By COLlive reporter
U.S. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke has once again taken a stance against Israel in a move that is expected to deeply upset many of her Jewish constituents.
Clarke, a representative of New York’s 11th congressional district which includes Crown Heights, Flatbush and Midwood, announced on Monday she will be supporting the heavily criticized deal over Iran’s nuclear program.
In a statement quoted by Kings County Politics, Clarke says sees the deal as “the most effective means by which the United States and her allies can achieve the goal of preventing the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weaponry.”
This is while acknowledging that the Iranian regime is “one of the premier state sponsors of terrorism in the world” and that “Iran is on the verge of creating a nuclear bomb, right now.”
But she argued that the deal, which is aggressively being lobbied by President Barack Obama, provides a pathway that holds great potential to forever change this reality.
Over the past few months, the Congresswoman has been hearing pleas from local Jewish residents asking her to oppose the deal which both Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Issac Herzog say endangers their country’s existence.
Clarke’s offices in Washington, DC and Brooklyn have been inundated with phone calls and emails expressing their contempt for the deal. They had a reason to be concerned as Clarke has in the past signed a leftist-backed letter pressuring Israel over its blockade of Gaza and refused to support a condemnation of the anti-Israel Goldstone report.
Rabbi Chanina Sperlin, intergovernmental liaison for the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council who has close ties to Clarke, told COLlive.com that he declined a call from the Congresswoman’s office after reading her statement in support of the deal on Monday.
“We were all betrayed,” says community activist Yaacov Behrman. “The community overwhelmingly opposed this flawed deal and I don’t see how she justified supporting it.”
“We, of course, are very disappointed with Congresswoman Clarke’s decision,” Josh Mehlman, Chairman of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition (FJCC), told COLlive.com.
“At this point there is little question that a Presidential veto will not be overridden, but it is still important for the community to respectfully show its deep displeasure with a deal, that puts Israel’s security in peril. If the community really wants to make its voice heard, we encourage all to register and vote on Election Day.”
But Clarke, a member of the Progressive Democratic Caucus in Congress, says in her statement that her support of the deal stems out of care for Israel.
“We are all keenly aware that by virtue of proximity and statements made by leadership in Iran, that the existential threat that the regime poses to Israel, to other allies in the Middle East, to our nation and the world as we know it is very real,” she wrote.
“Given the gravity of what is at stake, the concerns of the Israeli government and her people as well as the threat to other allies and stakeholders of the region, and equally as important, the threat to the United States, it is our duty to be vigilant and to exert our rights and authority to act through our leadership in the crafting of the agreement.”
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