Gary Ackerman, former Congressman from N.Y., comes out against Iran deal

Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — Gary Ackerman, a former Democratic congressman from New York, has come out against the Iran deal.

Ackerman, who represented New York’s 7th District for 30 years from 1983 to 2013, joined the advisory board of Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran. The group is affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and has raised tens of millions of dollars for TV advertisements to persuade members of Congress to kill the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran.

“While I have long argued for negotiations between the U.S. and Iran as a means to stop their nuclear program, the agreement that emerged from these talks simply does not do the job,” Ackerman said in a statement on Friday.

“Stakes are too high to allow for so many loopholes. To make a deal with an enemy who then vows to kill you later, means you left something out of the deal. Don’t you think?”

The 72-year-old was one of 81 Democrats to vote in favor of the invading Iraq in 2002. He accepted an endorsement from the liberal pro-Israel lobbying group J Street in the 2010 election but later broke ties with the group when it petitioned the Obama administration not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

J Street has raised millions of dollars of its own to support the Iran deal.

Ackerman, a former vice chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is one of the most prominent liberal Jewish voices to oppose the deal. Current Jewish Reps. Sander Levin, D-Mich., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Jewish Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., support the deal.

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