Shanah Tova to President Obama

A message to President Obama from the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinic Council: 

Rosh Hashana, 5776/2015

Almost four years ago, the Rabbis of Jewish Voice for Peace called on President Obama to resist the call to go to war with Iran and choose instead a peaceful resolution. We said: “As Jewish leaders, we believe that the path of wisdom towards achieving peace and stability in the region is through dialog and engagement and not through acts of war.” Today, along with rest of the world, we congratulate President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for bringing us the Iran nuclear deal. We believe that peace, not war, serves best the people of the United States, Iran, Israel and all the people of the region.

In the coming days, in synagogues and homes across the country, Jews welcome Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Jews greet each other with the blessing: “may you be inscribed in the Book of Life.” This year we extend our blessings to the 35,000 Jews in Iran, the millions of Iranians, our fellow Jews in Israel and the American people for whom this peace treaty offers the best hope for being inscribed in the Book of Life.

President Obama has given us hope this Rosh Hashana. Hope that international conflict can be resolved through diplomacy; hope that engaging in the highest self-interest of other nations can serve our own national self-interest; hope that peace, not war, be our first choice, not the choice of last resort; hope that Iranians can live and thrive in peace; hope that the Middle East can be a region of peace; hope that we can live in a world with less, not more, nuclear arms.

We, the Rabbis of a Jewish movement of over 200,000 Jews and allies applaud President Obama’s steadfast resolve against internal and external pressure. We thank the 42 U.S. senators who are supporting the Iran deal. We offer our blessings to President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and all the men and women who have worked tirelessly and with great skill to bring us this Iran deal.

However, we are dismayed over reports that the U.S. will compensate Israel for making peace with Iran by sending yet more American offensive armaments to the Israeli military. US taxpayer money helped finance Israeli military aggression against Palestinians in Gaza last summer, and sustains the nearly 48-year military occupation of the West Bank. This is a new era, Congress and the Administration have demonstrated that they can defy the Israel lobby when it comes to key issues of international diplomacy. The same courage is needed to chart a new course towards ending decades of repressing Palestinian rights and freedom.

Shanah Tova! May we all be inscribed for a year of peace.



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