Preparing for another sleepless night….

Tue, 10/22/2013 - 11:44am

Posted in: Community Relations Council

1493 From the CRC Director's Desk

After returning from the AIPAC Policy Conference in March, I found myself experiencing one sleepless night after another, eventually stretching into weeks of restless tossing and turning.  Throughout the conference, I learned more disturbing information about Iran’s progress and intentions with regards to their nuclear weapons program than I had ever wanted to know.  Though I attended the AIPAC Policy Conference with concerns focusing on Israel’s safety and how an Iranian nuclear weapon would affect Israeli security, I wound up learning more and more about what that program would mean to us as American citizens and gaining a profound appreciation for just how concerned we should be.  This information embedded itself in my brain only to resurface, without warning, as nightly wake up calls.

I’ll admit that I’m not a good sleeper anyway; often waking up in the middle of the night mentally tallying off all the things I need to accomplish the next day or later that week, worrying about my family, work, or with anxiety concerning events in and around Israel.  Though this happens often, this is the first time I have woken up with worries about America’s safety.  

What is causing me to lose so much sleep?

I am losing sleep knowing that Iran is developing nuclear weapon capabilities in an extremely deceptive manner. I am losing sleep while considering the range with which Iran could accomplish an attack.  I am losing sleeping because, as I am absorbing fact after fact from these professionals, I am unsure that the general public in our country is aware of how real this threat is to America.

Iran has dominated the headlines before and since AIPAC’s Policy Conference in March.  Most recently, we have seen some brilliant PR moves from Iran and their new president, Hassan Rouhani.

You’ll remember the major news frenzy over President Rouhani apparently tweeting a Rosh Hashanah greeting for the Jews.  As it turns out, it’s questionable as to whether President Rouhani has a twitter account, official or otherwise, and Iran denies that this message of peace was ever delivered.  

Remember when this story broke?  Statements of Rouhani acknowledging the Holocaust dominated international news since this was something his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, fervently denied. Turns out, it was not a full admission on Rouhani’s part, but simply a lack of denial.  

The economic pressure brought on Iran over the past half-decade has brought us to this current state: a new Iranian President releasing moderate statements and a regime seeking relief for its battered economy. These red herrings are tools to deflect the eyes and interest of the international stage from concentrating on the real issue: Iran is developing nuclear weaponry with intent to use against humankind.

The only thing that’s allowing me to sleep when it comes to Iran is learning more from groups like United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and people like Bob Feferman and taking action when possible.  

In talking with Bob Feferman, Outreach Coordinator for UANI, about his upcoming visit, he offered the following insight, “it is unclear, and likely doubtful, that Iran is serious about changing course when it comes to its nuclear program -- this could very well just be an attempt at getting relief in exchange for rhetoric.” 

He also mentioned that, “if the current talks do not produce concessions, then more pressure will be necessary. Iran must be made to choose between its nuclear program and its economy.”  

We likely are all doing some wishful thinking when it comes to Iran and the diplomacy efforts but “in all reality’” Bob says,  “we will know within the next month whether Iran has any intention of halting its nuclear program. Rouhani will have been in office 100 days already, and two negotiations will have already occurred. The 101st day would be an ideal time for the U.S. to ratchet up the pressure on Iran, in particular by forcing India, China, South Korea, and Japan to stop importing Iranian oil.”

Bob says, “Under no circumstances whatsoever should we be lifting sanctions now. The current sanctions and pressure are what got us to this point, and more, not less, are likely what it will take to force change. If we scale the pressure back, it could take months or years to even get them back to where they are now -- that is precious time that the Iranians need and are seeking.”  

I believe him and hope you do, too.  Don’t miss out on this very important opportunity to learn valuable information from Bob. Even if it does mean missing out on that ever important sleep Sunday night.  

My husband thinks I’m crazy for losing sleep over things I cannot control.  Though I know that is true, what I can do is provide educational opportunities and additional resources so that members of my community as well as my fellow American citizens have a chance to learn, just as I did, and to become involved in efforts that support a safe and threat-free America and Israel.

Join me and the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater along with B’nai Israel Congregation to learn more about the situation in Iran and what it means to Israel and the United States. We will look forward to seeing you on Sunday, October 27th at 10:30 am at B’nai Israel located at 420 Spotswood Avenue in Norfolk for brunch graciously sponsored by B’nai Israel and The Brooke Family, The Lefcoe Family, Joe Miller Law, Ltd, and Family Vision Care.  FREE and open to the community with RSVP to LHenderson@ujft.org by October 24th.

Robin Mancoll,
Director, Community Relations Council

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