Josh Block Misrepresents New Iran Sanctions Bill In SOTU Talking Points

by Ali Gharib

I just received a copy of the talking points Josh Block, the head of the Israel Project, distributed to journalists and pundits ahead of tonight’s State of the Union address. The talking points, which are focused exclusively on pushing Iran sanctions and attacking the Obama administration, have some…serious problems.

Let’s tackle just one. After some perfunctory all-caps exhortations to use his talking points, Block gets right into the issue of piling on more Iran sanctions. (I addressed why this is a bad idea yesterday.) This is from Block’s e-mail:

  1. Menendez-Kirk bipartisan Iran legislation is a DIPLOMATIC INSURANCE POLICY; it is NOT new sanctions legislation.
    Contrary to administration claims, this bill does NOT IMPOSE NEW SANCTIONS ON IRAN. To suggest otherwise is false.

That this is not a sanctions bill should come as a surprise to Sen. Mark Kirk, the hawkish Republican from Illinois and lead co-sponsor of the bill. You see, on Friday, Kirk’s office posted a draft of the proposed bill online (h/t Ryan Costello). Block should check it out. If he did, he would see that literally the first words of the proposed law, which explain its purpose, read:

To expand sanctions imposed with respect to Iran and to impose additional sanctions with respect to Iran, and for other purposes.

So Block contends it is “false” to claim that this bill imposes sanctions, but the bill itself declares as its purpose to “expand” and “impose” sanctions. If Block wants to press his case with journalists, he ought to at least read the bill he is pushing.

(A word of disclosure: Block and I have something of a complicated history. You can read this and follow the links in the disclosure here to get the background if you wish.)

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.



  1. Glad to see you’re on top of this Mr Gharib, this certainly plays out in many ways that the stooges don’t seem to get. There’s still hope that the “Good Guys” will come out on top, that the “stooges/sycophants/wannabes” end up being the fools running the errands for the wrong people to lead this country.

  2. This is an old political trick and they are trying to come thru the back door! Time will tell as to how succeful they are going to be in convincing the other stooges!

  3. That milion dollars funneled to new Senator Cotton probably caught the attention of Mssrs. Kirk and Menendez… ‘couldn’t possibly have influenced… anyway, moving the goalposts is the nsme of that game.
    Cui bono?

  4. if the kirk-menendez bill actually does nothing new, why are all these people rushing to pass it, insulting their opponents, etc., especially if it will only be insurance, as they keep repeating. then why couldn’t it be passed in the event talks fail? what’s the rush? their arguments are so appalingly cynical and designed to obscure domestic political motives and israel’s blatant interference in american internal affairs (again). they have no shame.

Comments are closed.