Tag Archives: U.S. Congress

A Jewish Leader Tells the Whole World…NEVER AGAIN

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I started this piece numerous times and when all was said and done I decided to just sit back and write it entirely from the heart.  After just listening to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress I am so overcome by emotion that I want to hold on to this moment, even if only for myself.

Part of what makes us who we are is our history.  Having just finished listening to the speech I can’t help but think of my family’s history.  It was 60 years ago when the reign of Hitler’s Nazi party ended.  60 million people died in WWII and 6 million Jewish souls were lost.  Among those murdered by the Nazis was an estimated 104,000 Dutch Jews, 75% of Holland’s Jewish population in 1940. Included in that number were 3 of my 4 grandparents, an aunt and uncle, and numerous other relatives I would never know.  My parents went through life with pain I can’t even imagine having lived through one of the darkest times in the world’s history.

As far back as I can remember I have heard the words “Never Again”.  Today I watched Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who suffered in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, receive a standing ovation in the United States Congress.  Today the leader of the Jewish state of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, stood up in front of the nation and the entire world and basically said NEVER AGAIN with the words “The days in which the Jewish people stay passive in the face of genocidal enemies; those days are over”.

This is only about politics to those making it about politics.  What this is ultimately about is the survival of not only the Jewish people but the survival of our modern-day civilization.  Today a Jewish leader stood up in front of the world and told the world that the Jewish people will never again be led to slaughter.  For that reason, as the son of Holocaust survivors, as a Jew, and as an American, I found myself moved to tears and say thank you to the State of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

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The Cowardice of Opposing Netanyahu

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I have a theory.  It is a theory that is certain to upset some people.  You see, although I realize that Benjamin Netanyahu is not always the most well-liked man, and has in the past taken a political posture some may see as offensive, I believe most if not all of the opposition to his upcoming address to the United States Congress is rooted in one very dangerous and unattractive character trait.  That trait is cowardice.

There are some who may be in such disagreement and even so offended by this statement that they may have already stopped reading, but to me there is little to no question that this is the basis of most of the opposition.  We live in scary times.  Being afraid does not make one a coward.  My father, may he rest in peace, admitted without shame that during the years he was on the run from the Nazis he did indeed feel fear, despite the impression he gave to many that he did not.  I will say again that the emotion of fear is not what makes one a coward.  In fact I will go one step further and say, that it is one’s reaction to fear that can make one brave just as it is one’s reaction to fear that can make one a coward.  It is on this premise that I maintain that the reaction many have to the fear of the future, is what indeed makes them cowards.

I have met people who do not want to be involved on any level with anything political because of the fear they have for what lies ahead.  I am not judgmental of this approach.  If one chooses to avoid involvement because it frightens them too much, granted they may not be deemed heroic, but they also are doing nothing to actively obstruct or oppose those that do.  They just want to stay far away.  People who run away from danger should not be judged harshly, partially because they have every right to do so, and partially because none of us know when we will make the same choice, but mainly because they impact themselves more than they impact anyone else.  But those whose fear is manifested in the obstruction of what is right, in order to gain favor in the eyes of those who are wrong, are indeed dangerous and irresponsible cowards.

I have tried to find a reasonable answer as to why anyone who claims to love modern civilization would have a problem with the Prime Minister of Israel speaking to U.S. lawmakers about the incredible danger of conducting negotiations on nuclear energy with Iran.  It seems we’ve come a long way from not dealing with terrorists.  Unfortunately we’ve gone the wrong direction. Where we once were a nation with the policy of not negotiating with terrorists, now we have a government hell-bent on conducting negotiations that would lead to the nation sponsoring so many of these terrorists having the ability to possess nuclear weapons.  It is so bizarre that it defies all logic.  Enter Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a man who understands and confronts this danger, and somehow he now becomes public enemy number 1. Somehow members of Congress that have very little to say about Hamas or Isis are emboldened and brave enough to boycott Netanyahu’s speech.  Why?  Because they are cowards.

They are not alone.  There is plenty of support in the press, from celebrities, and from the public as well. To put this phenomenon in simplistic terms, I believe the following mentality prevails.  If we go after the enemy of the bad guys now, maybe the enemy will show mercy on us later.  It’s a little like saying ISIS just needs jobs or the inability to call Muslims that commit acts of terror, Muslim terrorists.  If we don’t speak too harshly against them maybe we’ll be safer when the time comes.  After all, let’s be honest here. Benjamin Netanyahu won’t be sending Israeli hit squads to kill those who oppose him, but active opposition to Iran, Isis, Hamas, or all other equivalent elements of evil could indeed put one’s life in grave danger.  In some perverse way I believe the most high-profile opposition of Netanyahu, with the exception of his Israeli political opposition, is hoping they can establish some credit with the bad guys just in case their master plan of world domination continues on this dangerously successful path.  And all of this is being led by a President who at best is catastrophically misguided, at worst dangerously devious.  Or maybe he is just too scared as well.

I believe the individuals who hold the same level of disdain for Netanyahu’s upcoming speech are either ignorant to the truth and or just as cowardly. Again, anything one says to speak out against Netanyahu is likely to just fade into oblivion, but speaking out against the Ayatollah of Iran for example, well if the wrong person saw that you just might get hurt.

I know there will be those who will vehemently disagree with this theory, but I am almost arrogantly certain this to be the truth.  I will say that in many cases the fear and cowardice is almost subconscious and therefore not something I expect anyone to admit and in some cases even realize, but why else would people oppose anyone defending the future of freedom and modern-day civilization?  I know they will have their responses, claiming this is inappropriate political posturing on both Netanyahu and John Boehner’s part, but even if it is, how on earth could anyone not see that the message Benjamin Netanyahu is sending is so important that those other factors are just not enough to negate the need for his speech. Unless of course you don’t want to make the bad guys angry.  I for one would be far more afraid to oppose a person, in this case Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will be asking Congress to protect the safety and security of every freedom and right we all hold dear, and I say without any fear that I support him 100%.

 

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Calling the President’s bluff on Netanyahu’s Speech

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I am not naive.  I realize that the reasons people are showing opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled speech to the U.S. Congress are at least partially based on an anti-Israel sentiment.  That being said, I am somewhat pleased as to what has transpired.  First of all, I am all for the concept of smoking out the enemy, so to speak.  I don’t necessarily believe that those boycotting the speech are automatically the enemy of Israel, but if nothing else they are the enemy of common sense.

The most high-profile politician to state that he will not be attending the speech is Vice President Joseph Biden.  Not that I ever saw him as a credible candidate anyway, but should he declare himself as running for president in 2016, it’s good to know that not only can Israel not count on him when needed, but that he didn’t even have the character to admit it openly and honestly.  Biden’s reason for not attending the speech is “a scheduling conflict”.  I guess when an administration has chosen to dumb it down  for this long, why stop?  No reason to stop insulting our intelligence now.

It just so happens that there is a solution to all of these so-called political maneuvers.  That solution is rescheduling.  The only thing not to be rescheduled should be the Israeli elections.  As of now everything seems to be running in 2 week intervals, with the elections smack in the middle.  Bibi’s speech is scheduled for March 3, Israel’s elections for March 17, and an outline for an agreement with Iran for March 31.  If the president is sincere about all of these issues then the best solution is the following.   Reschedule the target date for the proposal with Iran for one month later and reschedule Bibi’s speech for after the Israeli elections.  In doing so it would appear as though everyone is getting what they want and the accusations of politics being injected into a crucial security issue can be dismissed.  That would be great were it not for one very important factor.  Politics is always part of the equation.

First of all, despite the fact that I, as a supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu appreciate Boehner pushing for the speech, I also am aware that he has spent most of his time over the past 6 years fighting this administration.  Therefore it is clear that in circumventing the White House he gains satisfaction and at least in his mind some political gain.  That being said, of all the important issues surrounding this matter, Boehner’s tactics are the least important, and the least dangerous.  There are 2 other parties that are happy keeping things exactly as they are today and have far more impact on our future.

The first party that wants today’s status-quo to remain intact is the current President of the United States.  Whether it is out of a Chamberlain-like mentality of appeasement or the extreme view some hold that this is some master plot to destroy the U.S. as we know it, the president seems to want to make a perceived nuclear deal with Iran part of his legacy.  Common sense would dictate that it makes no sense to negotiate nuclear deals with a nation that not only sponsors worldwide terrorism but calls on the destruction of Israel and its allies in the west, but unfortunately the only way any of this makes some sense is if we believe those in charge are dangerously naive or that they have the very worst of intentions.  Should the rescheduling take place, calling the Obama administration’s proverbial bluff, I have no doubt that we would find that when all is said and done this has very little to do with whether or not the American political structure impacted Israel’s elections.  I am confident the opposition to the speech would remain.

The second party I see resisting a rescheduling of events is Iran.  It makes more sense that Iran would prefer to keep Netanyahu in power than to see Israel run by a more liberal and pacifist government.  No one in their right mind believes Iran is honest about their intentions, and should an Israeli government be elected that is willing to capitulate to Iran even in some fashion, Iran’s bluff would be called as well. Israel could have a government that would openly declare the willingness to do anything they want for peace, and Iran would still declare their desire to wipe Israel off the map.  So with a more conservative Netanyahu-lead government, Iran can continue its international deception of being a country dedicated to peace.

Regardless of anything else that happens, the one thing all the hoopla surrounding the speech has given us is a clear picture of where everyone stands in future U.S. elections.  Since Iran is a threat to American and Israeli security, I hope all those with a vote realize the larger statement being made by those putting a misguided policy ahead of what keeps all of us safe.  That statement seems to be that sleeping with the enemy is more important than working with your friends.  A very concerning and ultimately tragically dangerous approach.

 

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