Breaking News

Before Congress

By Larry Gordon

A map of the world shows us that the state of Israel is composed of less than one-tenth of one percent of the world’s land mass. Still, that tiny dot of topography on the globe has the world staying awake days and nights trying to figure

out what to do with the Israelis—whom they absurdly believe to be an overly aggressive and ambitious people that is a nemesis to the universe.

But can this be true? Let’s try to collect the facts. It’s a tiny country in the realm of things—a population that is less than the margin of error in the Chinese census—but still a country that dominates the diplomatic agenda of the United Nations, the European Union, and now the United States.

Logically speaking, Israel was created so that Jews could peacefully park ourselves somewhere and live in our own country without the need to depend on the largesse of various despots, dictators, or even semi-legitimate elected officials. It was a good idea that seems to be going quite well—except for the part about peace.

Jewish opinion is quite divided on the best way for Jews and Israel to conduct themselves in this rather derision-filled, corrupted world we live in today. Do we assert ourselves, tell it like it is, and stand up for our rights, or do we try to shrink into the shadows and do our best to stay out of the limelight?

With the upcoming address to the U.S. Congress by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it seems that the decision has been made at the highest political levels to assume the position of being direct, assertive, and speaking up for what is right. Making a decision of this nature while subjected to unrelenting pressure to reverse course takes courage and boldness. This is also a time for the right man in the right place at a pivotal time in history to rise to the occasion.

The overriding question is not why Bibi is planning to address Congress about the situation with Iran, but why there is any resistance on the matter. An unchecked and unrestrained Iran is exactly what gave birth to the wild terrorists of ISIS.

You’ve heard President Obama say again and again, as have Secretary Kerry and others, that the administration’s objective is to “downgrade” and ultimately destroy ISIS. In this administration, words and how they are used mean everything. So though the world would be a better and safer place without ISIS altogether, this administration at this stage is looking for them to be downgraded.

This is the same historically problematic approach to the original PLO, Fatah, and Hamas terror organizations that ultimately produced al-Qaeda and now the savages of ISIS. Not that any of the others listed are not savage, it’s just that their tactics are slightly nuanced.

And an additional point. Maybe it’s just this writer, but have you ever wondered why the rest of the world refers to this latest crop of brutal, cold-hearted killers as ISIS while Mr. Obama insists on referring to them exclusively as ISIL? The terror group has even renamed itself several times since its founding in 1999. Today they prefer to call themselves IS which simply stands for Islamic State. ISIL stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Levant is a reference to a wide array of countries that the radicals of ISIS seek to dominate and turn into a caliphate. The Levant refers to a number of countries in the region, but the kicker is that this reference includes one of Obama’s favorites—Israel.

There are many ways to explain how we arrived at this sorrowful point. We parse words and for some reason are reluctant to tell it as it is. The other day ISIS beheaded their second Japanese hostage and burnt alive the Jordanian pilot they captured and were holding. To these latest murders, Mr. Obama said on Tuesday that this is a group apparently only committed to death and destruction. Which makes one wonder why we are only committed to downgrading the terrorists.

It is at this juncture and as deadlines in the Iran nuclear weapon negotiations are about to be extended again that Mr. Netanyahu is preparing to address Congress in early March. So why the pressure and Democratic resistance to the Bibi speech? The scourge of terror fueled by the mullahs in Iran is extending its reach. They know that Obama is a weak president and they are excitedly exploiting his naiveté.

This is how the stage is being set as Netanyahu prepares to address Congress and the international community on the overt dangers of a nuclear-ready Iran. And Mr. Obama fears that a strong and forceful address by Bibi will be the key that pushes the count over the top for the Senate to override a presidential veto of a bill calling for increased sanctions on an untrustworthy and deceptive Iran.

House Speaker John Boehner extended the invitation no doubt because he understood that it would present the Democrats with a new opportunity to clearly illustrate the misguidedness and wrongheaded approach of the administration to Iran, to ISIS, and to the idea of making an effort to coexist with terror and the terrorist agenda.

Today, in the Obamacare era—though Congress would like to downgrade that too—we are daily witnessing the consequences of trying to find a legitimate place for us to live with terror organizations. Slowly but somewhat surely, world leaders are coming to the conclusion that this may not be possible. And that’s what the president fears—being proven wrong and being compelled to follow the lead of figures other than himself.

It is additionally fascinating how all this is playing itself out as we read about the complicated personality of the biblical Yisro. Here we have a non-Jew, an idol-worshipper, and adviser to Pharaoh in Egypt, and after many great miracles, Hashem seems to have not wanted to present Torah at Sinai until the episode with Yisro played itself out. Until Yisro rejected all the other deities he once subscribed to, the earth-shattering and life-changing show could not get under way.

Why was that? It seems as if Hashem wanted all manmade deities rejected and repudiated by one of the foremost experts of that time—Yisro—in order to move on with the introduction of Torah to the world. As explained by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in a discourse several decades ago, “only when Yisro—the embodiment of anti-Torah philosophy and spiritualism—concedes that G‑d is greater than all other gods, thereby crowning Him king over all aspects of life, down to the most mundane and seemingly natural details, is the stage set for the Torah to descend from heaven.”

Barack Obama is no Yisro. But the upcoming address before Congress by Mr. Netanyahu may be the catalyst of an unexpected, perhaps even involuntary, Pharaoh-like change of a hardened heart that heralds changes of global proportions.

Comments for Larry Gordon are welcome at


Please ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Jewish Content

Posted by on February 5, 2015. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.