Monday, March 2, 2015

Netanyahu’s speech, a litmus test--and Purim

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the news. He’s going to speak to a joint session of the US Congress in the House of Representatives. Already, it’s become quite a speech—and it hasn’t even been given yet.

This is no ordinary speech. It’s a magnet.

Like moths to a flame, it attracts those who stand against Israel. It motivates peace-lovers to declare, ‘I reject Israel!’

Like the Purim story we will soon read, this Netanyahu story is about Man. It’s about how Man reveals what’s in his heart.

For some, the heart burns with hate. That hate certainly flares in Washington, DC. It ignites outside the annual conference for the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, which opened yesterday, March 1, 2015.

AIPAC is an American group that promotes Israel to Washington lawmakers. It’s a magnet for anti-Israel and anti-Jew protest.

This year, as in past years, that anti-Israel protest has been organized by a group called,  CODEPINK.

You’d think that the name, CODEPINK, would suggest a feminist group that focuses on feminist issues. You’re wrong.  CODEPINK is an anti-war ‘peace’ group (Homepage, FAQs, “What we do”).

It doesn’t pursue peace. It pursues the destruction of the state of Israel.

CODEPINK made this goal clear in 2013 (Zach Pontz, “CODEPINK Calls for Destruction of Israel at AIPAC Policy Conference Protests”, The Algemeiner, March 4, 2013). It makes that goal clear again now (Jim Hoft, “Jew-Haters & Leftists Protest AIPAC in DC – Compare Israel to ISIS – Block Entry – Chant for Genocide”, Gateway Pundit, March 1, 2015).

CODEPINK leads a raucous protest against Israel (“Peace Activists Protest AIPAC’s Summit & Netanyahu”, PopularResistance, March 1, 2015) using the title, “ShutDownAIPAC” (ibid). It’s joined by a host of Israel-haters: JewishVoiceForPeace, NKUSA, Avaaz, “Free Palestine” advocates, “ICC4Israel”, “Stop the Wars” and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) advocates, to name a few.

These ‘peace advocates’ have waived a flag from Hezbollah which, you may know, does not promote peace with Israel. They’ve shouted, “Israel’s got to go”, and “Free Palestine” (a code-phrase that means, remove all of modern Israel from the Middle East) (Amy Miller, “EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Hezbollah Flag Raised at Anti-AIPAC protest”, Legal Insurrection, March 1, 2015).

They certainly haven’t come to the doors of the AIPAC conference to promote peace. They’ve come to denounce Israel.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, comes to speak to Congress because he believes that the deal the US is negotiating with Iran (to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon) will not keep Iran from getting that weapon. The deal, Netanyahu says, will just ‘kick that can’ down the road for no more than 10 years, probably a lot less than that. That, he says, is no solution.

He comes to Washington because he wants to do everything he can to protect Israel (“Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu Heads to Washington for Congress Speech”, Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2015).

With CODEPINK and its friends storming the AIPAC conference just a few blocks from the House of Representatives (where Netanyahu will soon speak), Netanyahu knows that these protesters aren’t the only folk in Washington who turn against him. Black congressional members have announced they’ll boycott the speech. They won’t stand with Israel.

They’ve communicated with the White House. They intend to ‘sabotage’ the speech (Jim Hoft, “BREAKING: BLACK CAUCUS DEMOCRATS Plan to Sabotage Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress”, Gateway Pundit, February 25, 2015).

US Vice President Joe Biden has spoken out against the speech. He won’t stand with Israel (Alexandra Jaffe, “34 Democrats skipping Netanyahu's speech”, CNN, February 27, 2015).

US Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken against the speech. He won’t stand with Israel (“Protest Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress”, Institute for Policy Studies, no date).

US President Barack Obama has spoken against the speech. He won’t stand with Israel (ibid)

Four US Senators plan to boycott the speech. They won’t stand with Israel.

Susan Rice, President Obama’s National Security Advisor won’t stand with Israel. She’s called the speech ‘destructive’ (Wall Street Journal, above, ibid). She’s derided it as ‘desperate’ (“Jewish groups condemn Boteach ‘genocide’ ad on Susan Rice”, Times of Israel, March 1, 2015).

The Jewish-based Anti-Defamation League won’t stand with Israel for this speech (WSJ, ibid). Neither will the Jewish-based J Street (Fred Fleitz, “Soros-backed J Street mounts all-out crusade against Netanyahu’s speech to Congress”, The World Tribune. com, March 1, 2015). Neither will the leaders of Reform Jews (Reform head joins growing Jewish American chorus against PM’s speech, Times of Israel, February 8, 2015).

Perhaps in anticipation of a backlash from Americans for his opposition to the speech (Hillel Fendel, “Gallup Poll: Americans' Support for Netanyahu Soaring”, Arutz Sheva, March 3, 2015), President Obama’s White House has released a list of all that Obama has done for Israel (Cynthia Blank, “White House Releases List of What Obama's Done for Israel”, Arutz Sheva, March 2, 2015).

That list might not go very far. A week earlier, columnist Caroline Glick published her own list—of all that Obama has done to hurt, hinder or undermine Israel’s national security (“Column One: In Israel’s hour of need”, Jerusalem Post, February 26, 2015).

As with our Purim story, Man here reveals himself with his words and deeds. He declares if he stands with Israel, or not.

The G-d of Israel has brought Israel’s Prime Minister to Washington, DC to speak before the leaders of the world’s most powerful nation. That speech is a litmus test. It reveals who stands with Israel and who doesn’t.

It reveals what is in Man’s heart. It’s part of the Purim story that’s been written just for us.

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