Shabbat Evening Service
From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon
As the week comes to a close, the reaction to the U.S.-Iran deal is opening a wave of opinions. The reactions are anticipated and in some places predictable. They also raise many questions but not as many answers. To begin, let me use my space this week to direct you to reactions that come from reputable and reliable sources, and from columnists who are widely read for their insights into such world affairs.
1) Read the op-ed from Aaron David Miller who is a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars and most recently the author of “The End of Greatness: Why American Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President.’ He has written very timely, “Five Things to watch for in the Wake of Iran Nuclear Deal.” You can read his post by clicking on this link.
2) Read the op-ed by David Horovitz who is the founding editor of The Times of Israel. He has written “16 reasons nuke deal is an Iranian victory and a Western Catastrophe” which can be found by clicking here.
3) Read the Reform Jewish Movement’s statement on the nuclear agreement with Iran by clicking Read the full statement here.
4) Read the statements from the American Jewish Committee by visiting their website at www.AJC.org.
Finally, my colleague and friend, Rabbi Barry Block, of Temple B’nai Israel in Little Rock, Arkansas, wrote about the matter in his weekly blog. I’m pleased to cite part of his comments here as a way to measure our responses even as we digest the reality and reactions to the U.S.-Iran deal. Rabbi Block writes, “A more sober analysis, provided by Ambassador Dennis Ross yesterday for the Washington Post, and by [a] recent Temple guest JJ Goldberg for the Forward, is: 1) The nuclear weapons deal is the best for which we would have hoped, was improved by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s lobbying, and can be expected to delay Iran’s path to nuclear weapons, with a strong if imperfect inspections regime. 2) At least some of billions released to Iran are likely to flow to Iran’s terrorist clients, threatening Israel and the Middle East. 3) Opponents of the agreement don’t have and aren’t offering a viable alternative. If our Congress prohibits American compliance with the agreement, our European allies, along with China and Russia, are almost certain to go forward with it anyway. A sanctions regime and assets freeze by the United States alone is not effective, as we saw before President Obama was able to persuade Germany, France, Russia, and China to join it. In other words, the agreement will almost certainly go forward, and much of the aforementioned billions will likely flow to Iran, even without U.S. participation. 4) The real question, while neither option is good, is whether preventing Iran’s possessing nuclear weapons is more or less dangerous than Iran’s having the means to support its terrorist allies robustly.”
Rabbi Block concludes, “I would suggest that harsh rhetoric and partisan polemic are harmful to Israel, to the United States, and to the cause of peace. I fear that our American Jewish community is poised to tear itself apart as the agreement is subjected to congressional consideration, hurling epithets at one another across a partisan divide. The demonization of one party as supposedly anti-Israel and another as reputedly war-mongering will serve short-term partisan interests but won’t be good for Israel or for America. We must all do our best, with civility, to support the course that we believe will best serve the cause of peace, the well being of our nation, and the security of the State of Israel.”
The last words are far from having been written or spoken about the nuclear agreement. Let’s heed the words of those who help us find the wisest path to peace, and let us do it by respecting the words of those with whom we disagree. This is a fragile time that depends on us to seek unity among the lovers of Jews and Judaism in America and Israel.