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.”
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.