MSNBC's Hayes Blames AIPAC for Dems Opposing Obama on Iran, Some Are 'Apoplectic at the Thought of Peace'

On Wednesday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes ended the show with a commentary appealing to 16 Senate Democrats who are joining with Republicans to push more sanctions on Iran, as the MSNBC host blamed the pro-Israel group AIPAC for influencing these Democrats, and accused the Senators of being "intent on sabotaging the President's peace talks and pushing us towards another war."

As he listed out a number of public figures who oppose the Obama administration's deal with Iran, Hayes also framed skeptics of the deal as being "apoplectic at the thought of peace."

Before a commercial break, Hayes complained:

Now, as for some other Senate Democrats, they seem absolutely intent on sabotaging the President's peace talks with Iran and pushing us towards another war. And I'm going to name names, so stick around.

As he began his commentary, he opined the President Obama should have lectured Democrats about opposing him during a meeting which was held earlier in the day:

While we don't know what exactly was said in that meeting, if I were the President, here's what I would have started out with: "Fellow Democrats, welcome. Why are you trying to get us into another war? And why are you sabotaging my presidency to do it?"

Hayes played up the deal as "what could be the single biggest diplomatic and foreign policy accomplishment of this administration, a real shot at a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear program," and then turned to lambaste skeptics whom he portrayed as being opposed to peace:

This would be, to quote Joe Biden, "a big F-ing deal." Now there are a set of usual suspects who are apoplectic at the thought of peace.

Then came soundbites of Republican Senator John McCain, conservative commentator Bill Kristol, former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu criticizing the Obama deal with Iran.

The MSNBC host continued:

So it is not surprising that Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are doing their best to blow up the deal with a new Senate bill that would add more sanctions to Iran.

After quoting President Obama's view that more sanctions would undermine negotiations with Iran, Hayes further trashed skeptics:

In other words, it is absolutely clear to anyone following this policy that the bill is designed to destroy the current talks, burn diplomacy to the ground and salt the ashes. End of story. So why the heck are 16 Senate Democrats co-sponsoring this piece of legislation?

Hayes soon moved to indict AIPAC:

So the only plausible answer is that these Democrats either genuinely want military escalation with Iran or they are afraid of the extremely powerful and influential American Israel Political Action Committee, AIPAC, which has made passing this bill their current number one priority. And they are making a political calculation that is as in their political interest not to cross AIPAC and its allies because they are not a group you want to get on the wrong side of.

The MSNBC host concluded by appealing to Senate Democrats to back off their support for more sanctions.

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Wednesday, January 15, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, with critical portions in bold:

CHRIS HAYES, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: Now, as for some other Senate Democrats, they seem absolutely intent on sabotaging the President's peace talks with Iran and pushing us towards another war. And I'm going to name names, so stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Today, just a few hours ago, President Obama met with the Democratic Senate caucus at the White House for several hours. While we don't know what exactly was said in that meeting, if I were the President, here's what I would have started out with: "Fellow Democrats, welcome. Why are you trying to get us into another war? And why are you sabotaging my presidency to do it?"

There are currently 16 Senate Democrats led by Robert Menendez of New Jersey who are poised to join with Senate Republicans to sabotage what could be the single biggest diplomatic and foreign policy accomplishment of this administration, a real shot at a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear program, and perhaps an entirely new chapter in our fraught and dangerous relationship in the Middle East.

After 30 years of enmity and silence, Iran and the U.S. are engaged in direct talks over the fate of Iran's nuclear program. They've agreed to an interim deal that requires Iran to roll back some of its nuclear enrichment and open its doors to inspections while the two countries try to work towards a comprehensive agreement that would ultimately result in Iran abandoning any nuclear weapons program, in exchange for lifting the sanctins and perhaps full diplomatic recognition in both directions. This would be, to quote Joe Biden, "a big F-ing deal." Now there are a set of usual suspects who are apoplectic at the thought of peace.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): We're giving them an additional seven, some people say as much as $20 billion, which they'll use to continue to spread terror over the world.

BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: They are getting sanctions relief for just really unbelievable, dismantling nothing and getting sanctions relief.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: It's like the Iranians dangled a shiny object in front of the negotiators and they fell for it.

HAYES: Now, those sorts of criticisms can be heard abroad, too.

ELIZABETH PALMER, CBS NEWS: America has managed to anger two of its staunchest allies in the region with this agreement. One is Israel as Margaret mentioned earlier. The other is Saudi Arabia, which is worried about Iran growing stronger and exercising more influence in the region.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER, CLIP #1: It's an historic mistake.

NETANYAHU CLIP #2: This agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place.

HAYES: So it is not surprising that Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are doing their best to blow up the deal with a new Senate bill that would add more sanctions to Iran. This despite the fact Iran already has a set of absolutely crippling sanctions in place, nearly all of which will stay in place for the duration of the current rounds of talks. Advocates of the bill say they're just trying to give the White House more leverage.
 
But President Obama himself said in a statement that "imposing additional sanctions now will only risk derailing our efforts to resolve this issue peacefully." On top of that, Iran's foreign minister -- seen by many as the person in Iran most invested in a diplomatic solution -- has said that if Congress passes new sanctions, quote, "the entire deal is dead."

In other words, it is absolutely clear to anyone following this policy that the bill is designed to destroy the current talks, burn diplomacy to the ground and salt the ashes. End of story.

So why the heck are 16 Senate Democrats co-sponsoring this piece of legislation? It's not like there's some broad popular revolt against the Iran talks.
Polling shows the public supports an agreement, though it is skeptical that it will work. And diplomacy has been endorsed by everyone from peace groups to the head of the Council on Foreign Relations, to even the Washington Post editorial page, which almost always seems to side with the neocons on these matters.

So the only plausible answer is that these Democrats either genuinely want military escalation with Iran or they are afraid of the extremely powerful and influential American Israel Political Action Committee, AIPAC, which has made passing this bill their current number one priority. And they are making a political calculation that is as in their political interest not to cross AIPAC and its allies because they are not a group you want to get on the wrong side of.

And here's what I would say to these Democrats, the ones you see listed there, particularly the folks like Kirsten Gillibrand and Corey Booker, who are thought to entertain aspirations for higher office. Years ago, another group of Democratic Senators faced a monumental choice on how to vote on an urgent matter of war and peace, and their advisors were telling them they had to look in such a way they would look tough and resolute and bolster their credibility. And when the time came to vote on the resolution for the authorization of force in Iraq, this is what happened.

HILLARY CLINTON: I have concluded after careful and serious consideration that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation.

JOHN KERRY: I will vote because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable.

HAYES: So, Senator Booker, before voting on this bill, maybe call up John Kerry and Hillary Clinton and ask them if they wish they could have that vote back because if we end up in a war with Iran, the public will hate it, rightly, and it will be seen as a disaster, and you will be condemned by history and public opinion for your role in bringing it about.

And if we end up with peace with Iran, it will be viewed as a monumental achievement, one that happened in spite of your obstruction. So think hard, Senator Booker and Gillibrand and Coons and Blumenthal and everyone else, about just whose advice and counsel you should listen to on this vote. And if you happen to be a constituent of one of these Senators you see on the screen right now, then maybe you should tell them how you feel because war and peace is too darn important to leave to the professionals.

--Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brad Wilmouth on Twitter.