On the Iran deal, American Jewish "leaders" don’t speak for most Jews

So more than three-fifths of American Jews who express an opinion support the deal, compared with a bit more than half of Americans overall. Jews are far more sharply divided over the deal than non-Jews. The old saw “two Jews, three opinions” understates the matter.

But among the official “Jewish leaders,” this is hardly the case. AIPAC says that the deal “would facilitate rather than prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.” The American Jewish Committee says the deal creates only “a temporary freeze” on Iranian nuclear weapons. The ADL agrees that it “represents a pause, not a stop to Iran’s nuclear weapons quest.” None of them offer any plausible alternative means to close the door on that quest.

Why is the “Jewish leadership” so unrepresentative of the population it claims to speak for on one of the most consequential and controversial American foreign policy decisions of our time? Why did these Jewish organizations announce plans to spend more than $20 million on advertising against the deal, while J Street raised $2 million to spend in favor?

For one thing, the dominant leadership is somewhat older and more conservative than Jews on the whole. Perhaps even more important, it disproportionately represents wealthy Jews.