The Campaign for Peace and Democracy… Is it either?

Categories: Letters From Leadership

The Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD) describes itself as promoting “a new, progressive, and non-militaristic U.S. foreign policy.”  Its leadership can be characterized as part of the democratic left with what used to be known as a “third camp” orientation that was both anti-Stalinist and anti-capitalist.  There is an overlap in its leadership with the socialist journal, “New Politics.”

The CPD is currently circulating a petition with a dual purpose: to “End the War Threats and Sanctions Program Against Iran [and] Support the Struggle for Democracy Inside Iran.”  So while supporting the democratic opposition inside Iran, it categorically opposes any punitive sanctions or military option to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

Ten or 15 years ago, I met the CPD’s co-director Joanne Landy and I know that her organization means well, but after carefully reviewing this document, I’ve determined that I cannot support it.  I share at least some of CPD’s values and goals, but I cannot accept its doctrinaire anti-Israel and anti-American pronouncements, including those expressed in this petition.

Iran can easily end this confrontation by unconditionally opening itself to international inspections and stopping its outrageous provocations against Israel’s existence.  Moreover, Pres. Obama has made a reasonable diplomatic overture to Iran that was rejected last year.

Nearly a year later, Iran agreed to a similar deal in discussions with Brazil and Turkey, but by that time, experts concluded that its nuclear program had created enough additional enriched uranium that Iran could build one or more atomic bombs anyway.  Apparently, Iran was being deceitful, and Brazil and Turkey allowed themselves to be used in its cynical game.

Far from even addressing the Iranian regime’s aggressive actions and threats (e.g., arming Hezbollah and Hamas, its development of missiles with the capacity to A-bomb all of Israel, its Holocaust denial and strident anti-Zionist rhetoric), the moral weight of this statement is against Israel and the United States.  I would hate to see either the US or Israel attack Iran, but I certainly understand why most Israelis feel themselves mortally threatened.  It is grossly wrong for this petition not to address Iran’s aggressive anti-Israel and anti-Jewish policies.

About Ralph Seliger

A veteran editor, freelance writer and blogger, I edited the print magazine, "Israel Horizons," from 2003 until 2011; and I've blogged for and edited the Meretz USA and now Partners for Progressive Israel Blog since its inception in 2006 (although I no longer edit the PPI Blog). I've been an active supporter of the Zionist peace camp since 1982. Other print and online platforms where I've been published include: The Forward, The Daily Beast, History News Network, Tikkun, In These Times, Jewish Week, New Jersey Jewish News, Jewish Currents, Huffington Post, and Dissent.
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