West Virginia’s Joe Manchin is the fourth Democratic Senator to come out against the Iran Deal. He is concerned with Iran’s conduct in the Middle East, and not so much the nukes:
“For me, this deal had to address Iran’s terrorist actions. … I cannot gamble our security, and that of our allies, on the hope that Iran will conduct themselves differently than it has for the last 36 years.”
Manchin is not Jewish; and he is not up for reelection till 2018. Two of the four senators who oppose the deal are Jews: Chuck Schumer and Ben Cardin.
Bets are that they will be joined by at least one more, Ron Wyden or Richard Blumenthal. A cascade of senators came out for the deal today. Gary Peters of Michigan, Ron Wyden or Oregon, and Richard Blumenthal of CT just announced. Peters repeatedly cites Israel’s security and even mentions Hamas. Blumenthal is already on the defensive.
Wyden also cites Israel’s security repeatedly and invokes his ancestors who died in the Holocaust:
Nor do I dismiss as mere rhetoric the statements made by Iranian leaders about Americans and Israelis. As somebody who lost family in Theresienstadt, I agree that when people express a desire to harm you, the safe bet is to take them at face value. The ayatollahs of Iran must never be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.
Whip count: Obama has 41 Senators, by a sharp friend’s count. If Chris Coons has said he wants a floor discussion of the deal. If he votes against cloture, the Dems can filibuster the anti-Deal resolution and Obama won’t have to veto. If Maria Cantwell of Washington, now the sole holdout, comes out for the Deal, he’s got the cloture vote.
Yesterday a Jewish congresswoman from Florida came out against the deal. Lois Frankel is a West Palm Beach Democrat, 67 years old. Ron Kampeas tallied Jews:
@LoisFrankel opposes Iran deal: Jewish tally, 15 for 9 against 4 undecided
so more for than against, no matter what other undecideds do
Today after Blumenthal’s announcement, Rozen retweeted the Forward’s Nathan Guttman:
8 of 10 Jewish senators are voting for the Iran deal.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency followed up, and stated the fact of Jewish influence:
Still, support or backing for the deal among Jewish lawmakers carries heavy symbolic weight. Martin Karp, a member of the Miami-Dade School Board, told Politico that he was considering a primary challenge to [Deal supporter Debbie] Wasserman Schultz, saying he had the support of donors close to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which has been leading opposition to the deal.
The New York Observer, meanwhile, reported that Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who is close to his state’s pro-Israel and Jewish communities, has convened a meeting to take place Tuesday between Jewish leaders and Adam Szubin, the U.S. Treasury undersecretary responsible for enforcing sanctions. Booker last week said he backs the deal.
Szubin is Jewish, in an anti-terrorism job that has been held by three Jews, in an obvious gesture by the White House to placate Jewish opinion.
Last week after the deal went through, CSPAN helpfully reaired an August 5 Senate hearing on the deal, which featured Szubin alongside the State Department’s Wendy Sherman, testifying for the deal. It is no coincidence that both these officials are Jewish; again, it is a political fact that Jews carry more weight in the matter. They were opposed by two other Jews, Matthew Levitt and Mark Dubowitz. Levitt has emphasized the Manchin angle: Iran is making trouble in the region (for Israel).
Debbie Wasserman Schultz was asked by Jake Tapper how it felt to support the deal, as a Jewish woman, and she choked up on CNN three days back, and said as a Jewish mother she had an obligation to make sure her “homeland” is there forever. She quoted Hebrew.
You’d think that some of these states are 50 percent Jewish. They’re not. New Jersey is 5.8 percent Jewish. Florida is 3.3 percent Jewish. And I have been snarky about this phenomenon in the past: “Non-Jew dares to announce position on Iran Deal,” I wrote. Some folks on-line are expressing resentment over this outsize influence.
I would tell them: this is the political reality, everyone in politics accepts it. Jews have more influence on this issue because of the Holocaust deference/guilt– see Wyden’s statement above (Americans signed on to Never again and feel guilty that FDR didn’t bomb Auschwitz, etc.); because of the Israel lobby; because of the Jewish presence in the Establishment (as donors, as reporters, as pols).
I asked James North what to make of Counting Jews on the Iran vote. He said that everyone acknowledges Jews are in the spotlight. The leading Jewish organizations suggest that it’s anti-Semitic to support the Iran Deal. “So how come hundreds of thousands of Jews support the deal; it can’t be anti-Semitic to do so. But it’s hard for some of these Jews to come out. Look, I faced zero personal pressure for taking a pro-Palestinian position years ago; by the early 80s, my own father a philo-Semite read about the Arab expulsion and said to me, Israel isn’t what I thought it was. But a lot of these Jews feel intense pressure. I praise Wasserman Schultz. I might laugh at the video and you might laugh at it because you made the journey long ago, but it’s obviously causing her genuine anguish, and she’s going to get brickbats for it.”
OK time for fun. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was not invited to Senator Cory Booker’s outreach to Jews, according to the New York Observer, because he’s given Booker so much grief in such a personal way in recent weeks.
Boteach has responded in the Times of Israel by accusing Booker of enabling genocide, and then attests that he still loves him.
Cory’s vote to excuse Iran’s repeated promise to exterminate the six million Jews of Israel is not a personal affront to me but is, respectfully, an affront rather to victims of genocide the world over who have to live with murderers who stalk them, promising their annihilation.
Here are the personal bits.
I’m sorry he’s angry with me. We are, and always will be, soul-friends…
I could never cease to love him…
I love Cory and always will.