The Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne represents the Jewish community interests in NE Indiana and NW Ohio. We provie educational and cultural programs, seek to fight racism, and provide funds to help Jews and other people in peril through our philanthropic fund drive efforts. We are your neighbors and co-workers.
Over the last two weeks, the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council has reviewed the Iran nuclear agreement and carefully considered the breadth of analysis that has been published. We join President Obama and Members of Congress in recognizing that Iran must be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons. Even as a threshold nuclear state, Iran threatens the interests of the United States, further destabilizes the Middle East and could trigger both a conventional and nuclear arms race in the region.
The Obama administration has led the coalition of P5+1 countries (China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom) in crafting the JCPOA. While we recognize that there is legitimate disagreement about how best to achieve a nuclear-free Iran, and while we commend the administration for attempting to achieve our shared goals diplomatically, we do not believe the JCPOA as presently constructed will succeed in achieving its ultimate goal of preventing Iran from securing nuclear capabilities. Moreover, we believe the JCPOA will embolden and strengthen Iran, which will then further threaten and terrorize its own citizens and neighbors, a concern we share with countries throughout the world, including Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia and others.
The Basis for Our Concerns Regarding the JCPOA
Strategy: It will not end the threat posed by Iranian nuclear weapons.
- Under the JCPOA, Iran is allowed to delay surveillance and inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency from 24 days to up to three months, thereby drastically limiting the ability to conduct accurate and successful inspections.
- The plan delays – but does not prevent -- Iran from continuing its research and development on enriching uranium, and it does not dismantle the existing infrastructure. If Iran follows the rules, it will be rich, well-armed and nuclear in less than 15 years. And if it decides to repudiate the agreement after economic sanctions are lifted, Iran will be able to complete a weapon within a year’s time or less.
- The provisions to “snap back” and reinstate sanctions is woefully insufficient, and arguably altogether absent from the JCPOA. Once international money again flows into Iran, the reinstitution of sanctions will not be able to undo the nuclear development and arms exports that would have triggered the “snap back.”
Unintended Consequences: It will increase Iran’s abilities to foment and fund global terrorism.
- The JCPOA’s sanctions on sales of conventional weapons to Iran will expire in 5 years and embargos on missiles sales will expire in 8 years. Combined with the plan’s infusion of more than $150 billion into Iranian coffers, this serves to exacerbate Iran’s already deadly campaign of funneling financial and material support to its global campaign of terror and terror-supporting regimes. Iran’s tentacles reach Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and even into African and South American countries.
- Iran continues to support international terrorist organizations, including but not limited to Hamas and Hezbollah. They join these groups in justifying their violence by demonizing their victims, including Israel and the United States.
Bad for Israel: It poses an existential threat to our most important strategic ally in the region.
- Iran has explicitly threatened to use nuclear weapons on Israel and continues to openly call for the annihilation of the State of Israel.
- Even if Iran remains nuclear-free for many years, the infusion of cash from lifting the sanctions will free up money for Iran to fund terrorist groups who are at war with, and seek to destroy, the State of Israel.
Bad for the United States: It further destabilizes an already volatile region.
- A nuclear-threshold Iran could trigger an arms race that will destabilize the entire region as countries vie for hegemonic power.
- A well-funded Iran – nuclear or not – will increase the threat of global terrorism in both the immediate future and for years to come.
- Israel is the U.S.’s strongest strategic partner in the region, and a threat to Israel threatens U.S. strategic interests.
As we have already seen, fervent debate among lawmakers, diplomats, field experts, journalists, politicians and every-day concerned citizens is well underway. We recognize that thoughtful people can hold strongly different opinions as to the relative merits of the JCPOA. While there are legitimate, substantive areas of disagreement between the United States and Israel on the Iran agreement, these should not be used to undermine the U.S.-Israel relationship or bipartisan support for Israel. We therefore call on all participants to conduct this essential and difficult public debate in a robust and responsible way that reinforces both the vital U.S.-Israel relationship and the countries’ shared goal of security from terrorism.
The Indianapolis Jewish community reiterates its commitment to supporting strong U.S.-Israel ties and reaffirms our belief in Israel’s right to prevent existential threats to her existence. The JCRC will continue to advocate for the pursuit of all available options to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. We therefore urge our fellow citizens and members of the Greater Indianapolis Jewish community to remain engaged during this critical 60-day period of Congressional review, join our lawmakers in thoroughly evaluating and debating our options for realizing a nuclear-free Iran, and respectfully express their opinions to our elected representatives in Congress.
JCRC is the public affairs and community relations arm of the organized Jewish community of Greater Indianapolis. We work to build consensus on public affairs issues, and translate these positions into community action with the broader community, public officials, and other faith and ethnic communities. JCRC focuses on Israel advocacy, and acts in coalition with other groups advocating civil rights and social & economic justice. JCRC is a Constituent Agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis.
www.indyjcrc.org ~ 317.926.2935
For more information on positions and analysis from other Jewish Community agencies we would suggest looking at the compilation created by the JCRC of Greater Washington. For expert academic analysis of the agreement we suggest the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Finally, please continue to check the JCRC's Facebook and Twitter accounts for posting of new articles and analysis.
At the inspiring Campaign Opener on November 3, 2014, we asked those in attendance to make your 2014-2015 pledge to the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne, and if at all possible, to increase your gift over your last year’s pledge. For those not at the Opener, cards were sent out with a letter and a return envelope asking that you fill out your pledge cards, be generous, and return them. We are asking one more time, please return your cards…your community needs your commitment today for tomorrow, not tomorrow for today! If you have already made your gift, then thank you. If not, then allow the words of Hertzl himself to serve as a reminder – “Words and Actions are not so far apart as one might think”. This is the time to consider how you can make a difference in the lives of Jews both locally and around the world.
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Greece's Jewish Community Suffers During Economic Crisis
Photo is of a Jewish Community Center in Greece where many Jews are going for assistance with food and other items.
It is not "new" news that Greece is facing quite an economic predicament. Certainly all of Greece is suffering, but the Jewish community is facing tough circumstances during this uncertain time. Sixty-nine percent of Greece's population harbor anti-Semitic beliefs, according to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that The Birmingham Jewish Federation funds through our annual campaign. Unfortunately, uncertain economic times, as history shows us, can lead to an increase in anti-Jewish views.
The following excerpts from a Times Of Israel story illustrate the struggles that the Jewish community in Greece is now facing:
For 55 needy Jewish families, a cash welfare payment is the only thing that gets them through the month. But when they came to the Athens Jewish Community last week for their July assistance, they were given only a portion of the payment in cash -- the rest was in supermarket food coupons.
"We just don't have cash and we can't get anymore, the banks are closed," said Taly Mair, the community director who oversees the welfare program. "We hope to make the rest up to them later."
Scenes of turmoil and uncertainty have played out across Greece over the past week with the country on the verge of bankruptcy after failing to make a payment to the International Monetary Fund. Banks have been shut down, ATM withdrawals are limited to about $66 a day, and panicked citizens are stocking up on staples such as bottled water, pasta, lentils and baby formula.
Amid the economic crisis -- and especially following the country's overwhelming rejection in a referendum of the terms offered by Greece's European creditors -- the Greek Jewish community of about 5,000 is grappling with two main concerns: how to provide emergency assistance to Jews in need and how to ensure that the Jewish institutions can continue to function.
The economic crisis also brought with it a rise in anti-Semitism. In 2012, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn became the third-largest party in Greece. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece "is continuing to help, in the spirit of Jewish solidarity, so that no Jew will be left without a meal or can't meet their basic needs," said Victor Eliezer, a member of the umbrella organization of Greece's Jewish communities.
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