Ex-congressman Gary Ackerman comes out against Iran deal


(JTA) — Gary Ackerman, a former Democratic congressman from New York, has come out against the Iran deal.

Ackerman, a lawmaker for 30 years before retiring in 2013, joined the advisory board of Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, a group affiliated with the pro-Israel lobbyist AIPAC that has raised tens of millions of dollars for TV advertisements to persuade Congress members to kill the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran.

“While I have long argued for negotiations between the U.S. and Iran as a means to stop their nuclear program, the agreement that emerged from these talks simply does not do the job,” Ackerman, who represented that included parts of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, said in a statement on Friday.

“Stakes are too high to allow for so many loopholes. To make a deal with an enemy who then vows to kill you later, means you left something out of the deal. Don’t you think?”

Ackerman, 72, was among the 81 Democrats who voted in favor of invading Iraq in 2002. He accepted an endorsement from the liberal pro-Israel lobbying group J Street in the 2010 election but later broke ties with the group when it petitioned the Obama administration not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

J Street has raised millions of dollars to support the Iran deal.

Ackerman, a former vice chair of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, is one of the more prominent liberal Jewish voices to oppose the deal. Among the key liberal Jewish lawmakers backing the agreement are current Reps. Sander Levin, D-Mich. and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

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