Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By David Bornstein
The Good Word 

Small Talk


You say ISIL I say ISIS...

There’s only one thing I can say I believe about ISIL, but before I do, listen to the litany of their accomplishments. They have captured land in two dysfunctional countries by force, murdering thousands of locals along the way. They have beheaded innocent foreigners from a wide range of countries—reporters, good Samaritans and health care workers. They have destroyed ancient artifacts and irreplaceable historical monuments. They have disseminated a video of a child shooting a purported Israeli spy in the head. And they have bragged about it all. They are truly beyond my comprehension, and the only thing that makes sense to me is that they are doing everything they can to bring the entire world down on them. Do they want to be martyrs, to rally more nations against them than anyone thought possible? Or will the end result of their actions simply be greater hatred of Islam in general and Muslims, both extremists and innocents, in particular?

What to do when your Bibi gun misfires...

First the RepubliCongress invites Benjamin Netanyahu to speak, while negotiations are ongoing between multiple countries and Iran regarding the nuclear program there and just before Israeli elections. Then they give him standing ovation after ovation, while the president and numerous Democrats avoid the event entirely. Then they write to the Iranian government and tell them that, no matter what President Obama does, they’re going to dismantle it, interfering with the executive office’s power to implement foreign policy (that’s why there’s a secretary of state in the president’s cabinet, right?)

So what’s gonna happen? The RepubliCongress will pass a bill saying that they get to approve whatever deal the president and the international community work out with Iran, and Obama will veto it. They won’t be able to overcome the veto. Then they’ll try to vote on it anyway, and if anything passes Obama will veto it, and they won’t be able to overcome the veto. And feathers will get ruffled and more bad feelings will be generated.

But you know what the worst thing was? When Bibi spoke he didn’t say anything! He told Congress the deal was baaaaad. He said allowing Iran to have any sort of nuclear program for 10 years was baaaaad. He said the only thing we could possibly do was to make it so that Iran had no nuclear program at all, which no other country in the world will support. Let’s see... France (who is also a party to the negotiations) gets most of its energy from nuclear power. Russia won’t support it (they’ll barely support anything). Our closest ally—England—won’t support it. Bibi had to know this, so what was the point? Only to make the situation more difficult for President Obama, to stir the pot and create more conflict. If only he had said something realistic, provided a creative, dynamic, thoughtful option for discussion. If he had, then perhaps all the bad blood created by his visit would have been worth it. As it is, the only thing generated by his speech was a lot of clapping and hot air.

And kudos to the little rabbi who could...

No comment on your stature or height, Rabbi Engel, but in the world of global politics any local rabbi (or local columnist) has a wee voice in the grand scheme of things. That doesn’t diminish the brave stance you took in your willingness to publicly criticize Netanyahu for his visit and speech. I agree with you that criticizing Israel, as we oftentimes criticize our own United States, doesn’t mean you don’t love her, but that you care enough to praise her when she’s good and critique her when she strays from the path. There’s nothing wrong with dissent, or conscience, or speaking your mind (as Bibi said he felt compelled to do).

And finally, a big shout out to all the 60+ locals who went to the national AIPAC convention in D.C. An impressive showing, and one worthy of praise and support.

And that’s the good word.

Send your thoughts, comments, and critiques to the Heritage or email dsb328@gmail.com.


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