WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Jewish groups are planning a mass push in September to press for Iran sanctions.
The groups are planning a Washington Day on Sept. 10 that would bring together 300 to 500 leaders from across the United States to press for sanctions legislation, as well as a mass protest outside the United Nations in New York City on Sept. 24 — about the time Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is set to address the General Assembly.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations established a working group last month to examine how the post-June 12 elections crisis in Iran would affect efforts to isolate the hard-line regime as long as it sustained its suspected nuclear weapons program. The elections, widely regarded as rigged, have sparked a major protest movement.
"We held off for a little while to see what the outcome would be," Presidents Conference vice-chairman Malcolm Hoenlein was quoted as telling member groups in a conference call Monday to announce the dates. "While it’s not completely clear, Ahmadinejad announced he was coming to the United Nations and the nuclear program continues."
The Washington day will include meetings at the White House and with congressional leaders.
Alan Solow, the chairman of the Presidents Conference, was quoted as telling those on the call that a huge turnout at the Sept. 24 rally was critical. Hoenlein said groups should reach out to non-Jewish groups as a means of emphasizing the broader threat the Iranian regime poses; he said he would seek Muslim and Christian participation.