Anti-Iran Deal Groups Backed by $145 Million

Sheldon Adelson, left, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, and Adelson's wife, Miriam (photo by Eyal Warshavsky)Sheldon Adelson, left, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, and Adelson's wife, Miriam (photo by Eyal Warshavsky)

by Eli Clifton

A high-profile list of U.S. non-proliferation, nuclear policy, Iran, and national security experts welcomed last week’s announcement of a deal between the P5+1 and Iran to curb Tehran’s nuclear program . Opponents of the deal, meanwhile, will make a last-ditch effort to derail the agreement reached in Vienna. They will use the 60-day congressional review period to pressure members of Congress, many of whom owe their seats to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, to vote to reject the deal.

The groups leading this charge may be coming from a point of disadvantage. After all, it’s a tall task to convince Congress to sabotage an agreement negotiated by the U.S., as well as its closest European and NATO allies. But the budgets behind these groups will no doubt amplify their voices, giving them an outsized influence during the next two months.

Taken together, eight of the most vocal groups opposing the Iran deal enjoyed a combined 2013 budget (the last year for which records are publicly available) in excess of $145 million. That’s hardly insignificant number, especially compared to other foreign-policy lobby groups..

Here’s a breakdown of those groups, their 2013 budgets, and their anti-deal statements, issued either by the organizations themselves or their leadership:

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)

2013 budget: $64,367,763

Anti-deal statement: “Congress should reject this agreement, and urge the administration to work with our allies to maintain economic pressure on Iran while offering to negotiate a better deal that will truly close off all Iranian paths to a nuclear weapon.”

Anti-Defamation League

2013 budget: $58,137,559

Anti-deal statement: “We are deeply disappointed by the terms of the final deal with Iran announced today which seem to fall far short of the President’s objective of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state.”

The Israel Project

Annual budget: $7,165,162

Anti-deal statement: “Today’s announcement of this nuclear agreement with Iran is a realization of the deepest fears and the most dire predictions of skeptics who have, for two years, been warning against exactly this outcome—a bad deal that both enriches this tyrannical regime and fails to strip Iran of nuclear weapons capability.”

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies

2013 budget: $7,108,010

Anti-deal statement: “Ayatollah Khomeini would be proud of his successors, committed revolutionaries and skilled diplomats who, through guile and determination, have out-negotiated the envoys of the ‘Great Satan,’ thereby preparing the ground for the many battles—not just diplomatic—yet to come.”

Zionist Organization of America

2013 budget: $3,909,965

Anti-deal statement: “This agreement will provide nuclear weapons and hundreds of billions of dollars to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Hitler of the Mideast, and to Iran, the Nazi Germany of the Middle East.”

Republican Jewish Coalition

2013 budget: $3,062,340

Anti-deal statement: “This deal meets zero of the criteria for a good deal—it is not enforceable, verifiable, or in America’s national security interest.  Unless Congress stops it, the world will be less safe as the United States will remove sanctions on Iran, and in return, Iran will still pursue nuclear weapons.  The Republican Jewish Coalition calls on all members of Congress to reject this deal.”

United Against Nuclear Iran

2013 budget: $1,223,566

Anti-deal statement: “Anytime you give $150 billion, minimum, and then all the revenue that’s generated by the influx of business as sanctions are relieved, it will embolden a regime that’s already emboldened in the region and it doesn’t take that much money to fund Hezbollah, Hamas and I think we’d be naïve to think that none of that money will benefit their hegemonic ambitions.”

Emergency Committee for Israel

2013 budget: $708,385

Anti-deal statement: “Brilliant Obama diplomacy: In exchange for billions of dollars & removal of sanctions, Iran has agreed not to dismantle its nuclear program.”

These organizations, only a short list of the groups opposing the Iran deal, had a combined 2013 budget of $145,682,750. And that doesn’t even begin to take into account the tens of millions of dollars being spent through various dark-money groups to run television commercials and newspaper advertisements. AIPAC, for instance, says it will spend an additional $20 million through a newly formed advocacy group, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran. And the Emergency Committee for Israel last year routed nearly $1 million to support Tom Cotton’s Senate campaign, more than the ECI c4’s entire budget in 2013.

With Netanyahu threatening to “kill himself” to prevent a deal, and his wealthiest U.S. backer, Sheldon Adelson, apparently willing to provide critical campaign cash to Republican members of Congress and presidential hopefuls, neither Netanyahu nor the GOP will likely back down in the next 60 days. The White House is headed toward a battle with an extremely well endowed set of opponents.


Here’s a comparison of budgets between anti-deal and pro-deal groups.

Photo: Sheldon and Miriam Adelson flank Benjamin Netanyahu

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Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. Stan Nadel makes a good point. However, he ignores the main point of the article or doesn’t acknowledge the validity of its claims so one is left with the impression that he is acting defensive.

  2. You’re damn right I’m being defensive when I see a posting that is biased in a way that can and will be used to promote Antisemitism (I don’t know if that was the author’s intent or not, but that’s what will happen). The left has gotten rather blind to Antisemitism in recent years. Seemingly a side effect of its opposition to Israeli policies, but one which has led to some (many?) leftists allying with and supporting Antisemites and fascists.

  3. @Stan Nadel

    It is not the ‘left’ that has gone blind to ‘antisemitism’, it is Israelis’ apartheid regime’s appropriation of the Palestinian homes and farms, Israelis’ mass murder of Palestinian women and children, their repetitive war crimes and promotion of illegal settlements and their newly invented ‘none-existent’ Palestinian history; the abhorrent crimes that even certain Jewish groups have unreservedly condemned, including the arrest and torture of children age 9 for throwing stones at Israeli tanks: yes, crimes that you so innocently reduce to: ‘policies’.

    No Saudi or Kuwaiti leader has addressed the US Congress (with the sole aim of not only to kill the deal but to moralize military attacks on Iran); no Saudi or Kuwaiti leader has been going around with a drawing of ‘Iranian Bomb’ but the Israeli leader with Israelis’ great support! And yes, sorry to say, the Israelis and their leader are ‘Jewish’. Why should factual reporting be blamed as ‘antisemitism’ that for decades has skilfully been used by the Zionists to accuse/manipulate to silence their critics? Can you not see the connections between the Israel lobby and the prominent influential pro-Zionist groups, including the rich Republicans’ strong support for the Zionists, and of course the funding and who behind the funding are!?

    If you honestly sense in the report ‘antisemitism’ then it is the undeniable truth that has left you ‘defenseless’. Truth hurts – the truth that it ‘is’ mainly the Zionist Jews inside and outside Israel who have been up in arms against this deal; but your own ‘unconscious’ bias mind’s Defense Mechanism rejects the truth outright because the truth has left you Disoriented and Defenseless, so the best escape is to accuse others without any rational reflection of antisemitism. Your reaction is the proof.

    ‘Factual’ reporting cannot be ‘antisemitism’. I hope your anger will guide you to critically reflect on the Zionists’ self-debilitating racist psyche and their denial of the criminality of their genocidal ‘policies’ that have been the main force behind the rising antisemitism. J.J. Mearsheimer & S.M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (2007), should be a good start to learn about the politics of ‘antisemitism’.

  4. When someone like this lists only Jewish opponents of the deal without acknowledging any others and stresses their wealth they are playing with classical themes of Antisemitism and that is independent of Israel and Israeli policies. Much of the left is so blinded by their anger at Israel that they fail to recognize when the attacks are not just against Israel but are against Jews–i.e. Antisemitic. Criticism of Israel isn’t necessarily Antisemitic, but that doesn’t mean it never is and that’s where many leftists go wrong. And your claim that “the truth hurts” is pure crap. I pointed out that the opponents of the deal include almost all Republicans, not just Jewish ones, and lobbyists for wealthy Arab countries. There would be no suggestion of Antisemitism if the article had covered all these moneyed opponents. The taint of Antisemitism derives from the selective nature of the list–only Jews.

  5. @Stan Nadel

    You keep mentioning Republicans: what about the 30 year old ‘Republican Jewish Coalition’ and its influence on the Republican lawmakers – are Republicans rejecting the deal to please the Arabs (Saudis/Kuwaitis), or the Jews?!

    The Orthodox Jewish Americans vote for the Republicans! Although the majority of Jewish Americans do not vote for the Republicans (because of the Republicans anti-liberal views on sex, etc.), pledging support for Israel is a big issue for both the Republican and Democratic US presidential nominees: no wonder these candidates continue to support Israel – thanks to their Jewish voters who share the Israelis’ concern especially when it is a presumed existential threat, a reminder of the Holocaust. For example, 78% of Jews voted for Obama in 2008, it dropped to 68% in 2012 as Obama expressed soft criticism of Israel!

    A great majority of Jews who vote for Democratic Party are also great supporters of Israel; they are a major force behind those Democrats who oppose the deal.

    It is no surprise, given the influence of the Jewish lobby and Israelis striving to kill the deal, the Republicans are the Zionists’ great hope in this affair. Who invited Netanyahu to address the Congress, anyway? The Republicans! Thanks to the Israel Lobby and AIPAC. So much for your ‘Republicans’ – you need to see all the connections. I haven’t said anything about the fundraising and corruptions yet. There are also the Evangelists who support Israel in this affair – but their presence cannot undo the major role being played by the Jewish Americans, the Israeli Jews and their mainstream mass media.

    I thought you knew these, that is why I said ‘truth hurts’. Of course, there is always possible misreadings that might encourage antisemitism, but sometimes facts cannot change and consequently some innocent people may suffer. I hope you will be kind to treat my opposing views with civilities, rather than with improper language. Thank you for your response.

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