehuda Glick Speaks Out Following His Arrest on Temple Mount
It’s Jerusalem’s holiest religious shrine, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslim as the Noble Sanctuary or Al Aksa compound. After Israel conquered it in 1967, it has maintained its status quo as a site for Muslim worship, not for Jewish prayer — a status challenged by Jewish activists over the years, especially Yehuda Glick, a former Likud lawmaker whose activities at the site led to a terror attack on his life in 2014. And today, Glick was arrested again, he spoke with i24NEWS Calev Ben-David about the incident.
Israel on Tuesday announced it planned to extend Gaza’s fishing zone back to 15 nautical miles and increase the number of travel permits from the Strip to 2,000, following three days of relative calm in the coastal enclave, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians said.
On February 5, the military restricted the permitted fishing zone down to 10 nautical miles and canceled some 500 travel permits after weeks of regular rocket fire and the launching of balloon-borne explosive devices into Israel from Gaza.
“So long as the quiet is preserved, Israel will tomorrow (Wednesday) extend the fishing zone back to 15 nautical miles and add 2,000 permits for Gaza resident vendors,” Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun said in a statement.
Though there have been no rocket attacks on southern Israel since Saturday night, airborne bombs have continued to cross the border daily, including the warhead of a rocket-propelled grenade that was found in the Gaza-adjacent community of Alumim earlier on Tuesday.
Yet in his statement, Abu Rukun said the launching of these explosive devices had stopped.
Israel Allows Thousands of Palestinians From the Gaza Strip to Enter for Work
Israel is providing an additional 2,000 entry permits to Palestinian merchants and tradesmen from the Gaza Strip, bringing the total to a record-high of 7,000. i24NEWS Adi reports from the Erez crossing on the northern Israel-Gaza border
Story (related): Israel on Tuesday cancelled punitive measures it had imposed against the Gaza Strip after a weekend wave of attacks with rockets and incendiary balloons by militants in the Palestinian enclave.
Abbas’ Fatah urges its followers on Facebook to “reshare” a video of a small Jordanian boy, Amir, who is off to Jerusalem to avenge Palestinian terrorist murderer Omar Abu Laila who was killed by Israeli soldiers when he resisted arrest after having murdered 2 Israelis in 2019.
The child soldier, Amir, who is wearing a military uniform, carrying a slingshot in one hand and holding a toy rifle, explains to his mother that he wants to “shoot the Jews who shot Omar” – the Palestinian terrorist murderer – and if necessary to “die for Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque” because they “deserve” that “we die for [them].”
Stressing its support for the indoctrination of children exemplified in this video, which urges children to act as soldiers and to die as “Martyrs” for Allah, Fatah pinned the video to its official Facebook page to make sure it stays at the top of the page:
Fatah’s posted text: “Reshare the video.
A video of a Palestinian (sic., Jordanian) child gets 11 million views, and the YouTube management removed it.”
In the video, the mother seems to be reading from a script while the small boy Amir knows his lines by heart:
Fatah Facebook reposts and pins video of Jordanian boy who wanted to avenge Palestinian murderer of 2, “shoot Jews” and “die for Jerusalem.” Fatah called on its followers to “reshare the video” which had been removed from YouTube.
— Pal Media Watch (@palwatch) February 19, 2020
A Palestinian teenager died on Wednesday after being shot by Palestinian Authority security forces south of Jenin, according to Palestinian reports.
Salah Zakareneh, 17, was shot during a “violent clash” with Palestinian security forces and “armed men in the Qabatitya area” on Tuesday, according to the Palestinian health ministry, reported Al Araby. The teenager was shot in the chest, according to the Palestinian Maan news site.
Three people, including one member of the Palestinian security forces, were wounded in the clashes that erupted amid celebrations following the release of a prisoner from an Israeli jail.
The Palestinian Authority formed an investigation committee to determine the circumstances of the teenager’s death, according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency. The Prime Minister of the PA, Mohammed Shtayyeh, expressed his condolences to Zakareneh’s family.
“We will do our utmost…to demonstrate responsibility and hold accountable those responsible,” said Shtayyeh.
The Palestinian Authority is considering filing a lawsuit against American e-commerce giant Amazon for conducting business in Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria.
According to Turkish news agency Anadolu, Ramallah’s Economy Ministry said it will send a letter to Amazon demanding it immediately halt of its commercial activities beyond the Green Line.
Amazon was not included in a recent blacklist issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council, naming 112 companies that conduct business in Judea and Samaria.
The move was apparently prompted by a report in the Financial Times, which revealed last week that Amazon delivers to Israeli settlements free for purchases over $49 while imposing a fee for deliveries to Palestinian cities.
The report said that Palestinians who select their address as being in Israel get free shipping, while those who list their address as being in the “Palestinian Territories” are charge $24 or more for delivery.
The Financial Times later quoted an Amazon official as saying that the discrepancy stemmed from “logistical issues.”
In what appears as a new step in the rivalry between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah to mark diplomatic achievements, a delegation led by former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal met with top Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday.
The meeting included the Russian Ambassador to Qatar Nurmakhmad Kholov and Musa Abu Marzouk, who heads Hamas international relations efforts, and Prof. Sami Hatter, the group’s Kremlin liaison.
According to Arab media, the Hamas delegation expressed its disapproval of the US’s Middle East peace plan, which they said “violates the Palestinian people’s rights, including the right of return, and the desire to establish an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty.”
Hamas sources were quoted as saying that Bogdanov expressed “Russia’s support for the Palestinian people,” stating that Moscow “is at the disposal of the Palestinian people and support its legitimate aspirations.”
An Iraqi member of parliament has stated that the US is planning on transferring Palestinians to western Iraq as part of the “Deal of the Century” Middle East peace plan, according to the Iranian Fars news agency.
“The US is plotting to keep out Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) from the Western provinces of Iraq, specially al-Anbar province, in a move to provide a proper ground for sheltering the Palestinians inside Iraq,” Mohammad al-Baldawi, the representative of the al-Fatah coalition in the Iraqi parliament, said to the al-Ma’aloumeh news site on Tuesday.
The MP claimed that the US is preparing a large area of the al-Anbar desert for Palestinian families.
“The presence of Hashd al-Shaabi in these regions prevents implementation of the Deal of the Century plan and [the] creation of a new homeland for the Palestinians,” Baldawi said.
Karim Alawi, an Iraqi parliament member, slammed the US in an interview over the weekend, alleging that the Americans want to “destabilize” Iraq and that the US is involved in a pro-ISIS conspiracy to bring extremists from Syria.
“All of the military positions of the Zionist regime are within the range of Iran’s fire,” Revolutionary Guards Commander Gen. Hossein Salami warned on Tuesday, saying a strike against Israel may not necessarily come from Iran soil.
“We give a warning to Israelis to care about their acts of mischief. They are far smaller than the Americans, much smaller and much more impotent by our calculations,” Salami said in an interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen TV.
The Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist group is Iran’s chief proxy in the Middle East. Iran invests heavily in arming Hezbollah, using it to attack Israel as well as to tighten its grip on Beirut, where the group wields considerable political power, as it all but controls parliament.
Salami stressed that “the whole positions occupied by the Israeli regime are within the range of the IRGC’s fire … The source of such fire is not confined to Iran alone.
“Today, the Israeli regime is hearing the voice of Muslim people from different countries next to the borders of the occupied territories,” he continued, according to the Iran Front Page website. “Strong capacities have been shaped for the decline of the Zionist regime, but the conditions are not still prepared for its final downfall.”
Israel, he advised, should not rely on the US for assistance, as “nobody has gained results from trusting Americans.”
In the face of a potential Iranian nuclear weapon, “only the Arrow missile-defense system guarantees Israeli survival,” Dov Raviv, former head of the Arrow project at Israel Aircraft Industries, said Tuesday.
“We cannot dismiss a leader of a country who says it will destroy Israel… Iran has said this explicitly,” he said at a conference of the Association for Israeli Military History on the occasion of the publication of a new book by another stalwart of Israel missile defense, Uzi Rubin.
While Israel has many military and diplomatic tools to try to stop Iran’s drive to obtain a nuclear weapon, if it does not succeed, missile defense will be its last line of defense, Raviv said.
Earlier at the conference, former IDF missile-defense commander Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Eitan Yariv said: “Some of the authority judging whether we can use our offense [capabilities against adversaries] is sitting in Washington, DC, and some in Moscow.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said authorities in Washington were prepared to talk to Iran “anytime”, but that it needed to “fundamentally” change its behavior and that a campaign of maximum pressure against it would continue.
“We are not rushed, the pressure campaign continues. It’s not just an economic pressure campaign… it’s isolation through diplomacy as well”, Pompeo told reporters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa before boarding a flight to Saudi Arabia.
The Federalist reported yesterday that Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut and other Democratic senators secretly met with foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the Munich Security Conference last month. Today, Murphy acknowledged that the meeting took place, arguing that “Congress is a co-equal branch to the executive” and, well, Donald Trump is bad.
It’s quite a volte-face for Murphy. In March of 2015, when President Obama was involved in negotiations with the mullahs, Senator Tom Cotton and 46 of his colleagues released an open letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran, offering some basic lessons on the American constitutional system — namely, an explainer on binding treaties.
At the time, Murphy called the letter “unprecedented” and claimed it was “undermining the authority of the president.” Then-Secretary of State John Kerry claimed to be in “utter disbelief” when asked about the letter. Kerry, no stranger to negotiating with America’s enemies, would a few years later meet Zarif a number of times to try and ‘salvage’ Obama’s Iran deal, in direct conflict with the position of the American government in Trump’s administration.
When Dianne Feinstein, then the Democrats’ ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, heard about Cotton’s letter, she was “appalled” at the “highly inappropriate and unprecedented incursion into the president’s prerogative to conduct foreign affairs.” Only a few years later, Feinstein would host the Iranian Foreign Minister for dinner.
You might also recall the widespread coverage of the Cotton letter: “Did 47 Republican senators break the law in plain sight?” asked CNN. “GOP Senators Probably Broke Law With Iran Letter” noted the US News and World Report. And so on. On Twitter, scores of newly minted Logan Act experts were sure Cotton should be prosecuted.
— The Pinsker Centre (@PinskerCentre) February 18, 2020
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) February 18, 2020
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