And what about Robert Levinson

There is an old Jewish saying”Uru Achim Uru-Awaken brothers, Awaken” when Israel is in trouble, when only one Jew is in trouble. It is one of the most basic commandments in Judaism, that of Pidyon Shevuim-liberation of prisoners. It is the duty of Jews to help each other, to do for ourselves what others should have also done, but they do not. Rabbi Hillel the Sage said ”im ein ani li, mi li?”-If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

A Jew, Robert Levinson ended up in March 2007 in an Iranian jail. I, for one, do not know why he went there , especially with such an obvious Jewish name. I also do not care much about that, and do not engage in the speculation game raging in some of the press as to why he went there. Nor did I spend any time on checking what really were the circumstances of the going to Iran of some of the other Americans who were held captives there, and were returned to their families in the latest exchange of prisoners with Iran. All that matters to me, all that should matter to everyone of good will, Jew or Gentile, is that the Jewish prisoner , Robert Levinson, was NOT returned to his family. Forgotten?. NO. abandoned to his fate, betrayed by those who cooked up the deal with the Mullahs, and it happened, because he is Jewish. Because one Jew would never be allowed to stand on the way of the ”historic” agreement with Iran. No, not a Jew. Jews are different, they are Americans, but maybe a bit less American than others.

The ”omission” of Levinson was hardly mentioned in the press , with just few exceptions. His name was hardly mentioned, and it is not just the media. I, for one, heard NOTHING from any Jewish leader in America. Easy to pin it on the long weekend, but it may just be an excuse. Let us see how confident American Jewish organizations feel these days issue a strong call about one Jew , when Jewish honor is denigrated everywhere, when Israel has become the pariah state in the minds of so many, including many liberal Jews. I, for one, do not hold my breath. I am expecting the usual talk of ”let us be sensible, let us be realistic” etc, the talk of those who will say, that such a great arrangement with Iran should NOT be put in danger, only because of a Jewish concern. Maybe also, that Levinson is already dead, so why bother. Why bother?. If he is dead , who in Iran gave the orders?. Where is the body?. Well, in particular I am expecting to hear from ALL the Rabbis and Jewish politicians who supported the Iran nuclear deal. They have now their moment of truth, the moment where they have to look us in the collective white of our eyes, and explain how come the Administration which they so support, allowed this outrage, of abandoning one poor Jew to his fate. Will they?. I hope , but I have no illusions. They will not.

They did not protest when the State Department related to the victims of the Paris attack last year, but did not mention the Jewish victims in the Kosher grocery. They did not protest when the President referred to the Jewish victims there as ”a bunch of people happening to be in the wrong place”. They did not protest when Ezra Schwartz was murdered and there was no reference to this, contrary to the verbal riot in C street whenever there is an incident against Palestinians. But what about other American Jews, the politicians who objected to the Iran deal, the Rabbis, the organizations? .Where are they to raise hell about ONE poor Jew, Robert Levinson? Here is where it is so relevant to remind them about”Uru Achim Uru”. Do something! Write to your congressmen and demand reapplication of sanctions until Iran returns Levinson. Flood the social media. DO SOMETHING!

Et zara leYaacov-Troubles to the Jewish people. Time for the Jews to react. This is NOT politics, this is an old Jewish Mitzvah. And for our Liberal Rabbis; consider it TIKKUN OLAM, consider it whatever, just raise your voice as well.

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina