Monday, April 15, 2024

Iran and John Fetterman's Moral Compass

Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman (JTA)
He is a clear thinker whose moral compass does not let politics get in his way . An iconoclast of sorts one might say. The mere sight of him would surely lead one to realize that that he doesn’t much care about what others think of him. 

If you haven’t guessed who I’m talking about, it’s the US senator from Pennsylvania, John Fetterman. I don’t know if he even owns a suit. In fact I think he only has 2 pieces of outerwear, shorts and a hoodie. He also has a lot of tattoos plastered all over his rather sizable 6’ 8’’ frame. He does what he wants and says what he believes. Regardless of the political consequences.

Fetterman was a one time supporter of Democratic Socialist, Bernie Sanders. This made him the darling of progressives. His overall non conformist image and reputation as a progressive is why I supported his Republican opponent, TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz in 2020. Oz’s conservative values were a lot closer to my own by far than anyone with a progressive reputation. It is a near religious tenet of progressives to see Israel as a colonialist oppressor nation with racist ‘Apartheid’ polices. Demanding  justice for Palestine by dismantling Israel and replacing it with a Palestinian state.

Needless to say, I was surprised and disappointed that Fetterman beat Oz. Especially after Fetterman had a stroke (from which he has still not fully recovered). How, I wondered, could anyone vote for a man as unconventional as that and was mentally disabled? That he was hospitalized for depression shortly after the election underscored his mental disability.  

And yet, he won. My guess is that the anti Trump vote swept a lot of  down ballot Democrats into office. That is the only way I can explain it. I thought that he would be yet another progressive anti Israel vote in congress.

But I could not have been more wrong. The progressives that loved him now see his support for Israel as a betrayal of their core values. Support that is quite strong and vigorous as noted in a March 21st JTA article: 

In the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack, Fetterman said the United States had a duty to be in lockstep with our ally… 

Fetterman has been one of the most visible supporters of Israel among Democrats, perhaps rivaled only by New York Rep. Ritchie Torres. He has draped himself in an Israeli flag, met with hostage families and wallpapered his office with posters of Israeli hostages. In November, he waved an Israeli flag while walking past pro-Palestinian protesters outside the U.S. Capitol. 

Fetterman went from being a disappointment to being a hero in my eyes. As noted above. He could not care less about narrative of his own party and president. He saw what happened on October 7th and never looked back. His support for Israel has earned him the scorn of progressives and the praise of many conservatives. Including me.

A couple of  days ago Israel was attacked by Iran was intended to kill a lot of Jews (even though it utterly failed to do so). Guided by his moral compass Fetterman once again rejected the narrative of his president and party and espoused the views of many conservatives as noted at The Hill: 

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) said that Iran’s aerial assault on Israel shows how the U.S. is “not standing firmly with Israel.”

Fetterman reiterated Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that there should not be conditions on sending additional aid to Israel and called again for the U.S. to stand with its ally in the wake of Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel over the weekend. 

“Well, a couple of things, actually. I think it really demonstrates how it’s astonishing that we are not standing firmly with Israel. And there should never be any kinds of conditions on all that. When a nation can launch hundreds of drones towards Israel — I’m not going to be talking about conditions ever,” he said. 

He sure didn’t sound like a  progressive Democrat. Proving to be a major disappointment to them. But as Fetterman so clearly put it, wearing shorts and a hoodie does not make you a progressive. It only makes you somone that wear shorts and a hoodie. (As a bit of a non-conformist myself, I love that response!)

Fetterman did not say whether he supports an IDF military response to the attack. Frankly I am not even sure if I do. I have mixed feelings about that.

On the one hand, the Biden administration says that Israel must show restraint and not counter attack Iran. Iran failed  miserably. They did not do any real damage and no one was killed. The Biden administration said Israel should just take the win andnot retaliate Biden does not want to widen the conflict which could explode into a full scale regional war in which the US might have to get involved.

I get that. But if the US mainland were attacked with hundreds of drones and missiles from  - say Venezuela, would we just say, no one was killed so let’s just call it a win? I seriously doubt that. No nation that is attacked by another belligerent nation determined to annihilate it should just say, lets call it a win because no one as killed. That would just embolden them to try it again. Perhaps with greater force where some real damage could be done with many lives lost. Maybe Israel has to retaliate. 

On the other hand retaliating cold easily escalate into a war between Israel and Iran that could very possibly shed more Jewish blood than in all of its preceding wars. Even though Israel would likely win that war - the price may be too high. Maybe its better to let sleeping dogs lie.

If it were up to me. I think the best course of action would be not to retaliate. But to keep doing what they have been doing: Targeting their Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) leaders. When the opportunity to strike comes their way again, they should take them out. Covertly if possible. While remaining as vigilant as possible, let us not expose our young to the increased death and destruction that an immediate retaliatory strike might lead to.