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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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The Speech President Obama Must Give on Syria

Rabbi Shmuley

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My Congressional battle against Bill Pascrell in New Jersey’s ninth district is being portrayed by some as a Congressman with a large Arab constituency against a well-known Rabbi and champion of Israel.

This characterization is unfair both to me and to Pascrell. I have spoken with Pascrell on a few occasions and he is a gentleman who has treated me respectfully. It’s unfair to Pascrell because, amid the legitimate concerns of the pro-Israel community for some of his highly questionable actions – like signing the Gaza 54 letter condemning Israel for its blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza – Pascrell has voted for American aid to Israel. And unfair to me because I have consistently said, as I emphasized at my campaign launch event, I, much more than Congressman Pascrell, am the candidate who fights for Arab interests. I am the one who championed the cause of Arab freedom years before the Arab spring. I am the one who has fought the nay-sayers who fear the Arab Spring as bringing something forth even worse than Assad, Kaddafi, and Mubarak. In endless columns I have said that any such position has contempt for Arab life and human liberty. Go tell an Arab whose child was killed by Assad that he should accept his rule because the person who replaces his President can still be worse.

Arabs are my brothers. Arabs are my sisters. I believe with all my heart that they will one day see the democracy of the State of Israel as the best friends they have in the Middle East, not the tyranny of Saudi Arabia or the murderous designs of Hamas and Hezbollah.

But regardless of my prediction for the future, I am today calling upon the President of the United States to employ his considerable mastery of words to take up the mantle of Martin Luther King and be a drum major for justice, a beacon for freedom. Sound the clarion call for liberty, Mr. President.

Get off the damn fence and stand up for Arab life and liberty. Stop the slaughter in Syria. You owe it to the brave African-Americans who died yearning and fighting for equality and liberty. You owe it to American patriots who founded the first modern Republic by casting off British tyranny. And you owe it to the people of the world who look to America for leadership, hope, and change.

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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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