Nearly 900 American rabbis have signed a petition urging the US Congress to reject the recently-signed nuclear deal with Iran.
The online petition hopes to garner 1,000 signatures by September 7 – the date Congress is set to vote on the agreement. So far 887 "ordained rabbis" from various denominations have signed.
A majority vote against is almost inevitable given the Republican majority in both houses, but so too is a presidential veto, which Barack Obama has clearly said he will use in the event the deal is voted down.
The challenge then for opponents of the deal is to gain a two-thirds majority in both houses of congress to overturn the veto – an achievement that is looking increasingly unlikely as Democratic legislators have mostly rallied behind the president.
Earlier in August 340 liberal American rabbis signed a controversial call to congress to back the deal. Their letter provoked anger within the wider American Jewish community, many of whom, like the State of Israel, view the accord as a "bad deal" which paves the way for Iran to become a nuclear-armed power and emboldens it to pursue an ever-more aggressive foreign policy.
In response, 350 Orthodox Israeli rabbis signed an appeal of their own to Congress, urging them to reject the deal.
But the online campaign is more significant in that its signatories are all US citizens.
It argues that the deal "will harm the short-term and long-term interests of both the United States and our allies, particularly Israel."
"If this agreement is implemented, Iran will receive as much as 150 billion dollars, without any commitment to changing its nefarious behavior," it states.
"The Iranian regime denies basic human rights to its citizens, publicly calls for America’s downfall and Israel’s annihilation, and openly denies the Holocaust. This dangerous regime—the leading state sponsor of terrorism—could now be given the financial freedom to sow even more violence throughout the world."
In return, the letter notes, Iran is only subjected to very limited inspections of its nuclear sites, under conditions that are open to manipulation.
"The deal would also lift key arms embargos, so that in eight years Iran will be given international legitimacy to arm terror groups with conventional weapons and ballistic missiles," it adds.
"The agreement also entitles Iran to develop advanced centrifuges after 10 years—all-but paving Iran’s path to a nuclear weapons capability with virtually zero “breakout time.”"
"We fear the world we will leave our children if this deal is approved. And we fear having to someday bear the responsibility for Iran becoming wealthier, further empowered and better equipped to produce nuclear bombs when we had the chance to stop it," the letter continues.
"For these reasons, we agree with the assessments of leaders and experts in the United States, along with virtually all Israeli voices across the political spectrum, that we can, and must, do better.
"We call upon our Senators and Representatives to consider the dangers that this agreement poses to the United States and our allies, and to vote in opposition to this deal."
The petition ends by citing the Prophet Isaiah's famous vision of world peace.
"We hope and pray that God will assist us in ushering in for the entire world a time promised by Isaiah (2:4) when “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they engage in war anymore,” when peace will prevail. Until then, we simply cannot afford to empower and enrich a regime that continues to lift its sword without mercy towards so many who stand for good, freedom and peace."