Democratic lawmakers grill cabinet secretaries at House hearing

 

Democratic lawmakers grilled Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on various aspects of the Iran nuclear deal at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday. Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said, “I continue to have concerns that international inspectors will not have immediate access to undeclared sites…That potential length of time [24 days or more] gives me pause. I’d like to know how we can be sure Iran cannot use these delays to sanitize sites and get away with breaking the rules. Already, we’re seeing Iran’s leadership declare that military sites will be off-limits to inspectors.” Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) expressed his concern that there are “a number of entities listed…for their nuclear activities [set to receive sanctions relief] that deserve to be listed for their terrorist activities, it’s just you haven’t had time to put them on that second list.” Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) brought up the question of possible military dimensions (PMDs): “If we don’t address PMD…, then it’s impossible for us to believe that the IAEA will have the credibility it needs going forward.” Deutch is also perturbed by the cash windfall that will accrue to Iran as part of the deal: “It’s been reported that $200 million a year is the amount that they use to fund Hezbollah. So if only $1 billion…were to go to Hezbollah, we would double the amount of support for five years, at which time the arms embargo comes off and they’re considerably more dangerous.”

David Cicilline (D-R.I.) questioned the fact that, while the IAEA is to submit its report on whether or not Iran has addressed its concerns on PMDs by December 15, Congress will have to vote whether or not to support the deal at an earlier date. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) asked Secretary Kerry, “Will implementation of the agreement increase Iran’s support for terrorism?”, to which Kerry responded, “We have no way to know. I presume, in some places, possibly, only in the sense that they are committed to certain things that we interpret as terrorism, they don’t, and we’re going to continue to conflict on those issues.”

 

American Jews disapprove of the nuclear deal with Iran, and overwhelmingly reject the deal when presented with more information on it, a new poll has found.

The poll, which is the most extensive survey of American Jews and their views on the Iran nuclear deal to date, showed that 47 percent of respondents oppose the nuclear deal, with 44 percent in favor. But when given further background on the deal and its implications, that margin jumped to 58 percent disapproval and only 30 percent approval. The poll was produced on behalf of The Israel Project, which publishes The Tower.

Earlier today, Algemeiner broke excerpts of the poll earlier, comparing it to less rigorous polling data about the Jewish American community that has been circulating lately. In addition to showing significant opposition to the deal, today’s poll shows, in the words of Algemeiner, “that the more [American Jews] know about it, the less they like it.”

The survey of 1,034 people was conducted by Olive Tree Strategies on behalf of pro-Israel advocacy group The Israel Project. It claims a margin of error of 3 percent, and is the most extensive yet to be conducted on the issue. It comes as a wide array of U.S. Jewish groups have announced opposition to the deal, which is believed to endanger Israel and U.S. security. …

 

Speaking to The Algemeiner about the poll, Omri Ceren, managing director of press and strategy at The Israel Project, said, “The more that Jewish Americans learn about the details of the Iran deal, the more they believe that Congress should reject it.”

 

According to Ceren, the “poll shows that when you educate Jewish Americans about the downsides of the deal, which ultimately involve funding and arming the Iranian regime, they end up deciding that the costs are not worth the very unlikely benefits.”

TIP’s poll surveyed 1,034 more than twice as many respondents as other recent polls of the American Jewish community.

While nearly 60 percent of respondents approved of President Barack Obama’s overall performance, 49 percent disapproved of his handling of foreign policy (compared to 44 percent approval). Respondents disapproved of his managing of the nuclear issue by a margin of 52 to 42 percent.

Respondents wanted Congress to reject the deal by a 45 to 40 percent margin. But when arguments from the White House in favor of the deal, and from opponents of the deal, were presented to respondents, support for rejecting the deal rose to 51 percent. And once specific concerns about the deal were introduced to the survey, only 30 percent still supported approving the deal, while 58 percent wanted Congress to reject the deal and not lift sanctions on Iran.

The poll showed that the top two concerns about the deal are the lifting of the arms embargo in eight years, which will allow Iran to acquire ballistic missiles that are needed only as a delivery system for nuclear weapons, and the release of $100 to $150 billion in frozen funds, which would allow Iran to give even more support to international terror.

The polling data is available here. A series of charts explaining the polling results are available here. (via TheTower.org)

 

New records for Israeli high-tech investments as 179 companies raise $1.12 billion in the second quarter of 2015, according to the IVC-KPMG Israeli High-Tech Capital Raising Survey. The quarterly amount exceeded former record high $1.11 billion invested in Q4/2014.“Fifty percent of the amount raised during this quarter, and even more since the beginning of 2015, results from large deals of $20 million or more raised per round. The overall number of growth companies attracting investments continues to increase quarter over quarter, reflecting the health of the venture-backed ecosystem in Israel and the patience of investors supporting their portfolio companies to complete homeruns and grow into ‘Unicorns’ that are substantial and mature,” said Ofer Sela, partner at KPMG Somekh Chaikin’s Technology group. In the first half of 2015, 342 Israeli high-tech companies attracted $2.1 billion in investments compared to $1.6 billion raised by 334 companies in the same time frame the year before. IVC-KPMG’s analysis of investors by type showed that foreign private equity funds and corporate investors were responsible for $477 million or nearly 43 percent of the total investments in Q2/2015. Most of the increase in capital raising in the second quarter can be attributed to two exceptionally large deals, where private equity funds invested in growth-stage companies,” said Koby Simana, CEO of IVC Research Center. “Moreover, an investor profile analysis we conducted shows an impressive increase in the number of foreign private equity funds investing directly in Israeli technology companies – i.e., in deals where the equity capital is placed directly in the company, rather than shareholder equity changing hands.” (via Israel21c)


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