As I watched the funeral of South African leader Nelson Mandela this morning and people celebrating his life and legacy it was a clear showing of national pride. And while Mandela is admired by the world for speaking out for what he viewed as truth, for which so many Jewish organizations have commended him, one wonders why Rabbis and communal leaders are so quiet at this time of danger for the State of Israel.
While another people honors their dead hero, the American Jewish leadership today ignores the peril to our people. Last week, American President Barack Obama held not one – but two – White House Hanukkah parties with over 400 American Jewish leaders who clamored to rub elbows with the powerful leaders of Washington, D.C.
Not a single one of these leaders raised a voice of moral conscience at this time of peril for the Jewish state. Not one of them spoke out – and it is quite shameful. While a few weeks ago, these brave souls anonymously said they “feel they were misled by the White House in recent contacts during which Obama administration officials urged them to stop pressing for more sanctions on Iran and instead give time for the Geneva negotiations to bear fruit,” and that “the Geneva talks were really “precooked” not one of them raised their voices for the world to hear about the dangers of this deal. Anonymous criticism to ensure inside access. Is not the purpose of being inside to represent Jewish interests?
Not one of them was brave enough to go on the record and say “Shame on Obama & Kerry for cutting this disastrous deal with Iran.” Does anyone doubt African-American leaders wouldn’t have stood quietly next to a President at odds with their interests?
While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli political leaders across the political spectrum worry about the vast danger to Israel’s millions of citizens, American Jewish leaders prefer latkes in the White House and an invitation – rather than doing the right thing and speaking truth to power. The time is now to stand against this terrible agreement and stand with Israel – it is as simple as that and someone ought to say it. For all the talk of Never Again, and American Jewish silence during the Holocaust, where is the American Jewish leadership, Rabbis and all the rest at this time of peril for the Jewish State?
Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky said many years ago “Silence is despicable, it leads to a loss of flesh and blood.” Of course, he didn’t have an iphone to take a picture with Obama and post to twitter.