Wednesday, September 9, 2009

All Four Jewish Movements Join on Iran Statement

With Rosh Hashanah just over a week away, it is clear that the Iranian threat is going to be the subject of much focus. Witness the extraordinary statement below, one brining together a vast and diverse collection of rabbinic congregational organizations. Just this week, PM Netanyahu made a (not-so) secret trip to Russia to impress upon the Russian leadership the seriousness of the situation and to present them with evidence of Iranian mischief in the area. Meanwhile Dr. Mohamed El Baradei announced that he has reached a stalemate with the Iranians over their nuclear program. And Russia, China, India and Brazil made it clear they oppose any additional sanctions on Iran, which pretty much shuts the door on sanctions. That puts the ball squarely in the American and Israeli court once the Sept 30 deadline passes for the Iranians to agree to talks.

By Iran Quest
Published: September 8, 2009

Nine rabbinic and congregational organizations, representing all four streams of Judaism, have teamed up for a joint statement calling upon American Jews “to make Iran a matter of the highest urgency.”

The statement urges the U.S. to “take the lead in increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on the Iranian regime” and provides “Eight Actions to Stop a Nuclear Iran,” including bringing it up in interfaith discussions and displaying signage at synagogues and other Jewish institutions urging the prevention of a nuclear Iran.

It is signed by the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, the National Council of Young Israel, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Rabbinical Council of America, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the Union for Reform Judaism, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

Rabbinic and Synagogue Organizations Against a Nuclear Iran

Coordinated for the Inter-Agency Task Force on Iran by Rabbi Joel Meyers, Rabbinical Assembly

We, the leadership of the rabbinic and synagogue organizations of the American Jewish Community are calling upon American Jews to make Iran a matter of the highest urgency.

We support President Obama’s diplomatic initiatives. We are also convinced that our Government must take the lead in increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on the Iranian regime at this time. We take this position now because we are convinced that the Government of Iran is an increasing threat to us all.

The Government of Iran:

Continues to develop nuclear capabilities, which, if fully operational, will threaten not only Israel or the Middle East as a whole, but every other country, including the United States.

Has repeatedly acted to destabilize countries in the Middle East and elsewhere through direct sponsorship of terrorism and support of such groups as Hamas and Hezbollah. There is a real danger that a nuclear armed Iran will supply these weapons to its proxies and will certainly use the threat of these weapons to destabilize other nations.

Has used negotiations solely as a delaying tactic and has continually reneged on promises made while thwarting vital efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect those nuclear facilities most implicated in developing a military capability.

Denies basic freedoms to its own citizens and any opposition to the ruling powers is too often suppressed, sometimes brutally.

Has continually called for the destruction of Israel and promoted anti-Semitism.

Therefore preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons must be a priority for our country at this time. For too long we have not taken action and have not modeled forceful leadership to the rest of the world. It is urgent that we heighten awareness about the danger a nuclear Iran presents to the U.S. and the world.

The time for action is now.

We ask for your participation in the following:

Eight Actions to Stop a Nuclear Iran

(1) Mobilize your communities. The public must be presented with clear information. Hold public forums about the Iranian regime and its support of state terrorism and violations of human rights. Invite expert speakers to community forums to engage your community on this issue of concern.

(2) Urge community members and community leaders to advocate with their elected officials. Divestment from Iran is an important economic tool by which to exert pressure. Speak to your local city and state officials. Convince them to make certain that pension funds and financing not be done through vehicles which benefit Iran’s energy or financial sectors.

(3) Contact your senators and representatives and urge that we tighten our sanctions on banks and industries doing business with Iran. Ask their help in leading and strengthening an international effort to do the same, particularly in terms of tightening access to refined petroleum products.

(4) Be alert for opportunities to write letters to the editor of your local and/or op-ed pieces supporting diplomatic and financial pressure on Iran.

(5) Respond assertively, quickly, and publicly to lies and misinformation being fostered upon the public by Iran, its proxies, and countries aligned with Iran against the United States and its vision of democracy and freedom.

(6) Rabbis and those involved in interfaith activities should engage their partners in discussion about the danger Iran presents and ask for their help in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

(7) Keep informed of the latest developments by utilizing the websites of United Against Nuclear Iran ( and Jewish Council for Public Affairs (

(8) Publicly display signage on our institutional and synagogue property urging that we must prevent a Nuclear Iran. It provides one vivid demonstration of our communal commitment to keep the issue of a Nuclear Iran before the public.

Signed by:

Central Conference of American Rabbis
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
National Council of Young Israel
Rabbinical Assembly
Rabbinical Council of America
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Union for Reform Judaism
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Read the original JTA article here.

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