Rabbi Shmuley to Reverend Al: Stop Telling Black Churches to Support Iran Deal

A Letter to Al Sharpton About the an arrangement that threatens all

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: The Reverend Al Sharpton speaks at a rally in Brooklyn to call for justice for Eric Garner one year after he died in an apparent police chokehold on July 18, 2015 in New York City. The rally of several hundred people was held in front of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Downtown Brooklyn. Members of Garner's family joined Sharpton in demanding a federal investigation into his death. Garner, who was killed in a controversial choke-hold by a Staten Island police officer, had been approached by police for selling loose cigarettes. His death set off waves of protests around the city and country. Garner's family has settled with the city for 5.9 million in a wrongful death suit. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Reverend Al Sharpton speaks at a rally in Brooklyn to call for justice for Eric Garner one year after he died in an apparent police chokehold on July 18, 2015 in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Dear Rev Al,

You once told me that in our relationship, “Rabbi you have disagreed with me without being disagreeable.” Yes, you and I have had our disagreements. But I have also, as you well know, stood up for you time and again when you and I felt you were being demonized unfairly.

We traveled to Israel together in 2001, not long after the 9/11 attacks, and I took you to meet Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. We visited with Israelis who had limbs blown off in terror attacks. You gave them genuine comfort. You also decided to visit Yasser Arafat, a move that nearly derailed our relationship, as it had not been on the itinerary. But through it all, the warmth between us endured.

When MSNBC announced that you would host a TV show, many in the Jewish community condemned the decision due to incendiary remarks you had made, especially at the time of the 1991 Crown Heights riots. I again defended you, and made strident efforts to bring together our two communities.

I’m confused about your announcement to push Black Churches to lobby for the Iran deal. You said, “I am calling on ministers in black churches nationwide to go to their pulpits Sunday and have their parishioners call their senators and congressmen to vote yes on the Iran nuclear plan. We have a disproportionate interest, being that if there is a war, our community is always disproportionately part of the armed services, and that a lot of the debate is by people who will not have family members who will be at risk.”

Well, allow me, Reverend, to remind you of the people who will be most at risk and whom this deal most directly affects: the State of Israel and its Jewish and Arab citizens, the very people we visited together.

Well, allow me, Reverend, to remind you of the people who will be most at risk and whom this deal most directly affects: the State of Israel and its Jewish and Arab citizens, the very people we visited together.

You are a civil rights leader. Surely you cannot participate in legitimizing a regime that vows the annihilation of Israel just because it is a Jewish state. The very essence of the civil rights movement is equality, human dignity, and human worth. Iran vows to murder another six million Jews simply because they are Jews. Before you begin to lobby for the deal, can you not first condemn their genocidal intent?

Blacks and Jews made common cause in the civil rights movement, joined by the Biblical teaching that every human being is created in the image of God. But Iran does not see it that way. They corrupt the great religion of Islam by making it a religion of hate.

They murder gay men and hang them from cranes in public squares. They shoot their own citizens in the streets when they demand their political rights. They fund terror proxies throughout the world that murder innocent men, women, and children. And this deal would not only allow all of that to continue, but will give them $150 billion to expand their deadly program.

Can you, as a leading voice for human rights, allow this regime to be invited into the community of nations without demanding even the smallest change?

I’m not even talking about the weak nuclear agreement negotiated by President Obama that allows Iran to build bombs after 15 years, leaves a porous inspection regime, and bizarrely demands that the U.S. assist Iran in protecting its nuclear facilities.

I’m talking now about simple human rights. This legitimacy that this deal with confer upon Iran is an affront to those human rights and liberties you have championed throughout your life.

At this critical time, we need your voice.

We need your voice to proclaim that Israel has a right to exist and that those calling for her destruction must never be given the weapons to accomplish their goal.

We need your voice to proclaim that governments who murder men and violate the dignity of their corpses in public are an abomination to God and man.

We need your voice to proclaim that governments holding American citizens are violating their rights and must release them.

We need your voice to exclaim that no deals can be completed with governments while they still stone women to death for false accusations of infidelity by husbands who want to marry someone else.

And we need your voice to proclaim that a community of nations must exist peacefully, without one constantly threatening, and planning, the annihilation of the other.

Rabbi Shmuley to Reverend Al: Stop Telling Black Churches to Support Iran Deal