US President Barack Obama casts a shadow between a pair of Torah scrolls as he delivers remarks on Jewish American History Month at the Adas Israel Congregation synagogue in Washington May 22, 2015. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
My Israeli daughter, Isadora, 27, doesn’t consider me a very good father and I can’t say that I much blame her. (She might even think that President Barack Obama, dad to daughters Malia and Sasha, is a far better one).
Why is she so mad? Because, for one thing, I reside in New York City as an English-language book author while she lives in Tel Aviv, an integral fixture of the Hebrew-language music scene. Because of my profession I can’t successfully live in Israel (God knows I tried: spent years there, became a citizen and proudly served in the Israel Defense Forces, but in the final analysis found that I have to be where my language lives: America).
As neither of us are willing to exchange places the result for me is her occasional begrudging “Like” on Facebook (perhaps a situation far more common to most parents these days then I realize?) Which does not mean that a single day passes when I don’t miss Isadora or the Land of Israel.
And now thanks to President Obama, not a single night goes by when I am not worried sick about the survival of my daughter and the Jewish state.
What am I to make of the president’s fierce determination to gamble the lives of Israel’s six million Jews, including Isadora, on a specious and unenforceable nuclear treaty with a nation – Iran – whose duplicity is proven, whose avowed intention is to destroy Israel and which sponsors two violent terrorist militias who keep the Jewish state under a perpetual siege: Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south? Such a treaty may represent for Obama a foreign policy “coup” that will cement his legacy but to me, the bad father of a good Israeli daughter, it keeps me up at night, careening between helplessness, rage and despair. Parental instinct dictates, beyond all the policy- wonk talk emanating from the White House: you don’t leave your daughter, or anyone’s else’s kids for that matter, prey to killers. In 2003, at the height of the terrorist suicide bombing campaign against Israel, when bus after bus blew up in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, I returned to serve in the IDF for one reason alone: defend my kid.
Obama is placing Israel – which unanimously opposes the treaty – at the mercy of Iran.
So great is his determination to secure his goal that he has even resorted to unmistakably anti-Semitic pronouncements, demonizing Jews and Israel in a manner that will have, I predict, an ongoing dire impact on the safety and integrity of Jewish life for decades to come and which, coupled with his treaty, will serve to declare an international open hunting season on Jews globally.
As a father I say to President Barack Obama, who is a father: better that you had allowed parental instinct rather then callow political self-interest to guide your foreign policy decisions.
And if in fact you now have such utter faith in your treaty with Iran then why not append to it this clause: “I, Barack Obama, as a measure of my confidence in Iran, guarantee my own daughters, Malia and Sasha, to reside in the Jewish state during the time that the nuclear treaty is in force.”
At least display that much trust in your decision if you are going to gamble with my Israeli daughter’s life.
The author’s books include Matches, a novel and Jew Boy, a memoir.
For more on the Iran Deal:
Missile defense central to Iran deal
The limits of diplomacy: Why ‘better Iran deal’ may not be possible
Congress’s Iran dilemma: Weighing the president’s conflicting messages
Iran’s old-new role in the region
The price President Obama will demand from Israel for increased military aid after the JCPOA