That hue and cry emanating from the Jewish community of late sounds, to me, a lot like, "See! See! I told you so!"
Told you what?
That President Barack Obama is happy to throw Israel under a bus if that's what it takes to cement ties with his newly minted Iranian friends and burnish his foreign policy legacy in a Neville Chamberlain-ish manner.
That Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a warmonger oblivious to American concerns and ungrateful for all the UN cover and financial aid Washington's given Israel under Obama and for decades?
Well, which is it?
Take your pick. Your choice is likely to depend upon where you get your news and opinions. Or perhaps I should say your opinion-infused news, which is closer to the reality of what the information industry churns out. But that's just my opinion.
I wrote last week about the media's focus on the soul-searching in Israel following back-to-back Jew-on-Jew and Jew-on-Palestinian attacks. I planned to write more about that this week, given the continuing developments, covered here by The New York Times and here, from another angle, by The Jerusalem Post.
But as is too often the case with Middle East crisis news coverage, events quickly pushed the story forward, leaving journalists little opportunity to circle back and report more in-depth on the first round coverage's more compelling angles.
(Here's one piece that did meet that need this past week. Its an excellent example of reporting on a community hostile to all you represent as a journalist trying to be fair-minded.)
Kicking the Israel story forward this time is the increasingly vitriolic and public blustering by Obama and Netanyahu over the Iran nuclear deal. It's an immensely complicated story, with a myriad of potentially important consequences.
For American Jewry, it's about the community being torn apart further by the passionate and even bitter debate between those for and against the deal.
For American politics, it's about Obama and Democratic party loyalty to his vision, Republican attempts to make further inroads among Jewish voters who generally lean Democratic, and, ultimately, the 2016 presidential election.
For Israel, it's about the state's dangerously diminishing outside support and increasing vulnerability in international forums. For Jews everywhere, it's about the resurgence of anti-Semitism worldwide. And finally, for the larger Middle East it's about the battle against ISIS and Islamic terrorism in general, Washington's future role in the region, and the Sunni-Shia rivalry that's devastating the Muslim world.
That's more than enough to keep journalistic attention on the nuclear deal in the headlines for some time -- meaning way beyond the upcoming congressional votes.
But as you peruse, or produce, the stories to come, keep an eye out for the following:
Note the oddness of the circular nature of the reporting that's part and parcel of what's considered journalism in this age of blogging, Facebook and the Web in general.
Credible bloggers and pundit wannabes alike post their varying opinions on the Web. Mainstream and more established Web outlets then report on the opinions expressed as if they are news. And finally, the credible bloggers and pundit wannabes report on the reports, virtually all of them selectively choosing only the posts/stories/posts that best fit their worldview.
Sometimes it seems absurd. But, hey, it helps satisfy the 24/7 news cycle monster, so what the hell.
And finally, be on the lookout for what some already claim to see. That would be anti-Semitic stereotypes becoming undercurrents in the Iran debate. Even -- or perhaps I should say, in particular -- President Obama has been accused of skirting the line between what is acceptable discourse in the debate, and what is simply beyond the pale.
Here's what Tower, an online, U.S.-based, Jewish-centric magazine that leans right, had to say:
What we increasingly can’t stomach—and feel obliged to speak out about right now—is the use of Jew-baiting and other blatant and retrograde forms of racial and ethnic prejudice as tools to sell a political deal, or to smear those who oppose it. Accusing Senator [Chuck] Schumer of loyalty to a foreign government is bigotry, pure and simple. Accusing Senators and Congressmen whose misgivings about the Iran deal are shared by a majority of the U.S. electorate of being agents of a foreign power, or of selling their votes to shadowy lobbyists, or of acting contrary to the best interests of the United States, is the kind of naked appeal to bigotry and prejudice that would be familiar in the politics of the pre-Civil Rights Era South.
This use of anti-Jewish incitement as a political tool is a sickening new development in American political discourse, and we have heard too much of it lately—some coming, ominously, from our own White House and its representatives. Let’s not mince words: Murmuring about “money” and “lobbying” and “foreign interests” who seek to drag America into war is a direct attempt to play the dual-loyalty card. It’s the kind of dark, nasty stuff we might expect to hear at a white power rally, not from the President of the United States—and it’s gotten so blatant that even many of us who are generally sympathetic to the administration, and even this deal, have been shaken by it.
Is all fair in love, war and political sparring? Or is this a case of what American Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said: "In every political debate there are examples of exaggeration and inaccurate facts."
Journalists, stay tuned. There's so much more to come.