Treason claims leveled at Jewish senator opposed to Iran deal
Sen. Chuck Schumer’s loyalty called into question by progressives; advocacy group calls discourse a ‘slap in the face’ to his long years of service
Days after announcing his opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has faced an onslaught of allegations from progressive critics who resorted to classically anti-Semitic allegations of disloyalty and treason. The Anti-Defamation League criticized the accusations Monday, telling The Times of Israel that such accusations are a “slap in the face” to Schumer’s long years of service to the United States.
Schumer announced last Thursday that he would oppose the nuclear deal with Iran when it faces a crucial vote in Congress next month. His defection from the Obama administration’s side on the issue was a blow to White House efforts to prevent the two-thirds majority in Congress against the deal that might overcome a presidential veto — but was hardly unexpected from a legislator who had already indicated his discomfort with the agreement.
Since Schumer’s announcement, a Twitter hashtag #dumpschumer has become the focal point for much of the vitriol. Nominally devoted to a drive to prevent Schumer from taking the reins of Senate Democratic leadership after Minority Leader Harry Reid leaves the position, anti-Schumer campaigners refer to him repeatedly as a “traitor,” suggest that his loyalty lies only with Israel and not the United States, and accuse him of receiving his “real paycheck” from nefarious sources — which they characterize as Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) or other pro-Israel bodies.
But the notoriously provocative twitterverse is not the only outlet for such accusations.
The progressive website Daily Kos ran a cartoon in which an imaginary television host called a woodchuck version of Schumer a “traitor” and switched the American flag at Schumer’s side to an Israeli flag.
“The reactions are a sad example of how some individuals buy into the kind of thesis promoted by [John] Mearsheimer and [Stephen] Walt that US Jews and other supporters of Israel put Israel’s interests ahead of US interests,” said Anti-Defamation League National Director Jonathan Greenblatt.
Walt and Mearsheimer co-authored a paper and later a 2008 book in which they claimed that the “Israel lobby,” a loosely defined cross-section of American Jewish groups and others, works against US interests. They said it was characterized by “a core consisting of organizations whose declared purpose is to encourage the US government and the American public to provide material aid to Israel and to support its government’s policies, as well as influential individuals for whom these goals are also a top priority.”