Following Senator Cory Booker’s announcement Thursday that he would be voting in favor of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, the reaction from Booker’s supporters has vacillated between enthusiastic approval from progressives and a dismayed, if not shocked, reaction from the Jewish leaders who have been steadfast in their support of him in the past.
“Cory is my soul-friend and no matter of policy will ever get personal or come between us,” said Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in an online statement. “But in his statement today, supporting a deal which he himself calls ‘dangerous’ and ‘deeply-flawed,’ Cory never even once condemns the Iranian promise to exterminate the Jews of Israel or distance himself from a deal which he admits will legitimize a genocidal regime.
“Indeed, he acknowledges Iran’s ‘determination to destroy the United States and our ally Israel.’ How then can he vote for a deal that gives Iran the means by which to achieve this evil objective in just 10-15 years?”
Though Boteach and organizations like The American Israel Public Affairs Committee had weighed in as opposing the deal and hoping for a ‘no’ vote from the senator, the decision is playing well with progressive advocacy groups like New Jersey Citizen Action.
“This is not a perfect agreement,” said Executive Director Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, “but the only real alternative to what has been negotiated by President Obama and some of our closest allies is war.”
CREDO Action also praised the choice to fall in with other supporters of the deal, and to part company with the rest of New Jersey’s Democratic delegation in doing so.
“Sen. Booker’s support for the deal shows real leadership in light of the fact that New Jersey’s senior senator, Robert Menendez, is one of the most aggressive warmongers in the Democratic senate caucus,” said Campaign Manager Zack Malitz in a statement.
“Sen. Menendez is already under indictment and is now more isolated than ever thanks to his aggressive opposition to President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal,” added Malitz, referring to Menendez’s corruption charges.
Asked whether the timing of Booker’s announcement may have coincided with Obama’s deal reaching majority support in the Senate on Wednesday, Malitz said that Booker had likely gone his own way.
“He’s clearly under tremendous pressure from special interests that are opposed to the deal,” said Malitz. “Despite those factors, he still came out and did the right thing.”
With experts saying that any potential fallout from supporting the deal will have time to be swept away with the tide before his turn for reelection in 2020, Booker has plenty of time to let the national conversation about the deal eclipse his time under the microscope.