Alan Newman

Fires to extinguish

Painting by Leah Raab
Painting by Leah Raab

We are slowly awakening from the shocking nightmare of the October 7 Gaza massacre.  It was our generation’s pogrom grimly linking us to past destructions like Kishinev, Hebron, and Kristallnacht. We emerge into a darker Jewish world facing the reality of rabid antisemitic and anti-Zionist hate festering in both the diaspora and Israel. Israel’s current battle will not be won quickly or easily; it is not a replay of the Six Day War. Similarly, antisemitism, humanity’s oldest hatred, festers on. Looking forward, we see Israel’s future and ours far less secure, with greater risks and more uncertainty. Now is the time to act bravely, and as in the past we will prevail.

A timely quote from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov reminds, “All the world is a narrow bridge and the main thing is to not be afraid.”

As we witness bloody warfare on Israel’s borders and the global explosion of antisemitism, we should be realistic about what Israel and Judaism now face. With open eyes let’s consider what started and perpetuated these toxic fires. We should explore what might spark an even greater conflagration. Let’s ask ourselves how we got here, and going forward what might we do differently. It is high time for candor, courage and contribution.

First, organizations like FIDF (Friends of the IDF) and AFMDA (Americans for Magen David Adom) deserve our fullest financial support. They are helping on the front lines as Israelis suffer like never before, and the likelihood of a protracted war begs even louder for our kindness and generosity. Help until it hurts.

Israel’s fate is tied to America’s, and Judaism’s fate is tied to Israel. It is a geopolitical reality borne of the Judeo-Christian ethic and nurtured over seventy-five years of cooperation. Israelis and pro-Israel Americans greatly appreciate President Biden’s support. He stepped up to fly to Israel, to speak out about the atrocities and to quickly press for practical cooperation. American warships now buttress Israel and materiel is being rushed to IDF bases. Israel and the Jewish people laud the show of military, diplomatic, logistical and intelligence collaboration with America. And America is the last ally at the perverse Israel-obsessed United Nations.

We need to work with Congress and the President to ensure US-Israel alignment is unwavering. Support for organizations like AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is vital. There are members of Congress, like the “Squad” who are hostile to this relationship, and they and similar minded candidates must be defeated at the polls. Policies like secure borders, energy independence, and a robust military need our support. Without these policies we will be seen as retreating from the world stage, and ultimately weakness fan the flames of aggression.

Unfortunately, the JCPOA (the Iran nuclear deal) yielded huge financial benefits that guaranteed Iran funding and influence that supercharged proxies like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis. Additionally, removal of economic sanctions allowed a vast inflow of petrochemical revenues. Malign proxies of Iran now can harm Israel, and their lethality is a direct result of Tehran’s largesse, influence and coordination.

Regarding Hamas’s savagery with murder of 1400 Israelis, the thousands injured, the depravity, torture, kidnapping and rape, the means were there to commit the crime and it is easy to connect the Iran-Hamas dots. As for the motive for these crimes, just recall the threatening “Death to Israel” declarations embedded in Iranian and Hamas manifestos. Don’t let anyone question Israel’s “proportionality” or humanity relative to the Palestinians. If someone probes about a Two-State Solution, remind them Gaza was a second-state…. ask how that turned out.

Going forward, the Abraham Accords must be expanded to counter the Iranian caliphate, and all possible pressure applied to Iran to reduce their war making abilities. Iran is nearly nuclear weapons capable and has played the world for a fool. We must press for legislation and alliances to eliminate this catastrophic scenario.

We must ask if the American progressives “woke” pursuit of intersectionality, critical race theory, social justice theory and universality helped create a combustible geopolitical uncertainty rattling the delicate balance of power in the Middle East. Did these naïve, delusional leaders adequately reconcile their popular theories with the dangers outlined in Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations? The outrageous behaviors on college campuses ties back to decades-long pro-Arab and socialist investments. Tiny countries like Israel that “live in tough neighborhoods” suffer from these machinations. If you can, push back on your alma maters denying them any funding.

We read the hate speech spewed and the twisted reporting from the useful idiots pontificating at NYT, MSNBC, BBC and elsewhere. “Feelings instead of facts” illogic screeds sell disinformation that ignores history and maddingly repositions Israel and the Jews as the oppressor instead of the victim. Cancel subscriptions, complain or protest their bias.

Leaders of major Jewish organization lost their focus on the real enemies and diluted their resources affiliating with the cause-of-the-day. Now is the time for them to think straighter and toughen up. The pro-Hamas and pro-Palestine aligned causes, well-funded by malevolent forces, do not play nice, don’t want to be your friend, and take comfort in your ambivalence. ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt’s unabashed support of BLM tells it all. Jewish organizations should defend Jewish people and properties, and should also teach Jews to be informed, proud activist Maccabees.

Will America stand firm as a proud Judeo-Christian nation in this epic battle between good and pure evil? Let’s pray, contribute and work hard to ensure that America does NOT have trembling knees seeking a Neville Chamberlain-esque “peace in our time” settlement with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian butchers. Let’s provide whatever resources Israel needs to rebound. Let’s passionately advocate for America to display the courage and moral clarity to extinguish fires started years ago.

About the Author
Alan Newman is a life-long supporter of the Jewish community and Israel. His commitment is evident with his hands-on approach and leadership positions at AIPAC, StandWithUs, Ben-Gurion University, Ethiopian National Project and Federation’s JCRC. He has traveled to Israel almost two dozen times and is an enthusiastic supporter of pro-Israel Christians including critical organizations like CUFI, ICEJ, USIEA and Genesis 123 Foundation. Alan’s compelling novel, GOOD HEART, published by Gefen Publishing House, is a multi-generational story about a Christian and Jewish family. He was a senior executive at Citigroup and holds two US Patents. He lives with his wife in West Palm Beach and enjoys time with his two sons and their families.
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