Words and stereotypes have power, and that is why it is important to take a stand and call out unacceptable behavior when we see it. The leadership of The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey encourages all of our community members and elected officials to keep this in mind as we continue debate over the Iran deal.
The descent to name-calling and hints at dual loyalty that have characterized a number of recent speeches and articles is very troubling, especially because this has been encouraged from the top of our political echelons. Israel, and by implication their proxies – the Jews – has been singled out as the only country opposing this deal. Senator Chuck Schumer and others who happen to be Jewish and have come out against the Iran deal have been branded by some as disloyal to the United States. This is bigotry plain and simple, and should have no place in the discussion of this deal.
Americans, including those in the Jewish community, have a diverse array of opinions on this Iran deal. There are legitimate opinions, arguments and concerns on both sides of this debate. Everyone in our country has the right to express their beliefs and to our elected officials, without fear of recrimination or blame. And we should all be proud of our robust civil society even as we disagree.
One of the hallmarks of American democracy is our respect for diverse political opinions and freedom of expression. That is one reason for the pride and intense loyalty many minority communities and particular interest groups have felt for the United States of America – and why many have sacrificed their lives for these ideals while serving in the Armed Forces. The Jewish community, in particular, has embodied a quintessential American success story and contributed to our country in myriad ways.
We appreciate that many, both inside and outside the Jewish community, have expressed sincere concern that Israel and/or Jews might be blamed if the Iran deal is voted down. We believe the way to address this is not to encourage people who may be concerned about the deal to keep their views to themselves, but to stand up and proclaim that we are all Americans and entitled to express our views – and that our society should have no place for scapegoating of this kind.