Updated…WASHINGTON — When it comes to the Iran nuclear deal President Barack Obama and other world leaders are negotiating, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said Wednesday it is “truly appalling” for Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., to “equate the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Nazi appeasement.”
“As a Jewish-American, I am offended. Sen. Kirk owes the president, the people of Illinois, our entire nation and Jews across the globe an apology. To mention our commander-in-chief and his team in the same breath with Adolf Hitler is beyond shameful for many reasons,” Schakowsky said.
Kirk’s “extreme rhetoric on Iran,” Schakowsky said, is joined by “other right-wing voices in Congress who care more about political grandstanding than stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. . . . Kirk has taken his extreme rhetoric one step further by comparing this peaceful negotiation with Nazi appeasement.”
The two Illinois lawmakers are strong supporters of Israel. Schakowsky and Kirk agree Iran must be prevented from building a nuclear weapon it could use to erase Israel from the map.
But they have deep, deep disagreements over Obama’s approach to Iran.
Kirk is a leading anti-Iran crusader in Congress who thinks Obama and his team are naïve fools. Schakowsky supports the Obama administration on Iran — which, by the way, not all congressional Democrats do.
Kirk’s latest and strongest criticism of the Obama administration on Iran came last Thursday, after the announcement of a framework agreement between Iran, the European Union, the U.S, Germany, Great Britain, China, France and Russia. The target date to complete the deal is June 30.
Kirk, drawing a historical analogy, told Politico in an interview that “Neville Chamberlain got a lot of more out of Hitler than Wendy Sherman got out of Iran.” Kirk despises Sherman, the State Department official centrally involved in the nuclear negotiations.
Speaking to reporters in Chicago last Thursday, Kirk likened the tentative plan to diminish Iran’s nuclear program to Nazi Germany.
“I’m very worried that we’re repeating the mistakes of the late 1930s when the United States was very weak and unable to confront Hitler, and especially Mussolini, and we gave a signal to the dictators to just go as far as possible,” Kirk said.
Drawing analogies to the incomparable horrors of the Nazis, Hitler or the Holocaust should be done with caution. In 2005, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., issued a “statement of regret” after comparing the treatment of prisoners at Gitmo to “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime . . .”
Kirk, up for re-election in 2016, said Wednesday in reply that Schakowsky “issued a political attack. I will give it a political response.”
“Munich actually happened. It is real and its lessons matter. Let me be clear. I will oppose a deal that allows Iran to maintain its nuclear weapons programs while lifting sanctions that pumps billions into a regime that will use that money to threaten the peace of the world.
“And lest I be unclear, I am entirely prepared to lose an election defending that proposition should the voters so decide. I look forward to the fight ahead. The stakes are very high.”
FULL KIRK, SCHAKOWSKY STATEMENTS BELOW
Senator Mark Kirk compared the Obama Administration’s framework for a nuclear deal to Nazi Appeasement recently in a phone interview. Rep. Jan Schakowsky released the following statement in response:
“It is truly appalling for Senator Mark Kirk to equate the Obama Administration’s diplomacy with Nazi appeasement. As a Jewish-American, I am offended. Senator Kirk owes the President, the people of Illinois, our entire nation and Jews across the globe an apology. To mention our commander in-chief and his team in the same breath with Adolph Hitler is beyond shameful for many reasons.
Does Mark Kirk think Efraim Halevy, a former director of Mossad, Israel’s Intelligence Agency, is a Nazi Appeaser? Halevy agrees with President Obama that the framework for a deal with Iran is in fact ‘historic’.
People may have different views of the negotiations, but if a former head of Mossad sees their potential value how can Mark Kirk possibly compare him to Nazi appeasement? In fact, expert after expert has said they believe the deal would be the best possible way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
The framework for the deal would force Iran to curtail its nuclear programs, destroy valuable equipment at some of its facilities, drastically reduce in the number of centrifuges that will remain in operation and submit to a 24/7 intrusive inspection regime.
Senator Kirk’s extreme rhetoric on Iran fits right in with Senators Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz and other right wing voices in Congress who care more about political grandstanding than stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. But these comments aren’t that surprising coming from Mark Kirk – given his integral role in the unprecedented letter sent by 47 GOP Senators to the leaders of Iran. That letter was reckless and irresponsible and it even was rejected by the Republican Chairman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And now Kirk has taken his extreme rhetoric one step further by comparing this peaceful negotiation with Nazi appeasement.”
After the murder of six million Jews, the world said never again. I take very seriously my responsibility as a United States Senator to play my part in honoring that generational commitment to the security of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
The Iranian regime has explicitly threatened to wipe the state of Israel off the map. Just days before the agreement framework, the Iranian supreme leader was leading thousands in chants of death to America. Iran is the largest exporter of terrorism in the world and is today in the middle of establishing hegemony over the Middle East with proxy control of four Arab capitals.
This deal is represented as one thing by the Administration, as another by the Iranians, and still yet a third. It is unravelling in a cloud of confusion before the ink is dry.
One thing is for sure though: it allows Iran to maintain its nuclear weapons capabilities as a threshold nuclear state and will lift the sanctions, pumping billions of dollars into the Iranian economy to fund more aggression and more terror, much of it directed by the same Iranian revolutionary guards that are responsible for the blood of thousands of Americans in Iraq.
I oppose this deal because I understand a central lesson of history. American strength and resolve has been the guarantor of peace.
It is weakness and wishful thinking that guarantees war.
Finally, the congresswoman issued a political attack. I will give it a political response.
Munich actually happened. It is real and its lessons matter. Let me be clear. I will oppose a deal that allows Iran to maintain its nuclear weapons programs while lifting sanctions that pumps billions into a regime that will use that money to threaten the piece of the world. And lest I be unclear, I am entirely prepared to lose an election defending that proposition should the voters so decide.
I look forward to the fight ahead. The stakes are very high.