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Why do Jewish legislators carry more weight on Iran Deal?

US Politics
on 34 Comments

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

Laura Rozen of al Monitor echoed Kampeas’s Jewish tally:

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.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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34 Responses

  1. hophmi
    hophmi
    September 8, 2015, 11:32 am

    “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.”

    “The reality is that the position of counter-terrorism czar is an Israel lobby job”

    You’re Jew-counting again, and you’re just wrong. The job, which is Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, is just a new name for an older position, which is Under Secretary for Enforcement. It’s a law enforcement job. It’s been previous held by people like Jimmy Gurule, Raymond Kelly, James E. Johnson, and Ronald Noble, none of whom are Jewish. It’s nothing more than a coincidence (and you offer no evidence to suggest otherwise) that the past three office holders were Jewish, and it could hardly placate anybody, since I doubt that the vast majority of American Jews could tell you who the Under Secretary was if you asked them.

    • amigo
      amigo
      September 8, 2015, 1:29 pm

      “It’s nothing more than a coincidence (and you offer no evidence to suggest otherwise)” hopknee

      So is this Jew counting by Michael Oren (Jewish) a coincidence also.

      ‘Six Jews sitting in the White House discussing the Palestinian state’ – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/sitting-discussing-palestinian#sthash.63TJzhbH.dpuf

      ” I doubt that the vast majority of American Jews could tell you who the Under Secretary was if you asked them. ” hopknee.

      What has that to do with having so many Jews in positions of power.They have that power due to the interference of Jewish mega donors.They put these Israel firsters in power for Israel,s benefit .It is of no importance whether or not American Jews know who is in what position.

      What colour is the sky on your planet.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 8, 2015, 2:34 pm

        “What has that to do with having so many Jews in positions of power.”

        Why do you have a problem with Jews in positions of power?

        “They have that power due to the interference of Jewish mega donors.”

        Sorry, which ones, please? Provide evidence that Jews in positions of power have them due to something else than their credentials. Adam Szubin went to Harvard Law, clerked for a federal Circuit Court judge, won a Fulbright, worked in the Civil Trial Division at DoJ doing terrorism financing cases, and was Director of OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Controls) at the Treasury Department.

        http://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/Pages/szubin-e.aspx

        Naw, must be just some Jew donor, rather than his stellar resume and years and years of working on terrorism financing cases, right, Amigo?

        What an ignoramus people like you are.

      • amigo
        amigo
        September 8, 2015, 4:20 pm

        “Why do you have a problem with Jews in positions of power? ” hopknee

        No , I have no problems with Jews in power.However I do have a problem with Jews who abuse their power by using it to the benefit of a foreign nation to the detriment of the nation they serve and to support oppression and land theft and war crimes.

        By the way , care to respond to my post instead of diverting attention.Clue==Michael Oren counting Jews and coincidences.

        Didn,t think so.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        September 8, 2015, 10:26 pm

        @h

        this: what about Oren…?

        this is what people here at MW consistently accuse pro-Israelis of ‘what-about-ism’ . but the hypocrisy on this site has always been mostly 1-sided.

        afaict: PW is just milking a dead cow. the fight was fought -one side won (and it was hardly just Israelis and Jews on one side. More then half of Americans don’t like the ‘deal’. How many Arabs in UAE, KSA, Egypt, Jordan and other nations were against this deal but had no voice or no will to vocalize. PW has always been neurotic about “jewish power” just like most anti-semites are. ) now its a done deal and the world will see if it was truly a ‘good’ deal or just some bogus political grandstanding and appeasement of Iran , Russia on Syria and the EU crush to suck money out of Iran.

      • annie
        annie
        September 8, 2015, 10:37 pm

        So is this Jew counting by Michael Oren (Jewish) a coincidence also.

        hops: Provide evidence that Jews in positions of power have them due to something else than their credentials.

        amigo, what hops is really saying is that it’s completely natural that, given jews are 2% of the population, their cumulative representation in positions in power is merely a reflection they are more qualified than the vast majority of the other 98% of us including all other minorities in this country. un huh, wrap your head around that. lol, good grief!

        anyway, he doesn’t want to go near jews in positions of power. he wants to divert to szubinm specifically. boring!

        and for this he’ll call me a bigot la di da. watch the merry prankster go-round and round.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 9, 2015, 1:07 am

        What Annie is really saying is that she’s unable to respond to the argument that Adam Szubin’s qualifications are the reason he became Under Secretary, rather than his religion. She’s also unable to respond to the reality, which is that members of other minority groups have held the same job, including two African-Americans and one Hispanic. Coincidentally, they were all lawyers with criminal law backgrounds. She’d rather assume that when Jews get important jobs in government, it’s because they’re Jews, rather than because of their accomplishments.

        What a bigot she is.

      • ziusudra
        ziusudra
        September 9, 2015, 8:52 am

        Greetings Hophmi,
        ….Jews in power…..
        I have no Problem with that.
        Jews have proven to be capable & progressive even in Spain after the conquest in 711AD.
        I would not, as an American, have trusted an Irishman in politics after 1849 of defending the policies of the US first where Ireland was involved.
        I don’t trust Jewish politicians on Israeli defending the US first on policies where Israel is involved.
        ziusudra
        PS Then again, i’d take Sen. Dianne Feinstein over all pro Israel first candidates, because aipac & World Jewry knows she’s Israel first, but not pro Bibi or anti Iran accord. * Ms. D.F. for President!

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 9, 2015, 10:46 am

        “I don’t trust Jewish politicians on Israeli defending the US first on policies where Israel is involved.”

        I think that’s an unAmerican point of view, but regardless, Harvard graduate, Fulbright scholar, and career financial crimes prosecutor Adam Szubin is not involved in making policies involving Israel.

      • amigo
        amigo
        September 9, 2015, 12:45 pm

        Hopknee , I am still waiting for a response from you to Michael Oren,s inference/claim that there are too many Jews in positions of power.

        Follow the money honey .

        Why dont you just state you don,t have a credible and relevant response instead of posting more diversionary bs. People might get the impression you are an ignoramus , those that are not already of that opinion , that is.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 9, 2015, 2:02 pm

        “and career financial crimes prosecutor Adam Szubin is not involved in making policies involving Israel.”

        ROTFLMSJAO! So he is a “career financial crimes prosecutor” but is “not involved in making policies involving Israel”

        Thanks for proving Annie’s point, Hophmi.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 10, 2015, 10:08 pm

        Annie has a point?

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      September 9, 2015, 4:05 am

      @Hophmi

      After reading Shmuley’s end of the bromance bitter bits as above – “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”, I see who you get your material from. No matter how clear Phil (and Cory) make it clear to you (and Botox) that they are already spoken for and both have declared that they (Phil and Cory) are just not that into you (and Schmoooleee), you (and Schmooolee) continue to be in denial. Breakups are hard and its been so sad to see the breakup of Cory and Botox, so could you get through yours in private? It’s just really gross.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 9, 2015, 10:47 am

        Hey Marnie! Try to follow the discussion, and try not to get me confused with Schmuley Boteach. Just because he’s Jewish and I’m Jewish doesn’t meant that we’re the same.

      • amigo
        amigo
        September 9, 2015, 12:56 pm

        “Hey Marnie! Try to follow the discussion,” hopknee.

        That,s funny coming from you.The discussion was about the number of Jews in positions of power in the US in relation to their percentage of the overall population.

        Answer the questions posed to you councilor and stick to the subject at hand.You may take a recess to help you gather your thoughts.Proceedings will resume in 60 minutes.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        September 9, 2015, 1:25 pm

        hophmi,

        Wrong. You and Bo-teach are not seen as the same kind of Jewish,
        but the same kind of criminals: Zionists. And you still have not started being relevant to the discussion.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 9, 2015, 1:57 pm

        “Try to follow the discussion, and try not to get me confused with Schmuley Boteach. Just because he’s Jewish and I’m Jewish doesn’t meant that we’re the same.”

        So that entire mishegos about “the Jewish people” is all hogwash? There are no “normative” Jewish beliefs or practices you share? There’s not enough that is “the same” about us to make us a nation, a people with a “hysterical homeland”?

        Hophmi, you are going down a dangerous road with this. Next thing you know, you will be taking the position that there’s nothing “Jewish” about Zionism, it’s simply an economic and political exercise.

        Of course we are the same! We are all Jews! If we aren’t the same, what is the point of the entire thing? You, Hophmi, will take all the Holiness, all the spirituality out of Zionism.

        Oh shoot! That should have been “historical homeland” not “hysterical” but I didn’t notice till the editing window was closed. Sorry.

  2. irishmoses
    irishmoses
    September 8, 2015, 11:41 am

    Obama now has 41 votes in favor of Iran deal. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/obama-secures-41-votes-in-support-of-iran-deal-213405
    Mary Cantwell of WA is still undecided. It would be nice to have her to provide a bit of a margin for approving the filibuster to prevent Obama from having to use his veto. What’s her problem anyway? She’s from Washington.

  3. eGuard
    eGuard
    September 8, 2015, 12:21 pm

    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.

    Wasserman Schultz need not to be praised. Her “anguish” is part of her political position, the position she always choose herself. There is no outside force landing on her. Don’t forget how far she made it and how much she made out of it exactly by embracing AIPAC.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      September 8, 2015, 10:48 pm

      DWS declares Israel her “homeland”. She should make aliyah. How would people react if a leading Chinese-American congressman declared China – not America – his “homeland” and going public with his anguish over how a vote would impact China and not America.

      People would say, and rightly so, that such a person doesn’t belong in the American Congress. He’s there to serve the American constituents who put him there, not to serve those who are thousands of miles away from him.

      I don’t get why people are bending over backwards for DWS, claiming she’s somehow “brave” for showing she doesn’t care as much about America as she does for Israel.

      If you declare another country your homeland than the country you live in, that’s your right. But you shouldn’t be climbing for a position in the country you live in where you have real impact over that country’s policy when your heart doesn’t belong to that country and only that country, especially when the interests intersect.

      You should have the humility and the tact to excuse yourself from high office because you’re unfit. But of course DWS never will because she took the leap in the first place and she sees no problem with her stance, because she lacks an ethical grounding, she lacks morality.

      The only reason this is accepted is because Jews have a special clause which gives us immunity to criticism of dual loyalty in a way which a Chinese-American, Indian-American, Russian-American etc wouldn’t.
      That has to end.

      Nobody disputes the historical reasons for why this clause exists in the first place, but nobody also disputes that America has nothing to do with this history either and as such it shouldn’t be bound by those rules.

    • eGuard
      eGuard
      September 9, 2015, 5:18 am

      Q: Why does Wasserman Schulz not cry as an American mother? Why doesn’t she want her children being safe in the US?

      A: she’s an Israel firster.

      • amigo
        amigo
        September 9, 2015, 1:40 pm

        “Q: Why does Wasserman Schulz not cry as an American mother -”

        Because she eats, sleeps and breathes Israel.The rest is a very distant second in significance.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    September 8, 2015, 1:52 pm

    RE: “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.” ~ Boteach

    MY COMMENT: Comma, comma, down dooby doo down down; breaking up is hard to do! ! !

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    Breaking up is hard to do

    Don’t take your love away from me
    Don’t you leave my heart in misery
    If you go then I’ll be blue
    Cause breaking up is hard to do . . .

    . . . They say that breaking up is hard to do
    Now I know
    I know that it’s true
    Don’t say that this is the end
    Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again . . .

    P.S. Ziocaine™ is a registered trademark of The Mooser Corporation, U.S.A

  5. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 8, 2015, 5:06 pm

    I was shocked by Manchin voting against. Every time I have heard the guy speak on Morning Joe, on the Senate floor he sounds so incredibly articulate, reasonable, thoughtful in his thinking. I know his constituency was against (so was DWS although we know she was in fear of losing her DNC position), he is not up for re-election until 2018. What gives? Shameful on his part.

    Why do Jewish Reps votes on this issue carry more weight. Strong likelihood because this is one of first times if not the first time that so many Jewish Reps have voted against what Israel and the I lobby want. First time I am aware of. This is huge! Blinding light coming through the wall of complicity.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 8, 2015, 8:42 pm

      “he sounds so incredibly articulate, reasonable, thoughtful in his thinking.”

      But I hope that, when writing, he pays a bit more attention to his pronouns, and remembers that “different” and “differently” take “from”.

      “our allies, on the hope that Iran will conduct themselves differently than it has for the last 36 years.”

    • italian ex-pat
      italian ex-pat
      September 8, 2015, 9:15 pm

      @ Kathleen

      Speaking of DWS and her fear of losing the DNC chairpersonship (did I just make this word up?):

      If she was indeed, as reported, the architect behind the number of Dem. Pres. candidates’ debates being decimated way below the normal, it could only be to favor Hillary Clinton, whom she supports. I don’t think ‘H’ would fare well in a debate with Bernie, he’d have her in a corner before the first hour was up. So, in sucking up to Clinton, our Debbie may be angling for an even higher political position . . . if her candidate wins.
      O /T, I know, but I couldn’t resist.

  6. Frankie P
    Frankie P
    September 9, 2015, 12:34 am

    Let’s keep it going, Phil. Let’s not stop with the first question.

    Why do Jewish I/P activists carry more weight?

    Why are Jewish I/P activists more able to identify and define anti-semitism?

    Looking forward to the answers!!

    Frankie P

  7. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    September 9, 2015, 1:15 am

    They may carry more weight because AIPAC and other Israel-firster organizations/individuals are trying to pin the label “anti-Semite” on members of Congress who support the nuclear accord (for Jewish members the pejorative used is “self-hating Jew” Despite these attacks by Israel-firsters, most Jews in Congress have come out in favor of the accord. And based on opinion polls, the position of Jewish legislators on this issue closely mirrors that of Jewish-Americans. What will the general public make of all this michigas? Will they think “Best we stay out because it’s strictly a Jewish affair”, or, recognizing that what’s at stake here, war or peace, effects every American, will it pay close attention to what’s being said and decide for themselves, on which side, that of the Israel-firsters or that of those who put America’s interests before that of any other country. As for the accusation that Jews who support this nuclear accord are self-haters, contrariwise, considering the fact that it is Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians that is responsible for most of today’s antisemitism (google spikes in antisemitism after Israeli attacks on Gaza), it is Israel (claiming, as it does, that it speaks and acts on behalf of world Jewry) and its supporters who are the real anti-Semites, for it is their violent deeds that incite this backlash. After all, isn’t it antisemitic to commit acts of violence that themselves lead to antisemitic responses? That’s not to excuse such responses, but to attack another people when it’s almost certain that there’ll be a price to pay? Let Israel cease and desist in its aggression against the people of Palestine and antisemitism would be reduced to a size that could be flushed down the toilet. The nuclear accord represents a step in this direction, since it will give peace a chance.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 9, 2015, 4:21 pm

      American public won’t wake up; it never got that 9/11 Commission even said US rubber-stamping of Israel’s conduct was prime motive for 9/11 attack; the record’s there, even thought the final public 9/11 screed made the motive generic, in it conclusion, that is, normal consequence of US foreign policy in general. Yet even there, in the body of the public screed, rubber-stamping of Israel was specified as the main motive.

  8. Atlantaiconoclast
    Atlantaiconoclast
    September 9, 2015, 3:18 pm

    Do these folks who obsess about Iranian “terror” ever get specific about what they are talking about, other than Hezbollah? Iranian “terror” is constantly being conflated with the kind of “terror” we see associate with Al Qaeda, and ISIS. Yet when has Iran been proven to have attacked American civilians or any other civilians? Iran and Hezbollah are both fighting the dreaded ISIS, yet somehow, Manchin thinks Iranian terror is the problem? Israel greatly benefits from this conflation.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 9, 2015, 4:22 pm

      And it was repeated this morning on Cspan WJ by a GOP senator.

  9. Krendall Mist
    Krendall Mist
    September 9, 2015, 10:19 pm

    I’m so grateful that liberal Jewish Zionists saved the Iran deal from the attack by the right wing Jewish Zionists and therefore saved the lives of countless Americans military grunts by stopping a US war on Israel’s behalf against Iran.

  10. James Canning
    James Canning
    September 10, 2015, 6:15 pm

    Rabbi Boteach surely is aware Iran hopes to see the Israeli government collapse. No wish or expectation that millions of Jews in Israel will cease to exist.

  11. Pixel
    Pixel
    September 11, 2015, 2:17 am

    la di da.

    Haha!

    Shmuley loves Cory.

    We love Annie.

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