2013 August » ADL Blogs
August 20, 2013

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


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

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

The One Million Muslim March On 9/11


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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