J Street Received Over Half a Million Dollars to Promote Iran Nuclear Deal

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Leaders of world powers meet to discuss Iran nuclear deal on July 9, 2015.
World Powers meet to discuss Iran nuclear deal on July 9, 2015.Credit: AP

A group linked with the White House's efforts to promote the Iranian nuclear deal granted J Street over half a million dollars to advocate for the deal, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The Ploughshares Fund, whose mission is to "build a safe, secure world by developing and investing in initiatives to reduce and ultimately eliminate the world's nuclear stockpiles," got attention earlier this month after a candid profile of Ben Rhodes, one of U.S. President Barack Obama's top foreign policy aides.

In The New York Times Magazine article, Rhodes explained how the administration worked with nongovernmental organizations, proliferation experts and even friendly reporters to build support for the seven-nation accord that curtailed Iran's nuclear activity and softened international financial penalties on Tehran.

"We created an echo chamber," said Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, adding that "outside groups like Ploughshares" helped carry out the administration's message effectively.

"They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say,” he told the Times.   

According the the Associated Press, Ploughshares gave $576,500 to the liberal pro-Israel advocacy organization.

Following the inking of the Iran deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers last July, J Street launched a multimillion dollar national campaign to make the administration’s case on the nuclear agreement.

Before the deal was struck, J Street launched a website to dispel what they called “misinformation about the nuclear negotiations and the likely parameters of a deal.”

An online video posted on the site rebuts eight of the most common arguments made by those who oppose negotiations, including inspection and compliance mechanisms, possible military dimensions, research and development, and the length of a potential deal.

“This agreement demonstrates that a core security interest of the United States – ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon – can be achieved through diplomacy and without the use of military force,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said at the time. “This deal makes the United States, Israel and the entire world safer, and it would be highly irresponsible for Congress to reject it.”

 According to Ploughshares' annual report, it gave National Public Radio $100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues, and also funded reporters and partnerships with other news outlets. 

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