By Israel Hayom—
Editors from the online Jewish affairs magazine Tablet decided they could no longer remain silent in the face of U.S. President Barack Obama’s most recent comments against the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s efforts to curb the nuclear deal with Iran. In a scathing editorial piece written last weekend, Tablet said the White House’s harsh rhetoric against Israel and its supporters was playing into anti-Semitic hands.
“What we increasingly can’t stomach — and feel obliged to speak out about right now — is the use of Jew-baiting and other blatant and retrograde forms of racial and ethnic prejudice as tools to sell a political deal, or to smear those who oppose it,” Tablet editors wrote.
According to the editors, the president’s rhetoric “is the kind of naked appeal to bigotry and prejudice that would be familiar in the politics of the pre-Civil Rights era South.”
The Tablet editors also lambasted efforts to describe senior Democrats, who have joined the opposition camp, as selling their voices to foreign elements and lobbyists.
Last week, The New York Times reported about a difficult meeting between the president and representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, during which Obama accused the organization of disseminating lies about the nuclear deal and of spending astronomical amounts of money to mislead the American people.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America media watchdog organization, which states its goal as “promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East” in America, is also attacking the president’s conduct in promoting the deal. In a statement it issued this week, CAMERA said, “It is unfair to slander those who oppose the deal and distort the facts,” adding that attempts to besmirch Jewish organizations for their work is an expression of hatred with anti-Semitic motifs.
Simultaneous to the battle between the White House and AIPAC, detractors of the deal in the Senate were also spurred into action. Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who recently joined the presidential race, warned the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday that if it does not reveal the specifics of secret “side deals” with Iran to Congress, he would act to cease American funding for the IAEA. The secret clauses pertain primarily to the oversight mechanism on Iran’s nuclear program and the manner in which suspected sites will be inspected. Graham cited precedents from 1974 and in 2007 in which the IAEA agreed to share details of side agreements with Iran.
In the meantime, amid ongoing reports of the crumbling sanctions regime against Iran, the White House is working incessantly to gather support for the deal in Congress. The political website The Hill reported that despite his vacation, the president intends to hold telephone discussions with undecided Congress members to persuade them not to join the rejectionist camp when Congress votes in September. The opposition camp is expected to garner a majority in both houses of Congress, but in order to override a presidential veto, 13 Democrats in the Senate and 44 Democrats in the House of Representatives must cross the political aisle.
Secretary of State John Kerry is also working to minimize the damage caused by reports that the commander of the Quds Force in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Maj. Gen. Ghasem Soleimani, recently visited Russia in violation of a United Nations travel ban. Kerry on Thursday reportedly spoke his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and expressed his concern.
Meanwhile, Abdullah Al-Hadlaq, a columnist for Kuwait’s government-affiliated Arabic newspaper Al-Watan, called on Gulf states to sever ties with Iran and form an alliance with Israel, even a military alliance. He wrote that the real enemy of the Gulf states is not Israel, which he called “a friendly country,” but rather the “fascist Persian regime” in Iran. He argued that if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, it will not hesitate to use it against the Gulf Arab states, while “never in the course of did Israel think to use its nuclear weapons against its Arab enemies.”