One of Chicago's most prominent Jewish organizations has rejected the Iran deal - and along with it, US President Barack Obama's attempts to lobby Jewish groups for support for the deal in US Congress, it said Saturday.
After a lengthy meeting, “a majority opinion emerged and was adopted: to call on Congress to oppose the JCPOA as originally submitted, and to ask legislators to work with the Administration to produce better solutions addressing Iran’s nuclear program,” the Jewish United Fund (JUF) stated Saturday night.
“Iran’s threats to annihilate the U.S. and Israel, its role as the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, its destabilizing of neighboring countries including U.S. allies, its theocratic, anti-democratic regime, its abysmal human rights record, and its Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism must no longer be rationalized or minimalized," it added. "It is long past time to place Tehran where it belongs on the world’s political map: isolated and ostracized."
"Hence, no nuclear accord should provide Iran with an unearned ‘express pass’ to international legitimacy."
The JUF further vowed to lobby for reopening the possibility of Washington taking military action against Iran, and to boost support for Israel - possibly even making the Jewish state a NATO member.
The announcement serves as a major blow to Obama - also a Chicago native - after another major group, the American Jewish Committee (AJC), rejected the deal last week. No fewer than 17 Jewish groups have rejected the deal so far, according to JTA.
The White House hopes to garner enough votes to prevent the Republican controlled legislative branch from shooting down the deal.
A "no" vote would not automatically kill the deal, but it would force Obama to issue a veto and rally enough Democratic votes to uphold it. It remains to be seen if opponents to the deal can obtain a 2/3 veto-proof majority.
The state of affairs has prompted a ferocious battle for public opinion, including within the Jewish community.
Groups like AIPAC and the liberal J-Street have engaged in a multi-million-dollar public relations faceoff over the vote.