Why the Birmingham Jewish Federation Opposes the Iran Deal

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Richard Friedman writes in the Times of Israel:

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA — At a somber, well-attended Birmingham Jewish Federation Board of Directors meeting August 6, members of the board unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Iran agreement, amid fears that it could be highly dangerous for our country, Israel and the entire world.

“This is a defining moment,” the resolution stated.  “As Americans, as Jews and as people who love and support Israel, we are deeply concerned that this agreement leaves the entire Middle East less stable and the entire world more vulnerable to Iran’s radical agenda.”

The resolution was modeled on a similar resolution passed recently by the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. About a dozen other Jewish Federations throughout the country, including some of the largest ones, have passed such resolutions. Other Federations are in the process of considering such  measures.

During the meeting,  board members were pensive, listening to one another respectfully, as a wide range of people shared their views, with virtually all of them opposing the nuclear agreement with Iran.  Among those encouraging board members to oppose the Iran agreement was Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbi Jonathan Miller, a Reform rabbi who met with Members of Congress in Washington recently to urge them to vote against the accord.

At the meeting, Temple Beth-El Rabbi Randall Konigsburg, a Conservative rabbi, questioned whether adopting such a resolution  was the best strategy right now.  He said he feared that the intensifying debate over the Iran deal  has “pitted the Jewish community against the White House,” something that could result in negative consequences. Others shared his concern but felt that the potential danger of the deal justified taking that risk.

A question was raised as to whether passing such a resolution would alienate members of the Jewish community who support the Iran deal. Board member Lisa Engel, a veteran volunteer leader, answered by explaining that the resolution did not purport to speak for the Birmingham Jewish community but rather to only express the sentiments  of The Birmingham Jewish Federation’s Board of Directors.

Federation President Jerry Held led the meeting, stressing the historic nature of the issue and providing ample time for everyone to speak.  When the time came to vote, it  passed unanimously.   The resolution will be sent to Alabama’s Members of Congress, the general Alabama media and Jewish Federations of North America, our Federation’s  national organization.

At the start of the meeting, Jerry told the board that the Executive Committee felt adopting such a resolution was important to demonstrate to our elected officials and the general public how our Federation board feels about the Iran deal.

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