Prominent U.S. Jewish Leaders Support Iran Deal

Last Thursday, the New York Times published a full-page ad containing a letter signed by 26 prominent American Jewish leaders calling for congressional support of the Iran nuclear agreement. JTA writes:

The signatories include three former chairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, one former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, former leaders of the Conservative and Reform movements, and former heads of the American Jewish Committee and Jewish Community Relations Council.

The list also includes nine former heads of local Jewish federations, some of which have released statements opposing the deal. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, also signed, as did two former Democratic congressmen, Mel Levine of California and Robert Wexler of Florida.

The letter quotes Ami Ayalon, the former head of Israel’s Shin Bet, who publically called for the support of the deal. Addressing concerns over Iran’s anti-Semitic rhetoric, the letter reads:

“We remain deeply concerned that Iran is unflinchingly anti-Semitic and an unapologetic state-sponsor of terrorism. However, a nuclear-armed Iran would be even more dangerous. While not perfect, this deal is the best available option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.” 

Among the signatories were NJDC’s three most recent chairs, Greg Rosenbaum, Marc Stanley and Michael Adler.

In addition to these leaders, 340 American rabbis sent a letter to Congress supporting the deal and rejecting the notion that the majority of American Jews oppose it. “Most especially,” they wrote, “we are deeply concerned with the impression that the leadership of the American Jewish community is united in opposition to the agreement. We, along with many other Jewish leaders, fully support this historic nuclear accord.”

Previously, a group of 98 prominent members of Los Angeles’ Jewish community announced their support of the nuclear agreement. Signatories of the letter included Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, Game of Thrones executive producer Carolyn Strauss and legendary TV writer-producer Norman Lear. The Hollywood Reporter writes:

Identifying themselves as "American Jewish supporters of Israel" in the full-page ad, which will appear in the Thursday edition of L.A.'s Jewish Journal, the group urges Congress to approve the agreement because it "is in the best interest of the United States and Israel."

"We appreciate that many have reasonable concerns about the risks of a complex nuclear weapons development agreement with an untrustworthy adversary like Iran," the letter states. "We too hold these concerns, but the deal that was reached is not founded on trust; it is grounded in rigorous inspections and monitoring."