Tag Archives: Foreign Policy
Sec. Kerry walks down a hallway with the Iranian Foreign Minister and EU Representative

Questions Remain One Month Until the Iran Talks Deadline

We’re closing in on just one month from the deadline for a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program, and there’s still much that needs to be figured out before all the parties can reach an agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry will be flying over to Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday to continue talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Amirhossein Zamani-Nia stated that 30% of the work of writing out the technical details of the agreement are yet to be completed, and while there’s a possibility that the negotiations could stretch beyond the end of June, US officials are focusing on finishing by the June 30 deadline. Read more…

Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett at a press conference

Benjamin Netanyahu Forms New Coalition Government

Late last Wednesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed the final deals to form his new coalition government. The coalition, which has a bare majority of 61 of the 120 Members of Knesset, comprises five parties: Netanyahu’s Likud (30 seats), ultra-nationalist Habayit Hayehudi (8 seats), ultra-Orthodox Shas (7 seats) and United Torah Judaism (6 seats) and center-right Kulanu (10 seats). Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the URJ, sent a note of congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu: Read more…

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) shakes hands with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Senate Passes Important Iran Agreement Review Bill

On Thursday, the Senate passed important legislation for the Iran nuclear talks, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (also known as “the Corker bill”), by an overwhelming vote of 98-1. Applauding the vote, Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the RAC, released the following statement:

We applaud the passage of a clean Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. The overwhelming support for this important bill makes clear that stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is a bipartisan issue of concern to all Americans.  We call on the House of Representatives to quickly pass the Senate’s version of the bill, so that attention can turn to the issue that really matters: negotiating a deal that ensures that Iran cannot obtain nuclear weapons. To that end, we reiterate our call to the Obama administration to remain firm in its commitment to resolve the negotiations successfully on favorable terms. Read more…

Response to Iran Negotiations: A Shift on the World Stage

In an historic press conference Thursday, the countries in the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China) reached a framework agreement with Iran over Iran’s nuclear program. The agreement will, according to United States’ negotiating team, ensure that Iran’s “breakout capacity,” or the time that it could take Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, is lengthened to more than a year for the length of the agreement.

The framework, and the issues that it raises, is highly technical. Yet, we can say generally that Iran has agreed to place significant curbs on its nuclear program (by dismantling many facilities and making its uranium material less usable for nuclear weapons) and agreed to intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities in return for sanctions relief from the United States, European Union, and United Nations. To learn more about the framework agreement, check out the White House fact sheet and the Washington Post summary. Read more…

World leaders in Switzerland at P5+1 announcement

Reform Jewish Movement Responds to P5+1 Negotiations

In response to yesterday’s joint statement of progress announced by the P5+1 and Iran, the leaders of the Reform Jewish Movement issued a statement saying that “a negotiated resolution … will be difficult to reach but all the alternatives to such a resolution are grim.”  Nevertheless, the leaders concluded that “we still have grave concerns about the ability of a potential deal to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon.”

Read more…

many religious symbols

International Religious Freedom: More than a Matter of Faith

In a world fraught with tension and uncertainty, it can be easy to lose sight of some positive changes and some ongoing issues that need our attention. Across the globe, religious freedom remains a dream and not a reality for far too many people. Freedom of religion and conscience are not only critical for individuals and communities, but studies have shown that there are many reasons why religious freedom is important and has effects beyond the realm of freedom of worship. Not only has a lack of religious freedom been linked with gender inequality, but also, freedom of religion is significantly associated with global economic growthRead more…

Stop Violence Against Women

I-VAWA? WE-VAWA: We All Must Do Our Part to End Violence Against Women and Girls

One out of three women worldwide will be physically, sexually, or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In some countries, it’s as many as seven in ten. Violence against women is a human rights violation that devastates lives, fractures communities and prevents women from fully contributing to the economic development of their countries.

Take a minute to think about the things we do every day: go to work, go to school, provide food for ourselves and for our families. We generally do not equate these tasks with putting ourselves in danger. But, that’s not the case everywhere. Often, the perpetrators of violence against women and girls commit that violence while women are on their way to work or to collect food and water, or while girls are on their way to school—that is, if they are allowed to go to school at all. Read more…

ISIS militants drive through the city of Raqqa

More News in the Fight against ISIS

News broke this weekend that ISIS had killed yet another American hostage. Peter Kassig, an American aid worker, disappeared in October 2013 while making a trip to deliver medical care in Syria. He was transferred late last year to a jail network in ISIS-held territory, where he became part of the group of hostages that included now-murdered American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley. Mr. Kassig, served in Iraq as part of the United States Army before founding an NGO that gives aid to Syrian civilians. His work models the highest ideals of pursuing justice and recognizing the dignity of every human being. Read more…

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