By COLlive reporter
U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke, who has one of the largest populations of Jewish constituents, hosted a closed meeting on Thursday about the controversial accords over Iran’s nuclear program.
Members of the House and Senate are facing a vote to approve the deal which Israel and most major Jewish organizations say eases Iran’s path to continue developing nuclear capabilities.
At the onset of the meeting, Clarke noted the feedback her office has been receiving from residents by phone and email, praising them for “being so engaged” on the matter.
Congress will vote on whether to reject the deal in September, a measure the White House has promised to veto. Republicans need 44 House Democrats and 13 Senate Democrats to join them to override a veto.
The meeting at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza was attended by Jewish legislators and activists from the 9th Congressional District, including Crown Heights, Flatbush, Marine Park, Brooklyn Heights, Midwood, and Sheepshead Bay.
“She sat at the front and the room was set up like a courtroom with a panel including Clarke and her assistants. There was a podium with a microphone used by each presenter,” Zaki Tamir, Chairman of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (CHJCC), told COLlive.com.
The meeting was opened by thanking the Congresswoman for her past support for Israel with her visits and her voting record to provide necessary funding for Israel’s security. She was credited with attending the speech by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to both sessions of the House about Iran.
“We all impressed on her our deep fear of what this deal would mean for the security of the United States and Israel and our very demonstrable concern that this deal would mean an influx of billions of dollars to Iranian terror operations,” said Kalman Yeger, a political activist from Midwood who spoke at the meeting.
“Representing neighborhoods so close to where the planes hit on 9/11, I hope she understands why we’re so concerned about the prospect of giving Iran the resources to commit horrifying acts of terror against Americans,” Yeger added.
Speakers included Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Councilman David Greenfeld, Councilman Chaim Deutch, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Rabbi Chanina Sperlin, Leon Goldenberg, Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, Mr. Ronald Tawil, Mr. David Steinberg and Mr. Harry Klaristenfeld.
A day after the meeting, Congressman Jerry Nadler, Jewish Democrat from New York who was on the fence whether to support the deal, announced that he will be supporting the agreement after receiving a letter from President Barack Obama.
“We are all aware of the pressure the Administration is putting on all members,” Josh Mehlman, Chairman of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition (FJCC), told COLlive.com following the meeting.
“Our strongest case remains that the overwhelming majority of Jewish voters in her district want her to vote no. Our job is to make our case and urge our congressional leaders to represent the positions of their constituents. We strongly urge Congresswoman Clarke to vote no.”
Speakers ranged from emotional to discussing specific terms of the agreement, such as the immediate funding for Iran with billions in sanction relief. There is little doubt that these funds will increase terror against Israel the USA, and the entire world, Mehlman said.
In closing, the Congresswoman stated her unwavering support for the safety of Israel and the well-being of the Jewish people. She added that her residence being so close to Crown Heights, and her strong connection to the community, makes her more aware of the community’s concerns.
“She certainly exudes an energy of compassion towards the cause,” Tamir commented about Clarke. “And she appears to have a very good understanding of the deal.”
In fact, the Congresswoman concluded by saying that in addition to the concerns and worries shared with her during the meeting and by residents in the past few weeks, there were points in the deal that “are very troublesome” to her.
Asked what would be the reaction if Clarke votes in favor of the deal,” Tamir said: “I think it will be very hard for many people to digest, she would need to be very transparent about the basis of her decision. Even then, it would take a lot of work to recover from it, if at all possible.”
In related news, a press conference is scheduled to be held next week in front of the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights calling on “the New York Congressional Delegation (to) vote ‘No’ on the Iran Nuclear Deal.”
Speakers will include David Greenfield, Dov Hikind, New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton, retired Chaplain Colonel of the U.S. Armed Forces Jacob Goldstein and Devorah Halberstam, a mother of a victim of terror.
“Stop the Bad Iran Deal” will be held on Wednesday, August 26 at 6:00 pm on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Kingston Avenue in Brooklyn.