The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
We certainly agree with Vice President Joe Biden that the massacre last month in Newtown, Connecticut, that took the lives of twenty elementary school children “touched the heart of the American people so profoundly” that it “requires immediate, urgent action.” And we would hope Congress and the president can avoid the partisan bickering that has caused so much gridlock in Washington and reach a solution to the problem of firearm violence in America.
Having said that, we are troubled by a growing sense that the president feels he should assume authority to act without Congress – despite Congress’s clear prerogatives in the matter and constitutional provisions generally granting the right of Americans to own weapons.
Mr. Biden was appointed by President Obama to head a task force charged with the job of coming up with proposals for dealing with gun violence. Here is some of what the vice president recently had to say:
The public wants us to act…. There is nothing that has pricked the consciousness of the American people, there is nothing that has gone to the heart of the matter more, than the visual image people have of little 6-year-old kids riddled – not shot with a stray bullet – riddled with bullet holes in their classroom. And the pubic demands we speak to it….
The president is going to act…. There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet, but we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the Cabinet members….
I’m convinced we can affect the well-being of millions of Americans, and take thousands of people out of harm’s way, if we act responsibly…. And as the president said, if our actions result in only saving one life, they are worth taking.
If this all seems reminiscent of the old utilitarian view about the ends justifying the means, it is. And we don’t think the president or his vice president are talking about emergency situations requiring a temporary waiving of the rules.
Consider the observations of Senator Dick Durbin, a leading Democrat and powerful member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Durbin said he would prefer that a solution to gun violence come through the normal congressional process rather than by dint of the president issuing an executive order. Significantly, however, he added that he was leery of the power to block legislation wielded by the National Rifle Association and the gun industry, against whom many congressmen would not stand up. So he said he would support Mr. Obama if the president does issues executive orders to stem gun violence: “Whatever it takes to keep our streets and schools safe, I’ll support.”
In other words, it matters little if it can’t be done in the prescribed way since almost anything goes if some of us think a particular action should be taken.
What heightens our concern is that this new development comes with a context. President Obama threatened to gut congressional procedures in order to enact Obamacare when it appeared he could not otherwise get it done. He acted directly in the face of congressional power when he summarily, by executive order, revised the enforcement of provisions of federal immigration law concerning the deportation of certain illegal aliens – even though Congress specifically declined to amend the law in that way. And after the Senate blocked action on his nomination of three federal officials, he appointed them anyway as “recess appointments” – after unilaterally redefining the meaning of the Senate being in recess.
We are as appalled by the spate of senseless violence as are President Obama and Vive President Biden. But if we are to deal with it in a way that is not corrosive of the system of government that has made our country the envy of the rest of the world, we need to be exceedingly careful when we throw longstanding rules and practices out the window.
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-president-and-gun-control/2013/01/16/
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