Reform Stand on Iran Reflects the Problem, Not the Solution

From the point of view of those opposed to the Iran nuclear deal, the decision of the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) to sit out the battle is not the worst possible outcome. To expect a religious denomination whose very identity is inextricably tied with liberal politics to take a stand against President Obama — a man that the majority of their adherents likes and admires — was a stretch. That was especially true since the president is treating this debate as a litmus test of loyalty to the Democratic Party. Equally unlikely was the possibility that the Reform movement would align itself with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — a man that most of their members dislike and distrust — on any issue. Indeed, the unwillingness of the URJ to join the ad hoc group of liberal rabbis that have endorsed the pact with Iran reflects the unease among even liberal Jews who care about Israel over what President Obama has done. Yet the eagerness of Reform leader Rabbi Rick Jacobs to pat himself on the back for staying out of the fray merits criticism. Contrary to Jacobs’s formulation, the real problem with the debate about Iran is not the nature of the rhetoric being used by both sides but the way in which the administration is downgrading the U.S.-Israel alliance. As difficult as it may be for Reform Jews to admit it, Obama is forcing his Jewish admirers to choose between him and Israel and that is not a choice any American, let alone a Jewish supporter of the Jewish state, should be asked to make.

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Reform Stand on Iran Reflects the Problem, Not the Solution

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