The White House’s Principal Deputy Press Secretary, Eric Schultz, took to Twitter today to boast about the Obama Administration’s strong-arm tactics in securing the Iran deal.
After Bloomberg journalist Josh Rogin tweeted a link to an article he co-wrote with colleague Eli Lake for Bloomberg Businessweek, titled “How Obama Outmuscled AIPAC,” Schultz re-tweeted at Rogin, without comment, a tweet of Rogin’s from August: “Obama’s whole warmonger threat strategy is really working—if his goal was to get people to come out against the #IranDeal.”
Lake jumped in:
— Eli Lake (@EliLake) September 18, 2015
This time Schultz posted, again without comment, re-tweeting one of Lake’s old tweets that links to an article on Bloomberg View, titled “Obama Puts Fear Before Facts on Iran.” Lake rebutted again.
In response, Schultz re-tweeted at Lake, again without comment, the link to the author’s article published in August on Bloomberg View, titled “Our Hardliners, and Iran’s.” Publicly, their back-and-forth ended there.
By not commenting in his tweets and simply re-tweeting the links to Rogin and Lake’s previous articles on the White House’s tactics to win the fight over the Iran deal, Schultz left himself plenty of plausible deniability. However, his intent is clear: heckle two American journalists who cover Obama’s foreign policy. Schultz wasn’t just preening over the Obama administration’s victory to secure safe passage for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; he was also boasting about the methods the White House employed, even as some—like accusing opponents of agitating for war—resonate clearly with anti-Semitic conceits.
The argument behind Lake and Rogin’s article published on Thursday is that AIPAC lost on the JCPOA because they didn’t play dirty. The flagship of the pro-Israel community wasn’t willing, for instance, to threaten Senators and Congressmen with primary challenges if it opposed them, like the White House did. And yet, by boasting about bullying opponents and rubbing their noses in it, Schultz’s display on Friday took it to a new level.
AIPAC can at least console itself that while its lobbying loss constitutes a serious blow to American and Israeli security, never mind their own reputation, the organization at least played fair. The White House on the other hand traded in vicious attacks that poisoned the country’s political discourse all in order to have a nuclear agreement on the way to a larger accommodation with an obscurantist, terror-supporting regime that uses anti-Semitism as an organizing tool. Bizarrely, today the White House press office went on the record to indicate that they’re proud of what they did.