Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was repeatedly booed and heckled Sunday during his speech defending the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.
Lew, an Orthodox Jew and former Budget Director, spokes at a Jerusalem Post conference in New York City.
The unusually harsh reaction, as he spoke in New York City at a Jewish-themed conference sponsored by The Jerusalem Post, was termed by Haaretz “as one of the surliest reactions ever accorded to such a high-ranking administration official by a Jewish audience in the United States.”
Lew’s address normally would not have made headlines, but even the Washington-based Politico picked up the boisterous reaction, that included shouts of “nonsense.”
The most significant statement was not Lew’s insistence that the United States is headed for a “good deal” with Iran. Instead it was his reaction to the boos:
I would only ask that you listen to me as we listen to you.
That is exactly the problem. The Obama administration does not listen to anyone that does not feed it the information it wants to hear. It “hears” but does not “listen.”
President Barack Obama has opened the doors of the White House to J Street and Reform Jewish leaders, who espouse the Obama view that Jews living in huge suburban neighborhoods of Jerusalem are “illegitimate” and “illegal,” that “two states” is the only way to bring peace to the Middle East, and that a bad deal with Iran is a “good deal” because Iran can be trusted because of conditions for inspections of nuclear sites.
Lew took on the task of parroting the Obama-Kerry line. After winning applause for the usual pronouncement that “the United States of America stands with the State of Israel,” and that “we must never allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” Lew said:
Some denounced the interim understanding, known as the Joint Plan of Action. They said Iran would cheat, that our sanctions would fall apart, and that this temporary deal would allow Iran to move closer to acquiring a nuclear weapon. But none of that came to pass.
Of course, it has not come to pass. Why should Iran cheat before it gets what it wants?