January 18, 2020

Jewish Groups React to Killing of Iranian Commander Soleimani

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: A general view of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran at 16 Princes Gate on June 17, 2014 in London, England. British Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced plans to re-open the British Embassy in Tehran after a hiatus of more than two and a half years. Britain severed direct diplomatic relations with Iran after activists stormed its embassy in Tehran in late 2011. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Several Jewish groups put forward their takes on the United States killing top Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a precision airstrike at Iraq’s international airport in Baghdad.

The airstrike, which occurred on the morning of Jan. 3 Iraqi time, struck a vehicle carrying Soleimani. The Department of Defense said in a statement that “Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “[It’s] reasonable & responsible to ask hard questions about policy process behind decision & whether US is prepared for what comes next. But no one should delude themselves. Suleimani didn’t just have blood on his hands — he was drenched in it.”

He added in a subsequent tweet that Soleimani “brutally murdered hundreds of Americans & Israelis, as well as thousands of others, and vilely repressed his own people. His ruthlessness in Syria allowed the Assad regime to create the worst refugee crisis since [World War II].”

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris asked in a tweet how many more people Soleimani would have killed if he were still alive.

“To those lambasting US action against #Soleimani, what was your alternative plan?” Harris wrote. “To allow him to continue to kill & terrorize across region — & plot against Americans?”

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement that Soleimani’s assassination is a blow to Iran, however “it does not end the threat posed by Iran. We must work together with our allies to protect our troops and interests, and increase the economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime to achieve a broad agreement addressing Iran’s nuclear program, ballistic missiles and destabilizing regional activities.”

Other Jewish groups were more critical of the move.

“No one is shedding any tears over the death of Iranian terrorist Qassem Soleimani, and no one is questioning whether he deserved this fate. The question is whether the Trump administration has weighed the significant ramifications of this action and whether President Trump has a clear strategy for what comes next,” Jewish Democratic Council of America Executive Director Halie Soifer said in a statement. “For three years, President Trump has undermined America’s international alliances, diminished U.S. credibility, and weakened our diplomatic corps. Having eroded these pillars of our national security, we are deeply concerned that the Trump administration is simply incapable of handling a crisis of this magnitude and gravity.”

J Street also said in a statement that while Soleimani was responsible for hundreds of deaths in the Middle East, “the assassination of such a senior figure is an extremely reckless step taken by an out-of-control administration that has repeatedly signaled its contempt for diplomacy and its interest in provoking an armed conflict with the Iranian regime. Carrying out a strike that is likely to be viewed as an act of war, without explicit congressional debate or authorization, shows flagrant contempt for the Constitution.”