Tikkun Plans to Place a New York Times Ad Against Striking Iran

A 2009 anti-nuclear demonstration in Tel Aviv.

by Rabbi Michael Lerner

Would you please help us put an ad in the New York Times, Washington Post (or maybe also Ha’aretz and Yediot in Israel, and other media, depending on how much money we can raise) to put public pressure on President Obama to NOT agree to overtly or covertly approve an Israeli preemptive strike on sites where Iran is developing its nuclear capacities?

Click HERE to see the ad and hopefully make a donation.

As of now, Iran does not have those capacities, and though Israeli leaders are arguing that they must strike now before it becomes impossible to block the development of nuclear weapons, U.S. intelligence sources said on Friday, Feb. 24th, that Iran had not made any decision to go forward with developing nuclear weapons. You can view a sample version of the ad below(though when it is layed out beautifully on a full page in the NY Times and Washington Post, it will not look as wordy as it looks now, and there will be room for the names of some who have signed and donated to it). These ads are expensive, but they’ve been effective for the political Right and we need to help make more visible the peace-oriented majority of Americans who don’t support another war. We need to move quickly because high-level decisions on this are being made soon.


A “preemptive strike” on Iran could easily lead to a new war in which the U.S. felt it had to defend Israel from Iranian retaliations, or in which Iran attacked U.S. interests in retaliation (knowing that Israel would not go through with an attack unless it had gotten at least covert assurances from the Obama Administration that it would provide protection for Israel, even if publicly it denied ever giving such assurances). The pressure from AIPAC (at whose convention next week Obama, Netanyahu, and Gingrich have all agreed to speak, and don’t be surprised if they also invite Santorum), from Christian Zionists, and from the Republican party to give Israel blanket assurances for full backing could easily push Obama and the vast majority of Democrats in Congress toward protecting themselves against being called “weak and indecisive on national defense.” The way they might do that is to rally around an attack on Iran. Just as Congressional Democrats were unwilling to stand up against the Patriot Act, against the Bush-sponsored war in Iraq or the Obama escalation of the war in Afghanistan, so they may again capitulate to the call to “be tough.”

Demonstrators hold a sign that reads, “Dimona will not be Hiroshima.” Dimona is Israel’s nuclear research center, which is believed to manufacture nuclear weapons.

As much as we detest the oppressive and dictatorial regime of the mullahs in Iran, as much as we want it to be replaced by a democratic and human rights-respecting regime, we know that the only way that can happen is through an uprising of the people of Iran. An assault by Israel backed by the U.S. (overtly or covertly) will only strengthen the horrific gangsters who have misused the language of Islam to justify their oppressive regime, twisting the doctrines of Islam away from their fundamentally decent and peace-loving essence to manifest a hateful and repressive side. But we don’t believe this terrible regime can be overthrown by Israel or the U.S., and we do believe that a first strike or so-called “preemptive strike” is a violation of international law, a war crime, and is both immoral and self-destructive (because it will push Iranians of all stripes into having to support the reactionary mullahs who will be hailed as the embodiment of the nationalist efforts to survive foreign assaults). We hope someday to see those mullahs brought to trial before an international court of justice, along with the leaders of many other countries who have engaged in human rights violations, but another war, started by Israel or the U.S., will make this less rather than more likely.So lets stop this before it starts. And it could start very soon.

The hawks will be dominating the media in the next few weeks as Netanyahu arrives in the U.S., AIPAC has its national convention, and Republican candidates for the presidency will be attacking Democrats and Obama for being “too soft” or even charging them with being “pro the Iranian government”! We need you to donate to help us put an ad in the NY Times, Washington Post and other media (on-line places like Huffington Post and Salon and– you tell us) to oppose this possible attack on Iran and offset the appearance of the American people passively going along with the Right and the spineless as they lead us into yet another war.You probably could have written it better, but at this point if you agree with the bottom line of “No war and no attack on Iran” please, please sign it and donate to make it possible. There may be parts of it you disagree with, which is why each part says “some of us” so that you are not committed to agreeing with every part of it, but only to saying “No War and No Attack on Iran.”

This campaign will cost at least $100,000. We can only do it if you believe it’s worth it to you to donatemore than you can affordto help us put pressure to not go along with this crazy plan. Imagine how much we would have saved as a society (many trillions of dollars that could have been used to help alleviate poverty, suffering, and fund medical research and housing and environmental advances) had we not gone to war with Iraq. Believe it or not, this is going to be a much worse war, and though Obama may think he is avoiding it, unless he uses his power to let Israel know that the US will stand publicly agaiinst the attack and refuse to get involved in a war with Iran, an attack on Iran has the potential of letting loose a war that will be far more likely to escalate wildly beyond US intentions once it is started.

So what we need from you is $1,000 or $500 or $300, and unless you tell us otherwise, we’ll list your name on the ad (space allowing) as one of several hundred signatories if you can give that much. And we’ll be happy to get whatever you can give, even if it’s only $25, though we may not have space in the ad to list all the donors who give less than $300 (though we will list your name on line unless you ask us not to do so).We have to act quickly if we are going to be able to have the money to publish this ad before final decisions are made to strike Iran. So please go towww.tikkun.org/iran, where you can donate to make this ad possible.

I know you share with me a desire for a world of peace. Later we may need to be involved in demonstrations or even non-violent civil disobedience, but right now all you need to do is to sign and donate to the ad (and if you don’t want to have your name published, there’s an option you can click when signing so that your name will not be made public). So please give generously even if it financially hurts. We have to stand together for our belief in a world of peace, and the only path to peace is a path of peace. Our means must be consistent with our ends. Stand with me on this one, please!

This article originally appeared on Tikkun.org on February 27, 2012.