(WASHINGTON, D.C.) June 5-In the face of almost daily provocations and threats from the Iranian government against Israel and the Jewish people, ARZA organized the Reform Movement’s first ever Consultation on Iran to establish an appropriate course of action.
"It has become increasingly important for the world in general and Israel in particular to chart a course of response,” said Rabbi David Nelson, Associate Director of ARZA (The Association of Reform Zionists of America). “As the Zionist voice of the Reform Jewish Movement we organized this conference as an expression of our obligation to take seriously this threat to Israel and the world.”
ARZA organized the full-day Consultation, co-sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism, the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism (CSA), and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), that took place this week in Washington, D.C.. Participants heard presentations from policy and Middle Eastern experts on Iranian cultural, religious and political dynamics, geo-political security issues, the Israeli perspective and the American perspective.
“The problem,” warned Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “will not go away with the removal of any one particular player. Introduction of an Iranian nuclear weapon may lead to increased proliferation within the region.”
The need for swift international diplomatic measures was a recurring theme, without ruling out the possibility of military action. Echoing this sentiment, Hon. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) called for a U.N. sponsored embargo on gasoline exports to Iran, suggesting that this is a manageable and effective diplomatic course.
The process of reflection cannot serve as a substitute for action that brings the resources of the Reform Movement to the effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” said Rabbi Andrew Davids, Executive Director of ARZA. “We must do what we can to understand both the gravity and urgency of this issue and call upon our congregations and our membership to engage in a coordinated strategy.”
Participants heard from Dr. Abbas William Samii of the Center for Naval Analysis, Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, John Isaacs of the Council for a Livable World, Jeremy Isacharoff, Deputy Chief of Mission for the Israeli Embassy, and Hon. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Co-Chair of the House Working Group on Iran, and Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the RAC.
ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, is the Zionist arm and voice for the Reform Movement in the United States. ARZA endeavors to make Israel fundamental to the sacred lives and Jewish identity of Reform Jews. As a Zionist organization, ARZA champions activities that further enhance Israel as a pluralistic, just and democratic Jewish state.
For more information, please contact Noah Gallagher at 212-650-4287.