Debbie Wasserman Schultz Squeezed Hard as Iran Sanctions Fight Heats Up

Florida Democrat Caught Between Obama and Jewish Leaders

Divided Loyalty: Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a strong supporter of Israel and its agenda. But she is also the head of the Democratic National Committee — and was put there by President Obama.
getty images
Divided Loyalty: Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a strong supporter of Israel and its agenda. But she is also the head of the Democratic National Committee — and was put there by President Obama.

By Nathan Guttman

Published January 21, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 4)

“She is concerned about the criticism because she is a supporter of sanctions,” said Adler, whose own stand may reflect divisions on AIPAC’s approach even within the lobby. He described those in the pro-Israel community who criticized the congresswoman as being “so wrapped up in their own belief that they can’t recognize there are good pro-Israel people on both sides of this discussion.”

But it is that ability to be counted as “pro-Israel” on either side of this issue that is vexing activists who want to force congressional lawmakers to choose.

Right now, the Senate’s Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act has 59 co-sponsors in the Senate, one vote shy of the number needed to force a vote, and far from the 67 senators required to override a presidential veto — a veto Obama has promised if the measure passes both houses. The bill calls for imposing new, automatic sanctions on Iran if it does not live up to a recently signed interim agreement that imposes new limits on the country’s nuclear program, which many other countries fear has as its goal the development of nuclear weapons. (Iran says its program is only for non-military purposes.)

Iran, which is currently negotiating with several countries, including the United States, to reach a stronger, permanent nuclear accord, would also suffer new sanctions under the bill if it did not cease all enrichment of uranium for this program after the interim agreement’s six-month term expires — even if the final agreement allowed it to enrich uranium to a low level, as many expect.

Another provision promises U.S. support for Israel if Israel, which views a nuclear Iran as an existential threat, decides to attack Iran to block its nuclear advancement.

Iran has threatened to walk out of the current talks if the Senate bill passes. And the administration, which sees the bill’s language as contrary to its own negotiating goals, has used the harshest of terms to describe the damage the bill could cause. Its passage, said White House Jay Carney could lead to “a march to war” as the only alternative to collapsed talks.

But proponents of more economic sanctions say it is only the pressure from earlier sanctions that has brought Iran to the negotiating table, and the threat of further sanction that will ensure the negotiations’ success. AIPAC has made passage of the new sanctions a top priority and has been lobbying in full force for its passage.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The rose petals have settled, and Andi has made her (Jewish?) choice. We look back on the #Bachelorette finale:
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.