We dare not be silent

When Israel was at war with Hamas last year, there was unity among Jews, left, center and right.  To a pretty fair degree.  It seems when there is fighting, when there is actual shooting going on, even liberal Jews will speak up.  Today when it is a war of words and not bombs, forget about it.

Although terrorism still persists on a daily basis in Israel, although Israel is as threatened as ever if not more so because of the P5+1 deal with Iran, many liberals are on the sidelines while many conservatives are in the game.  Now I am not saying all for either side, but let’s be honest.  Even those liberals who know the deal is a travesty are not nearly as vocal about it, if at all.  Not like conservatives.

For whatever the reason, conservatives, e,g., the Republican Party and Republicans in general, are very supportive of Israel regardless of the party that heads the Israeli government.  A generation or two ago, fairly or not, it was the Democratic Party that was considered more friendly to Israel and not the Republicans.  It is now reversed.  Sadly, the party of Henry (Scoop) Jackson became the party of Jesse Jackson, and gladly the paleo-conservative Republicans that harbored anti-Israel or lukewarm-to-Israel feelings, became few and their influence diminished.

You know, I almost wish the left wing of Israel was in power so that liberals all over the world could see that just because there is agreement with their kinsmen and women on social issues does not mean there is similar accord when it comes to security issues.  (And by the way, with Likud or Labor, social freedoms in Israel have never been different.  Of course I am not speaking about Rabbinate control and influence.)

As I mentioned in my column last week, and as others have mentioned but it is difficult to see stated in the media, it is not just the right in Israel who are vehemently against the Iran deal.  It is the center and even the left who have argued with great passion against the agreement.

So what is going on?  Why is it when Jewish soldiers, men and women, cross into Lebanon or Gaza to stop the latest gone-too-far missiles being fired and/or incursions resulting in dead Israelis do liberals proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with their fellow Jews, but when something like the very dangerous P5+1 deal with Iran happens, nada?

There are a number of reasons some of which I may not know.  I do know that when bullets fly and bombs drop, peril can easily be seen and felt.  Makes sense that even left-wing Jews would cry out.  When the guns are silent, however, for many of them — not all, so are they.

So what if Israel’s mortal enemy, and yes Israel has many enemies, is now legally on the way to a nuclear weapon, that is if that greatest sponsor of terrorism doesn’t cheat its ways to make the reality come sooner?  So what if a good amount of Iran’s receipt of sanctions-released billions of dollars will go toward helping Hezbollah and Hamas rearm.  If only all sides were as concerned about the reloading process – with the help of Iran – as they are about the firing process.

There is a conflicted dynamic with some Jews who belong to the party of Barack Obama.  They want to support their president but recognize Israel’s left is against the deal and don’t know how to react.  Of course, there are liberal Jews, friends of mine as well — even observant ones, who think the Iran deal is actually a good one, and actually good for Israel. I am not sure how much of that is the typical Kumbaya tendency of liberals, or because of their hatred for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or their love of Obama

If liberals honestly support the Iran deal — and I call it that because the Iranians won the negotiations — on the merits, that is fine.  And I mean honestly, not supporting it because it was Obama that created it through his agent John Kerry.  And I don’t mean fine as in I think they are correct or there are indeed any merits.  Distressingly, I feel these fellow Jews are in fact wholly wrong and perhaps tremendously misinformed in the very least.  But I can respect an honest disagreement no matter how that view may shock and sadden me.

For those who may not have enough information to have an opinion, figure it out and decide.  Don’t just go the way of your party because it’s your party.  That should be the rule for all people.

For those, however, who are against the deal but are silent, for those who know the agreement is a disaster but prefer to protect and support their party’s leader(s) and so, default to their party as usual, I say this:

You don’t need to love, like or even tolerate Netanyahu to speak up.
You don’t need to be a Republican to speak up.
You don’t need to be an Orthodox Jew to speak up.
You don’t need to be a Christian to speak up, and thank God for those of a different faith who support the Jewish State.
You don’t need to have been to Israel or have relatives there to speak up.
You can still love and admire President Obama for everything else and speak up.

Many political leaders and Jewish leaders against the deal will be cowards and not go against the president.  They will worry more about partisanship, and this is NOT a partisan issue.  Don’t be like them.  Be true to yourself and be honest and courageous.

Last week I posited that because Obama rushed to the UN even before the US to push the deal through the UN’s Security Council, in effect it was over.  I have not changed my mind.

Because even if Congress can overturn Obama’s veto, thanks to the president, Iran has permission to do as it pleases and will get billions anyway.  It was so obvious that Obama went from naive diplomacy to it’s too late diplomacy to put pressure on the deal’s opponents because the argument would then be made, as it is, that the US would be isolated when nearly the rest of the worthless UN supported the deal and started trading with the Ayatollahs.  It’s a fait accompli, so go with the flow.

I still think we can and should speak up – all of us who are against this capitulation.  Because more Obama surprises (to some) are coming.  More wars are coming.  More tests for Israel and its supporters around the world, Jew and non-Jew alike are coming.  Talk to your friends.  Talk to your Senator or member of Congress.  Even if they are safely in the Obama-Iran pocket, it does helps to let them know about your displeasure.  Let them know you have a voice even when it may not change anything, because one day it will.

For those who have spoken up or will speak up, right, center and left – and yes there are those on the left who have, more power to you.

Do not be silent.

About the Author
Shia Altman who hails from Baltimore, MD, now lives in Los Angeles. His Jewish studies, aerospace, and business and marketing background includes a BA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. When not dabbling in Internet Marketing, Shia tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Judaic and Biblical Studies to both young and old.
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