The American Jewish Committee (AJC), one of the oldest, largest, and most influential Jewish organizations in the United States, announced on Wednesday that it opposed the Iran deal.
President Obama had met with Jewish groups on Tuesday in an effort to sway their support. The AJC’s announcement is a sign that his outreach is falling short.
In a statement, AJC Executive Director David Harris said:
Over the past three weeks, AJC engaged in a very intensive, open-minded, and thorough process of external consultations and internal deliberations, involving many lay and staff leaders….In the end, AJC’s leadership concluded overwhelmingly that we must oppose this deal…
By abandoning the earlier negotiating posture of dismantling sanctions in exchange for Iranian dismantlement of its nuclear infrastructure, and instead replacing it with what is essentially a temporary freeze on its program, the P5+1 has indeed validated Iran’s future status as a nuclear threshold state, a point that President Obama himself acknowledged in a media interview….
We are told by the deal’s supporters that the only alternative to this deal is war. We respectfully disagree. We do not support war against Iran, nor have we ever advocated for the use of force, though we have always believed in a credible military option as a way of convincing Iran of our seriousness of purpose. But until recently, we were told by P5+1 negotiators: “The alternative to a bad deal is no deal.” What happened to that formulation, and why did it suddenly change?
We understand that opposing this deal raises important questions about the future that no one can answer today with certainty, much as we believe that, faced with strong American leadership, Iran would find it in its own best interests to return to the negotiating table sooner or later. But we know with greater certainty that this deal raises still more ominous questions about the future.
Therefore, AJC opposes the deal and calls on Members of Congress to do the same.
The AJC made the announcement as President Barack Obama was attacking critics of the deal in a speech at American University, where he accused GOP critics of making “common cause” with Iran’s hard-liners.