It started with just four people. These four people decided that although they live in California’s infamous Bay Area, they had to do whatever they could to stop their elected officials from signing on to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Nuclear Iran deal.
These four people, all involved with the Bay Area Jewish Community Relations Council, knew they had to ignite a grass roots effort to stop the Iran deal.
And so Dr. Lenny Kristal, Ruvim Braude, Rosalind Franklin and John Rothmann drafted a short, respectful statement, acknowledging the rights of others who hold different opinions, but unequivocally declaring their opposition to the proposed deal with Iran.
The statement calls on their representatives in Congress to “reject the agreement.”
The basis for their opposition is that the proposal does not do nearly enough to ensure the “safety and security of the United States, Israel and other allies in the Middle East, and consequently increases the likelihood of war in the region.”
The fact that Iran continues to provide financial support to terrorist groups “sworn to Israel’s destruction,” and to “destabilize the Middle East,” was another factor cited by the group.
And it was deeply disturbing to the hundreds of Bay Area residents who signed the statement – folks from across the political divide, and even former strong supporters of President Barack Obama – that chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” were heard throughout the Islamic Republic of Iran, even as the JCPOA was being signed by the Iranian representatives and the P5+1, including the U.S.
The original four swelled to 500 supporters within ten days. The statement, which the drafters called a “Declaration of Conscience,” ran as an advertisement in the Aug. 10 edition of the J Weekly, northern California’s weekly Jewish news publication.
Because the names of people who wanted to be included continued to pour in, the original group decided that in addition to taking the statement with the signatures, and delivering it to the area’s congressional representatives, the initiative should remain alive.
A Facebook page, VoteNoBA was created, and the statement is now there in the form of a petition. By “liking” the page, people both in the region and in other areas can amplify the voices being raised telling congressional representatives to vote down the Nuclear Iran deal.
If such a groundswell can rise up in ten short days in the Bay Area, the birthplace of the Free Speech movement and the American branch of the BDS movement, other regions of the country might take heart and undertake similar initiatives.
According to Kristal, “so many movements have started here in the Bay Area and then are emulated elsewhere.” He dared to hope that this Declaration of Conscience might set off similar efforts.
“People are beginning to feel the danger, and when stress builds up, it can result in a coalescence around certain issues,” Kristal continued. “We need to stand up and be counted. We all do.”