Derailing Diplomacy and Enhancing Israel’s Capacity to Make War

October 2, 2015–Jewish Voice for Peace strongly opposes the legislation proposed by Senator Ben Cardin (Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015) which threatens to derail diplomacy with Iran, enhance Israel’s capacity to make war and entrench its military occupation. The antagonistic posturing and threat of military action in the legislation risks leading us on the path of increased tensions with Iran at the precise moment of a diplomatic breakthrough. The bill undermines the progress made by the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran, and could be a first step to unravel the agreement. Further, given Israel’s violations of human rights and nearly 50 years of military occupation, increasing military aid to Israel is a step in the wrong direction.

Rabbi Joseph Berman, JVP Government Affairs Liaison stated, “Authorizing the President to transfer more weapons to Israel would make Palestinians the losers in the deal with Iran.” It was US taxpayer money which helped finance Israel’s military aggression against Palestinians in Gaza last summer, that sustains the nearly 48-year military occupation of the West Bank, and fuels the military-industrial complex both in Israel and in the US.  An increase in weapons and military aid would threaten to bolster an Israeli war with Iran – a war the United States just averted – and enhance Israel’s military dominance that enables the state to continue to violate the basic dignity and human rights of Palestinians living under military occupation.

The passage of the Iran deal marked a historic moment in US foreign policy, demonstrating that advocates of peace and diplomacy can win over the well-financed advocates of war. We urge lawmakers to oppose this unhelpful bill and instead, build upon the progress with Iran by also charting a new course for the Middle East that includes ending decades of repressing Palestinian rights and freedom.

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