Jewish Federation’s full statement on the Iran deal

Over the past decade, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis has supported educational and advocacy efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The goal of a nuclear-free Iran has been widely endorsed within the Jewish and general communities, through international agreements and positions taken by many advocacy groups representing a variety of perspectives and agendas.  

The Iran nuclear accord currently before Congress (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) represents a new international effort to achieve a non-nuclear Iran.  The American Jewish community is divided over whether the accord will, in fact, advance our collective objective of a non-nuclear Iran.

In view of the Federation’s role as a communal organization embodying the entire St. Louis Jewish community, the Federation’s Board of Directors encourages individual action over organizational advocacy on this matter. Rather than adopting a position of support for or opposition to the Iran accord, the Board urges members of our community to educate themselves about all aspects of the agreement and to make their views directly known to their elected government officials and communal advocacy organizations.

As the debate unfolds, we urge our community to be mindful of certain principles, which continue to guide the Federation’s work:

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• A nuclear Iran would pose dire threats to the safety and security of Israel, the Middle East and the rest of the world. We must be steadfast in our efforts to ensure that Iran does not acquire or develop nuclear weapons.

• The safety of Israel – the only democracy in the Middle East – must be of the highest importance in the evaluation any multi-national, global agreement brokered with Iran. 

• The divergence of opinions about the Iran agreement in our community should be understood as a difference about the best tactics for achieving our shared goal of a non-nuclear Iran, not a divergence over principles. Support for or opposition to the agreement should not be construed as a litmus test of love for Israel or the Jewish people, or commitment to the United States or international security.

After the Congressional vote in September – and regardless of its outcome – we must look beyond tactics and remain focused on our collective goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  And we must continue to recognize that those without food will still need to be fed, those facing anti-Semitism will still need to be supported, and those with spiritual longings will still be searching for a way to make Judaism part of a life well-lived. Meeting these challenges depends on the united actions of our diverse St. Louis Jewish community.

— Approved by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis Board of Directors, Aug. 31.