As the U.S. Senate entered the final days of its session before breaking for summer recess, a high ranking delegation of Agudath Israel of America leaders traveled to Washington earlier this week to meet with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) to discuss the organization’s deep concerns about the Iranian nuclear deal, and to urge her to vote against the deal.
In a meeting that lasted over half-an-hour, the Agudath Israel delegation delivered a clear message: the proposed deal with Iran is fraught with grave danger for America and its allies, especially Israel, and should be disapproved.
Senator Gillibrand, who was clearly knowledgeable about the many complex issues surrounding the proposed agreement yet deeply interested in the insights her guests brought to the table, took careful notes as the Agudath Israel leaders made their case. While she did not definitively indicate which way she planned to vote, the Senator spoke with great passion about the terrible threat a nuclear empowered Iran would pose, and she forcefully articulated America’s responsibility to prevent that threat from materializing.
After the meeting, Agudath Israel executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel described Senator Gillibrand as “diligent and intelligent, sensitive to the concerns we raised and clear-eyed about the nature of the Iranian threat. It was a privilege for us to have an opportunity to engage the Senator in intense face-to-face dialogue on this vital issue.”
The other members of the Agudath Israel delegation included three members of the organization’s board of trustees, Charles (Hashi) Herzka, Ralph (Shmuel Yosef) Rieder and Jacob (Yaty) Weinreb, as well as Agudath Israel’s executive vice president for finance and administration Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin, and vice president for federal affairs Rabbi Abba Cohen.
The meeting with Senator Gillibrand was one of a series of targeted meetings Agudath Israel plans to have in the weeks ahead with Senators and Representatives who have not yet indicated how they intend to vote on the Iranian deal. “We hope,” Rabbi Zwiebel said, “that the relationship many of our key constituents across America enjoy with their elected officials, and the perspectives we have to offer, will prove useful in persuading those officials to vote no on this dangerous deal.”