Then-candidate Donald Trump speaking at the AIPAC 2016 Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., March 2016. (Photo/JTA-Getty Images-AFP-Saul Loeb)
Then-candidate Donald Trump speaking at the AIPAC 2016 Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., March 2016. (Photo/JTA-Getty Images-AFP-Saul Loeb)

From ‘violation’ to ‘sign this thank you card,’ Jewish groups react to Iran deal withdrawal

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Within minutes of President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, reactions began pouring in from national Jewish organizations. Just as most of them opposed or were lukewarm about the deal when it was signed in July 2015, seeing it as providing no real security for Israel, reactions to today’s announcement were mainly positive, ranging from the sadly resigned to the celebratory; J Street’s reaction is an exception. Excerpts from these statements appear below.

Anti-Defamation League

The recent revelations of Iran’s nuclear archives demonstrate the regime’s long record of deceit and its intent to weaponize its nuclear capabilities. It underscores that it is imperative for the international community to cooperate to halt the threat that the Iranian regime poses in the Middle East and around the world.

ADL has long expressed concern regarding Iran’s aggressive policies that are not constrained by the JCPOA, including its hostile regional policies (its increasing entrenchment in Syria being just one); its untrammeled development of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile program; its serial support of terrorism; and its state-sponsorship of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism; and its ongoing human rights violations against vulnerable minority communities and activists inside Iran.

In 2015, ADL expressed “deep reservations” about the JCPOA, calling its shortcomings “too great a risk to the U.S. and for our critical allies like Israel.”  Today we call on the international community to address these issues before the risks are too great for any potential act.


When the JCPOA was first announced on July 14, 2015, AJC took three weeks to study the agreement, meet with a range of high-level American, European, and Middle Eastern officials, and engage in a thorough internal discussion.

In the end, we concluded that we could not support the deal, as we feared its flaws — no binding provisions on ballistic missile development, no focus on Iran’s destabilizing regional behavior, weaknesses in the coverage of the inspections regime, and a dangerous sunset clause — would ultimately define it. Moreover, the fact that the deal was never submitted to the U.S. Senate and that not one Republican senator voiced support, coupled with weak public approval according to various national surveys, almost ensured that once Republicans came to power the JCPOA would be in danger.

Regrettably, that’s exactly what happened.

Despite our many reservations, we had nonetheless hoped to see the deal “fixed,” not “nixed,” at this stage of the game.

We can only hope that today’s action by the President, significant as it is, will not end the effort to find common ground. The last thing anyone should want is a wedge driven between the U.S. and our European partners, as Iran would inevitably become an unintended beneficiary.

J Street

The president’s violation and abandonment of the international agreement blocking each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon is more than an egregious foreign policy blunder, it is an unprovoked and unjustified assault on international peace and security.

The president’s decision is a wholly baseless rejection of the conclusion of our closest allies’ military and intelligence services, international nuclear experts and his own Secretary of Defense that the agreement is working. It flies in the face of the consensus opinion of the Israeli security establishment, expressed by Israeli former commanders who wrote last month that, “American abandonment of the agreement would undermine not just the deal, but Israel’s security as well.” It sends the clear message to friends and adversaries around the world that the United States cannot be taken at its word or be relied upon to act in global — or even its own — security interests.

This reckless move risks leading us down the path to a costly and bloody war of choice against Iran, a country nearly four times Iraq’s size with more than twice its population.

We call on Congress to act urgently to avert the most dire potential consequences of the president’s action. Lawmakers should move to bring the United States back into compliance with the agreement by suspending the necessary sanctions legislatively.

Minutes after Trump's announcement, the Republican Jewish Coalition emailed supporters, asking them to sign a thank you card for the president.
Minutes after Trump’s announcement, the Republican Jewish Coalition emailed supporters, asking them to sign a thank you card for the president.

Republican Jewish Coalition

The RJC thanks President Trump for withdrawing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, ending the Obama-era policy of trying to achieve peace through weakness. Of course this peace never came. Iran was emboldened by the legitimacy given to them on the world stage and the pallets of cash delivered to their doorstep. Iran continues to be an existential threat to Israel, and continues to menace Israel directly and through its proxies (such as Hezbollah).

Today’s decision renewed hope for a truly long-term nuclear-free Iran. By withdrawing from the agreement that Obama made, without Senate approval, President Trump now has at his disposal tools, like the enhanced sanctions that were waived under Obama, to get a deal that creates the necessary pressure on Iran. We appreciate President Trump’s bold foreign policy and look forward to his leadership in dealing with the Iranian threat.

Simon Wiesenthal Center

A regime that serially celebrates the denial of the Nazi Holocaust ever took place, can be relied upon to lie about its commitments to the international community.

Proof of the Ayatollah’s perfidy about its drive to nuclear development was uncovered by Israeli intelligence and is proof positive that Tehran cannot be trusted on life and death issues impacting the region and the world.

Leaving the status quo with Iran awash with billions of US taxpayer’s cash, would only ensure a growing circle of violence and terrorism in the region and ultimately could help pave the way for a nuclear arsenal that could reach our shores.

World Jewish Congress

[The President’s announcement sends an] unmistakable message to Iran and its allies that its very real threats against the United States and all other free and democratic nations in the world will not be tolerated.

Iran is a rogue nation ruled by a regime that cannot be trusted to honor its word, and even more so with nuclear capabilities that would enable it to wreak havoc on the world and cause a catastrophic arms race in the region. President Trump has taken a courageous step today in making it ever clear to the Islamic Republic that he will not stand by in silence as it continues to subvert the nuclear agreement and exploit the good faith of the international community.  We urge other countries to follow this administration’s example and not allow Iran to flout international law.