As the debate over the Iran nuclear agreement has continued, the rhetoric of the deal's critics has continued to heighten. NJDC chair Greg Rosenbaum recently wrote about this issue, noting that much of the language used by opponents of the agreement has crossed the line into hatred. Now, in an op-ed published in JTA, the former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is speaking out against those who have accused President Obama of using anti-Semitic "dog whistles" in his efforts to secure the diplomatic agreement.
Alan Solow writes in JTA:
Debaters know that when they are losing an argument, a good tactic is to change the subject. So it goes with the current accusations, completely untethered from reality, that President Obama is resorting to anti-Jewish “dog whistles” in his defense of the nuclear deal with Iran.
So what’s an opponent of the deal to do? Change the subject.
Go to a meeting with President Obama and, instead of engaging him on the substance of the deal, complain that his language in pointing out — accurately — that opponents of the deal plan to spend at least $40 million and send hundreds to Capitol Hill to lobby against it is anti-Semitic, or could be viewed as such. Note that there is nothing anybody identifies that the president actually said that singles out Jews. But since a Jewish-identified organization is openly leading the campaign against the deal, the argument is that the president’s defense of his position could unfortunately be misinterpreted as anti-Semitic. Really? This is a classic instance of the child who murdered his parents begging for mercy because he is an orphan.
Nor has the president claimed that opponents of the deal are “warmongers.” In fact, the president has said that while those working to upend the JCPOA might not desire war, the rejection of the deal substantially increases the likelihood of armed conflict because our diplomatic options will have been exhausted. The president raises the possibility of military action because he has the awesome responsibility to live up to his commitment to do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. In the face of this argument, the opponents resort to character smears to avoid exposing the weakness of their position.
I have been actively engaged in our community for years, having served as chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations from 2009-2011, among many other positions. I have also known President Obama for decades. His administration has had an open door at the White House for Jewish advocates, including many who have opposed various of the president’s initiatives. More than a few of the president’s aides and appointees who have played leading roles in the effort to reach a nuclear deal are Jewish. The notion that this president would denigrate Jews is absurd.
Instead of criticizing the president for imagined slights, we should be pointing to his record of continual engagement with the Jewish community, to say nothing of his unprecedented support for Israel’s security.
It’s time for our community to mature. I have no quarrel whatsoever with Jewish individuals and organizations speaking out against the Iran deal if that is their position. If they do speak out against the deal, however, they should not hide behind manufactured accusations based on a false sense of victimhood. If you enter the ring, prepare to be hit and don’t complain that a blow to the body is below the belt.
You can find the entire piece here.