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December 2, 2015 / 20 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear proliferation’

Centrist American Jewish Committee Rejects the Iran Deal

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

The American Jewish Committee is one of the oldest and most centrist of American Jewish communal organizations.

It is a slow-moving, deliberative organization and it took its time coming to a decision on what virtually everyone discussing the nuclear deal with Iran has described as critically important, or, in the AJC’s words: “one of the most consequential policy issues in a generation.”

The AJC’s long-time executive director David Harris issued a statement expressing the organizations opposition to the deal on Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Harris, who has been at the helm of the AJC for 25 years, articulated the many steps taken by the AJC to come to its decision, and listed numbers of the people with whom its leadership met during its deliberations.

But after weighing the pros and the cons – all of which are familiar to those who are following the matter – at the conclusion of its deliberation, “AJC’s leadership concluded overwhelmingly that we must oppose this deal.”

The reason Harris gave for the AJC’s position boiled down to the P5+1’s abandonment of its initial position, which was to dismantle sanctions in exchange for Iran dismantling its nuclear infrastructure. That was also the position Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said was the “better deal.”

Instead of that original dismantle for dismantle position, the P5+1 replaced its stance “with what is essentially a temporary freeze on its program.” With that retreat, “the P5+1 has indeed validated Iran’s future status as a nuclear threshold state,” Harris explained. And that is something the AJC cannot accept.

“It is too ominous, too precedent-setting, and too likely to trigger a response from Iran’s understandably anxious neighbors who may seek nuclear-weapons capacity themselves, as well as, more immediately and still more certainly, advanced conventional arms, adding an entirely new level of menace to the most volatile and arms-laden region in the world. Surely, this cannot be in America’s long-term security interests.”

The AJC called on members of Congress to oppose the deal.

In addition to the AJC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, The Israel Project, the Orthodox Union, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Zionist Organization of America have gone on record as firmly opposing the JCPOA.

Read the AJC’s full statement here.

Obama Offers His ‘Deal or War’

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

This critical period during which Congress is mulling over the nuclear deal made by U.S. negotiators and their P5+1 partners with Iran has turned into a hotly contested debate between those committed to preventing the deal from being approved and those who are desperate to ensure that it will be approved.

Yesterday, Aug. 4, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke to thousands of Americans and explained why he believes the deal is a bad one. It boiled down to “Keep or Cheat.” However Iran decides to act under this agreement, it will attain nuclear threshold status.

Today President Barack Obama gave a midday televised speech from American University in Washington, D.C.. During the speech he ridiculed those who criticize the deal, and explained why, according to him, the choice is either the deal or war.

Obama sought to compare the current situation in which Iran is seen by many as threatening the U.S. and its closest allies, and perhaps the world, to the time in which the Soviet Union, also a supporter of terrorist proxies, was considered the global danger.

This comparison is useful because the tensions and stakes were similar, and the danger was handled through diplomacy, rather than a resort to war.

Of course, diplomacy is not a generic concept, and its success depends greatly on the diplomats involved and the deals they are able to strike.

This American administration and its negotiating team are not the teams who handled the Cuban Missile Crisis, nor have they woven treaties like the SALT and START Treaties. In fact, one clear red flagging difference is that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not a treaty, or at least is not being called one, with all the consequences that entails.

The President agrees with many of his critics about one factor: the importance of the issue. He described the deal and the foreign policy debate surrounding it as “one of the most consequential” the United States government has engaged in, in years.

Unfortunately, unlike Netanyahu’s speech, which was entirely respectful of President Obama, this one was smug, threatening, nasty and insulting, especially regarding Netanyahu, but also towards any other critics of the deal.

In refusing to take the high road, it may be that Obama lost the opportunity to win over those who were wavering. Or, and perhaps more likely, the threats he raised, including the specter of disaster that will befall the United States should the deal be rejected, may be sufficient to capture those who are susceptible to such tactics.

Time will tell.

In the hour-long speech, the President reiterated what he and the other proponents of the deal have been touting since the JCPOA was signed two weeks ago. This is the best possible deal, snap-back of sanctions will be available if Iran cheats, the inspections regime covers all contingencies (but while admitting the Iranians will have 24 days before inspectors can visit contested sites, Obama promised “we will be watching it continuously until inspectors get in.”)

A careful review of the speech, however, reveals several significant inconsistencies.


The President spent a great deal of time deriding the idea that sanctions would be enough to deter Iran from driving towards its nuclear weapons goal, and ridiculing the idea of America going it alone on sanctions should Congress reject the deal. He pledged that should Iran cheat, “we can catch them, and we will.”

He then said, “If Iran violates the agreement over the next decade, all of the sanctions can snap back into place. We won’t need the support of the other members of the U.N. Security Council, America can trigger snap back on our own.” So what happened to the idea that America can’t go it alone? Or that sanctions are sufficient?

Iran Laughs at ‘Non-Binding’ Ban on Ballistic Missiles

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Iran’s Foreign Minister buried the Obama administration’s claim that the nuclear agreement will curtail Iran’s ballistic missile production and maintained that the prohibition is in a non-binding appendix of “ObamaDeal.”

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted by the state-controlled Fars News Agency as saying:

Using ballistic missiles doesn’t violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); it is a violation of a paragraph in the annex of the (UN Security Council) Resolution (2231) which is non-binding

This paragraph (of the annex) speaks about missiles with nuclear warheads capability and since we don’t design any of our missiles for carrying nuclear weapons, therefore, this paragraph is not related to us at all.

That is pretty fancy mouth-work, even better than President Barack Obama’s.

Zarif is laughing all the way to the nuclear bank. He admits that the nuclear agreement prohibits ballistic missiles but since it is non-binding, so what?

And it doesn’t make any difference because the missiles are not meant for carrying nukes.

If anyone wants to inspect the military sites to make sure he is telling the truth, he can’t because military sites are off-limits. The Islamic Republic’s international affairs adviser to the regime stressed on Tuesday that Iran will not allow international inspectors visit our military centers and interfere in decisions about the type of Iran’s defensive weapons.”

Velayati added:

Missiles like Shahab, Sejjil and the like, have never been used for carrying nuclear warheads, and therefore, are not subject to the paragraphs of the Vienna draft agreement.

Just take his word for it.

Zarif’s Foreign Ministry reassured everyone who still is listening that “Iran will continue its pioneering role in campaign against terrorism and violent extremism.”

For the record, just in case Congressional Democrats are awake, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told a Senate committee just before ObamaDeal was concluded:

We should under no circumstances relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.

Secretary of Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who is in Israel to go through the motions that ObamaDeal is good for Israel, told the Senate Armed Services Committee:

We want them [Iran] to continue to be isolated as a military and limited in terms of the kinds of equipment and material they are able to procure.

That is what he wants. That is not what he – and Israel – is going to get.


Arab League Presses for Israel to Disclose Nuclear Development

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

The other shoe has fallen.

The Arab League has used the “ObamaDeal” nuclear agreement as a lever to exert diplomatic pressure on Israel to “join the non-proliferation agreement (NPT) as a non-nuclear state.”

Israel, assumed to have stockpile nuclear warheads, has maintained a position of “nuclear ambiguity” whereby it clams up about any nuclear weapons.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said:

It’s time for the international community… to stop its policy of double standards and to undertake its responsibilities by pressuring Israel.

The U.N. General Assembly last year adopted a resolution calling for Israel to join the NPT and open the Dimona nuclear reactor to IAEA inspection.

Israel also possesses five German-made Dolphin-class submarines that reportedly can carry cruise missiles with nuclear warheads.

Obama Lacks Public Support for Nuclear Deal with Iran

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

American opinion is totally skewed on the agreement. A plurality of 43 percent support the agreement, a strong majority of 59 percent is “not so confident” or “not confident at all” that the deal will prevent Iran from being armed with a nuclear weapon, and 64 percent lean toward favoring a military attack on Iran if it cheats on the deal.

Only 23% of Americans have some confidence that “ObamaDeal” will stop the Islamic Republic from getting its hands on a weapon, according to a YouGov poll.

The raw statistics appear to encourage the agreement’s Congressional opponents, who are in a political war against President Barack Obama’s hard-sell to thwart a veto-proof majority that could reject the agreement.

In President Obama’s favor is that domestic policy outranks the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran as a burning issue in the hearts and minds of Americans.

If there is one foreign policy that bothers Americans it is the Islamic State (ISIS). The sight of ISIS beheadings is enough shock some Americans to death, but the concept of Iran having a nuclear weapon is too far in the distant, both in terms of mileage and time, for it to frighten anyone.

Few Americans are old enough to remember Pearl Harbor, when Japan attacked Hawaii.

Second Take on Iran by AIPAC: Congress Must Stop this Bad Deal

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Following the announcement of the Iran- P5+1 nuclear deal, JewishPress.com summarized the major Jewish American organizations’ positions on the Iran deal. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee initial statement was rather pareve, but today’s statement, based on a fuller review of the document, is a clear thumbs down and call to action.

AIPAC has concluded that the deal falls short on all five areas it had concluded were critical: inspections, possible military dimensions, sanctions, duration and dismantlement.

The deal, AIPAC told its membership, “would facilitate rather than prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.”

AIPAC concluded that the deal would further destabilize the Middle East, including encouraging an arms race in the region.

In contradiction to what the negotiators and President Obama told the nation, AIPAC insisted that the alternative to the proposed deal is not war.

Calling on its members to inform their legislative representatives, AIPAC said the agreement must be rejected and sanctions on Iran must be maintained while efforts are made to negotiate “a better deal that will truly close off all Iranian paths to a nuclear weapon.”

Guess What Each of the US Jewish Organizations Are Saying About the Iran Deal

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

We know the Iran deal is bad. How bad it is is we all may be spending the rest of our lives finding out. That is, unless enough members of Congress are able to inject sufficient spine-strengthening and -straightening serum to override President Barack Obama’s already promised veto of any effort to derail the deal.

So let’s take a stroll through the playground of American Jewish organizations and see what they have to say about the proposed deal which allows many of the things American leaders swore would not be permitted and forbids many of the things that were promised would be included.

First, let’s lay out the general parameters of the deal, as they are currently understood, based on analyses of the 159 page document.

According to the Iranians themselves, the deal blesses Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear programs and will lift sanctions from Iran through a new UN Security Council resolution. It allows all of Iran’s nuclear installations and sites to continue, none of them will be dismantled. Plus, research and development on key and advanced centrifuges will continue.

There will be no “anywhere, anytime” inspections. Instead, there will be a mechanism in place that will ensure that at least 24 days elapses before inspectors can visit any facility which Iran decides it doesn’t want visited.

And although the U.S. administration and its representatives repeatedly insisted that the nuclear program deal would have no impact on any other sanctions imposed against Iran, guess what? It does.

The P5+1 have agreed to lift the arms embargo against Iran within five years, and the embargo on missile sales will be lifted within eight years. Of course, the unfreezing of between $100 and 150 billion is perhaps the most frightening immediate effect of the deal. As with the nuclear and military sites, there will be no transparency to ensure that the money does not get funneled into Iran’s other favorite activity: financing global terrorism, especially murderous terrorism directed at Israel.

Most of the major Jewish organizations either blasted the agreement with Iran or punted, assuming a wait and see stance. However, one “pro-Israel, pro-peace” outfit was thrilled with the deal. More on that in the body of the article.

Here they are, summaries of the statements on the Iran deal issued by American Jewish organizations.In alphabetical order.

The Anti-Defamation League unhappy

Usually known for a more even-keeled approach to most administration ventures, the ADL is highly critical of the Iran deal. The ADL leadership said they were “deeply disappointed by the terms of the final deal with Iran” which “seems to fall far short of the President’s objective of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state.” The ADL leadership praised the administration’s negotiators for sticking to it for so long and for appearing to put off Iran’s ability to become a nuclear state in the short term, but it fails to prevent it for the long term.

The ADL further blasted the “front-end loaded infusion of billions of dollars in sanctions relief [which] will finance Iran’s ongoing global campaign of terror against Israel and other U.S. allies, and be used to further exert its influence across the Middle East, thereby harming U.S. interests.”

While stopping short of calling on Congress to do its best to derail the job, the ADL leadership took the time to urge those debating the matter to do so in a civil and respectful manner.  Some jaded commentators might wonder whether such admonishments are ladled out when the plan of someone considered to be right wing is under attack.

Americans for a Safe Israel angry

Not surprisingly, the small, New York-based, staunchly Zionist organization AFSI is unalterably opposed to the Iran deal. As Helen Freedman, AFSI’s long-time executive director wrote regarding the deal crafted by Obama and Kerry, “there was never any doubt in our minds that this deceitful duo would cross all the red lines and give Iran everything it demands-  and more. Our ‘leaders’ even made it difficult for Congress to do anything to Stop Iran by insisting this is not a treaty, only a ‘deal.’ Only those who applaud the naked emperor will celebrate this travesty.”

American Israel Public Affairs Committee worried

AIPAC’s deep affinity for diplomacy and close connections with the administration as well as members of Congress puts the organization in a bit of a bind. Its statement reflects that dilemma. AIPAC had previously outlined several requirements any deal with Iran had to meet. Those included:”anywhere, anytime” inspections – that ain’t happening; sanctions relief should only come after Iran satisfies all its commitments – nope; any deal had to prevent Iran from the ability to acquire nuclear weapons for decades – not that either; and Iran had to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure – nope again.

“We are deeply concerned based on initial reports that this proposed agreement may not meet these requirements, and thereby would fail to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.” Deeply concerned? Even the President’s talking points make clear that AIPAC’s red lines have not been met.

AIPAC, as did several of the other organizations, signaled that it would continue to review the deal and issue updates on its position.

American Jewish Committee worried

The AJC spent the first third of its statement praising the administration’s negotiators and leadership for its attempt to reach an accord. AJC’s executive director David Harris then called on Congress to ” thoroughly review, debate, and, ultimately, vote it up or down.” Towards the end of the statement, Harris finally gets around to venturing an opinion about the deal. He said that the nuclear deal does not appear to address certain “extremely troubling aspects of Iranian behavior.” He then lists out five different concerns of the AJC regarding the deal, including its reign of terror in the Middle East and its Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program (which cannot have a peaceful purpose), and its systematic repression of human rights.

But rather than urging its members to take any particular action, the AJC director concludes his statement by noting that however “Congress decides to vote on the nuclear deal,” Harris concluded, “the need for vigilance regarding Iran will not for a single moment be diminished.”

Endowment for Middle East Truth angry

EMET expressed “profound disappointment” that the deal with Iran is “more deplorable than we had even anticipated. Of particular concern to EMET is that the “Administration has caved on almost every one of its initial criteria. It also pointed out that the Iranian Ayatollah maintained all of his red lines, even those which are contrary to UN resolutions.”

Sarah Stern, the president and founder of EMET said, “we all understand and appreciate that Americans are not eager for armed conflict, but willfully blinding ourselves to the reality of a bad deal does not prevent war.” EMET blasted the deal as a “diplomatic disaster of historic proportions.”

The Israel Project unhappy

TIP’s president, Josh Block, said of the deal with Iran that it “is a realization of the deepest fears and the most dire predictions of skeptics who have, for two years, been warning against exactly this outcome – a bad deal that enriches this tyrannical regime and fails to strip Iran of nuclear weapons capability.” TIP unequivocally called on Congress to reject “this bad deal.” The Israel Project has been providing nearly daily, and extremely detailed, updates and analyses of the negotiations for many months, and is considered extremely knowledgeable regarding both the process and the details of the agreement as it has evolved.

J Street  happy

J Street founder and president Jeremy Ben-Ami once described his nascent organization as “President Obama’s blocking back.” It apparently still sees itself that way. While hedging its bets a tiny bit by calling the deal “complex and multi-faceted,” J Street takes President Obama at his word and concludes that the deal “appears to meet the critical criteria around which a consensus of non-proliferation experts has formed for a deal that verifiably blocks each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.” Tellingly, the statement does not mention what those criteria are.

Every other organization that praised the negotiators did so for their efforts. Not J Street. J Street congratulated them for bringing the negotiations “to a successful conclusion.”

J Street mentioned the upcoming review of the deal by Congress, but sent its own thinly-veiled threat: Congress should be “mindful of the likely consequences of its rejection: a collapse of diplomacy and international sanctions as Iran pushes forward with a nuclear program unimpeded.”

In other words, unless Congress approves the deal, or fails to override the promised veto, J Street is telling its followers that the alternative will be an Iran with nuclear weapons. You can bet that is how they will couch their calls to supporters in the upcoming congressional review period.

Jewish Federations of North America hmmmm

The parent organization of the Jewish Federations and JCRCs was careful to thank the negotiators for their efforts and to express its support for diplomacy, but clearly signaled its discomfort with the way the deal has shaped up, given Iran’s terrorist history. The JFNA statement expresses its concern: “Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas, its human rights violations and its aggressive threats toward neighboring countries – including Israel – make the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran untenable.”

But the JFNA resorted to mouthing the assurances that President Obama has been making – even while the facts regarding them have been changing – for nearly the entire period of the negotiations. The JFNA concluded its statement by urging Congress to give the accord its “utmost scrutiny.”

National Jewish Democratic Council can't talk

Perhaps not surprisingly, the NJDC takes absolutely no position on the content of the deal and does not state one word about it. Instead, the statement issued by the NJDC focuses on the process of deliberations going forward and the need “to take partisan politics completely out of this situation.” In fact, it preemptively takes those who oppose this deal to task for turning the Iran deal into a “wedge issue” which divides Jews. It appears the NJDC did not take the temperature of its erstwhile center and center-left Jewish organizational playmates, as virtually every one of them, and they all contain large numbers of Democrats, are highly critical of the deal.

Republican Jewish Coalition angry

The RJC called the agreement “a bad deal” because “it is not enforceable, verifiable or in America’s national security interest.” The group called on Congress to stop the deal or “the world will be less safe as the United States will remove sanctions on Iran, and in return, Iran will still pursue nuclear weapons.” The RJC called on all members of Congress to reject the deal.

Simon Wiesenthal Center worried

The Wiesenthal Center’s leadership said they are “deeply worried” about the deal which they said “confirms Iran as a threshold nuclear power” and that “will end economic sanctions against the Mullahocracy.” The SWC called on Congress to review the document carefully and to vote against it if it is as dangerous as it appears to be.

World Jewish Congress hmmmm

The president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, expressed strong skepticism about the Iran deal. He also mentioned the hard work of the negotiators but repeatedly stated that Tehran has a long history of misleading the world and that there is no reason to trust Iran over the implementation of the deal.

“I fear we may have entered into an agreement that revives the Iranian economy but which fails to stop this regime from developing nuclear weapons in the long terms, which would have disastrous consequences for the entire region and the world.” The WJC urged the international community to stand ready to reimplement sanctions immediately if Iran fails to meet its obligations under the agreement.

Zionist Organization of America angry

No surprises from the ZOA leadership on this issue. If they didn’t use a thesaurus to find every word that means bad to describe this deal, it is only because they have been using those words to describe this deal that way since its infancy.

The ZOA is “deeply horrified, but not surprised by the truly terrible nuclear agreement,” the statement begins. In a highly detailed recitation of how and why the deal is so bad, long-time ZOA president Mork Klein said that the nuclear agreement “is quite simply a catastrophe and a nightmare. It leaves the world standing at an abyss.”

In addition to decrying the lack of spontaneous inspections, the huge boatloads of cash to spend on its terrorist activities and subordinates and the egregiously antagonistic behavior of the Iranian leadership even over the past few days, Klein made another point.

“Two years ago, the Iranian economy was collapsing under the weight of sanctions. President Obama could have intensified pressure and international resolve to compel Iran to relinquish its nuclear program. He never even tried. Instead, he preemptively relieved the pressure on Iran by easing sanctions which enabled Iran to withstand every demand. As a result, we now stand on the precipice of an era of nuclear terror.”

The ZOA, as did several other organizations, urged Americans to call their elected federal representatives through the Capitol Hill Switchboard (202-224-3121) and urge them to oppose the nuclear deal.


While there are two outliers, it turns out the Iran deal is so bad that nearly every major American Jewish organization is, at minimum, extremely concerned about it. That’s quite a feat.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/guess-what-each-of-the-us-jewish-organizations-are-saying-about-the-iran-deal/2015/07/15/

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