AIPAC From the Inside, Part I: Isolating Iran

AIPAC From the Inside, Part I: Isolating Iran

AIPAC From the Inside, Part I: Isolating Iran

A former AIPAC official, worried that the United States or Israel might attack Iran, decides to speak out.


TehranBureau, affiliated with PBS/Frontline, has published Part I of my lengthy interview with Keith Weissman, the former AIPAC official who, along with Steve Rosen, was indicted on charges related to espionage in 2005. In the interview, Weissman speaks out for the first time about his role at AIPAC, where he served from 1993 through 2005. In Part I, he talks about his background, his early involvement with Iran, and how he got started at AIPAC. He also discusses the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1995, the efforts by AIPAC to isolate Iran, and the creation of the oil pipeline from Baku to the Mediterranean, in which AIPAC worked closely with BP and other oil companies and even with Saudi Arabia.

You can read the whole article at TehranBureau.

Here’s the opening:

In August 2005, two lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, were indicted on charges of illegally conspiring to collect and disseminate classified secrets to journalists and to Israeli diplomats. The case, in which the two men were charged under a World War I-era espionage law along with Larry Franklin, a midlevel Iran analyst at the Department of Defense, was intimately linked to efforts by the AIPAC officials and others to improperly influence US policy toward Iran, said prosecutors, and it caused a political firestorm in Washington. However, in 2009, the case fell apart, and the Justice Department withdrew all charges.

Now, for the first time, one of the two AIPAC officials, Keith Weissman, is speaking out. In a series of extended interviews with Tehran Bureau, Weissman tells his story. He’s come forward, he says, because he’s concerned that if a confrontation between the United States, Israel, and Iran leads to war, it will be a disaster—one that Weissman fears will be blamed on the American Jews.

"The reason why I want to tell this story now is, we may be going down a path, helped along by the American Jewish community, and maybe even Israel, that is going to be worse even than the one we’re on now—some sort of military confrontation with Iran. That worries me. Because they will be able to blame [it] on the Jews, to a great extent," says Weissman, who worked at AIPAC from 1993 until 2005, much of that time as the group’s deputy director of foreign policy. Though Weissman disagrees sharply with those who say that AIPAC played a critical role in pushing for the 2003 U.S. decision to invade Iraq, he believes a war with Iran—which he says "would be the stupidest thing I ever heard of"—might well be blamed on AIPAC’s leaders and their constituents. "What the Jews’ war will be is Iran," he says. "Not Iraq."… [more]

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