Tuesday, February 20th | 11 Adar I 5784

August 11, 2015 5:27 pm

Major Jewish Groups Slam White House, Allies for Use of Antisemitic Language in Debate Over Iran Nuclear Deal

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President Obama defends the Iran nuclear deal. Photo: Screenshot.

President Obama defends the Iran nuclear deal. Photo: Screenshot.

Major Jewish groups condemned the use of offensive, and possibly antisemitic language used by the White House, its allies and even the President in the heated ongoing debate over the nuclear deal with Iran.

The issue was first highlighted in an editorial by Jewish-interest magazine Tablet in which staff editors railed against deal supporters over their “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.”

The authors warned, “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,” an age-old antisemitic canard that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own countries of citizenship.

The offensive language was first used by President Obama in a July 21 interview with The Daily Show host Jon Stewart in which Obama said that shady “lobbyists” and people with “money” were working to kill the deal, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Tablet elaborated further providing links to specific examples:

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 language seemed to escalate when Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is Jewish, became the latest and most prominent Democrat in Congress to announce his opposition to the Iran deal.

Pro-Iran lobby the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which reportedly has ties to the Iranian regime, explicitly accused Schumer of being more loyal to Israel than America, the Free Beacon said.

Abraham Foxman, who just stepped down from his longtime role as national director at the Anti-Defamation League, said Obama was using language — saying those opposed to the deal were cynically motivated to bomb Iranian nuclear sites — that fueled the antisemitic stereotyping of Jews as warmongers.

Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, accused the Obama administration of bullying, telling the Free Beacon that the language used was an “outrage” and that he was “grateful” Schumer and other American Jews were fighting to get Congress to oppose the deal.

“I don’t fear the crock of dual loyalty,” he said. “I am ashamed by those who cannot bring facts to the table so they attempt to bully.”

Pro-Israel watchdog Honest Reporting asked if critics of the Iran deal were getting “unfairly smeared” with the dual loyalty charge

The group pointed to a CNN segment with Fareed Zakaria in which he claimed that Schumer’s calculations were based on money and the risk of losing “core supporters” who are apparently involved in or coordinating the “well-financed campaign against” the deal.

In an email to supporters on Tuesday, another media watchdog, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), said 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.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, a leading opponent of the deal, met with 22 Democratic lawmakers in Jerusalem on Sunday, among them the Democratic whip, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who is supposed to be convincing fellow Democrats to support the deal.

In the hour and forty-five minutes allotted to their meeting, the prime minister reportedly discussed the main points of the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and explained why he thought it was bad.

Hoyer told Haaretz he found it reasonable that Netanyahu was going to ruffle political feathers over his opposition to the agreement because he sees Iran as an existential threat.


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