J Street opposes the President-elect’s appointment of Lt. General (Ret.) Michael Flynn to the position of National Security Advisor. Flynn has a deeply troubling history of bigoted and false statements and murky ties to foreign governments that make clear he is a completely inappropriate choice to serve in the most senior national security position in the White House.
Like many of those close to the Trump campaign and now being considered for senior positions in his administration, Flynn has repeatedly made Islamophobic statements and peddled anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. He has written that “fear of Muslims is rational” and said that “Islam is a political ideology” and “a cancer” that “hides behind being a religion,” while also promoting the nonsensical and totally false theory that “Shariah law” is spreading in the United States. He has had to apologize for sharing a blatantly anti-Semitic tweet on social media.
Flynn is an outspoken opponent of the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran. We recognize and respect that he is entitled to his assessment of the agreement, which runs counter to that of J Street and the large majority of the American security establishment. But we are alarmed by his clear preference for “regime change” over effective diplomatic action when it comes to engaging with Iran. In his 2015 testimony before the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Flynn said that “regime change in Tehran is the best way to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program.”
It is also concerning that Flynn’s lobbying company, Flynn Intel Group, has ties to Turkish interests close to the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has at times acted in ways hostile to the interests of the United States and Israel.
Since his election, Donald Trump has quickly developed a pattern of backing up his hateful campaign rhetoric with the appointments of bigoted and extreme individuals far outside the mainstream of responsible leadership and policy-making. Flynn’s repugnant statements about Muslims, ties to authoritarian governments and preference for radical military aggression would obviously disqualify him in the eyes of any normal and responsible presidential administration.
His appointment is cause for serious alarm for all those who respect the rights and dignity of Muslim -Americans and who care about the future of American leadership and foreign policy. We call on all responsible leaders in both parties to denounce it and for the president-elect to rescind it immediately.
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