This week a German doctor in Bavaria filed a criminal complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg.
Rabbi Goldberg’s “crime”? He performs ritual circumcisions on Jewish male infants in accordance with Jewish law.
The 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 slaughter.
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 GCTF 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 GCTF’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 terrorism.
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 victims.
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 GCTF 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.
THE CYNICISM of the State Department official’s statement to Kreiger is only outpaced by Kreiger’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge that cynicism.
Kreiger’s behavior makes sense. If he acknowledges the bigoted nature of the Obama administration’s policies he will have to stop defending them.
To a 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.
Like his 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 Israel.
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 weapons.
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.
Israeli 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.
But just 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.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.
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