Thus Summer, We Face Deep Decisions of Spirit in Society
Dear members and friends of The Shalom Center,
First -- A last-minute addition to this letter: I have just this morning (July 14) been on the phone with a reporter for Haaretz, the leading Israeli newspapaer, interviewing me about my response to the agreement just achieved between Iran and the world's great powers, including the US, for tough, intrusive, and inclusive inspections to make sure that the world knows as fact what Iran has long claimed: that it will not take possesion of nuclear weapons.
[See a copy of the article on our Website at https://theshalomcenter.org/content/haaretz-article-iran-agreement-shalom-center, with photos, etc, on the Haaretz website at http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/.premium-1.666129. To see it on the Haaretz website, you may have to register as a reader.]
In the interview, I quoted the Torah (Deut 20:10-11) that says if you besiege a city (which is what the sanctions have been), proclaim SHALOM to it, and if it then agrees to decent terms that meet your conditions and fulfill your crucial needs, make sure it adheres to them and end the siege.
That is what this agreement does.
The Israeli and Saudi governments have denouncd the new agreement. They are profoundly mistaken. There will be attempts by some Members of Congress -- with support from a few "official" Jewish organizations -- to torpedo the agreement. They too are profoundly mistaken.
I understand how it is easy for the Israeli Jewish community, for whom the Holocaust is a constant nightmare in the constant present, to be consumed by fear when an increasingly right-wing government appeals to that fear to increase its own power (as PM. Netanyahu did just before the election). But neither Israel nor the world-wide Jewish people is powerless, a helpless victim, in this generation.
And the great majority of actual flesh-and-blood American Jews know this, and support the agreement with Iran.
Protection of the State of Israel from possible nuclear attack is one major concern of the American Jewish community. And most of the comunity knows that there are only two ways of making sure that Iran lives up to its stated intention not to possess nuclear weapons: to affirm the new agreement with its extraordinarily tough inspections, or to undertake a military attack on Iran.
Such an attack might win a momentary victory. But Iran's government would then seek nuclear weaponry to deter future attacks. Only a continuing, probably permanent, occupation — constantly harassed by guerrilla warfare from a furious and united Iranian people — could prevent their government’s achieving a nuclear arsenal. Such a war would be far worse for the US, Israel, and the whole Middle East than the Iraq War was.”
Yet those who lied us into the Iraq war are pursuing the same disastrous path now. And this time the disaster would be even greater. A foreign-affairs disaster for the US, a domestic American disaster to meeting crucial civilan needs, disastrous deaths for soldiers and civilians in many nations, an ethical and moral disaster.
I urge all our members and readers to call and write your Members of Congress and Senators now, urging them to support the new agreement. I encourage us all to make clear the religious roots of our commitment, and the importance of this decision.
Below you will find