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August 20, 2013 0

Sanctions Are A Vital Component Of Diplomacy To Prevent A Nuclear Iran

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August 2013 inau­gu­ra­tion of Iran­ian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani (right)

Just before the halls of Con­gress emp­tied out for August Recess, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Pre­ven­tion Act, by an over­whelm­ing 400–20, bipar­ti­san vote.  That leg­is­la­tion would greatly expand the scope of inter­na­tional finan­cial trans­ac­tions with Iran sub­ject to U.S. penalty and would greatly shrink the amount of oil import­ing nations can buy from Iran with­out U.S. penalty. 

While there is agree­ment across the board that the Iran­ian regime can­not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapons capa­bil­ity, the debate about the role of sanc­tions in diplo­macy con­tin­ues.  Some in Con­gress argue against tougher sanc­tions, say­ing newly inau­gu­rated Iran­ian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani should first be given a chance to show that Iran­ian intran­si­gence at the nego­ti­at­ing table has ended.  On the other side, just days after the House bill passed, 76 sen­a­tors sent a let­ter to Pres­i­dent Obama, say­ing “we believe our nation must toughen sanc­tions” and ask­ing him to bring a “renewed sense of urgency to the process.”

Rouhani should be judged by his actions, not his sooth­ing state­ments, and his his­tory as the chief nuclear nego­tia­tor, from 2003 to 2005, sup­ports the skep­tics.  Describ­ing his pre­vi­ous nego­ti­a­tion tac­tics, he said in 2004: “While we were talk­ing with the Euro­peans in Tehran, we were installing equip­ment in parts of the facil­ity in Isfa­han. By cre­at­ing a calm envi­ron­ment, we were able to com­plete the work in Isfa­han.”  Today, the regime con­tin­ues to enrich ura­nium, install more cen­trifuges, and make progress on its plutonium-producing Arak reac­tor.   As recently reported by The Insti­tute for Sci­ence and Inter­na­tional Secu­rity, at its cur­rent pace of devel­op­ment, Iran should have enough cen­trifuges installed to enrich a bomb’s worth of ura­nium to weapons grade – with­out detec­tion – by the mid­dle of next year.

Even more severe sanc­tions will sup­port diplo­macy, not hin­der it, by rais­ing the cost of delay and defi­ance.  As Pres­i­dent Obama him­self said in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, “Sanc­tions must exact a real price.  Intran­si­gence must be met with increased pres­sure” and sanc­tions must be “tough enough to actu­ally change behav­ior.”  Clearly, we’re not there yet.

ADL con­tin­ues to sup­port sanc­tions leg­is­la­tion that pro­vides the Admin­is­tra­tion with a full range of diplo­matic, eco­nomic, and legal tools to pres­sure the world’s lead­ing state spon­sor of ter­ror into ver­i­fi­ably renounc­ing its nuclear weapons program.  

When Con­gress returns from its five-week recess, we hope the Sen­ate will fol­low the House’s lead on this issue and swiftly pass leg­is­la­tion akin to the Nuclear Iran Pre­ven­tion Act.

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August 20, 2013 0

ADL Coordinates Coalition Letter On Department Of Education Bullying Data Collection Proposal

On June 21, the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion (DoE) announced a num­ber of revi­sions to its Civil Rights Data Col­lec­tion (CRDC) school sur­vey.  The CRDC is the largest, most impor­tant, and most com­pre­hen­sive data col­lec­tion instru­ment of its kind.  It requires schools and school dis­tricts to pro­vide data on a wide range of rel­e­vant edu­ca­tion issues.  The DoE pro­posed that CRDC add sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and reli­gion to their exist­ing effort to col­lect data on bul­ly­ing and harass­ment on the basis of race, sex, and disability. civil-rights-data-collection-bullying

Accom­pa­ny­ing resources for the DoE announce­ment stated: 

Safe envi­ron­ments are crit­i­cal to learn­ing. Since the 2009, the CRDC has pro­vided a lens on school cli­mate and the bul­ly­ing and harass­ment that stu­dents too often endure on the basis of race, sex, and disability….

ADL coor­di­nated a let­ter from 49 national orga­ni­za­tions pro­vid­ing com­ments relat­ing to these pro­posed CRDC revi­sions.  In our com­ments, ADL and its coali­tion of edu­ca­tion, reli­gious, civil rights and pro­fes­sional orga­ni­za­tions sup­ported DoE’s deci­sion to expand the CRDC to include reports of bul­ly­ing and harass­ment based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and reli­gion, and encour­aged the col­lec­tion of data on inci­dents based on gen­der iden­tity. We argued that though the impact of bul­ly­ing has been well doc­u­mented, there is insuf­fi­cient data on the nature and mag­ni­tude of bul­ly­ing directed at indi­vid­u­als on the basis of their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion – and even less on religion-based and gen­der identity-based bullying.  

ADL and its allies also urged the Depart­ment to recon­sider their pro­posal to elim­i­nate ques­tions relat­ing to whether a school has adopted writ­ten bul­ly­ing pre­ven­tion poli­cies.  An essen­tial start­ing point for effec­tive response to bul­ly­ing and harass­ment in schools is the adop­tion of a com­pre­hen­sive, inclu­sive bul­ly­ing and harass­ment pre­ven­tion pol­icy.  The inclu­sion of ques­tions relat­ing to whether an edu­ca­tion unit has such a pol­icy, the coali­tion argued, ele­vates aware­ness of the value of these poli­cies and demon­strates that hav­ing such poli­cies is impor­tant and sig­nif­i­cant enough to high­light in the CRDC.  The coali­tion let­ter also urged the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion to ask the edu­ca­tion units that have adopted a bul­ly­ing and harass­ment pre­ven­tion pol­icy to pro­vide a link to their pol­icy as part of their CRDC response.

A top pri­or­ity for the Anti-Defamation League is work­ing to cre­ate safe, inclu­sive schools and com­mu­ni­ties and ensur­ing that all stu­dents have access to equal edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties.  Over the past decade, the League has emerged as a prin­ci­pal national resource devel­op­ing edu­ca­tion and advo­cacy tools to pre­vent prej­u­dice and big­otry. ADL has built on award-winning anti-bias edu­ca­tion and train­ing ini­tia­tives, includ­ing the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Insti­tute, to craft inno­v­a­tive pro­gram­ming and advo­cacy to address bul­ly­ing and its per­ni­cious elec­tronic form known as cyber­bul­ly­ing.  ADL takes a holis­tic approach to address­ing bul­ly­ing and cyber­bul­ly­ing, track­ing the nature and mag­ni­tude of the prob­lem, devel­op­ing edu­ca­tion and train­ing pro­grams, and advo­cat­ing — at the state and fed­eral level — for poli­cies and pro­grams that can make a difference.

It will be incum­bent on ADL and our allies to work with schools and school dis­tricts to make sure schools and school dis­tricts are report­ing this data accu­rately – and using the data to improve the cli­mate for learn­ing for all students.

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August 20, 2013 0

The One Million Muslim March On 9/11

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Rabbi Alam and Brigitte Gabriel appear on Sean Han­nity program

The Amer­i­can Mus­lim Polit­i­cal Action (AMPAC), an orga­ni­za­tion with a rel­a­tively insignif­i­cant pres­ence among Amer­i­can Mus­lims, cre­ated a strong media reac­tion by announc­ing its inten­tion to orga­nize a “One Mil­lion Mus­lim March” to the U.S. Capi­tol on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2013. AMPAC was founded and is run by Mr. Rabbi Alam (“Rabbi” is his first name), an Amer­i­can war vet­eran orig­i­nally from Bangladesh with a past record of mak­ing con­tro­ver­sial and big­oted statements.

Sev­eral US media out­lets and activists have high­lighted some of Alam’s past anti-Semitic and con­spir­a­to­r­ial remarks imply­ing Jew­ish involve­ment in the 9/11 attacks. For exam­ple, in 2009 Alam posted a com­ment on Topix, a web-based forum, on the dis­cus­sion topic “Was 9/11 a con­spir­acy?” He wrote “a big yes from my own under­stand­ing.” In the same post, Alam ques­tioned why 9/11 was an “offi­cial holidy for all jew­ish peo­ple [who] worked in the WTC [sic]” and added “who can tell me how many of the Jew­ish peo­ple died on the 9/11 tragedy? [sic].”

AMPAC’s web­site also states, “The his­tory of the Jewish-Zionist lobby AIPAC shows that it is more effec­tive to be ‘rad­i­cal’ and express one’s views strongly and hon­estly, than to be fear­ful and timid. The best defense is a good offense.”

Alam recently appeared on Fox News with Brigitte Gabriel, leader of  Act! for Amer­ica, to dis­cuss the march with Sean Han­nity. The inter­view called into ques­tion his abil­ity to orga­nize a large event, and under­scored his will­ing­ness to stir con­tro­versy. By his state­ments, he made it read­ily appar­ent why some anti-Muslim groups would find him a con­ve­nient exam­ple to cite in pro­mot­ing their agenda.

To date, there is lit­tle evi­dence of sup­port for the march from Amer­i­can Muslims.

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