August 9 2015
Representative Steny Hoyer
at King David Hotel

Dear Congressman Hoyer

I watched your interview with Yaakov Ahimeir on Israel TV and was encouraged to hear your reassuring words of support for Israel—based on our shared values.

Before moving to Israel in 1972 I, was a lifelong Democrat, and active in public health work in New York City. My heroes were Senators Henry Jackson, Paul Douglas, Hubert Humprey, Hale Boggs and George McGovern, who visited us In East Harlem. FDR, Harry Truman, and LBJ were heroes for advancing civil rights, and improving the lives of working people and the poor, and confronting totalitarian threats.

Now I am writing not as a Democrat or a Republican, but as someone who sees Iran as the world’s epicenter of despotic evil. The deal enables, emboldens and empowers a demonic totalitarian regime- whose leaders incite to genocide, export terror and carry out ever more public hangings.

In the last 15 years, whenever the world toughened up, Iran backed off, and whenever the world loosened up-Iran enriched faster, incited more and exported more terror and carried out more public hangings. Under Khamenei, Iran’s leaders have become ever more explicit in their shrill calls for the destruction of Israel, using metaphors of dehumanization and threats as bad or worse than Hitler’s.

As l watched you, I recalled that in 2007, the House of Representatives passed HCon Res 21. by an overwhelming majority of 407 to 2. This Resolution condemned the then President of Iran for incitement to genocide, export of terror and suppression of human rights. And I recalled the Helsinki Accords (Jackson-Vanik) in the 1980’s which tied removal of trade restrictions on the Soviets to their respecting human rights.

The Iran deal abandons these precedents and sets a dangerous new precedent: rewarding Iran for its violations of our shared values of respect for life and democracy.

I call upon you and your colleagues –Democrats and Republicans– to reassert these shared values. Inspections are not enough. I suggest: make sanctions relief conditional on Iran’s stopping its incitement to genocide, its despotic repression of human rights, its export of terror and its support of genocidal regimes and organizations. The Helsinki Accords and Jackson-Vanik are the role models.

Professor Elihu D Richter MD MPH
Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine
And Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention
Tel 972-2-6758147 Fax 972-2-6437219 email