Rabbi Prof. Dov FischerThe writer is adjunct professor of law at two prominent Southern California law schools, Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, congregational rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California, and has held prominent leadership roles in several national rabbinic and other Jewish organizations. He was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerked for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and served for most of the past decade on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His writings have appeared in The Weekly Standard, National Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Jerusalem Post, American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, and Israel National News. Other writings are collected at www.rabbidov.com .
Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress today strengthened Israel’s relations with America. Anything else you read will be written by so-called “pundits” who flock together like sheep, make sure they march in lock-step with each other, write the same stories for the same kinds of reporting outlets, drink every night at the same bars, socialize at the same cocktail parties — and know very little about long-term dynamics of civilization.
The “pundits” predicted that George W. Bush would lose to John Kerry when he ran for President. They predicted that John McCain would be the strongest Republican nominee for President four years later. They predicted that the Arab Spring would herald a new peace in the Middle East. They lauded the Egyptian ascent of the Moslem Brotherhood and rued the rise of Al-Sisi. They declared Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) a peacemaker.
They predicted that Obama would successfully re-set relations with Vladimir Putin by “toning down the rhetoric” and removing threats to Russia posed by anti-ballistic systems intended for Poland and Czechoslovakia. They lauded the new “liberalized Libya” that Obama helped create by “leading from behind” to take down Col. Qaddafi and replace him with a new “friendly” regime.
They do not and virtually never know what they are talking about. And they completely have missed what happened today in America, as the Prime Minister of Israel forged tighter bonds of unity with America than ever before have existed.
Yes, “even” six Jews were absent. Israelis need to understand that those are the six most-leftist Jews in Congress. They are politically far to the left of Meretz.
Yes, forty or fifty Democrats did not show up for the speech. And ten or twenty of my distant relatives and college buddies did not show up for my wedding many years ago. Some relatives were out of town that day, some were exhausted by other aspects of their lives, some could not afford the air fare. But the relatives who were related to me before the wedding still hold me dear. And my college buddies and I still would give the shirts off our backs to help each other.
Instead of focusing on the forty or fifty who missed out on history, focus on the 90 percent who were there. Eight Senators missed the moment in history? Well, 92 Senators were there. Forty-eight Congressional representatives were absent? There are 435 Congressional representatives, so 387 were present. Ninety percent of the Congress were there. And — importantly — almost every single one who was absent would not be on Israel’s side anyway, no matter who leads Israel, no matter what the venue or the protocol, when Judgment Day comes and a vote is taken.
Yes, “even” six Jews were absent. Israelis need to understand that those are the six most-leftist Jews in Congress. They are politically far to the left of Meretz. They are far to the left of Haaretz. They are to the left of — what was her name? — Shulamit Aloni. Al Franken is a comedian and a radical leftist. Jan Schakowsky is a radical leftist, and not even a comedian.
John Yarmuth of Kentucky? I lived in Kentucky, was a rabbi of a modest congregation inLouisville, have been honored by three separate governors of Kentucky with a modest designation — and I am telling you that this guy pulls out the Jew-stuff when it suits him. He was a Republican, then became an Obama Democrat. He switches teams. And Bernie Sanders of Vermont is such a leftist that he refuses even to be affiliated with Democrats — he literally runs as a Socialist. Enough about the Jews who chose to remain in Egypt during the Exodus.
Dianne Feinstein, formerly mayor of leftist San Francisco and now a United States Senator from California (who, by the way, absolutely is not Jewish — has a Jewish father, no halakhic conversion) told the media that, well, OK, she will attend the Netanyahu speech — but she definitely will not be “jumping up and down” to applaud. Guess what? By my count, she was jumping up-and-down applauding during that speech so many times that I even remember that, among all the dark suits and ties, she was wearing a medium-blue outfit. She could not help it. Up and down — it looked like a Yom Kippur service: everybody up, please be seated, everybody up, please be seated.
In all, the Prime Minister of Israel was interrupted by standing ovations dozens of time and, further counting the many interruptions of applause that did not rise to standing ovations, the United States Congress interrupted a forty-minute speech by the Prime Minister of Israel with some forty bursts of applause. That was one a minute — more than Obama ever gets when he speaks to Congress, as during his annual State of the Union addresses.
More importantly, the Prime Minister of Israel now has forced every American to take note of the kinds of sophisticated news items that most Americans ignore. Americans like news stories about massive fires and train derailments, police car chases and bank holdups, celebrities getting married and divorced, and Obama going golfing . The average American, until today, did not know the difference between Iraq and Iran. The Prime Minister of Israel changed all that today.
After the Holocaust, as Eisenhower started liberating concentration camps, people in the West lined up to say “We did not know. No one told us. If only we knew.” Of course they knew, but this time the record is clear that they know. Everyone now knows. Iran is the largest supporter of Islamist terror in the world. Iran has gobbled up four other Arab countries, with more on the butcher block. Iran sponsors terrorism from Hezbollah to Al Qaeda. Iran murdered American marines in Lebanon, has murdered and otherwise maimed thousands of other Americans in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Iran’s government has been in power for more than 35 years, with no end in sight, and never has moderated. After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran has gotten more deadly, not less.
If Iran gets nuclear, then every other country in the Middle East will go nuclear. Not only will Israel be imperiled, but America will be within Iran’s cross-hairs, as Teheran continues developing inter-continental ballistic missiles aimed at delivering nuclear warheads for bombing Washington, D.C. Even if Shiite Iran opposes Sunni ISIS, this is the rare situation where the enemy of your enemy is — your enemy.
And everyone else now knows something else: even if Israel has to go it alone, she indeed will do so. With Elie Wiesel as witness, the people of Israel through its Prime Minister have publicly vowed in the halls of Congress that this time, instead of accepting destruction passively, the Jewish People will respond with “Never Again.”
Perhaps more importantly, the anti-Semites of Western Europe, the parliamentarians of England and France and Germany and even worse parliaments, all have viewed on international television that, when the Prime Minister of Israel forthrightly and daringly told the United States Congress that, if it has to, Israel will successfully defend itself alone, the response in Congress was not shocked silence or repressed indignation but thunderous applause.
And when he added that, really, Israel knows that it never will have to go it alone — because America will be there alongside of Israel — the response of that 90 percent of the American Congress was not silence. Not embarrassment. Not a sense of “who is he to presume for us?” Rather, that statement drew more thunderous standing applause than any other statement the Prime Minister made. Even the non-Jewish Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, was standing in her blue outfit, applauding aggressively. She couldn’t help it.
The “pundits” predicted that the speech would drive a wedge in American support for Israel. While they are out drinking these next few nights, go ahead and check the opinion polls in America. The West Europeans will be doing so. The Iranians will be doing so. The Israel-U.S. relationship is now tighter than ever. Israel has the right Prime Minister for the moment in history.
One only can pray that the People of Israel understand this.
Rabbi Dov Fischer is author of General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine (Steimatzky: 1985). His political commentaries have appeared on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, National Review, Los Angeles Times, and in other major American publications. He formerly was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, is an adjunct professor of law at two prominent American law schools, and is Rav of Young Israel of Orange County, California. He is author of Jews for Nothing (Feldheim: 1983) and is in his fifth year as a member of the National Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His writings can be found at RabbiDov.com As with all of Rabbi Prof. Fischer’s writings, this commentary expresses his own views.