Quincy Institute Fellow Worries ‘Israeli Lobby’ Will Scuttle New Iran Deal

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: President of the Ploughshares Fund, Joseph Cirincione takes part in Tribeca Talks: What We Talk About When We Talk About The Bomb during the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre 2 on April 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
April 12, 2021

A top official at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft is claiming the "Israeli lobby" in the United States is waging a coordinated effort to scuttle the Biden administration’s renewed diplomacy with Iran.

Joe Cirincione, a distinguished non-resident fellow at Quincy, claimed during an MSNBC interview last week that special interest groups controlled by the Israeli government are surreptitiously working to undermine the Biden administration’s efforts to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

"There’s the Israeli lobby in Washington that’s very effective that’s pressing" against a new deal, Cirincione told MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan.

Cirincione was likely referring to pro-Israel American-based groups that work to strengthen ties between the two allies. Many of these advocacy groups oppose the nuclear deal and sanctions relief for Iran due to the threat it poses to Israel. Cirincione’s claim that these groups are controlled by the Israeli government is inaccurate and part of a larger effort by the Jewish state’s detractors to portray American Jews as more loyal to Israel than America.

The Quincy Institute, an isolationist think tank bankrolled by George Soros and Charles Koch, has repeatedly come under fire for promoting experts who parrot anti-Semitic talking points and other narratives that paint Jewish Americans as warmongers. The think tank also has been at the forefront of efforts to support the Biden administration’s negotiations with Iran. Cirincione and Quincy executive vice president Trita Parsi served as key cogs in the former Obama administration’s self-described pro-Iran "echo chamber," which disseminated false and misleading information about the accord.

Cirincione’s claims about the so-called Israeli lobby even struck MSNBC host Hasan as out of bounds. "I think you meant to say the pro-Israeli lobby in D.C.," Hasan said. "The various lobbying organizations in Washington, D.C.; there are a lot of hawkish groups putting a lot of pressure on this administration."

Cirincione went on to claim that Israel is moving toward a full-scale war with Iran.

Israel is "threatening that again," Cirincione said. "Israel thinks that they not only want to stop the Iran nuclear program, they want to overthrow the government of Iran. They have support from Saudi Arabia … [and] of course the GOP here who opposes any foreign policy success for the Biden administration."

Cirincione continued his attacks on Israel Monday morning, when he accused the Jewish state of undermining its alliance with the United States by launching strikes on Iranian terrorists and the regime's illicit forces in the region.

"Hours after he asserts US-Israeli ties are built on 'trust and cooperation' Israel brags about attacks on Iran, sabotaging US policy," he wrote on Twitter. "Did [Secretary of Defense Lloyd] Austin know about the attacks? If so, did we cooperate? If not, do we trust Israel? No good answers to this."

Cirincione formerly helmed the Plougshares Fund, a progressive foundation that bankrolled multiple organizations that boosted the Obama White House’s campaign to sell the nuclear agreement in 2015. That led then-representative Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) to launch an investigation into Cirincione and his group’s efforts to slant reporting on the deal and misinform the American public.

Cirincione did not return a request for comment in time for publication.