Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday said she has made the “most difficult decision” she’s had to make as chair of the Democratic National Committee with her commitment to support the controversial Iran nuclear deal.
“I do not come to this decision lightly,” Wasserman Schultz said in an op-ed for the Miami Herald, describing her large-scale research over the past two months as “emotional soul searching.”
The DNC chair wrote of an extensive process that involved meeting with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and more leaders close to the deal, in addition to nuclear, military and intelligence experts here and in Israel.
The new endorsement is more symbolic than critical. Obama on Wednesday secured the support of 34 Senate Democrats for the deal with a vote from Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, ensuring enough of a backing to sustain his veto of any legislation aimed at derailing the agreement. But as a Jewish leader in the Democratic Party, the support from Wasserman Schultz is no less substantial.
Despite recognizing imperfections in the agreement and her concerns with Iran’s terrorist ties, Wasserman Schultz wrote that, ultimately, “the agreement promotes the national-security interests of the United States and our allies and merits my vote of support.”
As the first Jewish-American woman to represent Florida in the U.S. Congress, Wasserman Schultz addressed push-back she may receive from Jewish constituents in the state who fear the deal could hurt Israel.
“There’s nothing more important to me as a Jew than to ensure that Israel’s existence is there throughout our generations,” Wasserman Schultz said on CNN’s ”State of the Union” Sunday, adding that she had met in the Situation Room to discuss the deal 20 times over the past two years.
Choking up on air, the DNC chair expressed that she made the decision “with Jewish heart,” and said she is “confident” in the process she took to get there.
“Throughout our history as a nation and certainly, throughout the Jewish people’s history, we have taken great risks for peace and security. Often, the easier path to choose was to dig in harder,” Wasserman Schultz wrote in her op-ed. “But the thorough, pragmatic and factual analysis I have done and my fervent desire as a Jewish mother to ensure that Israel will always be there — l’dor v’dor — from generation to generation lead me to the conclusion that this agreement provides the best chance to ensure America’s, Israel’s and our allies’ security today and tomorrow.”