Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Contributed by guest author, Ely Rosenzveig

I write this on the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’av, the fast day of the ninth day in the Hebrew month of Av. It commemorates the anniversary of the destruction of Jerusalem and its holy temple and the massacre of millions of Jews on two separate occasions, 600 years apart, at the hands of the ancient Babylonians and Romans, respectively.


As a child of Holocaust survivors who is well acquainted with the vile history of anti-Semitism that has wreaked havoc on Jews throughout the world from time immemorial, I have been struggling mightily to find contemporary meaning and perspective in the throes of this benighted day as we all contemplate the inking of an Iran nuclear deal that will now be vetted by Congress.

We are all aware of how sick and tired the so-called high-minded liberal western sensibility is of dealing in the hyperbolic trade in victimization and martyrdom that inescapably stamps Jews in the modern psyche. Frankly, a part of me can relate. After all, Jews have so much more to offer the world than their pain and suffering. Yet, having said that, the world that finds the topic of Jewish suffering wearisome at best, and galling at worst, needs to finally come to terms with its own enabling complicity in this unceasing tragedy, and, more broadly, with the incontrovertible truth that blind, causeless hatred of anyone, whatever their religion, race, or ethnicity, is more than just ‘wrong.’ It is dangerous in the extreme.

When we confront the toxic mix of violence, hatred, and bigotry today, from the Charleston Church shooting terror to the Jihadi butchery in Paris at Charlie Hedbo and the Kosher market, the answer cannot be one of rapproachment and appeasement. Have we not learned our lessons from history? Did the failed policy of appeasement that Neville Chamberlain wrought in the face of the growing threat of Hitler and his Nazi henchmen not teach us anything?

I, for one, am not interested in the killers’ animus or rationale. I do not want to understand them or their calumnous deeds. I just want them stopped, once and for all, by any means necessary. And, I ponder why it is that the leaders of the civilized world cannot band together their formidable resources, and offer a coherent, courageous, and sustained military strategy for eradicating the evils perpetrated by the relative few that terrorize and torment the peace-loving innocent of all faith and hew.

And, this brings us to Iran. This is the self-same Iran, mind you, that has triggered, by its hate-filled treachery and lawless mayhem, the decimation of a proud centuries-old Iranian Jewish community, the largest in the Middle East outside of Israel, that numbered nearly 100,000 at the time of the 1979 Islamic revolution that brought the Ayatollahs to power. It has executed thirteen Jews since the Islamic revolution, many without public charges or legal proceedings. And, it has arrested countless others for the sin of their Jewish birthright, the most notable example of which is the sham of thirteen Jews arrested and tried in Iranian Kangaroo courts in 2000 for allegedly spying for Israel.

Iran is also the leading state sponsor of terror in the world, from Hezbollah to Hamas. And, the Iranian government takes every opportunity to hail its dastardly and destructive intentions with regard to Israel, a country and people it has sworn to “wipe off the face of the map.”

When, in the immediate aftermath of the fateful signing of the Iran Nuclear accord, the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Hoseini Kamanei presided over a government orchestrated public rally numbering in the tens of thousands that chanted repeatedly, “death to America” and “death to Israel”, the politicians and the press expressed understandable concern. My greater fear, though, lay in the accursed Ayatollah’s triumphant pronouncement that “we will not give up on our friends in the region.” This was a clear, unmistakable projection that the terror which Iran has sponsored for decades will only grow in scope and magnitude in the future fueled by all the newfound capital that the Iran deal portends.

If, as it seems apparent, we cannot undo the inexorable momentum of the dubious Iranian nuclear agreement, at the very least we can stand tall and strong in the face of terrorism. And, as we introduce the inevitable sanction-free Iranian regime to the world, we must reckon with a leopard whose spots have not changed but have only grown larger and more ominous. We can and must find the means to tackle the spread of terror to protect our friends, our allies, the countless innocent victims, and ourselves. Let this resolve be our perpetual antidote to the “deal”, and its ever present companion.

{Guest author, Ely Rosenzveig. is a retired congregational Rabbi, and an attorney with offices in White Plains,NY}


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