The right wing does not have a lock on excessive and demeaning language when it comes to the debate over the Iran nuclear agreement. Much has been made, deservedly, over Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s Holocaust reference in saying that President Obama would be marching Israelis “to the door of the oven,” and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) comparing Secretary of State John Kerry to Pontius Pilate for negotiating the deal. Such rhetoric is over the top in unfairly personalizing what should be a serious discussion to determine America’s relationship with Iran.
That said, an Aug. 1 New York Times editorial, “Republican Hypocrisy On Iran,” while calling out Huckabee and Cotton, accused American opponents of the deal, and especially Jewish critics in Congress, of a kind of dual loyalty, aligning with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu rather than President Obama. “The unseemly spectacle of lawmakers siding with a foreign leader against their own commander in chief has widened an already dangerous breach between two old allies,” The Times wrote. The editorial included phrases like “exaggerations and half-truths … beyond ugly” and “demagoguery” and “hypocritical” in characterizing the arguments made by opponents of the Iran deal.
Such language, and the implication that Jews in Congress would be unfaithful to their country if they voted against an agreement that enriches and emboldens the world leader in terrorism, is deeply disturbing. And it is consistent with suggestions by Kerry that Israel would be to blame if the agreement fails to pass.
Ironically, American Jews appear to favor the agreement more than other Americans.
It should be noted that there is real merit to both sides in this complex agreement, and the motives of those who favor and those who oppose should not be questioned.
Let’s not confuse healthy — indeed mandatory — skepticism about this agreement with disloyalty. American lawmakers should cast their votes based on conscience, not party loyalty.