President Obama and Secretary Kerry are to be congratulated, along with Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, for this diplomatic success between Iran and the P5+1 to eventually eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons capability in future agreements.
Contrary to naysayers who say, including Israeli PM Netanyahu, that this is somehow a “bad deal,” one need only read what the agreement actually requires to realize that that this deal effectively stops advancement of Iran’s nuclear progress for six months, leaves most of the sanctions in place pending continued progress, while a stronger agreement is developed.
The President and Secretary of State are also to be congratulated on their diplomatic efforts to rid Syria of chemical weapons.
Each of these successes, despite them being imperfect, is a mitzvah because each pursues and effects the fulfillment of our duty to save lives (pikuach nefesh).
President Obama and Secretary Kerry are also to be congratulated for devoting enormous time and political capital in bringing the Palestinians and Israel to the negotiating table with the goal of peacefully and diplomatically bringing about a two states for two people’s resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Their initial efforts are only a beginning. The road will be very tough because a viable and fair peace agreement will require Israel and the Palestinians to make difficult concessions and compromises on all the core issues of borders, settlements, land swaps, Jerusalem, water, and refugees.
The alternative to an agreement, however, for the Jewish people is unthinkable - namely, the end of the Zionist dream and the erosion of the Jewish democratic state of Israel.
J Street, a pro-Israel pro-peace political organization in Washington, D.C. that supports a two-states for two-peoples agreement, has answered Secretary Kerry’s challenge to America and to America's Jews to be part of the “great constituency for peace.” J Street's response is “The 2 Campaign” using these words:
"The 2 Campaign answers Secretary of State John Kerry’s challenge to rally a “great constituency for peace” behind the administration’s initiative to achieve a two-state solution.
In particular, Kerry turned to the Jewish community to enlist our support, because he recognizes “no one has a stronger voice” when it comes to Israel. Most in the organized Jewish community are now on record supporting a two-state solution and have applauded Secretary Kerry’s efforts. However, too many are then quick to list the reasons why an agreement isn’t possible.
The 2 Campaign is a concerted effort across the country to convey to Secretary Kerry that he has the support of the American Jewish community and beyond in pushing negotiations forward, especially in the most difficult moments. Achieving a two-state solution is in the American, Israeli and Palestinian national interest.
Together, we will demonstrate the resolve of pro-Israel Americans to see a two-state solution reached. We will show policymakers and political leaders that we support US leadership in helping the parties make the difficult, but necessary choices with regard to Jerusalem, borders, refugees and security.
The 2 Campaign will consist of a major multimedia effort that will unfold as the negotiations progress, a national petition, educational outreach across the country and major events in key American cities. Join Us!"
Become part of the solution – sign the 2 Campaign petition here http://www.jstreetu.org/latest/2campaign
Note that I am a national co-chair of the 700 member J Street Rabbinic Cabinet.