JCRC Forums Provide Opportunities to Learn about Iran Agreement

A significant and noteworthy topic for discussion across the country in the last few weeks has been the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement reached by negotiators from the United States and five other parties with Iran to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions and to ease the sanctions it now endures.

The agreement itself is dense and hard to understand. Experts on one side say it permanently puts the brakes on Iran’s nuclear aspirations and experts on the other say it paves the way for Iran to have a legitimate nuclear program in 10 years or less, virtually guaranteeing that Iran will get the bomb.

Israel has declared it an existential threat and a number of Arab Middle Eastern countries are considering their own nuclear programs in response. President Obama is lobbying hard for Congressional approval for the deal which he says makes the world a safer place.

Jewish agencies across the country are being deliberate in their consideration of the agreement, as their constituents are deeply divided in their opinions. A number of national Jewish agencies and local Federations have released statements either for or against the agreement. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the national umbrella organization for JCRCs around the country, has chosen to be resource oriented as opposed to coming down on one side or the other. JCPA has arranged webcasts, provided information sheets, and provided links to important web-based information, providing guidance to Federations and JCRCs, the majority of whom have not taken a position on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Louisville has hosted several in-depth and insightful conversations on this issue. Aiming to help educate our community on this critically-important issue, the JCRC has scheduled a series of educational briefings to give JCRC members, community leaders and community members the opportunity to hear differing points of view. The JCRC is hosting all these events.

Reports on all the discussions will be printed in Community and posted on www.jewishlouisville.org. The first two sessions took place earlier this month.

On August 17, Israel’s Consul General from Philadelphia, Yaron Sideman, came to Louisville for a general informational meeting and briefing. In his remarks, he touched briefly on the Iran deal, but a significant part of the question-and-answer period was devoted to the topic. (See story)

On Wednesday morning, August 26, as the finishing touches were being put on this issue of Community, U.S. Senator and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with a combined group of Jewish leaders and members of the Evangel World Prayer Center at the Jewish Community Center. Sen. McConnell has come out against the agreement. Community went to press as Senator McConnell was speaking, a recap of his remarks will be included in the September 25 edition.

On Wednesday, September 2, at 6 p.m., U.S. Representative John Yarmuth will speak in the JCC Auditorium. Rep. Yarmuth has come out in support of the agreement. Due to limited space, reservations are requested by Friday, August 28. RSVP at jewishlouisville.org/event/yarmuth-on-iran.

On Thursday, September 10, at 7 p.m., Dr. Patrick Clawson will speak in the JCC Patio Gallery. Dr. Clawson is the Morningstar senior fellow and director of research at the Washington Institute, where he directs the Iran Security Initiative. Widely consulted as an analyst and media commentator, he has authored more than 150 articles about the Middle East and international economics and is the author or editor of 18 books or studies on Iran.

Dr. Clawson appears frequently on television and radio, and has published op-ed articles in major newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. He has also testified before congressional committees more than 20 times and has served as an expert witness in more than 30 federal cases against Iran.
Prior to joining the Washington Institute, he was a senior research professor at the National Defense University’s Institute for national Strategic Studies, a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and a research scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Due to limited space, reservations requested by Friday, September 8. RSVP at jewishlouisville.org/event/clawson-on-iran.

For more information, contact JCRC Director Matt Goldberg, mgoldberg@jewishlouisville.org or 502-238-2707.

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