In Iran Deal Debate, Jewish Democratic NY Assemblyman Plays Holocaust Card

Other Jewish lawmakers have decried Holocaust-related rhetoric.

Jacob Kornbluh
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Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Credit: AP
Jacob Kornbluh

JP UPDATES - Speaking at a rally against the Iran deal in front of the Jewish Children’s Museum in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikin compared Jewish leaders supporting the Iran nuclear agreement as well as those on the sidelines of the debate to Jewish leaders who were silent when during the Holocaust.

“I think many Jewish leaders still want to get invited to the White House, they still want to get invited for Chanukah,” he suggested.  “Back during the period of the Holocaust, when Jews were being murdered 10,000 a day, we know today – based on all the records – the Jewish leadership was missing in action They were not there for their people back during the Holocaust.”

Other Jewish lawmakers have expressed concern about the tone of the rhetoric in the debate.

“We remain concerned that individuals on both sides of the debate have resorted to ad hominem attacks and threats against those who don’t share their opinions. This is unacceptable,” Representatives Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey, and Steve Israel said in a joint statement. “No matter where you stand on the Iran deal, comparisons to the Holocaust, the darkest chapter in human history, questioning the credentials of long-standing advocates for Israel, and accusations of dual loyalty are inappropriate.”

Hikind also mocked Congressman Jerry Nadler for announcing his support for the deal after receiving a letter from the president.  Commenting on Nadler’s remarks to JP Updates on Friday, in which the Jewish Congressman said, “I am upset that they are upset with me,” Hikind announced that he will be sending him a “big sympathy card with a little teddy bear” tomorrow.

.@RepJerryNadler says he's hurt by criticism on his Iran position. So I sent him a card to express my sympathies.

The National Jewish Democratic Council on Thursday condemned Hikind for his personal attacks against Nadler and Obama.

In a statement to the media, the NJDC called Hikind’s antics “truly sad” and “beyond the pale,” stating that “Hikind should be ashamed of himself, and he owes President Obama, Rep. Nadler and the Jewish community an apology at once.”

“It is truly sad to see a longtime Democrat stoop to such filth in his rhetoric towards a fellow Jewish elected official. We would expect better from Assemblyman Hikind, rather than outrageous personal attacks against President Obama and Rep. Nadler. To imply that Rep. Nadler is only voting for the nuclear agreement because he ‘wants to get invited [to the White House] for Chanukah,’ or that President Obama would refer to anyone as a ‘stupid Jew’ is utterly beyond the pale,” the NJDC said in a statement.

“As we said in our letter to Rep. Nadler, and as numerous members of Congress and the Anti-Defamation League affirmed, no elected official should be subjugated to such horrendous, hateful attacks simply for voting their conscience. Assemblyman Hikind should be ashamed of himself, and he owes President Obama, Rep. Nadler and the Jewish community an apology at once.”

Almost $100 million has been poured in by Jewish groups in opposition to the deal.  Jewish leaders like Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Bob Cohen from AIPAC and Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s national director, as well as a majority of the Jewish Federations have strongly came out against the international accord and are lobbying Congress to vote to disapprove the deal.

Senator Chuck Schumer, who is in line to assume the Senate Democratic leadership, and several other prominent Jewish Democrats have also announced their opposition to the accord.

Jacob Kornbluh is a political correspondent for