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September 1, 2015 5:34 pm

Longtime Editor Says Jewish Unity Against Iran Nuclear Deal Unprecedented

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American Jewish leaders in the U.S. cannot shake off their “Galut” mentality. Photo: Isi Leibler.

Activists wear U.S. and Israeli flags together, in Washington DC. Photo: Isi Leibler.

The founding editor of the English edition of Jewish newspaper The Forward challenged the New York Times’ reporting on the U.S. Jewish community’s stance on the Vienna agreement struck by world powers and Iran.

Instead of being “divided and troubled” as the Times claimed, Lipsky pointed to a rare unity among Jews that should be enjoyed while it lasts.

Lipsky said he was startled that in the 35-plus years that he’s covered the Jewish beat, he can hardly remember a time when the Jewish voice was so united on a particular issue, this time being Western appeasement of Iran’s regime of ayatollahs and revolutionaries calling for the “annihilation” of the Jewish state.

In commentary for Haaretz, Lipsky wrote, “the only thing on which it’s ever been unanimous is on the singularity of God. Even then, it’s unanimous only if one excludes the atheists. It strikes me that the Jewish community is less divided and troubled over the Iran deal than it is, say, on matrilineal descent, or German reparations, or Zionism, or same-sex marriage, or conversion, or negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs.”

Being the only large supporter of the deal among the organized Jewish community, J Street, a countrywide advocacy group known for toeing Obama’s line on most things Israel-related, is playing the role of dissenting rabbi in the “Sanhedrin,” and its support of the deal “underscores the breadth of the opposition,” wrote Lipsky. Indeed Jewish groups from the Anti-Defamation League, to the World Jewish Congress, the Zionist Organization of America, and Federations nationwide have all publicly denounced the deal the Obama administration hopes to make its landmark piece of foreign policy.

With the exception of some notable voices in Israel’s military and intelligence communities, Israeli officials from within and without the coalition also expressed shock over the Vienna agreement, highlighted by visits by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress before the Iran deal was signed, and opposition leader Isaac Herzog shortly after.

American Jews, like Israelis, are concerned the deal plays into the hands of a menacing and aggressive Iran bent on dominating Western Asia while openly calling for Israel’s destruction. Most in the organized community have decided the best way to get some leverage to improve the parameters of the Iran deal is to lobby Congress to pass a resolution rejecting it.

“Call it the AIJCUPOIP — for American Israeli Jewish Community Unified Position on the Iran Appeasement. J Street has validated that dissent is allowed. It’s a marvel there’s so little of it. Unanimity this broad comes along only once every generation or so,” wrote Lipsky.

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