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.