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August 25, 2015 4:43 pm

Prominent New York Rabbi Calls on Congregation to Lobby Congresswoman Over Iran Deal

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Rabbi Haskel Lookstein and students of the Ramaz Upper School lighting memorial candles for Ehud (36), Ruth (35), Yoav (11), Elad (4), and Hadas (3 months) Fogel.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein and students of the Ramaz Upper School lighting memorial candles for Ehud (36), Ruth (35), Yoav (11), Elad (4), and Hadas (3 months) Fogel.

Prominent New York Orthodox Rabbi Haskel Lookstein has told his community members they would be “doing a mitzvah” by lobbying Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to vote no on the Iran deal this September.

He offered members of his Synagogue, Kehilath Jeshurun, in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, two options to perform this “mitzvah”: signing a petition he said had more than 700 signatures already encouraging Maloney to oppose the deal, or directly calling her office to voice that opinion of the Iran nuclear deal, which opponents have vowed to fight to overturn in Congress when lawmakers return from summer recess.

“All you have to do is simply state that you would like her to vote AGAINST [sic] the Iran deal,” Lookstein wrote.

In a letter to congregants, Lookstein noted that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as well as officials across the political spectrum in Israel have taken a strong stance against the nuclear deal.

“I believe that it is the right thing for American Jews to support AIPAC – imagine how different our world might have been had there been an AIPAC from 1933 to 1945 –  and, certainly, to support the broadly held position of the political leadership in Israel,” he wrote.

Explaining that he wrote his dissertation on how American Jews were unable to effectively lobby against Nazi atrocities in World War II, Lookstein said he was “grateful” for the voice AIPAC has given American Jews and the political community of Israel, “which I believe we should support.”

He insisted Maloney could be swayed to vote “no” on the deal, understanding that she would lose significant backing from the Kehilath Jeshurun community in upcoming elections.

AIPAC is spending an estimated $40 million on efforts to kill the Iran nuclear deal in Congress, though many opponents have conceded that efforts to overturn President Barack Obama’s promised veto of a congressional rejection of the Vienna pact is unlikely to succeed.

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  • Sam Harris

    This article exposes a sad truth, Conservative and Reform Rabbis are not strongly pro – Israel.

  • Dov

    But what about the second US Senator in NY State who already announced she will vote for the Bill. Why aren’t Rabbis looking around for another Billionaire like Trump to run against her?

  • NCS

    It seems the Orthodox rabbis are the only ones who care about our safety and the safety of Israel.

  • I wrote an opinion article about local reasons why the Iran Deal should not pass. If you hurry you can find it on This paper is the oldest continuously published newspaper in North Carolina. The article mentions a 37 year old woman, Deana Carter, who was killed on July 31, 2002 in an explosion that was successfully tied to materials provided by Iran. I give Algemeiner permission to reprint that article, which is not a copyrighted piece.

  • Shimon Suissa

    If you are an American Jewesh you must vote against the nuclear deal. Otherwise, what is your value added? You are notliving in Israel but you are taking a position against the Israeli government including the Isareli opposition.

  • Finally another Rabbi that sees the light and does the right thing.

  • grace

    “though many opponents have conceded that efforts to overturn … ARE UNLIKELY TO SUCCEED” – remember, nobody is Hashem. even in this deal, the God of Israel retains the final word, He alone remains Final decider. I would wish all Jewish communities everywhere would not rely on their financial muscle but LIKE IN ESTHERS DAY, WOULD LEARN TO PRAY THEIR GOD WHO HEARS THEM FOR ALL THEIR NEEDS IN THEIR DISTRESSES. OH PRAYERFUL ISRAEL WHO PRODUCED MIGHTY MEN LIKE DAVID WHO WOULD ENQUIRE FROM THE LORD ‘should i go and fight them or should forbare?’ AND HIS GOD WOULD DEFINITELY ANSWER. what happened oh jews of israel and in the diaspora? Why cant you pray???

  • Joseph Feld

    PLAN B. See Alan Dershowitz interview in Times of Israel, where he suggests inter alia Congress should pass a law giving the President power to take any necessary action in the event Iran violates the terms of the agreement. Iran knows how long it would take the UN or the P5+1 to respond to violations. America releasing funds to Iran must bear in mind human rights violations and US court rulings on damages against Iran. Iranian calls for genocide against Israeli Jews also violates International Law and must continue to be penalised.

  • H. Givon

    According to the latest polls the majority of Americans are opposed to the Iran agreement. This should obligate their Congressional representatives to vote against the deal which endangers the U.S. and the West as it does Israel. While the radical leaders of Iran are celebrating the capitulation of those who abandoned the red lines and acquiesced to all of their demands the West is divided and fearful of the nuclear attacks that will surely take place. It is imperative to defeat this horrendous deal!

  • The majority of Americans and Congress oppose the Iranian deal. Obama wrongly followed ‘his’ voters by militarily leaving Iraq prematurely. This time he should again listen to the ‘voters’ so he will not make another catastrophic mistake.

  • Shulamith Goodman

    There are any non – USA citizens who would like to contact USA members of Congress. It is not easy to find contact details, such as email addresses. Can you please help with this?

  • Reform School

    Jewish Americans opposing Obama’s Iran Deal solely for its perceived effect on the State of Israel, while ignoring its effect upon the United States of America, reinforce their enemies’ contention that American Jews have divided loyalty

    This article and its comments should have been stricken before it was ever published. With friends like you guys, who needs enemies? Don’t you know “Loose Lips Sink Ships?”

  • Kenneth Waldman

    I have known Rabbi Haskel Lookstein & his father Joseph (z”l) since I entered Ramaz in 1946. I have never been more proud of their love of Israel, their continued leadership of the American Jewish Community & their advocacy for Jewish causes. Kol Hakavod rav Haskel Lookstein

  • Mickey Oberman

    I wish them luck.

  • Put politics aside vote for America. Vote no on Iranian deal