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Obama administration allies lobbying in favor of a recently signed nuclear deal with Iran are smearing Jewish lawmakers and opponents of the accord with allegations of dual loyalty to Israel, rhetoric many view as anti-Semitic, according to allegations leveled by these individuals and groups.
Organizations close to the White House, including the pro-Tehran lobbying shop National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the liberal fringe group J Street, and the anti-war organization MoveOn, have come out to question the motivation of Jewish individuals who oppose the nuclear deal, which will provide Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief and lift longstanding restrictions on its ballistic missile program.
These allegations of dual loyalty to Israel, which many have identified as anti-Semitic, began almost immediately with the White House, which accused its critics of worrying more about Israel’s interests than the United States’.
The use of this rhetoric by the Obama administration and its allies is attracting concern among Jewish leaders, who worry the White House will pin the potential failure of the Iran deal on the American Jewish community.
In a July 21 interview, Obama said that shady “lobbyists” and people with “money” were working to kill the deal.
“I guarantee you, if people feel strongly about making sure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, without us going to war, and that is expressed to Congress, then people will believe in that,” Obama told former Daily Show host Jon Stewart. “And the same is true on every single issue. If people are engaged, eventually the political system responds. Despite the money, despite the lobbyists, it still responds.”
Jewish publications questioned Obama’s rhetoric, with some accusing the president of using anti-Semitic “dog whistles,” a move that prominent detractors of Israel celebrated.
Obama engaged in similar rhetoric during July 15 speech about the deal in which he urged people to support the agreement “not based on lobbying, but based on what’s in the national interests of the United States of America.”
The rhetoric also has extended to what many view as implicit threats against Israel.
Obama reportedly told a group of Jewish leaders last week that rejection of the Iran deal will result in rockets falling on Tel Aviv.
Secretary of State John Kerry also said that Israel will be blamed if Congress rejects the deal.
Organizations close to the White House quickly latched onto this rhetoric and have taken aim at Democratic Jewish lawmakers who have come out against the deal.
NIAC, which has been accused of lobbying on behalf of Tehran and the regime, explicitly accused Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) of being more loyal to Israel than America.
Reza Marashi, a NIAC flack, took to Twitter to accuse Schumer of “putting Israel’s interests ahead of America’s interests.”
In addition to Schumer, Democratic Jewish Reps. Brad Sherman (Calif.) and Eliot Engel (N.Y.) also have come out against the deal.
J Street, an anti-Israel group that has described itself as the Obama administration’s “blocking back,” also questioned the motives of those Jewish lawmakers opposing the accord.
“Opposing the #IranDeal against recs of top scientists, Israeli & US security experts, 100+ ex-diplomats can't plausibly be a policy decision,” J Street official Dylan Williams pontificated on Twitter over the weekend.
The Daily Kos published a cartoon over the weekend that accused Schumer of being a “traitor” who is more loyal to Israel than the U.S.
On Sunday, the White House aligned dark money group CREDO Action, the political arm of CREDO Mobile, teamed with the Democrats.com to accuse Schumer of being a traitorous “warmonger” who is betraying his country.
In mid-July, when the deal was first announced, White House ally MoveOn blasted an email to its members headlined “47 traitors.”
In the note, MoveOn wrote: “We have just 60 days to stop the so-called ‘47 traitors’ and hawkish Democrats from killing this deal.”
Jewish leaders said the rhetoric from the Obama administration and its allies has crossed a line into anti-Semitic territory.
“There is a Yiddish word for all this—Shanda—an outrage,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which works to combat global anti-Semitism.
“I grew up during the Cold War, when Democrats and Republicans and the various presidents debated and argued life and death issues involving nuclear arms and the Soviet Union and the nexus with trade an human rights issues, including the fate of Soviet Jewry and the Kremlin's anti-Semitism,” Cooper said.
“Those were hard fought debates on existential issues,” Cooper said. “I don't recall such gutter politics. I don't fear the crock of dual loyalty; I am ashamed by those who cannot bring facts to the table so they attempt to bully.”
“Well, this American Jew won't be bullied and I am grateful that Senator Schumer and millions of other American Jews won't be cowered,” Cooper said.
Another senior official with a prominent pro-Israel organization told the Washington Free Beacon that the anti-Semitic rhetoric is “likely to get worse.”
“The unacceptable rhetoric from the pro-deal camp has strayed into open anti-Semitism last week, but what's really worrying is that it's likely to get worse,” said Omri Ceren, managing director at The Israel Project. “We're less than halfway through the congressional review period. You've already got White House validators from the pro-Iran lobby tweeting about traitorous Jews and White House supporters from the grassroots publishing cartoons of perfidious Jews.
“What are they going to do for an encore?” Ceren asked.