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March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
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Avoda Zara 2005


So it’s now come to this: A plot is uncovered in which an American-born jihadist, Abu Ali, allegedly planned to assassinate the president of the United States and the usual “civil rights” and humanitarian groups are upset – not about would-be assassins running amok but, you guessed it, the “rights” of would-be assassins. Under the umbrella of “evidentiary procedures” they are doing whatever they can to get the case against the Al Qaeda suspect thrown out.

Referring to Abu Ali’s imprisonment in Saudi Arabia, The New York Times insisted that the case is “another demonstration of what has gone wrong on the federal war on terror.” Even before the claim of “coercion” has passed legal verification, the Times is already indicting our law enforcement officials.

We should not, however, be surprised by this, given that the efforts by our elected leaders to protect American citizens from jihadists have galvanized “humanitarian” groups to work strenuously on protecting not us, but those wishing to kill us. Such is the inevitability when “activists” become so wrapped up in a cause that political ideology and sloganeering subsume their very identity.

The Bible long ago labeled the sickness of such an “ism” avoda zara, strange worship. In other words, the practice of attaching oneself to suicidal propositions that defy common sense but make the “believer” feel superior. It’s a form of fanaticism, of course, and it proves yet again that emotion holds greater sway than IQ.

In ancient Judea, people offered themselves and their children to the false god Baal (Molech) because that was the fashion of the day among the politically correct. They risked themselves in the service of the god they created. Sure, they expressed faith in the God of Israel – so long as they could pay equal homage to strange ideologies.

Like Nero fiddling while Rome burns, many liberals still luxuriate in these pastimes while refusing to concede the real and present danger we face. Their Blame America First perspective holds that terrorism against the West would stop tomorrow if only the “imperialistic” U.S. would become like Canada and if we would simply, in the fashion of Dr. Freud, learn to “understand” the terrorists, those “good boys gone bad.”

Mature people wishing to protect their families are wise to dismiss those who see social work as the answer to he world’s dangers. Serious people cannot surrender their safety and destiny to those in the high-profile civil-rights industry who see a time of war as simply an opportunity to implement their liberal agenda and enhance their fundraising capability.

But there is much more at work here than liberal foolishness and one-dimensional fanaticism. It is the desire to control American public discourse by defining any issue or controversy in terms the Left has historically owned – namely, civil rights. Once an issue is so defined, the rest of us, out of habit, become answerable to the self-proclaimed arbiters of all civil rights issues. It is a habit worth breaking.

In our country we defer to law enforcement professionals on safety as we do to the military on national defense and elected representatives on legislation and law. By defining every issue as one of “civil rights,” liberal activists attempt to push aside the FBI and the military, as well as the executive and legislative branches, in order to them from their rightful jurisdictions. What should be their purview becomes that of ersatz humanitarian groups and liberal editorialists.

Though they’re almost always on the outside looking in when it comes to political office, law enforcement or the military, hard-core leftist activists arrogantly disport themselves as if they are the only ones qualified to lead the nation on the issues of the day. As command-and-control moralists who define everything they find objectionable as a violation of civil rights, they cow a gullible and good-willed public, and by default become the controlling moral authority.

About the Author: Rabbi Aryeh Spero is author of "Push Back" and was a pulpit rabbi for almost forty years. He can be reached at rabbispero@yahoo.com.


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