Jewish federations around the country are responding to this month’s Iran nuclear deal with words such as “worried,” “mistrustful,” “fearful” and “grave concerns.” Most are counseling their communities to use the 60-day congressional review period to learn about the agreement and share their opinions with elected officials.
“There is a plethora of diverse opinions,” said Gregg Roman, Community Relations Council director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “For Federation to come out with a position would be irresponsible. We’re not going to pretend we’re nuclear experts.”
Some federations have come to the opposite conclusion: Seven federations – including Boston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, South Palm Beach, Fla., Houston and Dallas – have come out in opposition to the Iran deal.
“We cannot be silent in our opposition to an agreement that takes far too many risks with one of the world’s most dangerous regimes,” said the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County in a statement.
“Each community is different and each federation is different,” said Steven A. Rakitt, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. “We’re looking carefully at this, and we’ll come to our own conclusions.”
The Greater Washington Federation’s public position is that it is “concerned, but hopeful.” Through the website of its Jewish Community Relations Council, it is disseminating a range of articles on the agreement, ranging from Washington Post commentators Charles Krauthammer’s flat-out-no “The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history” to The Washington Institute’s David Makovsky’s grin-and-bear-it “Keeping Iran’s Feet to the Fire.”
The Pittsburgh Federation is looking ahead to what happens after the vote in Congress, Roman said. Policy positions include: Israel should receive security guarantees through legislation; Israel and pro-American Arab regimes should be allowed to maintain their military qualitative edge; and “U.S. and Israel need to move forward to assure that there is a vibrant relationship by negotiating a 10-year aid package,” Roman said.