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October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’

14 Senate Democrats Call for Extending Sanctions on Iran

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Tower Magazine website}

Fourteen Democratic senators introduced legislation last week calling for an extension of existing sanctions on Iran, which are set to expire at the end of this year.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) are leading the push for renewing the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which aims to prevent foreign investment in Iran’s energy sector. Both voiced their opposition to the nuclear agreement with Iran after it was announced.

“After extensive consultations with my colleagues in both chambers of Congress and on both sides of the aisle, it is clear that we need to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act before the end of the year,” said Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Doing so is vital if the United States wants to retain a credible deterrent of snap back sanctions.”

Cardin and Schumer called on their colleagues in both chambers to quickly advance the legislation when Congress reconvenes in September.

“It is essential that Congress keep Iran’s feet to the fire to make sure they do not violate the [nuclear deal]. This bill would provide the sanction authority that helps us do just that,” said Schumer, chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

On Friday, many of the same Democratic Senators who originally supported the nuclear deal wrote a letter criticizing the agreement’s inspection procedures and calling for the International Atomic Energy Agency to release more information from its inspections.

Despite international criticism, including from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles. The Islamic Republic reportedly launched a ballistic missile using North Korean technology on the night of July 11-12, the ninth such test it carried out since reaching a nuclear deal with global powers last year.

Tower Magazine

American and Canadian Jews Flying on Aliyah in Face of Terror

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Sixty-five Jews from 13 states and Quebec, Canada are scheduled to set foot on their home around 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah flight will carry passengers whose ages range from 10 months to 83 years, along with five men and women volunteering in the Israel Defense Forces as “lone soldiers” without family in Israel.

The new olim are from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Maine, Maryland, Ohio and Quebec.

Nefesh B’Nefesh Co-Founder and Executive Director Rabbi Yehoshua Fass said:

We are truly inspired that despite the extremely difficult times Israel is currently experiencing, Olim are undeterred and are still making Aliyah.

Their choice to leave a comfortable life and move to Israel, and even more so in these times, is an important contribution to Israel’s strength and national morale. We are proud to accompany each immigrant through the Aliyah process and will use all means at our disposal to ensure their successful absorption and acclimatization to Israeli society.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s ‘Jewish Heart’ Backs Iran Deal

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Florida Jewish Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, one of the most senior Democrats in the party and Democratic National Committee chairwoman, has come out in favor of the nuclear deal with Iran, the Miami Herald reported Sunday.

Her district includes a large number of Jews, and she has been under heavy pressure to oppose the agreement. Last week, Vice president Joe Biden met with her and with Florida Jews and apparently helped sway Schultz.

Her support is a blow for opponents to the deal, who were given an uplift last week when Maryland Jewish Sen. Ben Cardin finally announced he will vote against the agreement but proposed an alternative.

Schultz issued a five-and-a-half page statement to the Herald, in which she wrote:

I have subsequently come to the conclusion that the agreement promotes the national security interests of the United States and our allies and merits my vote of support…

This agreement is not perfect. But I join many in the belief that with complex, multilateral, nuclear non-proliferation negotiations with inherent geopolitical implications for the entire world, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ deal.

Like most other Democrats supporting the bill, she voiced concerns and specifically stated she worries about Iran getting “additional resources to divert to their nefarious activities.”

Schultz added:

Initially sharing those concerns propelled me to thoroughly explore the viability of an alternative agreement… [but] analysts across the academic and political spectrum agree that if the U.S. walks away from this agreement, it will be impossible to maintain a robust sanctions program against Iran.

She expressed little worry about Iran’s holding to the agreement’s requirements for monitoring systems and inspections, saying:

Even if Iran cheats, with this agreement in place it is clear to me that we will know much more about their nuclear program than we do now, which will give us the ability to more effectively eliminate it if that ever becomes necessary

The statement is an incredible admission of one of the plan’s biggest holes because by the time the P5+1 powers “know much more about their nuclear program than we do now,” Iran would already have a bomb. That would make it even more difficult to “effectively eliminate it if that ever becomes necessary.”

Even more worrisome for Jews is her statement that her decision was partly based on her being “a deeply committed member of the Jewish community. Schultz said last week she would announce her decision on the Iran agreement with her “Jewish heart.”

Schultz thinks she is supportive of Israel and stated:

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 — leads me to the conclusion that this agreement provides the best chance to ensure America’s, Israel’s and our allies’ security today and tomorrow.

One of the mistakes of opponents to the nuclear deal with Iran was focusing on its danger to Israel. Their argument should have centered on the agreement’s being a danger to U.S. citizens, whether they are Jewish or not.

Anyone deciding with a “Jewish heart” to support the deal while maintaining that she or he is committed to Israel’s security has not been able to explain why almost every Israeli leader, including Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog, is against the deal.

Most Americans also are against it, including those in Florida.

A Quinnipiac poll last month showed Florida voters oppose the pact 61 percent to 25 percent.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Maryland’s Sen. Mikulski Gives Obama Magic Number for Iran Deal

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced Wednesday afternoon she will support the nuclear deal with Iran, giving President Barack Obama enough support to stop Congress from overriding a presidential veto of a Congressional rejection of the agreement.

The Maryland Democrat caved in even though she is retiring at the end of her current term.

She stated:

No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated with the Iranian regime. I have concluded that this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb.”

Sen. Mikulski is retiring at the end of her current term and therefore would not pay a heavy political price if she had joined the majority on Congress who oppose the agreement

She is the 34th Democrat to side with President Obama, who still faces the embarrassment of having to veto a Congressional rejection of the nuclear deal.

He reportedly favors what he considers a less embarrassing alternative – a Democratic filibuster.

With enough votes locked up to allow a veto to stand, it remains to be seen if other Democratic senators will fall in line with the president. They can rationalize that opposing the agreement won’t help override a veto .

Congress will vote on the agreement by Sept, 17. The American obligations under the deal cannot take effect until Congress approves or President Obama vetoes a rejection.

All eyes are on Maryland’s other senator, Ben Cardin, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He said yesterday he will announce “shortly” his position. He could face political punishment in the Senate if he votes against the agreement.

Cardin is a member of Baltimore’s largest modern Orthodox congregation, Beth Tfiloh, where more than 1,000 people rallied Tuesday against the agreement.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

‘Undecided’ Sen. Cardin Predicts Congress Will Back Obama on Iran Deal

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin said Tuesday he remains undecided on how to vote on the nuclear deal but that he is sure President Barack Obama will win the needed support in the Senate to prevent a veto-proof majority against the agreement.

Speaking to students at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, Sen. Cardin did not name which Democratic senators will fall in line but said thematic number of 34 will be reached by the end of the week.

The Associated Press said that Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware is scheduled to talk about the deal later today and probably will support President Obama.

Cardin is facing intense pressure from Jewish voters in Maryland to vote against the agreement. He is a member of Baltimore’s largest modern Orthodox synagogue that generally is very supportive of Israel.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

31st Democratic Senator Backs Iran Deal

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

President Barack Obama on Sunday won the support of the 31st Democratic senator out of the 34 he needs to prevent a veto-proof majority against the nuclear agreement,

The latest to fall in line is Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley, who announced:

Because of these shortcomings [in the deal], many have argued that the United States, instead of implementing the agreement, should withdraw from it, persuade our partners to set the agreement aside and work together to negotiate a better deal.

However, the prospects for this are slim. All of our partners … believe that the current deal — in regard to its central goal of blocking Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb — is sound. They have committed the good faith of their governments behind the agreement and intend to honor the deal as long as Iran does likewise, with or without the United States.

The momentum in President Obama’s favor may make the numbers game even worse for the opponents of the agreement. Key undecided senators, such as Maryland’s Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, will have a harder time opposing the agreement, which would mean paying a heavy political price, if they know that there is no chance of defeating it.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Billboards Go Up in Baltimore Urging Cardin, Mikulski to Vote ‘No’ on Iran

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

On Wednesday, Aug. 25, the non-partisan, non-profit organization United Against a Nuclear Iran Action, placed seven billboards across Baltimore urging Maryland Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski to vote against the Nuclear Iran Deal.

The seven billboards read: “Ask Senators Mikulski and Cardin to Stand Strong and Oppose the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

Senator Cardin is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Senator Mikulski is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

UANI is an advocacy group that seeks to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons. UANI was founded in 2008 by Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former CIA Director Jim Woolsey and Middle East expert Dennis Ross.

UANI’s private sanctions campaigns and state and Federal legislative initiatives focus on ending the economic and financial support of the Iranian regime because of its nuclear weapons program, support for terrorism and gross human rights violations.

Iran’s “timeline of terrorism” can be found on the UANI website.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/billboards-go-up-in-baltimore-urging-cardin-mikulski-to-vote-no-on-iran/2015/08/27/

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