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February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
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Suing Uncle Sam For Fighting Our Enemies


“Useful idiots” is the term Communist patriarch Vladimir Lenin used to describe liberals in the West who acted as apologists for the Soviet Union and gave moral and material support to the Communists.

      Today, alas, we seem to have a new breed of such people in our community, who seem determined to undercut Western efforts to fight terrorism and violent Islamic fundamentalists waging jihad against Americans and Jews.

      Some liberal Jewish writers, politicians, commentators and activists are working hard to weaken efforts to fight terrorism or even to gather information that could prevent terrorist acts. Sometimes it seems that every terrorist being held or brought to trial has a team of Jewish lawyers.

      And now the rabbi of Atlanta’s Temple Kol Emeth, Steven Lebow, and six others have filed a federal lawsuit against the National Security Agency. They feel wronged by its program of monitoring the pattern of (not listening in on) telephone calls to and from abroad to identify those that may involve foreign terrorists planning acts of violence against Americans.

      BellSouth and other telecommunications companies, including Cingular Wireless, Verizon Wireless and Nextel Sprint, are also defendants in the lawsuit, accused of turning over “records” (but not the contents) of millions of their customers’ phone calls (which BellSouth denies doing).

      Rabbi Lebow, whom I would never call an idiot, claims the NSA surveillance program violates the clergy-congregant privilege covering his sensitive conversations with members of his East Cobb congregation. But unless he is in touch with Osama bin Laden or other Al Qaeda members, he has nothing to worry about from the NSA. He should be worried about the terrorists who hate Jews and Americans. Nevertheless, he is asking for untold billions of dollars in damages.

      In fact, the NSA is not listening in on telephone calls between ordinary Americans. Its objective is to find out whom foreign terrorists are talking to and to try to prevent attacks and save lives. The NSA has neither the time nor the interest to listen in on Rabbi Lebow’s privileged conversations or those of millions of other Americans. What it wants to do is find out who the terrorists’ connections are and what they are planning.

      Indeed, the program is aimed not at harming Rabbi Lebow and his fellow citizens, but rather at protecting his life and rights and those of all Americans from foreign terrorists who want to kill him, his family, his congregants, and all of us and our families.

      The program does not threaten our civil liberties, as is claimed, but enhances them by increasing our chances of traveling on a plane or train without being blown up or flown into an office building and by preventing our city from being blown up with a nuclear device or attacked with another weapon of mass destruction.

      Does the rabbi understand that there are people out there who do not wish us well and who are plotting to do just those things, especially to us Jews?

      Rabbi Lebow’s lawsuit hurts the fight against terrorism and makes private firms reluctant to cooperate with such government efforts. His campaign thus places him and his congregants in greater danger of being killed or otherwise harmed by our enemies.

      It is difficult to understand why otherwise sensible folks are working so hard to prevent our government from protecting us from people who are trying to kill us. Perhaps Rabbi Lebow could consult the Talmud, where he will find the passage advising us, “If someone is coming to kill you, make haste and kill him first.”

      Or at least find out his plans so he can be stopped.

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