(MJA Note: No Surprises
Leaders Urge Congress to OK Deal with Iran
perfect, this deal is the best available option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons
two dozen leaders of the Jewish community signed a full-page ad in Thursday’s
New York Times urging Congress to support an international agreement
that backers say will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon for at least
by the non-profit No Nukes for Iran Project, the ad is the latest sign that
White House allies are stepping up lobbying efforts to keep the deal with Tehran
on track. For the moment, it looks as though Congress cannot block the deal,
although some Democratic defections—Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Robert
Menendez of New Jersey—are raising blood pressures ever so slightly inside the
remain deeply concerned that Iran is unflinchingly anti-Semitic and an
unapologetic state-sponsor of terrorism. However, a nuclear-armed Iran would be
even more dangerous,” the pro-deal leaders write. “While not perfect, this
deal is the best available option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”
signatories include three former chairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organizations, 10 former heads of many of its biggest member
organizations and three former members of Congress.
among the signatories is Thomas Dine, a former executive director of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee. That group, perhaps the most powerful
pro-Israel lobbying Washington, is strongly opposed to the deal: “Congress
should insist on a better deal,” AIPAC leaders urge in a call-to-action
AIPAC, the studiously apolitical American Jewish Committee and the typically
liberal Anti-Defamation League have also come out against the deal. The Iran
deal faces opposition from some of the biggest Jewish Federations in America,
including Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia and Miami.
question of the deal with Iran is a tough one for Jewish voters, who
overwhelmingly support Democrats. (The Pew Research Center finds that61
percent of Jewish voters identified as Democrats or lean Democratic,
while just 31 percent are Republican or lean that way.) Yet polls find Jewish
voters souring on Obama; a Gallup
poll in March found Obama’s approval rating among Jewish voters at 50
percent, down from 77 percent during 2009.
Republicans looking to replace Obama at the White House have loudly opposed the
deal, saying it was gives Iran too much in exchange for too little. Obama has
stridently defended it and is urging Congress to get out of his way.
Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States negotiated the
deal with Iran. Under the deal, Iran will get relief from sanctions and regain
access to international oil markets, which will bring it a windfall of about
$100 billion. In exchange, Iran must dispose of most of its low-enriched
uranium, stop efforts to produce or acquire more nuclear fuel and consent to
ad was unlikely to change the overall tone of the debate, although it was a
signal that supporters of the deal were starting to mobilize as Congress starts
to make its way back to Washington after its August recess.
quotes retired Admiral Ami Ayalon, the former Chief of the Israeli Navy and
former head of the nation’s security service. “When it comes to Iran’s
nuclear capability, this [deal] is the best option,” he is quoted as saying.
with Admiral Ayalon and leading Israeli military, scientific and intelligence
experts who share this view,” the signatories echo.
The full list of supporters: S. Daniel Abraham, Chair, S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace; Michael M. Adler, President, Greater Miami Jewish Federation (2004-2006); Robert Arnow, Chair, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Board of Governors (1983-1994); Thomas A. Dine, Executive Director, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (1980-1993); Stanley P. Gold, Chair, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles (2008-2009); E. Robert Goodkind, President, American Jewish Committee (2004-2007); Alan S. Jaffe, President, UJA-Federation of New York (1992-1995); Marvin Lender, Chair, United Jewish Appeal (1990-1992); Carl Levin, U.S. Senator, Michigan (1979-2015); Jacqueline K. Levine, Chair, National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (1983-1986); Mel Levine, Member of Congress, California (1983-1993); Rabbi Brain Lurie, Chief Executive Officer, United Jewish Appeal (1991-1996); Lynn Lyss, Chair, National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (1994-1996); Theodore Mann, Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (1978-1980); Ambassador (ret.) Alfred H. Moses, President, American Jewish Committee (1991-1994); Nancy Ratzan, Chair, National Council of Jewish Women (2008-2011); Seymour D. Reich, Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (1989-1990); Robert S. Rifkind, President, American Jewish Committee (1994-1998); Greg Rosenbaum, Chair, National Jewish Democratic Council (2014-present); Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary (1986-20006); Ambassador (ret.) Alan Solomont, Chair, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Great Boston (2003-2005); Alan Solow, Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (2009-2011); Marc R. Stanley, Co-Chair, Foundation for Jewish Culture (2012-2014); Robert Wexler, Member of Congress, Florida (1997-2010); Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President, Union for Reform Judaism (1996-2012); Larry Zicklin, President, UJA-Federation of New York (2001-2004).