SOUTH FLORIDA JEW ISH JOURNAL
Leaders back Wasserman Schultz's integrity
By Marvin Glassman
Although many of the Jewish leaders that attended the recent meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston) were disappointed that Wasserman Schultz supported the Iran Deal, none of the leaders felt that her decision had anything to do with political ambition.
Wasserman Schultz elaborated in her op-ed to "The Miami Herald" as well as in a Cable News Network television interview on the personal anguish she had in reaching her decision stating "how important it was that as a Jewish mother, we have a concept of l'dor v'dor to me — from generation to generation."
"There's nothing more important to me, as a Jew, than to ensure that Israel's existence is there throughout our generations and I am confident that the process that I've gone through to reach this decision is one that will ensure that Israel will be there forever," said Wasserman Schultz on the Sept. 6 CNN interview.
Five of the leaders at the Biden meeting spoke following Wasserman Schultz's support of the Iran Deal. They all were in agreement about admiring Wasserman Schultz's integrity to support the Iran Deal, even for those that did not support it.
"I may be initially disappointed, but what she [Wasserman Schultz] said was all about her heart, regarding her integrity, caring about Israel and coming to her own conclusion," said Lori Green, who was invited to the Biden meeting because of her leadership role with the recent Jewish Community Center Maccabi Games.
"Debbie Wasserman Schultz had access to confidential information, met often with everyone involved regarding the Iran Deal, and her decision had nothing to do with politics. I intend to continue to support her as a member of Congress," said Green.
"Debbie Wasserman Schultz had classified information, reached out to her constituents, read the 159 page Iran Deal and I applaud her for her research and thinking long and hard before deciding," said Debby Eisinger, former mayor of Cooper City who was at the meeting with Biden.
"I am not opposed to the Iran Deal. It would be alienating to our allies that the President would not stand by the Iran Deal," said Eisinger.
"I admire Biden and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and learned a great deal from our meeting, but in the end I don't trust Iran and can't support the deal," said Hollywood attorney Barry Wilen.
Another leader at the Biden meeting, attorney Andrew Weinstein of Coral Springs, supports the Iran Deal and praised Wasserman Schultz.
"She made the decision exactly the way she should, by listening to all the voices, participating in all the meetings, attending all the briefings and made the decision on what she thought was the best interests of the United States and Israel and the Gulf States," said Weinstein.
Many of the leaders at the Biden meeting also do not think that Wasserman Schultz will lose her bid to be re-elected to Congress in 2016.
"I think that it (supporting the Iran Deal) will cost her some support in her district, but she is very well respected and she will do well in her re-election," said Barbara Effman, who was at the Biden meeting for her past leadership role as a former executive vice president of the American Jewish Congress as well as being president of the West Broward Democratic Club.
In some circles, Wasserman Schultz has been accused of not having integrity, of being a traitor to Israel and the Jewish community.
Republican Joe Kaufman, who ran against Wasserman Schultz in the 2014 election, accused Wasserman Schultz of betraying Jews by backing the Iran Deal, according to "The Sunshine News."
"Debbie chose Iran over Israel. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a disgrace to the Jewish community. She should be thrown out of the community and excommunicated," posted Kaufman on Twitter.
The website shark-tank.com reported that a protester in a late August rally held against the Iran Deal at Wasserman Schultz's Aventura office shouted for "Wasserman Schultz to go to the ovens." The protester identified himself as a former police officer.
"You need to be strong and firm in a political career, because you get exposed to many stereotyping and branding," said Eisinger.
Eisinger recalled that in a 2008 re-election bid for Mayor of Cooper City, a blog superimposed a Hitler mustache on her photo with the words "Nazi bitch" appearing in the blog. Also, Lori Green, then Eisinger's campaign manager, had a swastika etched on her car.
"Nobody deserves this abuse, but being in politics could get nasty," said Eisinger.