On Iran deal, JCRC ignoring its mandate
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington’s recent decision to oppose the nuclear agreement with Iran and call on Congress to defeat it is in violation of its own principles (“Jewish Community Relations Council: ‘We must oppose’ Iran deal,” WJW, Aug. 6).
The JCRC states in its mission statement that it advocates on behalf of the area’s substantial and diverse Jewish community, once it “determines a consensus” and “then promulgates those concerns” to lawmakers and the public at large.
In this instance, however, the organization did not heed its own words, significantly diminishing the JCRC’s standing in the process and raising serious questions about its integrity as a community organization.
How exactly did the JCRC determine the consensus that underpins its decision on this issue? The organization has provided no explanation — because it cannot. There is no consensus in the Jewish community opposing the Iran deal. Yet, to its discredit, the JCRC has chosen to disregard this rather inconvenient fact in announcing its opposition to the deal and its active lobbying efforts against it.
Ironically, the JCRC itself expressly noted the diverse views of the Jewish community in the very announcement of its strong opposition to the deal. “We recognize the diversity of thoughts on this profound and sensitive matter and encourage our community to respect different viewpoints,” it
stated. And polls actually show that a majority of American Jews support the agreement.
Sadly, the JCRC has chosen to ignore its own self-described mandate. The JCRC’s advocacy against the deal, as the community’s representative, is wholly without justification and should be repudiated. The JCRC would be well advised to pick up a simple dictionary and read the definition of “consensus.” If it is serious about its mission, it should honor that commitment — or risk losing its legitimacy.
14 Rabbis sign letter supporting Iran deal
On Aug. 3, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington issued a statement opposing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program (“Jewish Community Relations Council: ‘We must oppose’ Iran deal,’” WJW, Aug. 6). While we respect the JCRC’s position, it does not represent the consensus position of the local Jewish community.
We raise our voices in support of this agreement because it makes Israel safer, it makes America safer, and it is the best solution to a difficult situation.
This view is shared by leading Israeli security officials, including former Mossad director Efraim Halevy and Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon.
It is the position of many elected officials who have closely examined the agreement.
And, as numerous polls have shown, it is the position of the majority of American Jews as well as most Americans.
Good, intelligent Jews who are committed to the welfare of the State of Israel will, of course, disagree. But it is critical that the American public and our congressional representatives recognize that there are millions of strong, committed Israel supporters in the American-Jewish community and among its leadership who support this agreement.
Political, security and diplomatic experts agree that should this negotiated agreement fail now as a result of a veto-proof congressional vote, no other agreement is realistically possible.
We would then be left with only a military option to address the Iranian nuclear threat. By most experts’ estimates, a military strike would only set back Iran’s march towards a nuclear bomb by two to four years, while engulfing the region in further violence and instability.
We believe that this agreement is the best alternative to that potential, catastrophic outcome.
As rabbis, Zionists and ohavei m’dinat Yisrael, we support this agreement.
RABBI BINYAMIN BIBER
RABBI ARTHUR BLECHER
RABBI REEVE BRENNER
RABBI CHARLES FEINBERG
Executive director of Interfaith
Action for Human Rights
RABBI DR. MARC GOPIN
Director, Center for World Religions,
Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution,
George Mason University
RABBI GILAH LANGNER
RABBI ESTHER LEDERMAN
Union for Reform Judaism
RABBI ARNOLD SALTZMAN
RABBI JEFF SAXE
RABBI AMY M. SCHWARTZMAN
RABBI GERALD SEROTTA
Executive director, InterFaith
Conference of Metropolitan
RABBI DAVID SHNEYER
Am Kolel/Kehila Chadasha
RABBI SHIRA STUTMAN
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
RABBI ALANA SUSKIN
Americans for Peace Now
Wrong approach for Iran
As a native Washingtonian, I strongly disagree with “Looking at the facts, Iran deal is a good deal” by Barbara Goldberg Goldman (Voices, WJW, Aug. 13). I applaud her pro-peace approach, but it does not work with evil.
We are talking about Iran, a racist country that supports terrorism, lies to the world and has openly admitted it wants to wipe Israel off the map. We are talking about Iran, which refuses to even say the word “Israel” and claims the Jews have only lived in Israel since 1948 when there is archaeological proof that the Jews have been there for more than 4,000 years.
Do the words “never again” mean nothing?
Scripture and Constitution
Regarding the editorial “Talking about religion” (WJW, Aug. 13), I appreciate your endorsement of Interfaith Alliance’s position on this matter, but I must correct a misconception. The personal religious faith of presidential candidates has indeed been a matter of public discussion many times in the nation’s past, often centered around the suitability of a Roman Catholic like Al Smith or John Kennedy for office. While Joseph Lieberman was celebrated for his devotion to Jewish practice and values, his exuberance about his faith was discussed widely in both the Jewish and general press. What is different since the rise of the religious right in politics is an expectation that candidates will place Scripture above the Constitution. Fox News’s question reflects a dangerous flirtation with ideas explicitly prohibited by Article VI [of the Constitution] which says … “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
The writer is the executive director of
the Interfaith Alliance in Washington.