Hundreds Rally in Lancaster Against Iran Deal


At Clipper Stadium in Lancaster, 350 people were there not to watch America’s pastime, but rather to show their support for Israel, the United States and to stand against the Iran nuclear deal.

It’s not unusual for a crowd of people to show up and cheer at Clipper Stadium in Lancaster — after all, it is the home field of the minor league Lancaster Barnstormers baseball team.

But the people in attendance on July 20 — some 350 of them, according to event organizers Don Feldman and Evy Epstein — were there not to watch America’s pastime, but rather to show their support for Israel, the United States and to stand against the Iran nuclear deal.

Feldman, who is a member of Degel Israel Congregation in Lancaster and is the founder and president of Keystone Business Transitions in Lancaster, said he chose to hold the rally at the stadium because he was concerned about the Iran deal and wanted a venue that offered flexibility and space, so people that shared his beliefs could come together. He is appalled by the deal and feels that giving Iran an estimated $150 billion in frozen assets is a huge mistake.

“Iran will not make any commitment to decrease its terrorist activities,” Feldman said. “Incredibly, America has agreed to protect Iran’s nuclear program from sabotage and attack. It’s not just the Jews that oppose this deal, but the entire Lancaster community.”

After 20 months of negotiations, the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia reached an agreement July 14, with Iran on its nuclear program. Congress has 60 days to review.

According to the deal, Iran will reduce by two-thirds — from 19,000 to 6,104 — the number of centrifuges it operates for at least 10 years and impose new provisions for inspections of Iranian facilities, including military sites. According to some estimates, Iran will also receive more than $100 billion in assets frozen overseas, and see an end to both the European embargo on its oil exports and various financial restrictions on Iranian banks. It places bans on enrichment at key facilities, and limits uranium research and development to the Natanz facility.

Epstein, who is a member of Temple Beth El in Lancaster and a longtime Jewish activist, said she was thrilled with the turnout. The presenters were not only informed about the deal, but engaged the people as well, she said.

“I think it was a good event,” she said. “I think it was well received.”

Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region Yaron Sideman, David Hazony, managing director of The Israel Project, and Republican Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA 16) spoke at the rally. Pitts represents parts of Lancaster County, Chester County and Berks County.

For Sideman, the deal is tantamount to tacitly sponsoring state terrorism.

“Iran has earned fair and square its credential as the most dangerous and aggressive regime on the face of the earth,” he said at the rally. “The Iranians aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they will use the hundreds of billions of dollars to arm their terror machine.”

Iran is constantly seeking to create, purchase and sell nuclear weapons, he added. This deal does not weaken their nuclear weapons program; it improves it.

“It actually paves the way for Iran to become a nuclear power,” he said. “This agreement will almost certainly spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Not only does the agreement practically legitimize Iran’s nuclear program, but it practically protects it.”

Hazony, who is the editor of The Tower magazine, a contributing editor at The Forward and former editor-in-chief of Azure, Israel’s leading journal of public affairs, from 2004 to 2007 is also against the Iran deal.

“When you look at it, it’s not a bad deal — it’s a catastrophic deal, “Hazony said during his speech.

By giving Iran $150 billion, America is funding the Iran Revolutionary Guard, which trains Hezbollah and runs the nuclear training program. Essentially, America is funding terrorism, he said.

Another problem with the deal is the lifting of the arms embargo, Hazony said.

“If you don’t think there are a lot of people lining up to sell weapons to Iran, then clearly you don’t speak Russian or Chinese,” Hazony said. “You are taking the most unstable place in the world and pouring weapons into it.”

For him, the scariest part of the deal is giving Iran legitimacy and building their regime. The deal takes all of their past violations of the United Nations Security Council and makes them legal. America is sending a message that if a country wants to build a nuclear weapon it can, he said.

“If Iran goes nuclear, terror goes nuclear,” Hazony said.

Congressman Pitts was greeted with applause when he announced his opposition to the deal and his hopes that Congress vetoes it.

“This agreement, if approved, is an existential threat to Israel,” Pitts said. “This agreement will be devastating to our security and the security of Israel.”

Lancaster resident Erica Krause, 19 visited Israel last year and fell in love with the country.

“I really feel like I left part of my heart there,” Krause said.

Krause said she researched the Iran deal, but after listening to the speakers she is even more afraid of what will happen if it is approved.

“We’re all standing in support of Israel and we’re all standing against the Iran nuclear bill,” she said.

Jackie Fisher, of the nearby town of Paradise, visited Israel in 2013 and liked it very much. She said she is appalled by the Iran nuclear deal.

“The trust of the government is completely gone,” she said.


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