Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) was “stunned” by the “stridency and personal nature” of attacks against him, after he announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal, reported the Jewish Week Wednesday.
But NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind was unimpressed by Nadler's feelings of shock. he sent Nadler a stuffed teddy bear and a card Thursday, telling him to “stop whining.”
In a Facebook post, Hikind wrote:
“Congressman Nadler has taken a position on the Iran deal, one to which most of our community is opposed, and is now surprised that people are angry? Nadler tells reporters that it bothers him that people have said, ‘You betrayed us’ and that, ‘of course it hurts. It’s emotional.’
“Jerry, you’re hurting? We’re hurting because of what you did. And now you whine to the ADL, who releases a statement condemning vicious Internet commentators. People have been writing nasty things about me since I was first elected. When you take a position of such consequence, stand by your position. Stop whining, Jerry.
“I in no way condone anti-Semitic or racist comments on social media. But our community has the right to express outrage over the decisions of our elected representatives. The President set the tone for this hateful rhetoric with nefarious characterizations coming from the administration and various surrogates that depict opposition to the agreement in overt anti-Semitic tones. When the President says that those opposing the deal are ‘lobbyists’ that are ‘backed by tens of millions of dollars in advertising’ and the same people who argued for the war in Iraq, there can be no mistaking what this means.
“I remain hopeful that Congressman Nadler will change his mind.”
“I never expected the vicious nature of the opposition,” Nadler told the Jewish Week. “It’s one thing to be told you are wrong, it’s another to say you know you are wrong and that you are doing it for terrible motives. … People are entitled to their views, but what bothers me is that people are saying, ‘You betrayed us.’ I have been a supporter of Israel all my life. This is my decision and I think it is best for the U.S. and Israel. I could be right or wrong, but to conclude that anybody who supports the deal is opposed to the Jewish people and Israel’s welfare is absurd.”
Nadler, the only Jewish Democratic House member in the state on New York to support the deal, explained his decision in a 5,000-word essay on his website. “I have concluded that, of all the alternatives, approval of the JCPOA, for all its flaws, gives us the best chance of stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon,” he wrote.
'A True Traitor'
Explanation notwithstanding, he has come under attack on social networks, blogs and radio talk shows, and in opinion pieces.
The Jewish Week quoted one writer as saying that Nadler has “endangered the existence of the State of Israel and has disappointed the Jewish community.” Another referred to him as a “kapo,” as the Jews who worked on behalf of Nazis in concentration camps were called. A third called him “a True Traitor to your people and the USA,” and another wrote that “The blood of Jews and Israel are on your hands.”
Zev Brenner’s call-in radio program on WMCA last weekend devoted the entire hour to a discussion of Nadler’s decision on the Iran deal. Brenner told the Jewish Week that he was inundated by calls and emails, all of which opposed Nadler’s decision.
“People in general were very upset,” he said. “People view the deal as dangerous not only for Israel but for America. The opposition cuts across geographic areas. … The phones were crazy – this is a very hot topic that people are passionate about.”
A studio guest, social activist Mark Meir Appel, said Nadler “betrayed us viciously and his entire record of what he did for the Jewish community goes out the window.”
'Look at that stupid Jew'
Nadler's Jewish colleagues from New York – who have come out against the Iran deal – issued a statement Tuesday defending him. Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey and Steve Israel argued that it is “especially egregious to attribute malicious intent to decision makers who are thoughtfully debating the details and effects of the agreement. No matter where you stand on the Iran deal, comparisons to the Holocaust, the darkest chapter in human history, questioning the credentials of long-standing advocates for Israel, and accusations of dual loyalty are inappropriate.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has also announced his opposition to the nuclear agreement, issued a statement calling Nadler “one of the most steadfast supporters of Israel’s security.”
But Assemblyman Hikind, a Democrat who lives in Nadler’s district, told the Jewish Week: “I’m embarrassed that he represents me.”
He noted that shortly before announcing his support for the deal, Nadler released a letter he received from President Barack Obama that sought to reassure him about concerns Nadler had raised during a private White House meeting.
“That letter was a joke – it was meaningless,” Hikind said. “I could just see Obama going back to the White House and saying, ‘Look at that stupid Jew.’ Obama bought him so cheap.”
Hikind said he is planning a demonstration this week in front of Nadler’s Manhattan office with about a dozen Holocaust survivors who will speak about the similarities between the present situation and what they experienced just before the Holocaust.