Issue 40

Shame on You, Chuck

An Open Letter to NY Senator Schumer

Schumer scowl2Dear Senator Schumer, I am extremely disappointed in your announcement that you will oppose the deal negotiated by the Obama administration to prevent the development of nuclear weapons in Iran. As you know, the deal, which ensures direct access to closely monitor Iranian nuclear activities, was the result of a dedicated effort and complex negotiations by the State Department and our allies and while it may not be perfect, it will significantly delay if not completely prevent Iranian nukes.

This negotiated deal is our best hope for a peaceful outcome. The diplomatic solution has been criticized by the right both here in the U.S. and in Israel but no other credible and reasonable alternatives have been suggested.  Not surprisingly, the military option is all the ultra-conservatives can come up with. Having voted to support the Iraq war, haven’t you learned that lesson yet?

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images, 2010

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images, 2010

One has to wonder whether your motives were principled or politically motivated. Was your decision based on those held by  politically conservative Jews (including Prime Minister Netanyahu) in concert with conservative Republicans that this deal directly jeopardizes the security of the state of Israel? If so, it ignores the views of three former Israeli defense ministers and many others in the Jewish community  (including me and every other progressive-minded Jew that I know), that the deal with Iran will benefit Israeli security in particular and world peace in general.

Sure there are plenty of reasons to distrust Iran’s motives and lots of challenges in enforcing the terms of the agreement but  during the height of the Cold War, when actual nuclear weapons were the issue (rather than the potential for someday developing a nuclear weapon), we successfully negotiated multiple arms control deals with the Soviets, realizing that is the only way to achieve a lasting peace. Just as the disarmament treaties were based on verification, this deal is fortified with multiple safeguards that would ensure Iranian cooperation including rigorous inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. And in the unlikely event that the Iranians attempt to cheat while under such close scrutiny, there would be an international consensus to ratchet up sanctions that could cripple their regime. So from a principled perspective, this was a wrong-headed choice.

Ironically, if this was merely a calculated political move, it was so misguided it’s hard to count the ways. In making this ill-fated choice you have aligned yourself with the Republican Tea Party reactionaries from McConnell and Boehner all the way to likes of Trump, Bush, Cruz, Huckabee, and the rest of the dysfunctional Republican presidential wannabes. Rather than draw a clear line in the sand that says we as Jews, support Israel but reject the inflammatory rhetoric that feeds the march to war, you have thumbed your nose at President Obama, the leader of the Democratic Party, as well as the most likely Democratic contenders in the 2016 election. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have expressed support for the pact. You have lost the respect and support of the progressive wing of the party. Many now question whether you are the appropriate choice to be the next leader of the Dems in the Senate. Perhaps even the unthinkable, a serious primary battle for your seat, is in play. These are the just deserts for abandoning the principles your party stands for. Shame on you, Senator Schumer.

Send a message to Schumer and all of Congress by signing the on-line petition:

Sign and share the petition denouncing Sen. Chuck Schumer for his decision to oppose the Iran Deal. America does not want more war. Your views don’t reflect the views of the people you are elected to represent and they don’t represent the Democratic party.

Schumer cartoon

Published on August 9, 2015 at 1:25 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Well said. Just as Bibi’s address to Congress was a sign of his own weakness and desperation, it appears Schumer’s rejection of the Iran agreement is as well. Who knew that he felt this beholden to the “religious right ” within the Jewish community to ensure reelection in the future. While he may have succeeded in sustaining their support, he just lost mine.

    Rick Rubin

    Editor’s response: Thanks Rick. In thinking about it some more, I suspect Schumer is more concerned about pissing off a few wealthy donors than representing the majority of his his constituents or doing the right thing.


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