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Is START a Jewish Issue?

The conservative Heritage House foundation criticizes Jewish Democrats and the ADL for trying to make the Russia-US START program a Jewish issue.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/22/2010, 10:20 PM / Last Update: 11/22/2010, 10:33 PM

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The conservative Heritage House foundation has taken issue with Jewish Democrats and the ADL for trying to turn the Russia-US START program into a Jewish issue.

The START nuclear arms control treaty is the focus of U.S. President Barack Obama’s policy towards Russia. The National Jewish Democratic Council has backed it, noting that it forces Russia to cooperate with United Nations sanctions against Iran's unsupervised nuclear program.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also has backed START, stating, "We are deeply concerned that failure to ratify the New START treaty will have national security consequences far beyond the subject of the treaty itself. The U.S. diplomatic strategy to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons requires a U.S.-Russia relationship of trust and cooperation.”

The Heritage House, whose founder Paul Weyrich has been charged with backing a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in the United States, accused “partisan Democrats in the Jewish community [of] attempting to politicize the security debate of the New START nuclear arms control treaty.”

In the past, the ADL has accused Weyrich of being part an alliance of prominent conservative Christians who threatened the separation of church and state.

Weyrich died in 2008.

Responding to the Jewish groups’ comments on START, the Heritage House argued, “The New START debate is about deadly serious issues, such as nuclear weapons. It should be kept outside of politics, let alone ethnic politics. There isn’t anything particularly Jewish or Democratic about an arms control treaty. Nor there is anything ‘Jewish’ about the Obama Administration’s decision not to back off criticism about the undervalued Chinese currency just to keep Beijing on board regarding the U.N. Security Council Iran sanctions."

The Heritage House alleged that the National Jewish Democratic Council “assumes a knee-jerk response from a White House functioning as little more than a political mouthpiece.”

It reasoned that Israel has close enough relations with Russia, including over a million Russian immigrants,  that it does not need START to help ties with Moscow, and that Russia will act in its own interests the way it did when it cancelled the sale of weapons to Iran recently.

The think tank also pointed out that Russia helped build Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, sells weapons to Syria, has ties with the Hamas and Hizbullah terrorist organizations and “wants to once again become a power player in the Middle East in the way its predecessor, the USSR did: by selling weapons, missiles and nuclear technology, and undermining U.S. interests when it can. Occasionally, it gives terrorists a free pass.”