We, the undersigned American Jewish clergy, are deeply concerned about reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu will demand of President Obama, at their meeting at the White House today, that either the United States attack Iran, or else, Israel will.
We do not welcome the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. We call on all the military forces in the region – including Israel’s – to divest themselves of their nuclear armaments and renounce any belligerent nuclear aspirations.
The State of Israel refuses to acknowledge its own nuclear arsenal or to submit to international monitoring. We believe it is hypocritical of Israel to demand of Iran what it refuses to agree to itself.
Most of the people of the State of Israel oppose Prime Minister Netanyahu’s military threats against Iran. They fear the consequences of an attack on Iran. As Jewish leaders, we too believe that the path of wisdom towards achieving peace and stability in the region is through dialog and engagement and not through acts of war. We call on the United States government to safeguard the interests of the people of Israel and Iran.
Nine years after the United States launched a war against Iraq that is widely recognized as having been badly executed and unjustified, Israel would have the U.S. implicate itself in a new war in the region, this time against Iran. We believe that Jews, and other Americans, will not support more reckless adventurism in the Middle East.
In this election year, we call on President Obama not to give in to warmongering. As Jewish leaders we cannot endorse an Israeli act of war against the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Bible teaches us: “bakesh shalom v’rodfehu – seek peace and pursue it.” We urge President Obama to stand firm and to use his power as Israel’s chief supporter to draw Israel to the path of peace and justice.
In the meantime, I strongly recommend MJ Rosenberg’s analysis of Obama’s much-anticipated speech at the AIPAC conference yesterday:
The President, in the middle of an election year, offered AIPAC no more than the bare minimum. In order to get away with that, he larded up the speech with embarrassing professions of love for Israel. I say embarrassing because no other country in the world demands such endless coddling. If a president spoke about Canada or the United Kingdom (two far closer allies) the way Obama does about Israel, he might be considered seriously off his game. Not to worry, he won’t.
But the lard doesn’t mean much except to smooth his way to the substance of the speech which Obama knew that neither AIPAC nor Prime Minister Netanyahu would like.
- Netanyahu to Obama: ‘We Are You, and You Are Us’ (newser.com)
- Netanyahu tells Obama: Israel must have right to remain ‘master of its fate’(guardian.co.uk)
- Netanyahu: Israel ‘master of its fate’ on Iran (jta.org)
- An Attack on Iran is Israel’s Right: Netanyahu (ibtimes.com)
- Obama focuses on unity, Netanyahu on sovereignty (seattletimes.nwsource.com)