|The President addressing the nation about Syria's use of chemical weapons|
Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to OU Executive Vice President, Rabbi Steven Weil. He addressed alumni of the HTC at the annual Shabbos Shuva Shabbos of Chizuk. Which was held earlier this year because of the 3 day Yom Tov of which Shabbos Shuva will be a part.
I say pleasure… but that isn’t quite accurate. It was actually one of the most depressing speeches I have ever heard from a leader of a national Jewish organization. He made the case that the world is in more danger from events in the Middle East than anyone is aware of.
Rabbi Weil has a relationship with members of congress as well as one of the top officials at Homeland Security and he reported back to us about what they shared with him.
He spoke about an Iran that has been emboldened to continue full speed ahead - the development nuclear weapons. They have hired the best Pakistani nuclear scientists to work towards that goal. That’s because the sanctions boycotting trade with them aren’t working. There are in fact so many exemptions that Iran feels no repercussions about their nuclear program.
Why are there exemptions? America had no choice. That’s because countries like China wants to continue trade with Iran. China owns the United States. We are in hock to them. If China were to withdraw its financial investment in the US, we would be toast. The great depression will be a cakewalk compared to the economic devastation that would result.
It is also a fact that there are 150 known Jihadist sleeper cells in the United States that are being monitored with an estimate by Homeland Security that there are very likely another 50 sleeper cells that have not yet being discovered. It is from these kinds of sleeper cells that the 9/11 terrorists that innocently took flying lessons and then flew those 2 commercial aircraft into the twin towers. A sleeper cell for those who don’t know is a group of terrorists who come here legally under an innocent guise (as exchange student for example) and do things that seems innocent on the surface – like going to a flight schools – and then go and blow up American landmarks killing over 3000 people.
The chatter that is heard by these ‘sleeper’ terrorists is not about attacking Israel. It is about attacking the United States. They don’t want to attack Israel. They know Israel can defend itself. The specific targets are Zionist institutions in the west. And when Islamists talk about Zionists, they mean Jews. To them every Jew is a Zionist. Agudah… Mizrachi… Satmar… Conservative… Reform… it doesn’t make any difference to them. Homeland security knows that these are their targets. Their geographic focus in the west is New York - the home of the highest concentration of Jews of any city in the world. Day schools, Yeshivos, Shuls of every denomination, Jewish Federation buildings, and community centers… are all at risk.
Any reaction to Rabbi Weil’s sobering analysis must be seen in the light of the current crisis in Syria.
Unfortunately this President has proven himself to be anything but a world leader. After threatening consequences about using Chemical weapons against their own citizens… and after Syria twice crossing that line… and then making the case for attacking this brutal mass murdering dictator in Syria… he has back pedaled and is now asking for congressional approval. He asked this knowing that he doesn’t need any. After seeing the British pullout of an international coalition supporting an attack, he is running scared.
This is not leadership. This is a man lacking the courage to act against a type of tyranny that murders masses of its own citizens via chemical weapons. President Obama has shown himself not to be any kind of leader. He is a follower. He does not have the courage of his convictions. He drew a red line and now that it was clearly crossed – he wants congress to pull the trigger.
I realize that there are very few if any good guys in Syria. It’s basically Hezbollah backed Assad versus the Al Qiada backed rebels. But when it comes to responding to mass governmental murder there should be no second guessing. Especially when we threatened consequences.
That we are now delaying an attack for... who know how long - emboldens every rogue terrorist regime or Jihadist group to escalate their activity. They now know that there are no consequences to their terrorist actions.
There is a moral imperative to act and act now. There has to be consequences for mass murder. The US did not act during the Holocaust. It could have bombed Auschwitz or the rails leading to it. For whatever reason - they didn’t. And we know what happened as a result. How can we repeat that same mistake now? Especially when we actually have witness it in detail in the current era of instant electronic broadcasts of it by victims themselves via smart-phones? Who has not seen those horrific images?!
I realize that there are threats of retaliation. A lot of that is simple bellicosity. I don’t think Syria or Iran would militarily attack the US on American soil. I also believe that Israel knows how to defend itself… as its Iron Dome system has shown.
Rabbi Weil fears that Jewish targets in the US are now in the cross-hairs of hidden Jihadist in those sleeper cells. And that they might use an attack against Syria to launch attacks. But I also believe that Homeland Security who made this dire situation known to Rabbi Weil is also prepared to prevent attacks by these Jihadists to their best ability.
The fact that there has been no successful mass-murder event like 9/11 since that time shows me that they are doing something right. I’m glad that Homeland Security has such vigilance about this. These sleeper cell Jihadists realize this, too. I do not believe that they will be successful at it.
That the president does not act imperils the entire free world. He has significantly weakened our position of leadership in the word. We have been called a paper tiger in the past for lacking the will to use our mighty military might when world events called upon us to do so. That is what the Syrian Regime now laughingly calls us. They have claimed a victory over the United States. And it gives them more time to prepare against an attack should it come.
Who knows what a congress weary of war will decide when they go back into session 10 days from now. And even if they decide to do so after much debate, the attack will be removed by time to the events that generated it – thus weakening its message.
Rabbi Weil expressed no opinion on what can be done about any of this. He seemed only to be informing us about the dire facts. He concluded that what we can do is Daven this upcoming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for God’s continued salvation. I think that’s a good idea.