Rosh Hashanah is next week. A time of reckoning for each of us. And for those in places of power that also means an accounting for personal actions that impact others on a grand scale. Yes, I am talking about Representative Jerrold Nadler.
The community’s disapproval of Nadler is understandably more intense than its disappointment in other New York City congressmen who have come out in favor of the Iran deal such as Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, Gregory Meeks, and Nydia Velázquez. After all, we don’t expect from them the same level of visceral support for Israel that we do from a Crown Heights Yeshiva graduate.
Which is why Nadler’s perfidy is so hurtful, dangerous, and deserving of condemnation, the congressman’s thin skin notwithstanding. (Nadler’s kvetching about the criticism he’s received for his decision prompted the ADL to call for a rejection of “vicious ad hominem attacks” against Nadler and other congressmen who support the Iran deal.)
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who was singled out for his strong criticism of Nadler, spoke with me about his frustration.
“I am a child of Holocaust survivors and have spent my entire life trying to understand what happened to our people,” he said. “My mother always used to say, ‘Where was America?’ Today we know that unfortunately no one was there for the Jews, not even the Jews.”
Hikind slams Nadler’s grumbling about the criticism being heaped on him.
“Here’s someone who took a position which upsets many of us and we’re not supposed to react to it? Who out there wants to reassure me that the Iranians don’t have the intention to do exactly what they advocate? This isn’t some minor thing. Are we supposed to say, ‘Oh, that’s your position? Fine. We respect you. Let’s go on.’ Well, I’m sorry. That’s not what it is.”
Hikind says he’s certain that had “George W. Bush presented the identical plan, every single Democrat would be rushing to condemn it.”
Hikind allowed that if Obama “were a strong president who kept his word in the past, then maybe people would feel better about this deal. But all his statements were hot air. You can’t accuse Obama of having a foreign policy that has worked anywhere in the world.”
Indeed, Nadler’s buying into Obama’s assurances on the Iran deal is particularly pathetic in the wake of the broken promises that litter this presidency. Indeed, Obama’s guarantee of snap-back sanctions against the Iranians in case of violations can be paraphrased as if you like your sanctions, you will be able to keep your sanctions.
After the lessons of 9/11 in America and the disasters of Oslo and the Gaza Disengagement in Israel, there can no longer be any excuse for wishful thinking when dealing with terrorists. Allowing a state sponsor of terrorism 24 days’ notice before inspecting nuclear sites or permitting Iranians to self-inspect their Parchin nuclear site is a form of naiveté that should be a criminal offense.
And awarding the Iranians $150 billion as a bonus prize to fund the terrorists of their choice should be an impeachable offense. Especially since that money is sure to find its way to funding the killing of Americans and American allies. With that in mind, every congressman prefacing his support for this deal with the disclaimer that “the deal is not perfect” should be castigated for signing onto a bad deal that endangers lives rather than insisting it go back to the negotiating table.
Voting yes on this deal doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Years of political maneuvering by Nadler and his liberal colleagues paved the way for this ultimate duplicity. Back in 2002, Jewish Press Senior Editor Jason Maoz chronicled a string of bills many Democrats had supported that chopped intelligence and military spending and that could have helped prevent 9/11. Chief among those Democrats was Jerrold Nadler.
Seems like not much has changed, though now New York Democratic Representatives Eliot Engel, Steve Israel, and Nita Lowey oppose the Iran deal. As the only New York Jewish congressman endorsing it, Nadler cannot in good conscience separate his identity from his politics. While Jewish congressmen may be routinely plagued by accusations of dual loyalty, the dual chant of “Death to America, Death to Israel” should have been enough to prevent Nadler from signing on to this agreement.
Nadler would do well to acquaint himself with an astoundingly revealing AIPAC speech given by Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2010 highlighting the severity of the Iranian threat. It perhaps explains why Schumer ultimately stood up to Obama.
In that speech Schumer defended Prime Minister Netanyahu’s warnings that a nuclear Iran would constitute an existential threat to Israel. He concluded that “diplomatic efforts have failed” and he endorsed economic sanctions as the “best way to choke Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”
“There were many Jews in America in the ‘30s,” he intoned, “many of whom were in positions of influence, some of whom were in Congress…. Too many people in the American establishment said, ‘Hitler is just saber rattling.’… Unfortunately, to our shame, the American Jewish community largely sat back. The establishment’s argument, ‘Don’t worry. Nothing bad will happen’ won out.”
“The current president of Iran, his analogies, the analogies to the ’30s are stunning,” he continued. “He wants nothing more than to see the homeland of the Jewish people, Eretz Yisrael, wiped off the planet. This is not just isolated crazy talk from some two-bit terrorist or anti-Semitic extremist. This is venomous hate speech from a head of state who seeks to transform Iran into the dominant military force in the whole Middle East.
“When there are fears and plausible scenarios that the Jewish people could be in mortal danger, we must never repeat the complacency of the ’30s…. Can we really call this saber rattling when…they’re on the edge of developing the most awesome and deadly weapons mankind has ever known?”
Netanyahu could not have said it better himself. Had Schumer shared these words with his fellow congressmen this past summer rather than make a show of political agonizing, perhaps Obama would not have been able to rattle his own political saber strongly enough to win the support of congressmen like Jerry Nadler.