tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera September 10, 2015 10:30pm-11:01pm EDT
young people still looking for a reason to hope. that is "america tonight". tell us what you think at aljazeera.com/americatonight. talk to us on twitter and facebook and come back. we'll have more of "america tonight" tomorrow. i'm ali velshi "on target." the deal with iran has jewish americans taking sides. i go into a jewish community that insists on the last thing in the world that you might expect. senate democrats handed president obama a huge victory, probably the biggest in a battle to strike a nuclear agreement with iran.
blocking the republicans disapproval revolution will not stop the lively debate over the deal, one involving many americans, including jewish americans. it strained ties between the united states and israel and exposed divisions among american jews over what the pact means. tonight i want to explore the subdivisions and what they sell us or not about american jews and their support of israel. paul painted a picture of where jews in america stood on the deal. in july, after the deal was reached, a survey bit the left-leaning lobbying group showed 60% of support for the deal, 40% opposing it. critics of the deal, and jay street say it opposed the agreement. at the same time, a poll taken by an advocacy group found 45% of americans rejected the deal.
40% wanted congress to approve it. it's a grey area. the unmistakable take away is that there's nothing preaching a unanimous opinion about the deal among american jews, and the picture reflects differing views on what the deal means for israel. jewish opponents like the american rabbi say that the deal will put iran closer to acquiring ta nuclear weapon, threatening israel's existence. many are republican. the democratic senator opposes the deal, calling himself a guardian of israel. jews that support the deal took out full-paid ads like this one, saying the deal will cut off iran's ability to pursue a nuclear weapon. it was signed including a former democratic senator and some rabbis. there's no doubt that the debate
over iran created an emotional debate among jewish americans, one that has gone beyond the deal. it's too early to say whether it's been a healthy exchange of views or a battle leaving a lot in common. i want to discuss the question now with the rabbi. he sa vocal opponent of the nuclear deep. and spent the last few days making the case to members of congress and wrote a personal appeal to his friend. the rabbi participated in an anti-iran deal along with senator crews. great to see you again, thank you for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> you've been an opponent of the deal, and there's notable opponents of the deal. the rally gave me pause, if you want to end this.
sarah palin, ted cruz and the guy from duck dynasty, is that how you want to end it. >> the guy from duck dynasty has a serious following. 80% of americans have a view. it's been resolved. overwhelmingly americans rejected the deal. the majority doesn't want the deal to happen. it's a great foreign policy issue. this is a democratic country and people should be allowed to vote. the president can exercise his veto. why won't he? he doesn't want to own the verio. he understands the dangers of the deal. we could remove the opinion and go to fact. president obama said when the breakout time, that's next to zero. the deal gives iran 150 billion, which everyone knows can murder and kill people the world over,
and that iran are liars and cheats and are genocidal. yesterday, the ayatollah khamenei said everyone will be destroyed we have talked about the deal. there's no benefit in us relitigating it. given the numbers you stated with respect to americans whos oppose the deal, members of congress that oppose the deal, and the polls are blurry. polls show something, that there's some proportions who support the deal. are you saying american interviews support the deal more than the general public does? >> no, i said 80% of americans oppose the deal. >> a number of jews don't. >> correct. they have been divided. it reflects the security concerns. israel is constantly attack the.
and the target about getting iran to agree to limitations on the programme. >> it is unusual that portions of american jews supporting the deal are greater. >> supporting the gal is greater. >> you saidar stated a pugh research. the project which is against the deal. polls show 40% of american juice support the deal, it's double the number of pugh. it's hard to tale. no poll showed 80% against the deal. tas an important segment. this deal effects us and the jewish state because of iran's threat against the jewish community, that's why it's active and polarized. we faced a genocide 70 years ago and are confeud why we are the
target. why does iran threaten israel with gen sigh. it will park a divisive debate. >> we grow an that, that it's boek fo there to be american jews that support the development. it doesn't make them sell outs. >> i never said anything like that. i believe the more debates, the healthier, more debates are coming out. there should be a vote in the senate. i believe in the process, i believe the democratic process should define what is best for the united states. what we are seeing is an attempt to stymie that process, and in the community it's been a robust mistake. the senate let them voice reasons for it. i believe in the marketplace of
ideas. we can show that it's wrong. i don't know how the proponents of the deal are responding to all the stuff. he was a non-jewish. it was a ferocious democratic proponent of the deal. when he revealed it, john kerry said you are revealing state secrets. i want this discussion. >> senator menendez is the senator. it's interesting, following discussions about cory booker, you refer to as a sole friend. what is your relationship about. >> we spent hundreds of friday night dinners at home, which friend he brought. we studied together. he bounced my children on the knee. >> and now he says he is going to support the deal. you wrote you didn't want that to happen. >> i was clear that this is not about me and cory, or cory's
relationship with the jewish community which has been unique and intense given the relationships i helped him to build. this is the question of genocide. cory is an outspoken ex-pond of human life. i said this on policy, nothing personal. when you have a regime that hangs gay men in public squares, and cory wouldn't marry straight couples as mayor of newark, and now you have a mayor opposed to gun sales. now he'll give 150 billion to iran. and we have a senator that is such an advocate. legitimizing the government. locking up thousands of people. not making this an issue, a policy issue. that's problematic. nothing on a personnel level. >> i now it well enough to know
>> every saturday night. >> i lived that character. >> go one on one with america's movers and shakers. >> we will be able to see change. >> gripping... inspiring... entertaining. "talk to al jazeera". saturday, 6:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america. once 100,000 strong, iran's jewish community dwindled to
between 15,000 and 30,000. but the jews who stayed in the country lived and worked with an iranian high court lock on the world. >> reporter: since the 1979 revolution iran's government billed itself as an islamic republic based on the principle of rule by shia muslim clerics, as an as a result religious minor fizz like sunnis, and converts to christianity suffered discrimination by the government. other religious ninorities enjoyed status under iran's constitution, including zoro avtry jans, traditional christians and jews. >> we have hunted dreads of bahis in prison and sunnis, solely for their beliefs and religion, not a jew. they can have the religious
practices, as long as they don't step into political issues or activity for all citizens. >> reporter: iranian jews don't enjoy all the same rights and protections that muslims do under law. they are granted right of political participation. under the constitution jews get a seat in the iranian perimeter. the doctor is iran's jewish community's elected representative. he heads up the hospital and charity center, a medical facility offering free and discounted care to patients of all religions owned and operate by the community. >> they are employed day by day. you can find if according to the immigration, much less than immigration in areas after the
revolution, and seven the fm number of iranians in iran today. it means that immigration subsided, the iranians want to live here. >> few realise but iran is home to the third largest community in the middle east. only israel and turkey have larger communities. the numbers fell over the years, iran's capital city has 13 synagogues where they can worship. >> they travel the world, meet the jews, they look at you and say why are you in iran. >> of course, we play. we love and obey our culture and it is similar to other iranian people. >> nevertheless, the number of iranian jews living inside iran has dwindled because of immigration. especially since the islamic
revolution of 1979. most of them moved to the united states or israel. >> let me ask you this, before the revolution there were 100,000 juice and now there's 30,000. 70,000 didn't like what happened. >> most of them during the early days. >> and because of that iranians who could regulate for better conditions. most of them have strike with iran. >> does the vehemence, the energy spent in iran criticising israel. are you worried it goes on to the jewish people. >> there's a distinction of separation. >> are you okay with that separation. >> yes. >> you feel that. >> of course. >> iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad hosted a conference questioning the deliberate killing of european jews during world war ii.
he was denounced for denying the truth of the holocaust. in line with the government policy he denounced israel, billing itself as the jewish state for the treatment of palestinians. >> being the victim of genocide does not lead you to kill innocent people. you cannot punish the arab people because you are the victim of genocide in europe. >> the sign says palestine square. there are between 15 and 30,000 jews in iran. most of them here in tehran. down behind me is a synagogue, and three schools, there's an excellent restaurant. >> this is a jewish name. >> yes. >> schumer is jewish.
>> i have not met a lot of iranians called david schumer. do they know when you say your time. -- name. i'm i say i'm jewish. >> why did so many leave. many of them - i think it is. >> you do. you leave the tehran and iran. it's something else. many come to iran for a visit. >> iran's jews have roots going back 3,000 years. the question everyone is asking, how much surveying power do they have. >> i'm impressed that once you have a state in iran, it's their home. or do believe that they want to
an iranian american author wrote assassins of a turk (?) power, a nonfiction act targetting exiled opponents of the government in 1992. she was born in iran, raised in a jewish family, coming to the united states, in 1925. i recently spoke about iran, and the state of its jewish community. >> i have returned, as you know, from tehran, where i was trying to get a handle on how many jews there are. we have given numbers 15,000 to 30,000. hard to get a handle on it. few are than the number of us before the revolution. >> i think it's a great tragedy, not just for history of the existence of the community in iran, but for iran itself.
there used to be 100,000 juice living in 1978. now the best figures that i have arrived at say that the community is less than 10,000, less than 8500. it's a tenth of what it used to be at the time of revolution in 1979. >> well, many reasons. at the beginning of the revolution, there was in 1979. a most terrifying event that chased the majority of the community away. was the execution of the iranian businessman, he was not only a significant and important industrialist in the history of the iranian industry, but a major father-figure for the jews of iran. once executed, and it's bizarre
because he believed in the cause of democracy, he was a dedicated individual to the cause of iran. once he was executed, the community was so shaken up that even after whom any tried to reassure the community that that was not the plan, that they are welcome to stay in iran, a majority of iranian jews began to leave. >> i got the sense from the people with whom i spoke, that they felt - i don't know whether they were telling me this because we had a camera and a minder there, but things improved dramatically for jews in tehran. what do you know about that. >> i think that is a true. in past 2-3 years, there has been improvements. and there are several reasons for why those improvements
needed to happen in order for iran to move forward. one is that mahmoud ahmadinejad had been so associated with the holocaust denight and aind israeli position, coming at a grave cost to iran and the historical image of iran within the global community. secondly, for the government to government to argue that it was a different government. it had moved away from the past positions of mahmoud ahmadinejad, he needed to show that he meant well and was serious, and one of the first things he did was to tweet a happy new year message to the iranian jewish community, which everyone was entries by. part of the effort of the government was to be nicer to domestic community, but distance
itself from the rhetoric. >> is it possible that rain can go far enough. >> i personally hope so. if the government is wise, and wants to make an argument for itself as a tolerant state. in comparison to all the unreasonable and intolerable form ats of islamic approach, that exists within the region, it needs to hang on to the jewish community. it needs to show that it can provide for ploouralistic position. >> one of the things about america, they seem to like america, making a distinction between america and american
policy. it gets americaier when you talk about jews in israel. people have no problem with jews, but call it a designer occupation in palestine. for jews in iran, is the distinction important. the fact that they are not anti-semitic, they don't like israel. >> i think the distinction is one that was that was designed by the iranian jewish community, faring to the revolutionary leaders of the current government as early as 1978. as one that has been detrimental to the existence of the community. a delegation of iranian jews met with whom any. several delegations meant with him, and each time, because of the fears that the community
had, because emphasise clear early on that this new order was anti-israel and anti-american. it was important for the iranian jewish community to convey the message that we were here before 1938. we were in iran. even before islam came to iran. please make the distinction, and i think the regime did make the distinction. that was important to jewish survival in iran for the past 36 years. is it a good or bad idea to have the distinction. >> i think it was one that was inevitable. one that they needed to pass on in order to prevent executions, and allow the community to make its own decision whether or not it felt comfortable to live in iran and whether it wanted to
leave. the chips are yet to fall. 90,000 jews have left. under hassan rouhani, and in the future, iran can hang on to a community of 10,000. i got that in part because of infrastructure that exists, in order to create a community has come apart, and unless the regime. invests heavily. and i doubt that, in recreating the infrastructure that exists, it's likely that wherein the next decade or so, the numbers will go further down. >> that's our show for today, i'm ali velshi, thank you for joining us.
access, more conversations. so you don't just stay on top of the news, go deeper and get more perspectives on every issue. al jazeera america. end game - the senate has spoken, and they have spoken with a clear voice and declared that the joint agreement to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon will stand. >> a big wind, filibustering to block efforts to derail the nuclear dole. the fight is not lofr yet. crisis in europe. >> the president informed the team he'd like them to accept,
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