US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York.
(photo credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)
NEW YORK — US President Donald Trump's remarks on the future of the global pact with Iran were met with criticism by several leading Jewish organizations in the US.
David Harris, CEO of AJC, said that Trump's message that he would not recertify the nuclear accord was a "a disappointment both to those who hoped he would continue to certify and to those, on the other end of the spectrum, who wanted him to tear up a deal he himself had referred to as so poorly negotiated in the first place".
Haaris also charged that "For AJC, the heart of the matter is addressing key issues that have long troubled us because they were not adequately covered, if at all, by the original agreement, and that led in the first place to our decision to oppose it in 2015, specifically: (a) Iran’s ballistic missile development, which continues aggressively and menacingly; (b) the sunset clause in the JCPOA, which means a pathway to the nuclear bomb no later than 2030, if not sooner; and (c) the weaknesses in the inspection regime because Iranian military sites are totally off-limits."
Harris also heeded of the implications Tehran's ruinous involvement in the Middle East had on the region. "It is abundantly clear, or at least should be, that those supporters of the JCPOA who argued that the agreement would moderate Iranian behavior were flat wrong in their prediction. To the contrary, Iran has only become still more emboldened in its destabilizing activities in the region – from Syria to Iraq, from Lebanon to Yemen, from Bahrain to Gaza. Nor has its abysmal human rights record in any way abated".
More criticism was leveled by Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, who described the US president's remarks as "poor and destabilizing choice that makes our world less, rather than more, secure." Rabbi Pesner issued a statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement.
"There is no question that when the Iran deal was initially presented, our Movement had serious concerns about the agreement’s ability to positively impact deterrence, Iran’s support of terror, inspections, human rights and religious freedom, and the United States’ standing in the world. However, at this point in the deal’s implementation, our shared global task is to ensure the JCPOA’s success. Unfortunately, President Trump’s decision undermines that effort," Rabbi Pesner lamented, going on to add that “As an array of U.S. and Israeli national security experts, from former Prime Minister Ehud Barak to Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, have attested, to unravel or destabilize the deal and the verification that accompanies it is to make the world less safe. Such a step is confusing – something no nuclear agreement should ever be."
Stressing that Trump's policy was not a solution to the threat emanating from Iran
, Rabbi Pesner concluded that "At the same time, real concerns about Iran’s activities, from human rights violations to conventional weapons proliferation and beyond, should be addressed through other means, rather than opening up the delicate JCPOA. We urge Congress to act to promote the strength of the JCPOA and ensure the United States’, Israel’s and the world’s safety from Iran’s nuclear program.”