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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

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Bernard Marcus, the billionaire co-founder and former CEO of The Home Depot, is a major funder of Republican and neoconservative causes. Between 2007 and 2011, he was reportedly the biggest individual contributor to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, donating more than $10 million to the group. Marcus recently attended a meeting between prominent Jewish American donors and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a potential Republican presidential nominee. “A Chamberlain in the White House,” Marcus said about President Obama at the event. 



The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) president Morton Klein has been mired in controversy of late. He has been accused of mismanaging the organization and the ZOA’s claim that it has 30,000 members has been harshly disputed, with the Jewish Voice arguing that “at most” the organization has 800 members. ZOA also garnered attention recently after it hosted a meeting between potential Republican presidential nominee Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and prominent rightwing ”pro-Israel” donors, including Sheldon Adelson. 




Sen. Ted Cruz is a “Tea Party” Republican from Texas who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 and is widely considered a potential Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election. A vehement critic of the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran, Cruz has suggested imposing preconditions for talking to Iran. “We so desperately need a president who will stand up and say ‘these discussions will not even begin until you release Pastor Saeed and send him home,’” said Cruz, referencing a detained Christian pastor in Iran. After Cruz met with prominent Jewish American donors in New York recently, mega-donor Sheldon Adelson reportedly said that Cruz was “too right-wing” and “a longshot to win the nomination.”  


The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is a Washington, D.C.-based policy group that serves as a key inside-the-beltway supporter of hawkish security and defense policies, particularly with respect to Iran. A November 2014 update on the Iran nuclear talks written for BPC’s National Security Project argued that Iran’s purported series of “minor infractions serves both to set a precedent and to probe the international community’s willingness to punish transgressions.” In contrast,  a December 2014 State Department briefing argued that Iran has kept all of its commitments under the interim-nuclear deal reached in November 2013 and extended until July 2015.



Leon Wieseltier, the former literary editor of the New Republic and a harsh critic of the Obama administration’s Middle East policy, has frequently pushed for U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. He recently resigned from the New Republic, along with New Republic editor Franklin Foer and ten other contributing editors, in protest to the changes being made at the magazine by its chief executive, Guy Vidra, and its owner, Chris Hughes. 



The Friends of Israel Initiative (FOII) is a “pro-Israel” advocacy organization founded and chaired by former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar. Closely associated with hawkish political figures in the United States, FOII states on its website that its members are “more concerned about the onslaught of radical Islamism as well as the specter of a nuclear Iran” than the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. On negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, FOII Chairman José María Aznar has argued: “This is not the time to make more concessions, but the time to put more pressure on the ayatollahs.”



Victoria Coates is the national security adviser for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), widely considered a potential Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election. Her background includes serving as a researcher for Donald Rumsfeld and working as a fellow for the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Among her views, Coates has pushed for U.S. strikes against Syria and has pilloried President Obama for his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, writing: “Perhaps for our President Israel is still an abstract phantasm that might or might not exist, but for others it has been a reality for the last 63 years.”


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From the Wires

December 10, 2014

Many human rights groups have said the release of the Senate torture report does not go far enough and have called on the Obama administration to prosecute those responsible for the CIA’s torture program.

December 08, 2014

The departure of Chuck Hagel comes at a time when the “war party” is ascendant in Washington.

December 08, 2014

A recent poll shows that support among US citizens for a single-state in Israel and the Occupied Territories—where all would have full and equal rights—has increased by ten percentage points in the past year.

December 03, 2014

Additional U.S. sanctions on Iran would play into the hands of Iranian hardliners and discourage cooperation from Tehran, as well as from China, Russia, and Europe.

December 01, 2014

In choosing his next secretary of defense, President Obama can begin to move in the right direction by avoiding a “yes person.”

November 26, 2014

As nuclear talks between Iran and world powers are extended, hawkish elements in Washington are ramping up their efforts to impose additional economic pressure on Iran.

November 24, 2014

With talks between Iran and the P5+1 extended by seven months, “pro-Israel” and Republican hawks have ramped up their rhetoric, calling for Congress to be given a veto over any final deal.

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