ADL Says Attacks Against Lawmakers Supporting Iran Deal Have 'Crossed the Line'

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

The Anti-Defamation League said the backlash against congressmen who announced their support for the nuclear deal with Iran has crossed the line, especially noting Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who suffered "obscene and offensive comments."

"Hateful rhetoric that invokes Nazism and demonizes an individual is unacceptable. It has absolutely no place in public discourse, particularly when referring to a widely respected public servant like Mr. Nadler," said a statement, issued on Wednesday by ADL National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt and Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York regional director.

The statement listed several of the comments found on Nadler's Facebook page, posted after he announced his support of the deal, saying they were "replete with Nazi analogies, vulgarities and obscenities, including references to him as a 'stinking kapo,' a coward and traitor to the U.S. and Israel, and one particularly appalling statement that read, 'When you die there no place for you on Jewish cemetery.'"

The ADL criticized the "vicious, ad hominem attacks," saying these are unacceptable, "no matter one's politics or views on the Iran deal."

ADL urged political leaders, opinion leaders and public figures "across the spectrum" to reject this sort of "dehumanizing" language and speak out against it.

The ADL statement also noted that the organization has criticized reactions to Sen. Chuck Schumer's opposition to the deal, which included accusations of disloyalty. The ADL called these accusations a "slap in the face to his (Schumer's) lifelong record of public service," and JTA published an op-ed by ADL's director voicing his concern that the rhetoric on the Iran deal is "poisoning the political debate."

Following his announcement of support for the deal last week and the subsequent vitriol against him, Rep. Nadler told Haaretz that what bothered him about the debate was "its incivility, excoriating people as traitors or dual loyalists.”

“Instead of debating whether I made a right or wrong decision, what we’re hearing from Borough Park and other places is a certitude that I and others know what we’re doing is wrong, that what we’re doing is going to increase the threat to Israel, and I am doing it because I want to abandon the Jewish people. That’s beyond the pale,” he said.

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