Tag Archive: Iran

Senator Booker will Vote to Support Iran Deal

While it is disappointing that Senator Booker waited to see which way the vote on the Iran deal was heading before he committed himself, it is encouraging to me to learn that he will support President Obama’s initiative to keep Iran free from nuclear weapons.

From Booker’s statement:

I have come to recognize that on both sides of this debate there are people who want peace and share my fervent determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Both those who support this deal and those who oppose it have reasonable arguments as to why their chosen path is the right one or the better option for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran without the necessity for military conflict.

These provisions make this deal an effective framework for preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in the near-term, provided we are willing to address infractions – however small they are – with meaningful actions immediately when they occur.

This deal can by no means be a final act in our diplomatic dealings with Iran, but must rather be a beginning of an era of increased vigilance, strict accountability, and rigid oversight.

Booker goes on to talk about his relationship with a “respected New Jersey rabbi” (most likely he is referring to his friend Shmuley Boteach) about family members who perished in the Holocaust and the senator recognizes that Iran is “an existential threat to the State of Israel and to the Jewish people.” But he rightly concluded that this agreement, as flawed as it is, is better than the status quo which would ensure that Iran would have nukes in a matter of months instead of decades.

NJ Catholics Organizing to Support the Iran Deal

Catholics in the United States have been mobilizing across the country all summer long to build support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (aka the Iran deal).

Two Pax Christi members who are active in their local Pax Christi region (Pax Christi New Jersey), Father Gene Squeo and Carol Fay, were so concerned about this issue, that they got up around 4 am on Friday, August 21st and paid last minute train fares to head to DC and meet with two of Senator Booker’s aides in his DC office.  

Gene and Carol were joined by three other faith community colleagues at the meeting – Marie Dennis, Co-President of Pax Christi International, Kate Gould of FCNL, who has headed up their Iran nuclear agreement activities for over two years and Bob Cooke of Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore.

Catholic Peace Group Responds to Senator Menendez

Promoted by Bill Orr

Pax Christi New Jersey’s Official Statement on Senator Menendez’s rejection of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Yesterday during what was called a “major policy speech” Senator Menendez announced that he would not only vote against the P5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action he would also vote in favor of any veto override. While we are not surprised by Senator Menendez’s announcement, we are disappointed.

The leadership and the membership of Pax Christi New Jersey, a region of Pax Christi USA which represents the Catholic peace movement in the United States, would like to respond to the senator that his past opposition to the war in Iraq is not a justification of his current rejection of diplomacy with Iran and the opportunity to build on a nuclear-free Middle East.  

Cory Booker, here’s what I expect of you on Iran

Cory BookerHuffPo runs down the 15 wobbly Democrats who could make or break Pres. Obama’s signature piece of diplomacy, the nuclear agreement with Iran. Listing Cory Booker, they cite a tweet from ally Rev. Al Sharpton, reminding Booker that posting nice quotes about war and poverty is inconsistent with a vote that might pull us back into battle. Today, NJ.com says Booker’s caught between Obama and the pro-Israel lobby that gave him more money for his 2014 election than they gave anybody else in Congress.

Not every pro-Dem Jewish group lobbying Booker is anti-deal (shout out to pro-Israel pro-peace J Street and NJDC). But neither has the power and reach of AIPAC, to which both my disappointing congressman Leonard Lance and Sen. Bob Menendez adhere. Menendez has lost me; his hard-line stance on Cuba (where today our American embassy opened) and war hawk views on Iran are troubling, especially for a guy who was senior Dem at Senate Foreign Relations till this mess forced a demotion.

But back to Booker. I don’t always agree with him (except on vegetarianism, holla!). But on this, I expect two things from him:

(1)  I expect Cory Booker to respect and support diplomacy – particularly when the alternative is likely war. I expect Cory to run for president himself one day and believe he can be elected. And if high-stakes diplomatic negotiations under a Booker administration have been conducted with the diligence and intelligence that the President and Secy of State Kerry have shown here, I believe a President Booker would expect and deserve support from senators in the position he is in now. Doubt me? Look how much Hillary Clinton’s Iraq War cheerleading is costing her right now with ‘her’ base, voting to authorize the war machine of George W. Bush, a president unlike Obama and one who cared little for diplomacy or even facts.

(2)  I expect Booker to decide what is right for this country’s interests – and no other. And even in the face of close friends like Schmuley Boteach, whose next book is titled The Israel Warrior’s Handbook. The celebrity rabbi is anti-deal, thinks Obama suffers from naiveté about the Iranians and likes to tell religious scare stories about them. That’s fine but he’s not the one who has the responsibility of a vote in the U.S. Congress. Boteach just published a heavy-handed piece in The Observer recounting yet again his personal history with Booker, even as he assures Jewish audiences that Cory would “never vote against Israel” or it’s “game over”. You know, considering all the friendship.

Boteach seems to be suggesting that the Obama administration give cover to Booker, with a pre-arranged face-saving vote against the deal. Unclear if such a thing is even possible given the numbers. I do believe this vote is career-defining. And I wish Senator Booker my best.


Why This Jewish American Supports the Iran Deal

Alex Law is running in the 2016 CD1 Democratic primary for the seat now held by Donald Norcross. Cross-posted with Huffington Post. Promoted by Rosi.

As a member of the Jewish community and someone who has traveled to Israel, I am deeply concerned about making sure Israel is as safe as possible. Even Americans that do not identify with the Jewish community care about Israeli’s safety because they are our greatest ally in the world’s most turbulent region. As an American, as a Jew, and as a citizen of the world, I believe strongly in the recently agreed upon Iran Deal.

On 9/11, I was a 5th Grade Safety Patrol Captain at my elementary School. Now, 14 years later, I am a candidate for U.S. Congress that is happy to see we are finally almost out of our wars in the Middle East. This Iran Deal is an agreement that will promote long lasting peace. Here are three compelling reasons why this deal is good for the United States, Israel, and the world:

1. This deal is good for America because it keeps us out of another expensive, bloody, protracted war in the Middle East that we can’t afford.

The United States is the greatest country in the world. There, I’ve said it. But, even the United States cannot afford another bankrupting war in the Middle East. We have tremendous issues that are fissuring our society whether it be income inequality, the #blacklivesmatter movement, Wall Street reform, crippling debt…the list goes on. As a society, we need to have an earnest conversation about how to fix these issues, and an expensive war would not only shift our gaze, it would make the problems worse.

Taking On the South Jersey Goliath

Whether you’re a disciple of South Jersey Democratic boss George Norcross, or just someone who is running for political office on the Democratic ticket, conventional wisdom says that you don’t get very far without kissing George’s ring. Even those people who are not part of his inner circle take pains not to piss him off if they hope to win an election here.

So challenging George’s brother Donald, who was handpicked to replace another Norcross acolyte who resigned under a cloud of scandal, is a hapless task, right?

Don’t tell that to Alex Law, a 24-year old systems analyst who has put his career on hold in order to challenge The (South Jersey) Donald.

Today, I sat down with Law to discuss his seemingly quixotic quest, his positions on key issues, and his plans for the campaign.

Jeremy Scahill, author of Dirty Wars, to speak in New Jersey on 4/28/13

promoted by Rosi

These are very sobering and frightening times. Not only have we reached an important milestone – 10 years after the original invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003 – but we have reached a critical juncture in our country’s history of dealing with violence, whether that violence is taking place here at home or part of U.S. foreign policy abroad. It is sad to contemplate how long this war and the war in Afghanistan have dragged on, how many American, Iraqi and Afghan lives have been lost or disrupted, and how almost $2 trillion, if not more, has been spent on wars seemingly without end. And still there are those voices clamoring for war against Iran, Syria, North Korea or Mali, instead of pushing for reliance on increased diplomacy and a complete end to ongoing (and sometimes, covert) wars.

New Jersey Peace Action is deeply concerned about the human, environmental and financial impacts of continued and long-term U.S. involvement in multiple wars and its seeming willingness to expand that involvement. NJPA is also concerned about how the bombings at the Boston Marathon a week ago will translate into U.S. foreign and domestic policies – will there be new examples of martial law here at home or calls for additional strikes abroad or both?