Major Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed disgust at the New York Times on Wednesday for claiming that the debate over Iran’s nuclear program boils down to a question of loyalty to either President Obama or Israel.
“It’s despicable. On every level it’s an insidious editorial comment and beyond that, it’s also 1,000 percent wrong,” Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told The Algemeiner a day after Netanyahu addressed Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat. “It’s not just Israel that is in the cross-hairs of a nuclearized Iran.”
“For anymore – before, during or after this speech – to reduce this to some personal grudge match between [the] Israeli Prime Minister and President Obama is just doing everybody a disservice and is not dealing with the facts,” he added. “It is just a political mindset that wants to narrow the field of discussion.”
The New York Times article alleged that for Democrats, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday “sought to impress upon them the likelihood that they will eventually need to make an awkward, painful choice between the president of their country and their loyalty to the Jewish state.”
The Times claimed: “Mr. Netanyahu’s hotly disputed address constituted a remarkable moment in Washington: a foreign leader taking the podium before members of the House and Senate to argue against the policies of the sitting American president. In doing so, the Israeli leader was essentially urging lawmakers to trust him — not Mr. Obama — when it comes to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
Cooper, who called the speech “a historic moment,” defended Netanyahu’s talk and sought to clarify what the prime minister had said at the podium. Quoting the Israeli leader, Cooper affirmed that Israel is not against a deal with Iran, but that the Jewish state and its neighbors instead want a deal they can “literally live with.”
“He’s talking about an existential threat to his people and some of the Democrats that I heard, they think that this is a spectator sport. Outrageous,” Cooper told The Algemeiner. “It has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans. It’s life or death.”
In my experience, when someone says something is “despicable” and “On every level it’s an insidious editorial comment and beyond that, it’s also 1,000 percent wrong,” there’s a very good chance that what they are reacting to is dead on.
I never read the New York Times article in question until I saw Rabbi Cooper’s hysterical reaction.
OK, here’s the lead from the Times: “WASHINGTON — President Obama’s task of selling a potential nuclear agreement with Iran to a skeptical Congress became far harder on Tuesday after an impassioned speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to lawmakers already nervous about the deal.”
That seems accurate.
Here are the next few paragraphs, and again, they are not disputable except by some rabbinic version of Jesse Jackson:
“The president has a very heavy burden of persuasion here,” said former Representative Lee H. Hamilton, a Democrat and the onetime chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who now directs Indiana University’s Center on Congress. “That task is made much more difficult when a powerful case is stated against the emerging deal, as the prime minister has done.”
Although Mr. Hamilton said he doubted many minds were changed by Mr. Netanyahu’s words, he said that “what a speech like this does is reinforces and intensifies the opposition at a critical point.”
To be sure, others argued that Mr. Netanyahu’s address would have an effect opposite to the one he intended — prompting lawmakers undecided about the deal to chalk up Mr. Netanyahu’s message as raw politics and discount it.
Yep, the Times is engaging in something despicable and insidious.
“If anything, today’s speech pushed moderate Democrats into more of a wait-and-see approach, because it was such a rare event to see a sitting prime minister come over and take issue with a U.S. president on a matter of foreign policy importance,” said John Ullyot, managing director of the High Lantern Group and a former top Republican foreign policy aide in the Senate.
Mr. Netanyahu’s hotly disputed address constituted a remarkable moment in Washington: a foreign leader taking the podium before members of the House and Senate to argue strenuously against the policies of the sitting American president. In doing so, the Israeli leader was essentially urging lawmakers to trust him — not Mr. Obama — when it comes to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Mr. Netanyahu’s address was the third he has given to a joint meeting of Congress. He also spoke in 1996 and 2011.
Visibly irritated by Tuesday’s speech when asked about it in the Oval Office afterward, Mr. Obama dismissed the pressure from his Israeli counterpart, pledging to take his case “to every member of Congress once we actually have a deal.”
But as he makes that crucial sales job — which will involve persuading lawmakers to go along with the easing of a complex set of sanctions against Iran, some put in place by Congress — Mr. Obama must now overcome not only the animosity of Republicans but also the words of the leader of Israel, whose powerful speech will serve as the counterpoint to a president they already distrust.
I give up. This New York Times article is completely reasonable. Only a professional agitator like Rabbi Cooper would get up in arms about it.
I wonder if rabbis at the Simon Wiesenthal Center understand the consequences of overreach? The goyim might look like they’re sleeping, but they could awake at any time to their group interest, and when they do, the white nationalists stand a great chance of taking power and this would spell the end of Jewish dominance in America.
The good news about yesterday’s speech by Netanyahu to a joint meeting of Congress is that lots of media are taking on that boy’s role, and pointing out the nudity: exclaiming over the fact that a foreign leader came into our house of government to try and overrule our president on foreign policy. Chris Matthews was especially forceful, describing it as a takeover. While a New York Times article said that Democrats have to choose between “loyalty to the Jewish state” and the president.
But journalists have a bigger job than merely exclaiming. They must explain to readers why this outrage took place. Why did Netanyahu get this platform? The answer is the power of the Israel lobby inside our politics. And while there was some talk about the Christian Zionist component of the lobby compelling Republicans to show up, no one could explain why so many Democrats– about 175 of them– sat still for this insult to the president. They did so because of the importance of the Jewish part of the lobby inside the Democratic Party, epitomized by Alan Dershowitz in the gallery. This was surely obvious to viewers. But the media were silent on that score.