Statement from Rick Fitzgerald, Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs for UM, on behalf of…
Federation Urges ‘No’ Vote On Current Iran Pact
Statement on the proposed Iran nuclear agreement from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit:
The proposed nuclear agreement with Iran presents a unique and historic issue with potentially devastating consequences for Israel, the United States and the world at large. As a non-political organization dedicated to the social welfare of the Jewish people, the Federation rarely takes a public stance on questions of international diplomacy. This is not a matter of partisan politics, however, but a defining moment for us as Americans, as Jews, and as people who love and support Israel.
Therefore, after thoughtful consideration, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit joins with the many voices throughout the United States and Israel in expressing its deep concern for the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran.
President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the many other leaders involved in this agreement have worked diligently with the intention of providing an effective framework for peace and security in the Middle East. We recognize and fully support their goal of a lasting diplomatic solution.
We are deeply concerned, however, that the terms of the deal fall short of their goal of establishing security in the region, specifically regarding the objective of curbing Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its active agenda of state-sponsored terrorism. The proposed agreement:
- Fails to provide adequate oversight and enforcement. It does not provide for “anytime, anywhere” inspections and could require a 24-day approval process, giving Iran time to remove evidence of violations.
- Strengthens the Iranian regime and its support of terrorism. It frees up billions of dollars and offers nearly immediate sanctions relief, allowing Iran to bolster its support for Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist organizations, while making the imposition of new sanctions almost impossible.
- Legitimizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state and raises the prospect of war. The deal leaves the majority of Iran’s extensive nuclear infrastructure intact and allows virtually instant “breakout time” after 15 years. With this as a catalyst, the agreement would spur a nuclear arms race in the region.
The Iranian government is a hostile and dangerous regime with an openly stated agenda to destroy Israel. Grave concerns about the deal are shared by the vast majority of Israelis as well as leadership from across the Israeli political spectrum. It is our responsibility as American Jews to remind the world of the vulnerability — and increasingly isolated position — of the Israeli people in the face of this existential threat.
Our desire to see lasting peace and security in the Middle East compels us to call on our community to reach out to our elected representatives in the House and Senate to express our deep concern, and to ask that they vote against this deal until further efforts produce a stronger long-term agreement with the conditions necessary to permanently eliminate the risk of a nuclear Iran.
- Know the facts. Consider attending our upcoming community-wide event on the topic, featuring David Makovsky of the Washington Institute, a leading analyst on the Middle East peace process, with moderator Professor Howard N. Lupovitch. Thursday, July 30, 7:30 p.m., at Temple Beth El. Register at
- AIPAC makes communicating with your elected officials easy. Click on its site to find information and forms to make your correspondence simple and ensure that it’s seen.
- The Jewish Federations of North America has a new page for the latest news, statements and commentary on the Iran agreement.
- Visit the Jewish Community Relations Council page for additional information and resources.
- Share news articles on social media and via email to spread the word about the risks of this agreement and the danger Iran continues to pose to the world. Visit Times of Israel, Ha’aretz and the Jerusalem Post.
- The full agreement can be found at
Most Federations Stay Silent; Detroit’s Speaks Out
While the majority of the 151 Jewish federations in North America are withholding judgment on the nuclear deal with Iran, at least eight have come out against it.
The federations of Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, South Palm Beach and Miami are opposing the deal, which curbs Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
“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,” the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County of Florida said in a statement.
Lawrence A. Wolfe, president, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit told the Detroit Jewish News, “The decision came as the result of considerable thought and discussion by the Federation Executive Committee. It was in no way a reflection of partisan politics and, in fact, many of the strongest voices in support of our taking a position are among leading Democratic supporters. Nor is taking a public stance on international diplomacy something we typically do.
“Rather, our statement is a response to an issue of critical importance in which we felt a responsibility to take a stand — particularly in light of the exceptionally vulnerable position of our fellow Jews in Israel.
“One thing we were hearing from everyone we’ve spoken to in Israel is how abandoned and isolated they feel — particularly in respect to Hezbollah, given that this terrorist organization’s leading funding source will now be flush with cash,” Wolfe added.
“This is a complex issue and there are differing opinions, but we are united in our desire to see lasting peace and security for the United States and Israel.”
Rather than taking firm positions, most federations are counseling their communities to use Congress’ 60-day review period to learn about the international 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.”
Steven Rakitt, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, noted that each community and federation is different.
“We’re looking carefully at this and we’ll come to our own conclusions,” Rakitt said.
The Washington federation, through the website of its Jewish Community Relations Council, is disseminating a range of articles on the agreement ranging from Washington Post commentator Charles Krauthammer’s flat-out “no” to the Washington Institute’s David Makovsky’s grin-and-bear-it position.