Largest Jewish Denomination Refuses to Back Iran Deal

Obama Reform Jews Chanukah (Alex Wong / Getty)
Alex Wong / Getty

The Reform Jewish movement, the liberal denomination that represents a plurality of American Jews, has declined to endorse, or oppose, the Iran deal.

In a statement, the Reform movement said:

At this time, there is no unity of opinion among the Reform Movement leadership – lay and rabbinic alike – just as there is not unity among our membership as to the JCPOA itself; but there is unity as to the important questions and concerns we pose in this statement. Thus, there is simply no clarity that would support taking a position “for” or “against” the JCPOA itself.

The statement recounts the arguments both for and against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reiterates that Iran is a threat to both the U.S. and Israel. The statement adds that it is “deeply concerned about the tension, and the harsh rhetoric, in the discourse between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu” and hopes that the relationship between the two governments can be repaired.

The statement adds that the Reform movement is concerned about the use of antisemitic language in the debate over the Iran deal: “It is essential that this debate not be allowed to create a lasting rift between Israel and the U.S., between North American Jews and Israelis, or among American Jews. We are concerned, as well, with the possibility that some will use the debate as fuel for anti-Semitic views.”

President Barack Obama has been criticized for using what one Jewish publication called “dark, nasty stuff we might expect to hear at a white power rally.”

Reform Jews have been among President Barack Obama’s staunchest supporters.

Last month, the leading Orthodox Jewish rabbinic organizations announced their opposition to the Iran deal. A small group of liberal rabbis supported it earlier this week.


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