September 2015 — Elul 5775 - Tishrei 5776,  Volume 21, Issue 9

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Left to right:  AJC Westchester/Fairfield Regional Director Scott Richman; Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester Rabbi Howard Goldsmith;  AJC Exective Director David Harris

AJC Executive Director David Harris Speaks About the Nuclear Deal with Iran

By Stephen E. Lipken


Over 300 citizens from Harrison, Rye and outlying municipalities poured into Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester in Rye for a Town Hall Meeting: the Nuclear Deal with Iran, featuring American Jewish Committee (AJC) Executive Director David Harris on Wednesday, August 26.


Welcoming the community, AJC Westchester Fairfield Regional President Beverly Rosenbaum said, “As a child of a survivor I cannot but think back to the Jews who felt powerless that couldn’t use their voices in the 1930’s and 40’s as Jews were being annihilated. Today we can use our voices and have organizations like AJC to speak out for Israel’s security or the growing anti-Semitism raging across Europe and now with the deal with Iran.”


“First of all, we are Jews,” Harris noted.  We can’t agree whether or not to eat rice on Pesach.


There are people who will ‘fall on their sword’ regarding the spelling of (Ch) Hanukah.  So why should not agreeing on Iran be news?


“Second the stakes are enormously high.  I don’t believe that there is anyone who wants to see Iran with nuclear weapons with their stockpiling Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. In the real world of discussion and debate we need to understand that no one has all of the truth on their side.


“Point number three: this is a binary decision.  For those who try to find a middle space or look for common ground with such deep divisions, at the end of the day there is no middle space.


Members of Congress in the coming weeks are going to be asked to make a binary decision, yea or nay.


Harris reviewed previous Presidential administrations’ shortcomings, including Clinton’s [failed] accord with North Korea.  “Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.  What would it look like today with Assad killing 200,000 of his own people without using nuclear weapons?


“President Obama drew a ‘red line’ on Syrian chemical weapons—and we blinked.  They were using chlorine-laced bombs against their own citizens. And in five years, United Nations restrictions on selling arms to Iran will be lifted.  Iran is awash in oil and gas—why do they need nuclear energy?  Iran’s nuclear weapons were not dismantled—they have been mothballed.


“During the Bush administration Fordow was revealed by Iranian opposition.  Many nuclear upgrades by the Iranian regime were unknown to us until revealed by others. And it is not just Jews but the majorities of Americans polled—oppose this deal,” Harris concluded.