8 Jewish federations come out against Iran deal; most stay silent


WASHINGTON (Washington Jewish Week via JTA) — 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.

So far, 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.

Rather than taking firm positions, some 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 our 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, said 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 community relations council, is disseminating a range of articles on the agreement, including Washington Post commentator Charles Krauthammer’s flat-out no and a Foreign Policy piece by two former U.S. officials at The Washington Institute, David Makovsky and Matthew Levitt, making the case for steps the Obama administration could take to make the deal more palatable to those who worry it will end up boosting Iran’s support for terrorism.

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