April 9, 2015 - Progressive groups are mobilizing in opposition to a bill that would threaten the tenuous diplomatic process underway to limit Iran's nuclear program. The bill, S. 615 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Corker, would give Congress review power over the any final agreement with Iran. As it currently stands, the bill would undermine the ongoing negotiations, and move the US closer towards the possibility of war with Iran. Jewish Voice for Peace joins the National Iranian American Council, Move On, Credo Action, Just Foreign Policy and many other progressive groups in calling for Senators to reject the bill.
Some Congressional Democrats are pushing back against specific provisions in order to weaken the bill's ability to stymie negotiations with Iran. But, with the support from Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, the bill could gain a veto-proof majority. Jewish Voice for Peace supporters around the country are calling their Senators to encourage them to let diplomacy work.
Opposition to an agreement with Iran has been lead by national security hawks and pro-Israel interests:
"Israel and AIPAC's shared interest in ensuring unconditional support for Israeli military dominance in the name of security is reflected in their efforts to inflame fear of Iran's nuclear program, despite the fact that Israel has quietly maintained a large cache of nuclear weapons for decades without admitting it or signing treaties." said Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. "We support diplomacy to achieve a nuclear free Middle East, and that includes Israel as well as Iran."
Israeli leadership and the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) have doubled-down on their opposition to any deal with Iran. After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's much publicized speech toCongress in March, he also appeared on talk shows in the US in a media blitz on Sunday April 5th to criticize the deal and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon authored a piece in the Washington Post April 8th to oppose the deal.
By funneling millions in campaign donations, AIPAC has spent years building a bipartisan consensus in Congressfor Israeli policies of endless occupation, war and dispossession. There have been signs that the bipartisan consensus may be cracking as nearly 60 Democrats boycotted Netanyahu's recent speech to Congress, tensions with the White House are at an all time high, and polls show that support for Israeli policies are slipping among Democrats. This moment is a test for progressives to speak up in support for diplomacy and peace.