Florida Jewish Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, one of the most senior Democrats in the party and Democratic National Committee chairwoman, has come out in favor of the nuclear deal with Iran, the Miami Herald reported Sunday.
Her district includes a large number of Jews, and she has been under heavy pressure to oppose the agreement. Last week, Vice president Joe Biden met with her and with Florida Jews and apparently helped sway Schultz.
Her support is a blow for opponents to the deal, who were given an uplift last week when Maryland Jewish Sen. Ben Cardin finally announced he will vote against the agreement but proposed an alternative.
Schultz issued a five-and-a-half page statement to the Herald, in which she wrote:
I have subsequently come to the conclusion that the agreement promotes the national security interests of the United States and our allies and merits my vote of support…
This agreement is not perfect. But I join many in the belief that with complex, multilateral, nuclear non-proliferation negotiations with inherent geopolitical implications for the entire world, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ deal.
Like most other Democrats supporting the bill, she voiced concerns and specifically stated she worries about Iran getting “additional resources to divert to their nefarious activities.”
Initially sharing those concerns propelled me to thoroughly explore the viability of an alternative agreement… [but] analysts across the academic and political spectrum agree that if the U.S. walks away from this agreement, it will be impossible to maintain a robust sanctions program against Iran.
She expressed little worry about Iran’s holding to the agreement’s requirements for monitoring systems and inspections, saying:
Even if Iran cheats, with this agreement in place it is clear to me that we will know much more about their nuclear program than we do now, which will give us the ability to more effectively eliminate it if that ever becomes necessary
The statement is an incredible admission of one of the plan’s biggest holes because by the time the P5+1 powers “know much more about their nuclear program than we do now,” Iran would already have a bomb. That would make it even more difficult to “effectively eliminate it if that ever becomes necessary.”
Even more worrisome for Jews is her statement that her decision was partly based on her being “a deeply committed member of the Jewish community. Schultz said last week she would announce her decision on the Iran agreement with her “Jewish heart.”
Schultz thinks she is supportive of Israel and stated:
The thorough, pragmatic, and factual analysis I have done and my fervent desire as a Jewish mother to ensure that Israel will always be there — l’dor v’dor — from generation to generation — leads me to the conclusion that this agreement provides the best chance to ensure America’s, Israel’s and our allies’ security today and tomorrow.
One of the mistakes of opponents to the nuclear deal with Iran was focusing on its danger to Israel. Their argument should have centered on the agreement’s being a danger to U.S. citizens, whether they are Jewish or not.
Anyone deciding with a “Jewish heart” to support the deal while maintaining that she or he is committed to Israel’s security has not been able to explain why almost every Israeli leader, including Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog, is against the deal.
Most Americans also are against it, including those in Florida.
A Quinnipiac poll last month showed Florida voters oppose the pact 61 percent to 25 percent.