President Obama has appointed the White House spin doctor behind the Iran nuclear deal to the National Holocaust Council.
The White House announced on Tuesday that Benjamin Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, would be joining the 55-member council, which raises funds to sustain the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Rhodes, who is Jewish, has been heavily criticized for his role in selling the deal with Iran to the American public. Critics of the pact, which relaxes sanctions against Iran in exchange for a depletion of uranium reserves, say that it will embolden the Islamic republic, which sees Israel as its greatest enemy.
In Sept. 2015, month’s after the deal was finalized, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, predicted that Israel would not exist within 25 years.
“God willing, there will be no such thing as a Zionist regime in 25 years. Until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists,” Khamenei said at an event while discussing the nuclear deal.
Rhodes has admitted to manipulating the media in order to gain support for the deal.
“We created an echo chamber,” Rhodes gloated in an interview with New York Times magazine last year. He added that foreign policy experts “were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”
He also said that he helped create a false narrative that the Obama administration started negotiating the nuclear deal only after the election of Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who is seen as more amenable to the U.S. than other Iranian leaders.
But that was a lie. The administration began negotiations earlier than that, when hard-liners were still in power in Iran.
Here’s how The Washington Post described Rhodes’ admitted deception:
Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told the New York Times magazine that he helped promote a “narrative” that the administration started negotiations with Iran after the supposedly moderate Hassan Rouhani was elected president in 2013. In fact, the administration’s negotiations actually began earlier, with the country’s powerful Islamic faction, and the framework for an agreement was hammered out before Rouhani’s election.
Rhodes also acknowledged using non-government organizations to peddle the deal.
“We had test-drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like [the anti-nuclear group] Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked,” Rhodes said.
Obama doled out other prestige appointments to administration officials on Tuesday. Most notable are the appointments of national security advisor Susan Rice and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett to the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.