I was always of the opinion that the United States should have insisted that Iraq sign a peace treaty with Israel before we withdrew. We had every right to do so. It was our blood and treasure that created Iraq’s democracy and the last thing the Middle East needs is another Arab country that scapegoats Israel for its woes. This is bad not only for Middle East peace but especially for the Arabs. How does any Arab citizen who has no job, cannot read the truth in a newspaper, and is oppressed by his government benefit from hearing that all his problems are caused by the Jews?
In the district where I am running for Congress we have one of the largest Arab-American populations in the country. They see my opponent Bill Pascrell as their champion and came out in huge number to help him defeat his Democractic challenger, Congressman Steve Rothman.
But why is Pascrell their champion? I can, as yet, find no record of meaningful support of the Arab spring, no condemnations of Arab dictators who slaughter their people. I know of no denunciations from Pascrell against honor killings of young Arab women or Pascrell standing up for the rights of gays in Arab lands.
No, it appears that what makes Pascrell an Arab champion arguably lies in his signing of a notorious letter that condemned Israel for its blockade of Gaza and Hamas, and his support for Imam Muhammad Katanani of Paterson whom the INS has been trying to deport after lying on a visa application about being arrested by Israel for being a member of, and recruiting for, Hamas (For the record I have said that if Katanani publicly condemns Hamas for their terrorism and sworn determination to eradicate Israel I would join Congressman Pascrell in fighting for Katanani to remain in the US. We have also called Imam Katanani several times to meet with him and visit his mosque but have not heard back).
But surely it would help Arabs more to have a political representative be one of the foremost supporters of the Arab spring rather than finding fault with Israel for implementing a necessary blockade.
It is my belief that voters will look past the simple expectations in this race. I am the candidate of Arab freedom and aspiration.
About the Author: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 29 books, including The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.
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