Looking at all sides of the Iran Deal

Iran.  The last month and a half has all been about how to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  Our Federation has taken a very deliberate approach to provide information representing all sides around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to the community.  We do so within the following context that was established by our Community Relations Council:

  • Iran should not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon and Israel must have the right to defend itself with American backing;
  • Elected officials should look at this deal with the United States’ security and Israel, our closest ally in the region, clearly in mind as critical primary foci of decision-making;
  • We call for severe and immediate enforceable consequences that are  delineated now ahead of time should Iran breach the agreement;
  • We see with concern Iran’s pattern of continually elongating negotiations and making un-kept commitments to inspections, and we believe that sanctions should NOT be lifted until compliance is proven and long-term sustainable commitments are kept consistent with provisions of the agreement;
  • Members of our community need to call their elected representatives to express their opinions about the deal.

Almost every Federation donor I have heard from concurs with our approach.  Those donors come from all perspectives around the JCPOA, those for it and those against it.  Yet, some just couldn’t help themselves.  Here are a few lines, without attribution, from emails we received at the Federation (I have made no edits to the original email language):

In response to our email about the President Obama webcast:

I hope that you are receiving money to help Israel for this.  Iran wants to destroy Israel and President Obama want to help Iran.

Another about President Obama:

Really?  We’re supposed to listen seriously to the man who says he knows better than the Israelis what’s good for them?  Did Federation sponsor talks by Neville Chamberlin?

In response to Senator Toomey speaking next week:

Skip, Thanks but , No Thanks, Its tool ate The  deal is won and  Toomey is a Tea Party Republican Hawk and anyhow Casey just came out for it positively

An old friend of mine who lives in a different community put a comment on my Facebook page when I posted information about the webcast with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  He wrote something to the effect that the Federation system is in bed with Bibi (my friend was obviously in favor of the Iran agreement).  I removed that comment from my page but because I am transparent, I did send my friend an email to let him know I had done so.  Over the following weeks, as I posted similar announcements of webcasts with the Secretary of Energy and President Obama, there was no comment thanking Federation from my friend.   This is what I witnessed over the last several weeks.  When people disagreed with a speaker being presented, they criticized us.

In Hebrew we talk about conducting ourselves with “Derech Eretz”.  Derech Eretz translates literally as “the way of the world”.  What it really means is acting with common decency.  Over the last few months, I have witnessed a real decline in Derech Eretz.  As we enter this season of the Yamim Noraim (the High Holy Days), I hope we can get back to “the way of the world”.

Our Federation is here to build a strong Jewish community. We strive to be the place where we can all come together to help our fellow Jews and to try to achieve our stated vision of building a “Thriving, Vibrant and Engaged Jewish Community”.  Let’s make sure we always focus on that ultimate goal.

Shabbat Shalom.

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