100 women leaders, scholars, activists sign statement supporting Iran deal

Activism
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100 American women leaders, scholars, and activists have released a statement in support of the Iran deal (text and list of signatories embedded below). The statement, “We Women Support the Iran Nuclear Deal; We Say No to War and YES to Diplomacy,” was organized by women-led peace group CODEPINK.

The statement is signed by leading women’s and civil rights activists Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Barbara Ransby, Jane Fonda, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Eve Ensler, among others.

Photo: CODEPINK

Photo: CODEPINK

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson, National Organization for Women (NOW) President Terry O’Neill, and National Congress of Black Women (NCBW) President E. Faye Williams also signed the statement.

Sarah Shourd, an American journalist and writer imprisoned for 410 days by the Iranian government, endorsed the statement as well. Shourd has voiced strong support for the Iran nuclear deal. In an interview with Democracy Now, Shourd explained:

I think it’s a great deal. I think it’s more than we could have ever hoped for. Not only does it weaken the hardliner position in Iran and ease tension between our two countries, it could lead to cooperation to combat ISIS. I also think that it is good for the Americans that are currently detained there. I think it actually gives the Iranian government less incentive to use hostage taking as a tactic.

CODEPINK is hosting a press conference and rally featuring Shourd on the East Lawn of the US Capitol building on September 8. Shourd will speak about why she feels it is so important for Americans to support the deal.

Numerous former Iranian political prisoners released another statement in support of the Iran deal in August.

The deal, brokered after years of negotiations between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US—plus Germany), and the EU, will bring a gradual end to Western sanctions on the Islamic Republic in return for a halting of its nuclear program and constant supervision by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“We thought it was important for prominent women’s voices to be on record in support of this deal,” CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin told Mondoweiss.

rachel vilkomerson codepink iran deal

Photo: CODEPINK

Benjamin pointed out that many of those trying to undermine the Iran nuclear deal were in fact supporters of the US war in Iraq and disseminated lies about Saddam Hussein allegedly having “weapons of mass destruction” (WMDs). “Many of these women spoke out against the US invasion of Iraq. They were right then, and they’re right now,” she said.

“When we hear loudmouths like Dick Cheney and Ted Cruz and even Donald Trump trying to sabotage the deal, we feel compelled to be a voice of reason,” Benjamin added. “We’ve seen men lead us down the path toward war with disastrous consequences. We refuse to let them do it again.”

Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust survivor and human rights activist who is an outspoken critic of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, also signed the statement in support of the deal. In 2014, Epstein was arrested at a Black Lives Matter civil rights protest in Ferguson, Missouri. “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90,” Epstein said.

The statement is also signed by Edith Bell, a Holocaust survivor and activist in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Bell has been very critical of what she has described as Israel’s act of “genocide” against the indigenous Palestinian population. “I especially feel resentment that the Holocaust—my suffering during the war—is going to be used to justify killing innocent people,” Bell said.

“I don’t want people doing these kinds of things in my name,” Bell told Deutsche Welle in an interview conducted at the end of Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza, codenamed Operation Protective Edge. “Our US government seems to think that AIPAC represents all Jews, and it doesn’t.”

We Women Support the Iran Nuclear Deal; We Say No to War and YES to Diplomacy

After an historic nuclear deal was reached with Iran and passed unanimously by the UN Security Council, US politicians, pundits, and special interest lobby groups are pushing Congress to reject the deal. Some of these individuals and organizations orchestrated the invasion of Iraq that cost countless lives, over $3 trillion in US taxpayer dollars and opened the path for ISIL to emerge with continuing devastating consequences to Iraq, Syria and the region.

Let’s be clear: the likely alternative to this deal is another devastating war in the Middle East. War ravages communities, leaving women to care for the wounded and rebuild society. It spreads hatred and extremism. This is not the world we want for ourselves or our children.

When women say No to war, we are saying Yes to a peaceful and sustainable future. This deal with Iran is proof that we can find non-violent ways of resolving conflicts. Women have historically been influential in ending seemingly intractable conflicts, and now we are shining the global spotlight on Iran. Congress should fully embrace this successful negotiation and encourage the administration to use this momentum to seek other non-violent solutions to global conflicts.

Signed,

Sarah Shourd, journalist, playwright, imprisoned for 410 days as a political hostage by the Iranian government
Alice Walker, author, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize recipient
Angela Davis, lecturer, author
Gloria Steinem, author, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
Jane Fonda, American actress, writer, political activist
Eve Ensler, playwright, founder of V-Day
Jodie Evans, co-founder of CODEPINK, author, filmmaker
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, author
Terry O’Neill, President, National Organization for Women
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace
Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRE
Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Nan Aron, President, Alliance for Justice
Q’orianka Kilcher, actress
Susan Shaer, Executive Director, Women’s Action for New Directions
Lyn Lear, producer/ co-founder of Environmental Media Association
Rev. Kristin Stoneking, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Heather Booth, organizer
Maureen Baillargeon Aumand, Women Against War
Anna Galland, Executive Director, MoveOn Civic Action
Phyllis Bennis, fellow, Institute for Policy Studies
Christine Ahn, Executive Director, Women Cross DMZ
Lisa Brock, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, historian, author
Ann Wright, retired colonel, U.S. Army
Celinda Lake, pollster, President, Lake Research Partners
Blanche Wiesen Cook, author
Lisa Veneklesen, Executive Director, Just Associates
Terry Tempest Williams, author
Gay Dillingham, director, producer
Diane E. Randall, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation
Becky Bond, Vice President, Political Director, CREDO
Maria Bello, actress, writer
Huong, artist/peace activist
Barbara Ransby, professor, historian, author, activist
Elham Khatami, outreach director, National Iranian American Council
Gail Zappa, producer
Laura Bickford, producer
Mary Hanson Harrison, President, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) US Section
Annie Leonard, Executive Director, Greenpeace
Marjan Shallal, owner, Busboys and Poets
Edith Bell, Holocaust survivor, WILPF
Marisa Tomei, actress
Susan Griffin, author, lecturer, teacher
Lindsey Allen, Executive Director, Rainforest Action Network
Pat Alviso, National Coordinator, Military Families Speak Out
Jessica Neuwirth, lawyer, activist, founder, Equality Now
Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Donna Deitch, producer
Hedy Epstein, Holocaust survivor
Frida Berrigan, author
Rev. Frances Hall Kieschnick, Founding Director, The Beatitudes Society
Nina Simons, co-founder, Bioneers
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Director, Roshan Institute for Persian Studies
Gwendolyn Mink, author, activist, political scientist
Dr. E. Faye Williams, President, National Congress of Black Women
Patti Chang, CEO, Feed the Hunger Foundation
Maxine Hong Kingston, National Humanities Medal and National Arts Medal recipient
Sonali Kolhatkar, Co-Director, Afghan Women’s Mission
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Shomeret Shalom Rabbinic School and Learning Center
Cynda Collins Arsenault, philanthropist, Women Powering Change
Carrie Fisher, actress, writer, producer, Princess Leia
Jeralynn Blueford, Executive Director, Alan Blueford Foundation
Marcy Wheeler, journalist
Merle Lefkoff, Center for Emergent Diplomacy
Margot Kidder, actress
Lily Sarafan, President, Home Care Assistance
Deborah Toler, researcher, writer, media analyst, Progressive Action
Marie Dennis, President of Pax Christi
Laura Flanders, host the Laura Flanders Show
Beth Schulman, President of the Board, Institute for Public Accuracy
Pat Foote, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, retired
Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Bianca Jagger, former actress, Jagger Human Rights Foundation
Yasmeen Hassan,
Executive Director, Equality Now
Nancy Kricorian,
writer and activist
Carolyn Rusti Eisenberg,
professor, author, United for Peace and Justice
Tara Thompson,
Director, Hands Up United
Rika Tyler,
Director, Hands Up United
Angela Canterbury,
Executive Director, Council for a Livable World
Jesselyn Radack
, human rights attorney, whistleblower attorney
Thenmoshi Soundarajan,
Executive Director, Third World Majority
Dr. Jill Stein,
Green Party presidential candidate
Patricia T. Morris,
President, Women Thrive Worldwide
Malika Dutt,
CEO, Breakthrough
Julianne Malveaux,
economist, author
Anuradha Mittal,
founder, Executive Director, Oakland Institute
Starry Krueger,
President, Rural Development Leadership Network
Charlotte Bunch,
professor, founder, Center for Women’s Global Leadership
Nell Scovell,
TV writer/ producer/ director
Cindy Corrie,
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
Rebecca Solnit,
author
Mira Nair,
director
Gaby Hoffmann,
actress, Emmy Award Nominee
Robin Morgan
, author, National Endowment for the Arts Prize recipient
Angelica Salazar,
community organizer
Donna Hall,
President/ CEO, Women’s Donor Network
Erica Chenoweth,
scholar/author, Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy
Barbara Ehrenreich,
author
Cheri Honkala
, co-founder/ National Coordinator, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign

About Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer based in New York City. His work has been featured in a variety of publications. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton. His website is BenNorton.com.

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4 Responses

  1. Bandolero
    September 2, 2015, 11:03 am

    And, perfectly fitting to that statement above of women support for the deal, Sen Barbara Mikulski from Maryland said today she will back the deal – bringing the number of votes backing the deal in the senate to 34, enough to uphold Obama’s veto if the Replicans move forward with a resolution of disapproval.

  2. JWalters
    September 3, 2015, 8:45 pm

    My thanks to these women leaders for pooling their strength to speak up for universal justice, and against the tyranny of bigotry. This is a very timely announcement.

  3. CatherineJ
    September 9, 2015, 6:57 am

    I guess we definitely should have a peace between our countries. I bet that Iranians are not that bad as people use to think and our disagreement can be resolved. After I found a website to write my essay related to this theme I’ve figured our that people on the Earth are all the same and only governments can be good or bad. We all need to unite, not confront each other.

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