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August 30, 2015 11:20 pm

Jewish Pundits Bemoan Media ‘Obsession’ With Jewishness of Congress Members Over Iran Nuclear Deal

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Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She hasn't come out in favor of or against the Iran nuclear deal. But her Jewishness is highlighted in the media. Photo: Facebook.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz with President Obama. She hasn’t come out in favor of or against the Iran nuclear deal. But her Jewishness is highlighted in the media in relation to her wavering about it. Photo: Facebook.

Two well-known Jewish pundits took to Twitter on Sunday to question the practice of the newspaper, The Hill, to emphasize the Jewishness of members of Congress in relation to the Iran nuclear deal.

Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept tweeted similar sentiments about what they consider the dubious practice, which neither actually refers to as “antisemitic” though this could be inferred from their banter with followers.

Goldberg, whose many one-on-one interviews with President Barack Obama has made him an international household name, wrote: “The Hill newspaper appears to be a bit obsessed by the Jewishness of members of Congress.”

Greenwald, an award-winning author and long-time writer for publications such as Salon and the Guardian, wrote: “News outlets keep highlighting Jewishness of US politicians when discussing Iran Deal – why?”

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Each linked to a piece in The Hill, a political website widely read in Washington, D.C., about a Washington Post report on Saturday, according to which Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz “blocked consideration of a resolution at the party’s summer meeting that would have praised President Obama and backed his nuclear deal with Iran.”

The Hill wrote: “Wasserman Schultz, who is Jewish, has not yet publicly said what she thinks of the nuclear deal and how she intends to vote when Congress considers it in September…

“Instead of the resolution, James Zogby, the co-chair of the DNC’s Resolutions Committee, prepared a letter expressing support for Obama and the Iran deal. The letter gained signatures from an overwhelming majority of DNC members, Zogby said.

“‘We wanted to show support for the president,’ he told the Post. ‘We found that the best way to show support was a letter that members would sign on to, and the overwhelming majority of DNC members signed onto the letter. This is the President Obama we elected in 2008 who said, ‘I choose diplomacy over conflict,’ and he did it.’”

Among the Twitter responses to Goldberg and Greenwald were rhetorical questions about why The Hill and other publications did not mention that Zogby is the founder and president of the Arab American Institute, for example.

Others argued it made sense that Jewishness is raised in relation to the nuclear deal, due to Iran’s threats against Israel.

Still others pointed out that “you don’t have to be Jewish” to oppose the Iran deal, and since a majority of Jewish politicians are Democrats, most of whom are likely to back Obama when it comes time for the vote in September, The Hill and other media outlets should not highlight that particular side of a politician.

This appeared to be the point Goldberg and Greenwald were making.

Goldberg is a supporter of the deal (with a couple of minor reservations) and an outspoken critic of Netanyahu, whose “campaign to subvert Obama may be remembered as one of the more counterproductive and shortsighted acts of an Israeli prime minister since the rebirth of the Jewish state 67 years ago.”

Greenwald, who prides himself on being equally critical of Republicans and Democrats, welcomes the deal, but opposes what he sees as Obama’s “overall record [as] one of violence, militarism and aggression that has left a pile of dead bodies of innocent people.”

Responding to the social media comments, Washington Post blogger and columnist Jennifer Rubin was critical of the media, the Obama administration — and of Goldberg.

“Perhaps in his next interview with Obama, Mr. Goldberg can ask about the president’s insinuations that Jews and their money are influencing lawmakers,” she told The Algemeiner on Sunday. “Somehow the religion of the lawmaker is only mentioned when he or she is Jewish. When was the last time you saw ‘Catholic lawmaker to oppose Iran deal’? Whether intentional or not, the implication is that Jews are a people apart. The White House and its allies unfortunately have indulged in obnoxious rhetoric and obsession with ‘money’ and powerful lobbyists, an unsubtle reference to antisemitic tropes. The discussion has reached a new low — something I would expect in Europe, but never in the United States.”






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