The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America has intensified its campaign to pressure members of Congress to oppose the Iran nuclear deal.
Since the deal was announced, the OU has sent out a slew of national action alerts. But in recent days, it has called on its member rabbis to fly to Washington Sept. 9, just days before Rosh Hashanah, to lobby against the deal, and released a series of new videos via its email list and social media targeting Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). The Democratic senators remain publicly undecided on how they will vote and serve communities with significant Orthodox populations.
The Cardin clip, taken from video shot at the OU’s annual leadership mission to Washington, shows the senator declaring, “The agreement must provide an ample enough time before Iran could breakout to a nuclear weapon with robust enough inspections that we can find out if they’re cheating.”
“Call or Email Sen. Cardin and ask him to vote against the Iran deal because its inspections are not ‘robust enough,’” reads the final image of the 30-second clip.
Cardin, who was instrumental in securing the legislation allowing for the 60 day review period and vote by Congress, will be the focus of an additional digital campaign.
A save-the-date notice for the September lobbying blitz read in part, “We are confident that hundreds of rabbis traveling to Washington on the eve of this vote and just days before Rosh Hashanah will have a highly visible and real impact upon this fateful vote in Congress,” reported JTA. “We will only have this impact with your participation.”
According to Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy at the OU, while the OU shares the “long list of concerns and criticisms” voiced by other organizations, its campaign focuses on the proposed inspections regime and the billions of dollars Iran is due to receive once sanctions are lifted.
Added Diament, “We share [Israeli] Ambassador [Ron] Dermer’s concerns that even if Iran abides by the deal to every paragraph and subparagraph, in 10 to 15 years, whenever they get to the end of the deal, they’ll be a full blown nuclear state with the blessing of the international community.”
The OU plans to keep the pressure on Congress through the August recess and “right up to the vote,” said Diament.