Little dissent exists among Israeli politicians over how to deal with Iran.That puts left-wing U.S. Jewish groups at odds with Israeli left-wingers. “There is a more hawkish perception among virtually all circles in Israel” than there is in the United States, said Yossi Alpher, a consultant who has worked with Americans for Peace Now.
left-wing U.S. Jewish groups — not to mention non-Jewish left-wing groups — are against more sanctions.
Americans for Peace Now has the most pronounced opposition.
“We don’t think crippling sanctions are right if the meaning of that is that the sanctions will not be targeted against Iran’s governments and leaders but will target Iranian people,” spokesman Ori Nir said. “We think that’s not only morally wrong but is also strategically perilous.”
Other left-wing groups also hedge on the prospect of sanctions.
The Israel Policy Forum, in a July 15 paper, encouraged engagement and said threats of enhanced sanctions were “not necessary” because Iran’s leadership knew they were forthcoming.
The most recent statement from Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, dated July 2008, rejects “diplomatic isolation or veiled threats of military action” and advocates “utilizing diplomatic and economic incentives and sanctions together.”
In a policy statement, J Street says it does not oppose further sanctions “in principle,” but “under the current circumstances, it is our view that ever harsher sanctions at this time are unlikely to cause the Iranian regime to cease weapons development.” Engagement should “not be conducted with a stopwatch,” it said.
The Reform movement, which often aligns with the left-wing groups on Israel-Palestinian matters, is a bit closer to the Israeli position when it comes to Iran.
Rabbi David Saperstein, who directs the Reform’s Religious Action Center, disputes Americans for Peace Now’s contention that the proposed enhanced sanctions are immoral.
“These were chosen as a much more targeted way to put the maximum pressure on the power structure in Iran,” he said.