White House officials, including the president, have adopted language in the debate over the Iran deal that many Jews find objectionable and offensive.
Major Jewish organizations have reacted sharply to statements with anti-Semitic undertones made by President Barack Obama and White House officials with regard to the battle for public support for the Iran nuclear deal.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) issued a statement calling on Obama and Congressional leaders to denounce what they termed as the ‘dual loyalty’ smear campaign leveled against Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and other opponents of the accord recently signed with the Islamic Republic regarding its nuclear aspirations.
“The spectacle of labeling Senator Schumer and other opponents of the controversial Iran Nuclear deal as ‘warmongers’ who are more loyal to Israel than America is the lowest form of gutter politics seen in our country since Joe McCarthy,” charged Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, Dean and Founder and Associate Dean of the SWC, a leading Jewish human rights organization.
“Instead of passionate and reasoned debates based on objective analysis of facts, we are increasingly witness to e-blasts, political cartoons, and sound bites that outrageously call into question people’s loyalty to our Nation,” Hier and Cooper said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We fear that such hateful rhetoric between now and next month’s historic vote will legitimize mainstream hate and anti-Semitism and falsely reduce an important policy decision that impacts on international terrorism, our Arab allies and the future of the Middle East, to a disagreement between the US and Israel,” they added.
SWC officials also called on Congressional leaders to take the lead in, “pushing back against the dangerous rhetoric that has the potential to wreak more damage to our society, than any foreign threat.”
Rabbi Cooper raised the issue at a meeting Tuesday with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) urging swift, bipartisan action.
Alluding to Age-Old Anti-Semitic Myths
Honest Reporting, a media watch dog, noted that critics of the Iran deal are “getting unfairly smeared” with charges of “dual loyalty,” in the media, and especially Schumer.
It appears that Obama’s frustration over the growing opposition to the nuclear deal may have weakened his inhibitions about making seemingly disturbing remarks.
In an interview by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria which was aired on Sunday, Obama said he could not recall any foreign leader interfering in a policy debate more than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has done with the Iran deal, possibly alluding to age-old anti-Semitic myths of Jewish global conspiracies.
Zakaria pointed out throughout the interview to supposed financial gains Schumer is making by opposing the deal. “It’s money, it’s the possibility that you lose support of a core group of supporters. There’s a very strongly organized campaign against the deal. There isn’t a particularly strong campaign organized for the deal, so there’s an asymmetry of cost. So if you vote for this deal, you don’t get a lot. But you get a huge opposition against it,” he told Brooke Baldwin.
‘Jew-Baiting’ that Cannot be ‘Stomached’
The Jewish-American Tablet Magazine denounced the “White House and its allies” of playing the “dual loyalty card” to silence critics of the Iran deal.
“What we increasingly can’t stomach—and feel obliged to speak out about right now—is the use of Jew-baiting and other blatant and retrograde forms of racial and ethnic prejudice as tools to sell a political deal, or to smear those who oppose it. Accusing Senator Schumer of loyalty to a foreign government is bigotry, pure and simple. Accusing Senators and Congressmen whose misgivings about the Iran deal are shared by a majority of the U.S. electorate of being agents of a foreign power, or of selling their votes to shadowy lobbyists, or of acting contrary to the best interests of the United States, is the kind of naked appeal to bigotry and prejudice that would be familiar in the politics of the pre-Civil Rights Era South,” the magazine wrote in an op-ed.
“This use of anti-Jewish incitement as a political tool is a sickening new development in American political discourse, and we have heard too much of it lately—some coming, ominously, from our own White House and its representatives. Let’s not mince words: Murmuring about “money” and “lobbying” and “foreign interests” who seek to drag America into war is a direct attempt to play the dual-loyalty card. It’s the kind of dark, nasty stuff we might expect to hear at a white power rally, not from the President of the United States—and it’s gotten so blatant that even many of us who are generally sympathetic to the administration, and even this deal, have been shaken by it,” Tablet stated.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), another media watchdog, conveyed similar sentiments when it stated on Tuesday that it was “unfair to denigrate opponents and ignore the facts. Moreover, it is bigoted to invoke anti-Semitic tropes to tar Jewish Americans or those who represent them in Congress.”
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel