Column One: Israel faces a cynical world
This week a German doctor filed a criminal complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg for performing a ritual circumcision.
Rabbi listens to debate on circumcision in Germany Photo: REUTERS
This week a German doctor in Bavaria filed a criminal complaint against Rabbi
Rabbi Goldberg’s “crime”? He performs ritual
circumcisions on Jewish male infants in accordance with Jewish law.
doctor’s complaint came shortly after a ruling by a court in Cologne outlawing
the practice of male circumcision.
The Austrians and the Swiss also took
the ruling to heart and have banned infant male circumcision in several
hospitals in Switzerland as well as in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg. Denmark
and Scandinavian governments are also considering limiting the practice of
circumcision which has constituted one of the foundational rituals of Judaism
for four thousand years.
Meanwhile, in Norway Dr. Anne Lindboe has come
up with the perfect way out of the artificial crisis. Lindboe serves a Norway’s
ombudsman for children’s rights. And she proposes that we Jews just change our
religion to satisfy anti-Jewish sensitivities. She suggests we replace
circumcision with “a symbolic, nonsurgical ritual.”
It’s worth mentioning
that circumcision isn’t the only Jewish ritual these enlightened Europeans find
objectionable. Sweden, Norway and Switzerland have already banned kosher
Attacking circumcision isn’t just a European fetish. The urge
to curb Jewish religious freedom has reached the US as well. Last year San
Francisco’s Jewish Community Relations Council had to sue the city to strike a
measure from last November’s ballot that would have banned circumcision if
passed. The measure’s sponsor gathered the requisite 12,000 signatures to enter
the proposition on the ballot. Circumcising males under the age of 18 would have
been classified as a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in
prison. Sponsors of the measure distributed anti-Semitic materials depicting
rabbis performing circumcisions as villains.
The people involved in
banning or attempting to ban circumcision are not on the political fringe of
their societies. They are part of a leftist establishment. They are doctors and
lawyers, judges and politicians. This doesn’t mean that all their fellow
leftists are anti-Semites. But it does mean the political Left in the Western
world feels comfortable keeping company with anti-Semites.
This state of
affairs is even more striking in international affairs than in domestic
politics. On the international level the Left’s readiness to rub elbows with
anti-Semites has reached critical levels.
While the Europeans have long
been happy to cater to the anti-Semitic whims of the Islamic world, the
escalation of the West’s willingness to accept anti-Semitism as a governing
axiom in international affairs is nowhere more apparent than in the Obama
administration’s foreign policy.
And the American Left’s willingness –
particularly the American Jewish Left’s willingness – to cover up the
administration’s collusion with anti- Semitic regimes at Israel’s expense is
higher today than ever before.
A clear-cut example of both the Obama
administration’s willingness to adhere to anti- Semitic policies of anti-Semitic
governments and the Left’s willingness to defend this bigoted behavior is the
Obama administration’s decision not to invite Israel to participate in its new
Global Counterterrorism Forum.
The GCF was founded with the stated aim of
fostering international cooperation in fighting terrorism. But for the Obama
administration, it was more important to make Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Erdogan, who supports the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups, feel
comfortable, than it was to invite Israel to participate.
Not only did
the US exclude Israel, at the GCF’s meeting last month in Spain, Maria Otero,
the State Department’s under secretary for civilian security, democracy and
human rights, seemed to embrace the Muslim world’s obscene claim that Israelis
are not victims of terrorism because terrorism against Israel isn’t
In her speech, titled “Victims of Terrorism,” Otero spoke of
terror victims in Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda, Colombia, Northern Ireland,
Indonesia, India and the US. But she made no mention of Israeli terror
Rather than criticize the administration for its decision to
appease bigots at the expense of their victim, American Jewish leftists have
defended the administration. Writing in The Atlantic, Zvika Kreiger, senior vice
president of the far-left S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, wrote
that allowing the Jewish state entry to the GCF parley would have “undermined
the whole endeavor.”
Kreiger sympathetically quoted a State Department
official who explained that actually, by ostracizing Israel the administration
was helping Israel.
The source “reasoned the progress made by the
organization would ultimately better serve Israel’s interests (not to mention
those of the United States) than would the symbolic benefits of including it in
a group that likely wouldn’t accomplish anything. [Moreover]... once the
organization was up and running, and its agenda was established, they could find
ways to include Israel that would not be disruptive.”
So despite the fact
that Israel is a major target of terrorism, and despite the fact that many of
the states the US invited to its forum condone terrorism against Israel and
support terrorist groups that murder Israeli Jews, Israel is better off being
excluded, because the anti-Jewish governments invited by the Obama
administration will somehow totally change their perspective on anti-Jewish
terrorism as long as they don’t have to suffer the irritation of sitting in the
same room as real-live representatives of the Jewish state.
of the State Department official’s statement to Kreiger is only outpaced by
Kreiger’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge that cynicism.
behavior makes sense. If he acknowledges the bigoted nature of the Obama
administration’s policies he will have to stop defending them.
degree, Kreiger’s willingness to defend and justify the Obama administration’s
anti-Israel behavior parallels the behavior of Israelis who argue against Israel
unilaterally striking Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to delay the Iranian
regime’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Since 2003, when Iran’s nuclear
weapons program was first revealed to the world community, Iran’s leaders have
succeeded in convincing world leaders that Israel is No. 1 on their target list.
And so, the international debate about what a nuclear-armed Iran will mean for
the world has always followed the Iranians’ lead and centered on the dangers it
would pose to Israel.
Israel’s leaders from then-prime minister Ariel
Sharon down to the last governmental spokesman have maintained that Iran’s
nuclear program threatens the entire Free World. Sharon – like his leftist
disciples today – claimed that given the threat Iran’s nuclear program
constitutes for global security, Israel has no reason to lead the global fight
to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Indeed, Israeli leadership of
the campaign against Iran’s nuclear program would cause some countries to do
nothing because they hate Israel even more than they fear Iran.
followers today, Sharon insisted that the US, as the leader of the Free World,
is responsible for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And they are
right. Iran’s nuclear program does threaten global security and Iran’s nuclear
program does threaten the US specifically. Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei just
ordered his troops to carry out terror attacks against the US in retaliation for
US moves to overthrow Iran’s Syrian puppet Bashar Assad. Iran was the
principle sponsor of the insurgency in Iraq and remains the principle supporter
of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
It’s not that Israel’s leaders belittle
the threat Iran’s nuclear weapons program constitutes for Israel. Across the
spectrum on the Iran debate in Israel – from former Mossad director Meir Dagan
and President Shimon Peres on the Left to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the Right – everyone agrees that in light of the
Iranian regime’s religious fanaticism and its millenarian belief that Armageddon
will hearken the coming of the Shi’ite messiah, Iran cannot be trusted not to
use nuclear weapons against Israel.
Everyone admits that given Iran’s
open sponsorship of terrorism, it is a certainty that terror groups would use
the Iranian nuclear umbrella to massively expand their terrorist war against
Just as Dagan, Peres and their associates share Netanyahu’s
assessment of the threat Iran’s nuclear program poses for Israel, Netanyahu
agrees with their assessment that Israel’s options for contending militarily
with Iran’s nuclear program are limited and imperfect. No one argues that Israel
has a magic bullet to destroy Iran’s nuclear project.
Netanyahu and Barak
have repeatedly warned that Israel has no perfect strike option. They have also
warned that a response from Iran and its proxies in Syria and Lebanon to an
Israeli strike will likely be harsh and deadly. All they say is that it is
better than the alternative of Iranian acquisition of nuclear
The doves agree with Netanyahu that a limited Israeli strike is
better than the alternative of a nuclear-armed Iran. They differ with Netanyahu
on only one issue: their assessment of the US’s willingness to use military
force to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
Voicing the doves’
assessment of the Obama administration and Europe, this week former commander of
Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. (res.) Aharon Zeevi Farkash told NBC
news, “I think Western leaders realize a nuclear Iran is the No. 1 challenge
facing the world.”
Unfortunately, Farkash is wrong. Gen. Martin Dempsey,
the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, made this point earlier this week
in an interview from Afghanistan. There Dempsey said frankly, “Israel sees the
Iranian threat more seriously than the US sees it, because a nuclear Iran poses
a threat to Israel’s very existence.”
In other words, Dempsey told us
that Iran’s cynical packaging of its nuclear program as an anti-Israel
initiative has worked. The Americans – and the Europeans – believe that Iran’s
nuclear program is Israel’s problem to deal with. The Israelis are right that as
the leader of the Free World it is the US’s responsibility to prevent Iran from
becoming a nuclear power. But as Dempsey’s statement shows, the US is not
interested in fulfilling its responsibility.
Like the Europeans, the
Americans will only act when Iran forces them to do so. And that means they will
do nothing to prevent Iran from developing the bomb. They will only move when
Tehran has already crossed Israel off the top of its target list.
opponents of an Israeli strike against Iran don’t want to believe that Americans
are capable of such cynicism. They would like to believe that the only
government capable of behaving cynically is their own. They want to believe that
the US – with its vastly superior military capabilities to destroy Iran’s
nuclear program – will do the right thing and not leave it to Israel – with its
limited means – to take care of the problem for a cynical world.
as Kreiger’s defense of the Obama administration’s courtship of anti-Semites at
Israel’s expense crosses the line separating naivete from willful,
bigotry-enabling blindness, so Peres, Dagan and their colleagues cross the line.
And it is not mere bigotry they are enabling.