AIPAC leaves many questions on Iran, Israel

Rick Santorum at the AIPAC annual conference. / Getty Rick Santorum at the AIPAC annual policy conference.  Should we bomb … Continued

Rick Santorum at the AIPAC annual conference. / Getty

Rick Santorum at the AIPAC annual policy conference.

 Should we bomb Iran?  At the 13,000+ AIPAC conference, the question dominated the speeches, trailed through the halls, engaged almost all the attendees.  President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made it the centerpieces of their respective talks.  Analogies to the Holocaust were rife and suspicion of President Obama’s ultimate resolve was a thin but persistent undercurrent.

  But careful listening and measured reflection are more helpful guides than the cheering of thousands.  There is something in crowds that inhibits thought.  Nuance does not flourish in throngs.  Yet this is a terribly difficult question.  To bomb Iran means first, to assume that such a military campaign can be successful.  Second, that the fallout will be bearable.  That fallout will not only be directed at Israel.  America, which has already attacked two major Muslim countries, will inevitably be seen as a co-conspirator or perhaps, if the president orders participation, as the principle antagonist.

  Yet what if we do not attack and Iran succeeds in obtaining a nuclear weapon?  All the calculations about prudence seem misguided when speaking about a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens repeatedly to destroy Israel and seems guided by religious fanaticism as much as by statecraft.  Anti-Semitism in Iran is not an ugly sideshow; it is a virtual state policy.  Can we be sure that even if Iran itself did not attack, that it would not hand nuclear devices over to its proxies such as Hezbollah?  And would Iran’s neighbors not seek to acquire nuclear weapons as well, beginning a frenzied arms race in the middle east? The first job of a leader is to ensure the safety of his or her people.  What if you were responsible for the security of Israel?

  What I searched for among the people who attended AIPAC was fear and humility.  This is a terribly frightening prospect.  It is possible that inspections and diplomacy can avert a crisis.  This is our desperate hope.  But no one can know the ‘proper’ answer here; inspections are rarely foolproof because human beings are not flawless.  And the world cannot afford to get this wrong.

   Leaders, if they are wise, combine decisiveness with self distrust.  They know that decisions must be made, but no one is granted the kind of certainty that difficult decisions require.  So the conference was in one sense quite beautiful and affirming:  Here in the United States of America, thousands of upon thousands of supporters of the state of Israel, Jews and non-Jews, can gather to express their views.  In Jewish history such an event is epochal and wonderful.  Yet there is, there must be, an undercurrent of unease.  The threat is real, the solution is messy and dangerous and even the time left to decide is uncertain.  For anyone who would rush in or decisively turn away there are potentially catastrophic consequences.  What if we get it wrong?  As Eliot wrote, “After such knowledge, what forgiveness?”

 This week is Purim.  It is the week Jews all over the world celebrate being saved from a Persian despot.  The symbolism is almost too exquisite.  What can one say of a people that thousands of years later still find themselves locked in a struggle against those who would destroy them?  Perhaps this: Learning the right lessons from history is never easy.  In these perilous days however, it is quite literally a matter of life and death.

Named the No.1 Pulpit Rabbi in America by Newsweek magazine, Wolpe is the rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and currently teaches at UCLA. He is also an On Faith panelist.

David Wolpe
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  • greenj76

    According to Bible prophecy, the Iranian President Ahmadinejad, a modern day Haman who was the wicked political leader of Persia 2500 years ago, Ahmadinejad will also fail to destroy all of the Jewish people in our world today.

    The wicked Persian leader Haman 2500 years ago was set to kill all the Jewish people alive in his day and would have done so had not God used a Jewish queen – Queen Esther – to save her people. The account of this intervention by God to protect his chosen people, the Jewish people, can be found in the Biblical book of Esther. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has compared the present Iranian President Ahmadinejad to Biblical Haman, as Ahmadinejad has continually called for the Jews to be wiped off the earth and their name be forgotten forever.

    As one reads the book of Esther you can see the hand of God protecting His people, the Jewish people, from total destruction. According to Bible prophecy, once again the Lord will protect the Jews from total destruction by a Persian leader. Remember, modern day Iran was known as Persia until 1936. Persia, or Iran today, is mentioned in Ezekiel 38:5 as one of the nations that will align with other enemies of Israel and endeavor to destroy the Jewish people in the last days. At that time the Lord will again intervene to protect the Jews and destroy the Persians and their leader whoever it may be.

  • xexon

    You remind me of these TV preachers who use religion to hide behind as they drop little political poopies in the name of God.

    What are you up to , Rabbi?

    Iran wasn’t a problem until the US made them into one for the sake of oil. Israel hopped on the bandwagon to divert attention away fron the rot occuring inside Israel these days.

    If Iran wants a bomb, it’s because they feel threatened. They are NOT interested in expansionism. They just seek to protect what is their’s. Two of the most powerful militaries in the world are breathing down their neck.

    The Iranians have always called out the ZIONIST government of Israel. Because they understand they are the problem, not Jews in general. Your government is full of genocidal murderers and war criminals. You already have nukes. You have Uncle Sam in your back pocket as well…

    Israel’s greatest fear isn’t Iran. It’s Iran having an level playing field. It means Israel would have to find somebody else to pick on. It means Israel would have to concentrate on it’s own internal problems. And THAT scares the zionists to death.

    You’ve enjoyed American protection of your apartheid society up to this point. But as the settlers become increasingly dangerous and start attacking Christians, that support will quickly drain away.

    I suggest you take your pictures of Jerusalem now. Because civil war is coming for Israel. And you think Iran is the problem? Israel is heading for the wall, and ain’t nobody driving but Jews.


  • ThomasBaum

    Are you saying that Ahmadinejad is a liar?

  • WmarkW

    For many years, AIPAC has had a strong relationship with fundamentalist Christians, of the demographic currently largely supporting Santorum, who take a strongly pro-Israel stand with a background agenda based on Apocaplypticism. They literally believe in the Book of Revelation, the Left Behind novels, and support a billgerant Middle East foreign policy to ENCOURAGE a nuclear war, which they think will bring the Second Coming.

    They don’t care about long-term issues like environmental protection or debt reduction, because they believe Jesus’ return will solve everything. They are the last political allies anyone should want, even if their positions bear a passing resemblance to supporting Israel militariiy.

  • Iqzomar394gmailcom

    The negotiations that took place between the United States and the Jewish side in history, which was the Arab side a key with them, are the negotiations in the fact of the matter “to postpone a long-term blow to the anticipated military,” which asks for regularly but man in the street in America and in Egypt and in Saudi Arabia and Iran In the Jewish street as well.
    What is required of religious symbols for all parties to work to calm the people and that the escalation and fiery statements do not serve the cause of near or from afar, and that the nerve must be of good manners, do not be to bad attitudes there are poor in the region, and there are millions of children in the Arab and Jewish
    And Iran, and to return to 1967 borders is not an insult to the Jews, but to correct the situation is inverted.
    Here only be negotiated based on the basis of good intentions are far from religious impulses, that if the parties to the conflict are ready for a peaceful settlement. They know very well that a peaceful settlement, is the perfect solution to get out of that dark tunnel in which they lived a long long time. All parties should think well in the fate of the region took place if the war machine.
    Bshiramr Saleh Mohammed / Cairo. .

  • xexon

    I’m saying that he’s misquoted. I doubt that he lies anymore than any other politician. He’s a highly educated man and should not be underestimated. But of course the real power in Iran belongs to someone else.

    Ahmadinejad has always called out the “zionist entity”. But by the time it reaches your TV screen, it say something like “we’re going to push all the Jews into the sea”. We have a media which is also under the zionist sway of things. It’s their job to program you.

    These zionists are NOT true Jews. They’re atheistic Jewish supremacists brought up in Jewish culture. A kosher KKK. Radicals. Nationalists. Racist and militant. They’ve lured real Jews into seeing them as a protector and champion. The reality is they will use Jews in Israel as human shields someday. That wall they’ve built over there can also hold people in…

    You watch. Time is running out for them, and that makes them all the more dangerous.

    Zionism is a virus. And it only affects the Abrahamic religions. It’s laid waste to spiritual Judaism. It’s done great damage to Christianity. Muslims are just the bouncing red ball you’re supposed to watch so you don’t watch them.

    There’s a 4th reich fixing to stand up in the world. And way too many of you are on the wrong side. You’re clueless about it.

    You won’t be clueless much longer.


  • ThomasBaum

    Actually, I have met Who is referred to as God the Father and I have also met Who is referred to as the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit revealed to me that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus, there is the Trinity.

    You wrote, “Muslims are just the bouncing red ball you’re supposed to watch so you don’t watch them”.

    I have wrote many times that the True, Living, Triune, Triumphant God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious afiliations or lack thereof and It is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.

    Seeing as the god of islam wants to hijack God-Incarnate and try to present God-Incarnate, repackaged in the koran as it were, as his prophet, I need not say who this godwannabe is but Jesus called him the father of all lies.

    God’s Plan is for absolutely everyone to be in God’s Kingdom, ultimately, and part of this plan is that God became incarnate, that is One of us, in the person of Jesus, Who was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died a Jew.

    As it is written, “On the seventh day God Rested, Blest and made Holy”.

    The new heavens and the new earth shall come with the dawning of the seventh day, however, the night of the sixth day shall precede it.

    See you all in the Kingdom.

  • ThomasBaum

    Allah is a generic word which simply means God, such as God means God in English, that is why Arabic Christians say Allah, they are not referring to the god of islam.

    The Allah of Christianity and the allah of islam are not the same just as the person in this youtube said.

    The guy in that post didn’t seem to say nothing about Yahweh which happens to have a meaning which some translates as “I Am Who AM”.

    Some believe that the word Yahweh is too Sacred to use and that is why Elohim and some others have been used in place of Yahweh.

    What is referred to as the New Testament flows from what is referred to as the Old Testament, however, the koran flows from neither, as a matter of fact it basically calls both lies and then proceeds to use some and twist some that is in both to come up with what it comes up with.

    The stuff that the guy in the youtube comes up with is his opinion and that is all that it is, do you think that he really needed to speak to his fellow human beings in such a childish way?

    Could this be how the allah of islam wants, what are supposedly, his creatures to treat each other?

    As I said, “The True, Living;, Triune, Triumphant God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious afilliations or lack thereof and It is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.

    God becoming One of us is most definitely a part of Christianity because without it, there is no Christianity, therefore the youtube person is right in pointing out that Christianity is different but what he didn’t point out is that the Jews do not recognize Jesus as either Prophet or God-Incarnate whereas the god of islam claims Jesus as his prophet yet denies Jesus’s Divinity.