A united Jewish response needed at this time


Dear American Jewish leadership,

I have read your statements on the Iran nuclear deal, and as a Jew, I am deeply disturbed by your response. A combination of reticence, apathy and naivety seem to be all at play, and as the beacons of our people, I find that wanting.

You talk of mobilizing and urging Congress to fulfill their mandate. You talk of ensuring that elected representatives hear our concerns. You organize rallies for “peace,” such as the one in New York on July 22. Are these real concrete steps that will protect the Jewish people from the evils of Iran, the Arab world and enemies that can soon be knocking on the door?

Unfortunately, this kind of response hauntingly mirrors the overwhelming response of American Jewish leadership after being notified of the horrors of the Holocaust. Upon hearing about the slaughter of their brethren in Europe, Jewish leaders came up with the same mistaken steps presented in your various statements. As early as 1942 they knew of these terrors, but maintained a silence that could be heard across the world.

The few who eventually lobbied President Roosevelt and other American officials did little once their courage less requests were shot down. Others led feeble demonstrations—such as the failed Rabbis March—which did nothing to stop the carnage. Why didn’t the American Jewish leadership shake the heavens and earth regarding these atrocities? And why don’t they do that today? It is on their hands these atrocities were allowed to take place, and their silence, a very similar silence to the one we see in our times, is what led to the unmentionable.

After seven decades, the definition of “mobilization” is still the same, but I say it is simply not enough to disagree with an Iranian nuclear deal. Why is the leadership not doing everything in their power to stop this? Why is the Jewish community not demanding this? Which Jewish leaders are really disrupting foreign policy to put an end to this terror? It is on their hands this crime is allowed to go on.

Enough of the useless petitions and phoning Congress. Enough of the emails and inadequate calls to action. Where are the hundred thousand marching onto Washington to pound the pavement and block traffic? Is it not so pressing to take off a day of work or for summer camps to close for an afternoon? Instead of demanding this from their communities, leaders have chosen to bask in the same silence that has plagued the American Jewish identity for generations. It is enough. The time had come to gather the community and respond to the grave threat of our time.

Jewish leadership is fully accountable and must be forced to real action if none is taken. It is not enough to lobby while knowing a dark outcome, or promote peace rallies that will go nowhere. The definition of mobilization must not be allowed to stay the same. They state that Congress’ consideration of this agreement is likely the most important policy decision of our generation. I believe that the united Jewish response is infinitely greater. Real action must be put into place, and the entire Jewish community is obligated to demand this from their leaders.

Yoel Minkoff

Formerly of Far Rockaway, N.Y., and now lives in Beit Shemesh, Israel


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