A previously obscure Congressman from Kentucky, Rep. John Yarmuth, has gotten some publicity for himself using the tried and true “As a Jew” line to advance anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Buzzfeed (no surprise) reports that as guest on the nationally syndicated Stephanie Miller Show on Friday, Yarmuth discussed his objections to Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress. In doing so, Yarmuth (ignoring the fact that a nuclear Iran poses a national security risk to the US) attributed Republican support for Israel to fundraising and pressure from AIPAC, and then went on to accuse AIPAC and Jewish donors of placing Israeli interests ahead of US interests:
And you know, a lot of it has to do with fundraising — I’m sure some of it is sincere support for Israel,” Yarmuth said.
You know, I’m a Jewish member of Congress, I’m a strong supporter of Israel, but my first obligation is to the Constitution of the United States, not to the Constitution of Israel. And unfortunately, I think, some of the demands that are made of members by AIPAC and some strong Jewish supporters are that we pay more attention — I guess we defer — to Israel more than we defer to the United States.”
Yarmuth is of course correct when he says that his first obligation is to the Constitution of the United States. His attribution of improper motive to anyone who disagrees with him, however, is unjustifiable and based on nothing more than stereotype. Yarmuth’s reliance on anti-Semitic tropes of Jews who control Congress and who ignore US interests to advance his argument is purely shameful, and even more so because he claims to be Jewish himself.
Of course, Yarmuth is following President Obama’s lead — it was Obama who, two weeks ago, accused Senator Menendez and other Democrats who oppose his Iran policy of bowing to pressure from “donors.” As was pointed out at the time by the Republican Jewish Coalition, similar accusations were not made against those who oppose his Russia policies, his Cuba policies, or his general foreign policy.
Now that even former Obama advisor Dennis Ross has spoken out against the tactics Obama is using with Iran, it seems that the President’s supporters are resorting to slander because they are running out of substantive arguments. The fact that Obama and supporters such as Yarmuth are unable to advance their position on Iran without resorting to bigoted insults shows just how weak that position is.