Even though President Barack Obama secured his key 34th supporter in the Senate for the Iran nuclear deal, vigils were still held in protest and concern, organized by Baltimore Zionist District calling for politicians to reject the deal and also to get out the word to the community.
About two dozen people assembled at the intersection of Old Court Road and Park Heights Avenue for about four hours on Sunday and on Monday at Slade and Park Heights avenues. Participants waved U.S and Israeli flags and held placards that read, “We need a Better Deal,” “Reject Bad Iran Deal” and “Congress: Say No to Iran Deal.” Some drivers honked their car horns in solidarity.
“We’re here to protest the deal,” said Robert Slatkin, president of BZD. “[It’s] still a bad deal for the country and for Israel. When [Iran] talks about death to America and Israel, we need to pay attention to it,” said Slatkin.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, would require Iran to reduce and restrict its production of enriched uranium in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
Obama has promised to veto any bill that blocks the deal’s implementation, and with Sen. Barbara Mikulski coming out in favor of the deal last week, the Senate is unlikely to overcome a presidential veto. Still, the overriding sentiment of vigil participants was it’s not over until the vote happens later this month and they remain hopeful.
“Anything can change,” said Irwin Azman of Baltimore County. “The old saying, ‘It’s not over until the fat lady sings’… I still have hope. There might be a change in the Senate so we have to stress our views here.”
Late last week, Sen. Benjamin Cardin came out against the deal. A large banner thanking Cardin was present, but his hesitation to act was criticized by some of the attendees.
I can’t think of a more important issue of our time. Nuclear Iran threatens Israel and threatens the United States.
As of press time, 218 Republicans and 16 Democrats in the House of Representatives have opposed the Iran deal. To overcome a presidential veto, 43 Democrats would also need to oppose the deal. Thus far, all of Maryland’s Democrats in the House are either in support of the deal or remain undecided.
“I’m out here because I’m a Christian United for Israel, and I believe that this so-called deal is actually the beginning of the annihilation of the State of Israel, and also of America,” said Mae Bouchau, who lives in Lochearn and attends Trinity Life Church in Lutherville. “I think it’s the worst thing that could possibly happen for both of our peoples.”
Christians United for Israel is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with more than 2 million members. About 5,000 members were assembled to pray in Washington, D.C. in July, when the deal was signed.
Bouchau was protesting because “it is possible that some of these undecided senators might vote no if we get enough word out to them,” she asserted. “I’m still writing letters, I’m still making phone calls and emails and praying for that.” She added, “Actually, we know Israel will come out of this because God has promised it. Whether America will or not that’s another story.”
When asked if people were becoming fatigued with the Iran deal, Brian Sacks, a past president of BZD, said he hopes not.
Said Sacks, “I can’t think of more important issue of our time. Nuclear Iran threatens Israel and threatens the United States.”