Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is facing a massive backlash against his support for the Iran deal, and is reportedly trying to meet Tuesday with local Jewish leaders in an attempt to mend relations, the New York Observer reports.
The scoop, by editor-in-chief Ken Kurson, indicates that Booker has invited “a who’s who of influential Jewish leaders in New York and New Jersey,” many of whom had previously been supportive of Booker.
Booker had carefully cultivated the Jewish community over the years, first establishing ties with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach–who has been excluded from the invitation list after criticizing Booker’s decision to support the Iran deal–and building relationships with many Jewish and pro-Israel leaders throughout the trip-state area.
The Senator’s decision to support the Iran deal came as a shock to many, especially after former New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez came out against the deal.
Booker’s statement explaining his vote made matters worse, as it recited all of the reasons to oppose the Iran deal, even citing the experience of the Holocaust, before backing the agreement.
Kurson writes: “Some attendees are characterizing their attendance as an opportunity to give the senator a piece of their minds.” Others, he says, are declining the invitation in disgust. Kurson concludes:
One large donor told the Observer he would no longer be supporting the senator, despite having backed him dating back to his first bruising run against Sharpe James for Newark mayor. According to this donor, Mr. Booker called him personally the night before he announced he’d be voting to support the deal. He said that he told Mr. Booker, “You went to Stanford. The president went to Harvard. You think you’re smarter than these Iranian guys with their bombs. But you’re not.”
Booker is also in the news for another reason: the failure of his school reforms as mayor of Newark. The New York Times‘ Joe Nocera writes about a new book, The Prize : Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?, which documents how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent $100 million on Newark schools and “naïvely put his faith in the charismatic Booker, a champion of the reform movement.”
The reforms failed, but Booker moved on to higher office anyway.