Alan Solow, a prominent Jewish leader and a close confidant of President Barack Obama since his Chicago days, has published an op-ed responding to the charge that Obama is using antisemitic language in pushing the Iran deal.
Calling the accusation “absurd,” Solow parrots the Obama administration’s talking points on the deal, along with some questionable language of his own.
To recap: Obama has repeatedly whipped support for the Iran deal by warning that there are well-financed lobbyists, backed by billionaires who control American politics, making common cause with America’s enemies in an effort to subvert an agreement people would support if they understood it.
These are the classic themes of antisemitic conspiracy theories. Obama never mentions the well-funded lobby groups lobbying in favor of the deal. He has been called out for his use of antisemitic themes by liberals and conservatives alike. Yet he persists.
One would expect a Jewish leader to caution the president–to point out that it is possible to advocate for the deal in ways that do not offend the Jewish community, or that echo hateful language used by antisemites around the world.
Instead, Solow throws fuel on the fire. He makes the valid point that mere opposition to a Jewish group like AIPAC does not qualify as antisemitism, but adds: “This is a classic instance of the child who murdered his parents begging for mercy because he is an orphan.”
Really? Advocating for Israel is like murdering one’s parents?
In another passage, Solow advises Jews to toughen up: “If you enter the ring, prepare to be hit and don’t complain that a blow to the body is below the belt.”
That is a disturbing, even disgusting, image. Our government may not agree with us, but it still there to serve us–not fight us.
Solow contends that critics of the Iran deal are complaining about antisemitism “to avoid exposing the weakness of their position.” The truth is exactly the opposite: the president and his allies on the left are using antisemitic language because the case for the deal is so weak.
In his own arguments for the deal, Solow proves that. He says: “The president has continuously requested that opponents of the deal present an alternative that actually stands a chance of being implemented. None have been forthcoming.”
Did Solow miss Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in March, where he presented a clear alternative? Did he fail to read Sen. Chuck Schumer’s thoughtful explanation of his decision to oppose the deal, where the prominent Democrat explained what a diplomatic alternative to the deal would be?
Solow offers craven excuses for the president’s worst behavior. Obama didn’t call opponents “warmongers,” he claims. Preposterous: Obama said last week that rejecting the deal left “one option–another war in the Middle East.”
And Obama’s partners, such as the left-wing group CREDO, have explicitly used the term “warmonger” to describe Schumer. The Daily Kos called him a “traitor.”
Obama could object, but has not. Solow likewise fails to acknowledge the abuse Schumer has suffered.
This is not the stuff of normal debate. It is hatred–and Solow is an accomplice.
If this is what the American Jewish community considers “leadership,” then we need not wait for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. We are well on the way to self-destruction.
Update: A reader objects on Twitter, arguing that “the child who murdered his parents begging for mercy because he is an orphan” is just a reference to the Wikipedia definition of the Yiddish word “chutzpah.” That objection fails, because the complaint is not that Obama is objecting to AIPAC’s lobbying activity per se, but that he is doing so in an offensive way. There are hundreds of jokes about chutzpah, and yet Solow chose that particular metaphor to describe an organization, AIPAC, whose foes routinely accuse it of abetting Palestinian murder.