Elections have their Consequences

by Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz

In spite of efforts by supporters of our White House, some claim the White House itself and the attacks upon Prime Minister Netanyahu by left-wing American Jews including Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, the Israeli voter gave Likud 30 seats in the Knesset – 6 more than the Zionist Union. The Israelis have spoken through a vibrant democratic election. Bibi speaks for Israel once again.

The reporting in the international media noted the third largest party receiving 14 seats in the Knesset was the United Arab list. Talk about a free and open society! Many of these citizens of Israel voting for the United Arab list sympathize with organizations like Hamas determined to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

Those of us who reside in the 9th Congressional District of Illinois are now faced with a real problem. While I made clear that I did not agree with our Congresswoman’s position regarding the Prime Minister’s speech before Congress, and I suspect a majority of her constituency shares my opinion, I understand that Rep. Schakowsky and I view the world from very different positions. My touchstone is the Bible. It would appear that as an Obama acolyte, her’s is “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky. Our sense of morality, of life goals, is quite different. For this is not the first time that I have found myself at odds with the positions of our Congresswoman. I accept this as a byproduct of our representative form of government.

What I cannot accept, however, is our Congresswoman’s assessment of the motivations of Natenyahu. “What I heard today, felt to me like an effort to stampede the United States into war once again. That we should break from the P5+1, yes, we are the one, we should break with them. And I believe that it was to consider war.”

During the first Gulf War, Israel remained silent. As the Iranians do today, Sadam Hussein repeatedly threatened to destroy the Jewish State. For years he provided significant funds to Palestinian families from which a member lost his/her life in a terrorist attack upon Israel’s civilian population.

In total Iraq launched 88 Russian SCUD missiles, 46 of them were fired at Saudi Arabia and 42 at Israel’s civilian population. One of those Scuds landed in close proximity to where my late son, Rabbi Yosef was staying. Israel did not respond, respecting the desires of the United States.

The last person in the world who wants war with Iran is Prime Minister Netanyahu as he knows the first target of the Iranians, whether Israel is involved in that war or not, will be the civilian population of his nation. Netanyahu took the unusual step of appearing before Congress, with the knowledge that our President was not in favor of his appearance, motivated by one issue only – his desire to protect the civilian population of Israel and the very survival of his nation and the world. It is the Prime Minister’s assessment, and the assessment of the majority of Americans, that what we know of the negotiations by the United States with Iran, will lead to Iran becoming a nuclear power. It already has the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead to Israel and is in the process of developing ICBMs enabling it to deliver a nuclear warhead to New York and Washington. The first nuclear bomb it launches will be at Israel. The Prime Minister believes that a tougher stance in negotiations with Iran on the part of the United States will yield the goal we all seek – an Iran unable to develop a nuclear bomb.

Our Congresswoman’s cynical conclusion that Prime Minister Netanyahu would like nothing better than to have the United States enter into a war with Iran thus allowing American blood to be shed in a confrontation which would significantly accrue to the benefit of Israel, has been from time immemorial one of the traditional canards of anti-Semitism, that Jews manipulate the world to their own benefit. It seems she has forgotten that from the very birth of the Jewish State, it has been a policy of Israel not to involve American troops in its defense. The Prime Minister himself is a seasoned warrior on behalf of his nation, His family lost his own brother in the famous Entebbe raid. He fully understands the horrors of war.

I understand her partisan politics, her desire to stand with our President. However, to mouth an accusation against the Prime Minister of Israel which smacks of classical anti-Semitism is unacceptable even from a partisan politician.