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August 11, 2015 6:57 am

Don’t Let Obama Rewrite History to Sell the Iran Deal

avatar by Abraham H. Miller

Email a copy of "Don’t Let Obama Rewrite History to Sell the Iran Deal" to a friend
Barack Obama. Photo: Screenshot.

Barack Obama. Photo: Screenshot.

President Obama, no doubt, is deeply offended by recent accusations that he is resorting to Jewish stereotypes to sell the Iran deal. But while we do not to know what is truly in Mr. Obama’s heart, there is ample indication that his rhetoric has crossed the line into classical anti-Semitism, revealing a complete disregard for the lack of civility that Mr. Obama has strongly criticized when directed at other identity groups. Equally troubling is the president’s falsifying the history of America’s entry into Iraq, and the role of the Jewish community in that policy decision.

Addressing leftist Jewish organizations that support his Iran deal, including the progressive J Street and the National Jewish Democratic Council, the president had this to say: “In the absence of your voice, we will see the forces that got us into the Iraq war forego this historic opportunity and put us on the path to a potential military conflict.”

This is not even thinly veiled but a wholesale resurrection of an accusation that is manifestly untrue—that American Jews and pro-Israel groups who are now rallying to stop the Iran deal are the same people who mobilized to push America into the ill-conceived and unnecessary war with Iraq.

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Let us be eminently clear. Despite the president’s revival of this canard, none of the major Jewish organizations supported America’s entry into the Iraq war. Indeed, they strongly opposed it. Individual Jews overwhelmingly opposed the war by 77%, a figure that surpassed all other mainstream religious groups.

Moreover, the Israeli government opposed the war in Iraq because the preservation of the balance of power between Iraq and Iran was vital to Israel’s security. America entered the war in Iraq over Israel’s objections—not with its support. Mr. Obama knows this.

If Mr. Obama wanted to accurately talk about Iraq, he would have noted that his policies in Iraq were indistinguishable from President George Bush’s, the only difference being that Mr. Bush unflinchingly took responsibility for exercising the final decision to go into Iraq while Mr. Obama rushed to take responsibility for leaving Iraq because it was politically beneficial. The status of forces agreement for America’s exit from Iraq, which Mr. Obama chose not to extend, was negotiated under the Bush administration. Mr. Obama has no shame when it comes to rewriting history.

Alluding to British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond’s accusation that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was opposed to any deal with Iran – an accusation for which Hammond had not one scintilla of evidence – Mr. Obama used the exact phrase, “opposed to any deal with Iran,” to malign his critics during the conference call.

Then Mr. Obama turned his criticism toward the “well-financed lobbyists,” as well as the “big check writers to political campaigns,” and the “billionaires who happily finance super PACs.”

He complained about the millions spent running ads against the deal, a less than subtle reference to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) campaign.

American Jewish opposition to the deal fell within the context of the various screeds about the so-called illegitimate, omnipotent Jewish lobby; American Jewish support for the deal did not. Somehow AIPAC was to be scorned as part of a vast illegitimate conspiracy, but J Street’s ad- campaign promoting the deal was simply good old American patriotism.

And while there were veiled references to pro-Israel financier Sheldon Adelson as marshaling resources to fight the deal, nothing was said about clueless Jewish celebrities like Jack Black who are being mobilized to support the deal. When did Jack Black become an authority on the Middle East? Asking celebrities about Middle East policy is like asking Woody Allen for dating tips.

In Mr. Obama’s scenario of Jewish stereotypes, there are wealthy American Jews out there fighting him and wanting to create another Iraq-style war for which, in Obama’s phony historical reconstruction, they are responsible.

Of course, there are also rich, liberal Jews out there mobilizing to support Obama’s disastrous deal with Iran, but somehow those Jews are simply exercising their constitutional rights in America’s pluralistic society.

The tactics Mr. Obama is employing to support the deal are not nearly as dangerous as the deal itself. As noted by Harvard professor Ruth Wisse, a leading authority on modern-day anti-Semitism, Mr. Obama’s deal promotes and strengthens a regime that repeatedly calls for genocide against the Jews.

The Iran regime makes no attempt to even hide, as the Nazis did, their intention to eradicate the Jewish people.

Mr. Obama has jumped into numerous forays to promote his idea of eliminating black stereotypes, even throwing the prestige of office behind the dispute between Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and the Cambridge police. Yet, when it comes to Jews, Mr. Obama seems willing to traffic in Jewish stereotypes to promote his policy objectives.

Was Joel Pollak too harsh when he noted in Breitbart that if Mr. Obama does not want to be thought of as an anti-Semite, perhaps he should stop acting and sounding like one?

Even if the deal were the right thing to do, it should have been promoted on the facts, not by hurling defamations, resurrecting stereotypes, and promoting a false and offensive historical narrative. To accomplish that would take honesty, integrity, and some real presidential character. To date, Mr. Obama’s false historical rewrite has not damaged the Jewish community as much as it has damaged the president.

When Nathan Guttman of the leftist Jewish Forward, a newspaper known for its tepid Zionism and sycophantic deference to the president, questions whether Mr. Obama hit the right note in his call to the Jewish community and needs to remind his readers that the organized Jewish community did not support the Iraq war, you know the president has a Jewish problem.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a senior fellow with the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. This article was originally published by The Washington Times. 

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  • jeff

    An excellent piece, well reasoned and damning in its precision and clarity. To say that these comments are not anti-Semitic is insane and void of reason.

  • and the propaganda machine continues

  • Dr.Christer Jörgensen

    Dear Professor Miller

    You are to be commended on a harsh but hard-hittingly fair analysis on Obama’s entirely flawed foreign policy appeasement of two of the most vile and despicable regimes in the world: the Castro regime in Cuba and the theocratic totalitarians in Teheran. The parallels are striking. Cuba’s rulers, unreformed, hardline communists who hate the USA with venom, have tinkered with minor “reforms” but has done notjing to justify Obama’s grotesque generosity which comes at the expense of the anger of the Cuban exiles and the Cuban people whose dreams of freedom will thus be postponed indefinitely.
    The love in witht the mullahs is just as nauseating especially for a confirmed gentile zionist like myself. The international media, especially the Israel baiting European variety, have either compleley ignored Republican criticism of Obama’s dangerous appeasement amd rush to make deals with murderers. As for Israel’s one thousand percent concern for their security and a soon tonbe nuclear Iran it has been heaped with scorn. Examples of these are easy to find: the BBC, the French and Swedish medias.
    Obama’s “diplomacy” is not only poorly thought through but based on his personal ambitions and his openly and deeply pronounced aversion, nay antagonism, to Israel. It gives us, his critics and enemies, grist to our mill that his presidency has been at best a bloody waste of times and at worst the building blocks for a new, deeply worrying and malevalent world order. In Obamaworld crime seems to pay. I can only hope that he is not replaced by the equally horrendous Clinton who did a lot of santimonious waffling on the Tehran deal. If that woman is elected next year I will write off the Americans as either being brainwashed idiots or just malevalent minded leftwing fools.

    Yours sincerely,
    Christer J

  • deepharbor

    Talk about rewriting history.

    “In the absence of your voice, we will see the forces that got us into the Iraq war forego this historic opportunity and put us on the path to a potential military conflict.”

    This is not even thinly veiled but a wholesale resurrection of an accusation that is manifestly untrue—that American Jews and pro-Israel groups who are now rallying to stop the Iran deal are the same people who mobilized to push America into the ill-conceived and unnecessary war with Iraq.

    How do you draw your conclusion? He didn’t say anything about Jews, could it be because you did push for entry into the war you are now paranoid?

    and how about your conclusion here
    If Mr. Obama wanted to accurately talk about Iraq, he would have noted that his policies in Iraq were indistinguishable from President George Bush’s, the only difference being that Mr. Bush unflinchingly took responsibility for exercising the final decision to go into Iraq while Mr. Obama rushed to take responsibility for leaving Iraq because it was politically beneficial. The status of forces agreement for America’s exit from Iraq, which Mr. Obama chose not to extend, was negotiated under the Bush administration. Mr. Obama has no shame when it comes to rewriting history.

    Yeah so Obama’s policies were indistinguishable except for the fact that they were exactly the opposite.

    As far as the status of forces agreement for America’s exit it was signed by Bush, Obama foolishly wanted to extend deployment but was unwilling to subject U.S. soldiers to Iraq law courts. You know in the real world.

  • James

    http://www.salon.com/2002/09/14/jews_iraq/

    Usually allied with liberal causes, many American Jews support toppling Saddam Hussein. If there’s a peace movement, it will have to get started without them.

  • you’re wrong

    “the forces that brought us to Iraq” obviously refers to the republicans, who also oppose this bill in favor of military action against Iran.

    “in the absece of YOUR voice” refers to the jews, imploring them to speak out about the issue.

    But keep towing your anti-semetic line, I’m sure it helps get hits for this obviously floundering news site…

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