Pressure builds on ‘double talk’ Wasserman Schultz– not a ‘real friend’ of Israel

The pressure is increasing on Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, to take a stand for Obama on the Iran deal, or to side with AIPAC, the Israel lobby that lines the pockets of Democratic candidates. And– no surprise– the pressure inside the Democratic Party is being applied by rightwingers, who have purchase there.

The latest ad from the Emergency Committee for Israel is called “Double Talk” and has footage of Wasserman Schultz ducking a question about her stand on the sanctions.

In Washington she’s quietly working to kill the bill. If you care about Israel call Wasserman Schultz and stop the politics. Israel needs real friends, now more than ever.

Noah Pollak of ECI says that “Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is trying to play her pro-Israel constituents for fools,” according to the neoconservative Weekly Standard, which scorns “Wasserman Schultz’s deceitful double-talk on Iran…. despite her being the head of a political party that is keen on cutting a bad deal with Iran.”

Foreign Policy reports on the growing pressure:

The situation Wasserman Schultz finds herself in is a dilemma shared by many Democrats torn between their support for the White House and their longstanding ties to the pro-Israel community. But in her case, the politics are even more treacherous.

Wasserman Schultz, who refuses to declare her position on the bill, is taking more heat from pro-Israel groups than any other Democratic lawmaker, even though prominent members of the party like Michigan Sen. Carl Levin and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein openly oppose new sanctions at this time. It’s not a mystery why.

Wasserman Schultz hails from a heavily Jewish congressional district in south Florida where many equate support for new sanctions with support for Israel. Given her high-profile status as chair of the DNC, a position given to her by President Obama, and her emphatic support of Israel, she’s viewed as a bellwether for other fence-sitting Democrats in Congress.

Yesterday I reported on cracks in the lobby, with even some AIPAC insiders criticizing AIPAC methods on Iran sanctions, as too heavy-handed. Foreign Policy echoes that criticism:

That AIPAC was driving hard for new Iran sanctions legislation surprised no one. But its use of a right-wing blog ["Debbie's Double Talk" -- Washington Free Beacon] to target [Wasserman Schultz] a well-connected Jewish Democrat with a long history of support for Israel raised eyebrows among some current and former AIPAC officials. It also raised concerns that AIPAC’s open revolt against the White House’s Iran diplomacy could fray its relations with liberal Democrats on the Hill.

“In the 40 years I’ve been involved with AIPAC, this is the first time I’ve seen such a blatant departure from bipartisanship,” said Doug Bloomfield, AIPAC’s former chief lobbyist.

P.S. And you wonder why Obama was said to be “absolutely livid” at the Democratic convention 16 months ago when the platform failed to include language calling Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 15 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Giles says:

    Wow.

    And I thought she was supposed to be representing America, not Israel.

    They don’t even bother to hide it.

  2. pabelmont says:

    Phil — can you tell US how to call/email Wasserman-Schultz and express OUR views?

  3. ritzl says:

    DWS’s district (FL23) is one of the richest in FL and is 54% non-white majority *Alcee Hastings’ old district).

    link to biggestuscities.com

    So when a news article says that she is “ignoring” her Jewish constituents, shouldn’t it actually be saying that she is listening to the majority of her constituents. I know it’s not that simple, but there is more than just Jewish opinion in her district that’s substantial enough to matter.

    As this gets more press and profile, in order to remain in Congress, she’s going to have to make a choice about who she’s actually representing. If “all politics is local” is true, her choice is simple.

  4. piotr says:

    I think that what we see is delamination of the lobby.

    ECI is a vehicle to collect money from the most extremist Zionist crackpots and produce attack ads. AIPAC, leaders of major Jewish organizations etc. press in similar direction but with much fewer attacks. Unlike ECI, they promise to their donors not mere attacks, but also influence. The difference is that influence can be lost. Right now, the head of DNC, arguably a position of influence, is a Zionist, although not as zealous as exacting standards of ECI require. “Crashing” her removes a Zionist from the leadership of DNC, and quite probably the next head could be, gasp, not a Zionist at all!

    And the third layer are the politicians (and donors) who actually care if the policies make any sense.

    • pabelmont says:

      piotr: excellent!

      If AIPAC or ECI tries to defeat DWS at next election, perhaps she can count on Zionist money from moderate ZIOs. (Of course, money from anti-war folks would do the job as well if the job is seen as merely keeping her in office). If BIG-ZION is “delaminating” we must see it delaminate. We must see Zionist (formerly AIPAC-controlled) money support her sufficiently to defeat whoever opposes ber (and is supported by ECI money).

      Or she could run on a program of support for non-Zionist voters with explicit mention of attempts of AIPAC to defeat her. I’d like that whether she win or lose.

      • piotr says:

        She will get AIPAC or similar support. Or at least, neutrality. And DWS is not representing herself, she is President’s girl in the party and she has a bunch of fat cats supporting her.

        Strangely enough, they are silent too, like Haim Saban. I guess that they want to avoid public quarrel with warmongering Zionist tycoons.

  5. pabelmont says:

    Blatant attempts to pressure/buy/prostitute politicians? Nothing new here: big-money buys American politicos. Always did. Still does. How can anyone expect Debbie W-S to stand up to it, even if countervailing political money (or plain good sense) militate against knuckling under to AIPAC? What would happen to her if BIG-ZION should spend big-bux to defeat her at next election? Who would defend her?

    American people sick and tired of war (for whatever reasons) and BIG-ZION wants a war? They’ll do their best to get that war. That’s not MY American dream (nor that of the founding fathers), but it IS big-money’s dream — big-money OWNS the government. Now that’s not just a dream, is it?

    But the BIG problem is not limited to AIPAC’s nefarious behavior (and effects!) but is rather the general fact that American politicos and courts have conspired to call political spending “speech” protected by the First Amendment. If these folks didn’t make the law, it’d be illegal. It is always immoral.

    This is not merely indecent and immoral. It is apparently going to kill an awful lot of people because the oligarchs (the BIGs: BIG-OIL, etc.) are not permitting decisive action to be taken to mitigate Climate Change. Our American political system is a mechanism for societal suicide. And of course it is very hard on Palestinians since BIG-ZION (aka AIPAC) is among the BIGs and seems generally unopposed among the BIGs. (Maybe opposed on Iran though. Hard to say. But watch Obama, who also marches to the orders of the BIGs and is not known as a principled actor.)

    What should be done?

    Political spending by ANY entity other than a human-person should be forbidden, except that human-persons should be allowed (subject to a per-person annual cap on total political spending) to contribute to PAOs (political action organizations) which could pay for political action in their names. Corporate-persons (so called, yechh!) should not be permitted to spend a single penny for any political action, lobbying, campaigning, self-publishing on political issues (Citizens United).

    Will our grandchildren (if any) make it to the millennium otherwise?

    • Citizen says:

      @ pabelmount

      So, Sheldon Adelson and Soros, and the Koch Brothers, for example, will determine our future? What’s the percentage of AIPAC -style jews who form 2/3rds of total contributions to the Democratic Party? How much did Adelson contribute to Romney?

    • lysias says:

      W-S got 63% of the vote in the district in 2012. In this district, Obama got 62% of the vote in 2012 and 61% in 2008. W-S is not going to be voted out in the general election in November.

      Even if a lot of the non-whites who make up a majority in this district are sorts — Haitians, Jamaicans, Colombians — who tend not to vote, she will surely get a large percentage of the Jewish vote in any primary, even if it dips below a majority. It’s very hard to see how she can be voted out, considering the numbers of the other ethnicities there.

  6. It seems to me this is a Democratic Party issue as deep as they come. Where is the debate within that party playing out? We got to see the convention vote on the Jerusalem issue on live TV, but surely there are heated discussions ongoing throughout the party over whether the DNC Chair supports Obama or AIPAC?? Can anyone provide a link? or explain how the party works without such debate?

  7. HarryLaw says:

    Meanwhile a true friend of Israel Senator Robert Menendes [Likud] who the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics [Crew] have put on the list of 13 most corrupt members of congress, is under investigation by the Justice Department for his links to two criminal businessmen link to presstv.com

    • HarryLaw says:

      Sorry the above link does not seem to work, try this one link to politico.com

      • lysias says:

        I wonder if Chris Christie’s investigation of Menendez is one that he got right.

      • piotr says:

        The story suggests that Menendez is acutely concerned with human rights and victims of political persecutions especially if they are nice people like bankers and can contribute huge bundles to let him keep the fight.

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