Reigning in Iran's Dangerous Nuclear Behavior
following post is the text of a speech that was presented on Monday in the offices of Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Richard Pryor and Congressman Vic Snyder by Zach Goldberg, a member of Congregation B'nai Israel in Little Rock, Ark., who attended the RAC's Bernard and Audre Rapoport L'Taken Social Justice Seminar last weekend.
Iran's nuclear development is an urgent and pressing issue that requires immediate action on both a national and global scale. Iran is enriching military grade uranium at an alarming rate, and experts estimate that an atomic warhead could be in Iran's hands within as little as a year.
I would like to thank Congressman Snyder for voting "yes" on HR2194, called the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act. This bill is a huge step forward towards reigning in Iran's dangerous nuclear behavior. The bill is commendable in its sanctions against Iran's petroleum imports, and it gives the president more authority to enforce said sanctions.
I would also like to thank Senators Lincoln and Pryor for helping to
move S2799, The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and
Divestment Act, through the Senate so quickly, and for promptly passing
it with a voice vote. This bill is an important step toward reigning
in Iran's dangerous nuclear behavior. The Act's provisions of petroleum
sanctions, economic divestment, and technology embargoes will be very
effective at combating Iran's non-compliance with the IAEA inspectors
on behalf of the United Nations.
Obviously, bills creating stronger sanctions against the
Iranian Government are good for all Americans. The idea of a nuclear
Iran is a scary one, and one that compromises our national security.
President Ahmadinejad has, time and time again, expressed an irrational
and dangerous hatred for America. The American people overwhelmingly
support economic sanctions on Iran, on the order of almost 80% in
favor. This issue transcends party politics. As evidenced by both the
public and the bipartisan support for the action, all Americans feel
that Iran's nuclear development is a cause for major concern. Failure
to send a bill to the President soon could have serious, lasting,
consequences for our great nation.
As a Jew in America, my people feel especially threatened by
Iran. On numerous occasions, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has
expressed anti-Semetic, anti-Israel, and Holocaust denial sentiments.
His offensive and outlandish comments include the following, issued on
October 26, 2005, "Israel must be wiped off the map". This, combined
with a consistent denial of the Holocaust, establishes a pattern of
behavior that is frightening to Jews everywhere.
In Judaism, weapons that kill indiscriminately and harm the
environment, such as nuclear warheads, are thought of as immoral. This
is an idea that is not exclusively Jewish, but is also common sense.
Warfare, under traditional Jewish law, is meant to be fought in a way
that affects civilian welfare minimally, and in a manner that will
allow life to resume normally at the conclusion of the conflict.
Obviously, a launch of a nuclear weapon by Iran would cause a global
war that would change the face of our planet forever.
As a Jew, I have a personal interest in this issue. This summer, I am
traveling to Israel through a program organized by the Union for Reform
Judaism. The chance to visit my people's Holy Land for the first time
is an opportunity I do not want to miss; however, I personally feel
threatened and unsafe by the thought that an unstable government is
working tirelessly to harm me, my people, and my people's nation. I
feel uneasy about traveling abroad as a Jew while Iran has the
potential to develop a nuclear arm to destroy Israel. By taking
congressional action on the issue, my friends and I who are going to
Israel this summer will be directly impacted.
In conclusion, I would like Senators Lincoln and Pryor and
Congressman Snyder to push for a conference on this bill. Both houses
should be commended for their speedy action so far, but an identical
bill taken from HR2194 and S2799 needs to be formed. They are already
very similar pieces of legislation, and I firmly believe a final bill
will easily pass both houses. The sooner President Obama can sign a
form of these bills into law, the sooner the security of the American
people, as well as Jews all over the world, can be ensured.