Senate Leader Seeks to Tie Iran Vote to Recognition of Israel

Hopes Move Will Force Dems to Back Off Filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – KY) is facing yet another losing vote this week on the bill aiming to block the Iran nuclear deal, with the exact same vote that failed to end the filibuster last week expected to come along again with the same results.

Sen. McConnell is trying to force the Democrats to back off the filibuster and allow the vote, even though there again, he would face a defeat for falling well short of a veto-proof majority on killing the deal in the face of a promised presidential veto. He insists he’s going to get it “or else.”

The or else part is that if he doesn’t get this vote, McConnell says he intends to force a vote on an amendment to the upcoming vote on the Iran sanctions bill that would require any easing of sanctions (which the US is required to do under the deal) to Iran agreeing to formally recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.”

This is presented as simple recognition of Israel by proponents. In reality, the call is to endorse Israel’s status as a non-secular state, and dramatically undercutting the rights of the nation’s (largely Muslim) religious minority population. This is a demand designed to be unacceptable on its face to Iran, specifically to get rejected and subsequently become the excuse for the US to not follow the deal.

The assumption right now is that the sanctions bill will pass, veto-proof, and tacking on an amendment explicitly designed to kill the nuclear deal might put that in some jeopardy, but making it all about Israel is going to put heavy pressure on several Democrats, already facing heavy pressure from the Israel Lobby, to switch sides.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of