It’s All About Iran

24 July 2015

Right now, it’s all about Iran. The American Jewish community is divided, with many American Jewish community organizations – including some Federations – lining up with the Israeli government in opposition to the deal, and with a clear majority of American Jews supporting it. This will, no doubt, add further fuel to debate about the growing gap between the American Jewish establishment on the one hand and American Jews on the other when it comes to Israel (and just wait until the release next week of a major study by the Jewish People Policy Institute which finds that a majority of diasporic Jews do not believe the current Israeli government is sincere in its pursuit of peace with the Palestinians).

In Israel, most Israelis voice concern about the deal, but they also voice concern about the debate over Iran causing further damage to the American-Israeli relationship. And while the leader of the opposition has joined the Prime Minister in opposing the agreement, a number of major Israeli defense and intelligence figures have come out in support of it.

As for NIF, we take no position on the Iran deal. But several of our New Initiative for Democracy grantee organizations provide excellent analyses of the situation, and some of them recommend courses of action for Israeli policy makers. You can view their work here:

So for now, the debate about the Iran deal is, understandably, taking up all of the oxygen in the room. But we at NIF know that, behind today’s headlines, the critical work the NIF family of organizations is doing to build a better, fairer, more egalitarian, just, and democratic Israel continues unabated.

But being NIF in the Israel of 2015 means we’re never left out of the debate, even when we’re not participating in it. A few days ago, after the deal was signed, many of you forwarded the following twitter exchange, between two progressive Israeli public figures, to me. In the words of that great sage Homer Simpson, it’s funny because its true. And no matter where you stand on the Iran agreement, if you’re an NIF supporter you’ll probably appreciate this particularly funny little bit of dark humor: