Featured Ads

If we are not for ourselves, who will be?

About 85 people attended the AIPAC convention from the Kansas City Jewish community including Hedy Shron (right) and her grandson Simcha Shron, who is from East Brunswick, New Jersey, but counted as a part of the Kehilath Israel contingent.

In Syria, hundreds of thousands of people have died, and the death toll rises each day, as millions are forced to flee the country. In Uganda, 1,500 die each day in displaced persons camps; at least half a million to date.

In Vietnam, at least 75,000 drug addicts and prostitutes have been forced into rehab camps labeled as high risk for HIV/Aids, but have not been provided any treatment. UNICEF estimates that there are 60,000 child prostitutes in the Philippines. In Darfur, hundreds of thousands have been killed with millions displaced. In Egypt, continuous sexual violence against women is commonplace. In Saudi Arabia, women are forbidden to obtain a passport, marry or travel without approval of a husband, father, brother or son, and are also forbidden to drive. In North Korea, government opponents are place in prison camps and are subjected to starvation, torture or forced labor. In China, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Congo, human rights defenders or political dissidents are murdered, tortured or imprisoned. The list goes on and on. 

However, the United Nations Human Rights Council ignores all these human rights atrocities and seems to be obsessed at condemning Israel for human rights violations. Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East where every citizen enjoys total freedom of rights, freedom of the press and freedom of expression. It’s the only country in the Middle East that provides daily aid to the West Bank and Gaza and the only country in the Middle East that sends aid worldwide when disaster strikes another country.

This is the country that is condemned by the U.N. Human Rights Council. To date, there has been 45 resolutions by this council condemning Israel, almost half of all country-specific resolutions. This time, the council went one step further. They called upon the world’s countries to refrain from providing any assistance of any kind to what they call settlements, and warned businesses against doing business with companies in Judea-Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and voted to create a “black list” of all Israeli and international firms operating directly or indirectly in these areas. The motion passed 32 nations in favor and 15 abstentions. Not one country voted against this terribly biased resolution!

Instead of dealing with Palestinian terror attacks against innocent civilians; instead of dealing with the Islamic State terror attack in Europe, this Human Rights Council (the hypocrisy in its name) decided to become partners with the BDS movement and boycott Jewish businesses. This resolution sounds dangerously familiar to the 1930s! This conduct is anti-Israel, which is just another term for anti-Semitic. 

This vote ironically came on our festival of Purim, which is the celebration of our victory over blatant anti-Semitism described in the Book of Esther. The lesson of Purim is that we cannot sit back and wait for a miracle from God, but like Mordechai and Esther, we must take action ourselves and use whatever political clout we have to stop this wave of hate and bigotry. 

I just returned from the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., where people of all ages, religions, races and political affiliation work together to enhance the security of Israel by strengthening the U.S.–Israel relationship. AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is our boots on the ground working extremely hard to educate our representatives in Congress on the dangers that Israel faces and on the advantages to both countries of a strong and secure Israel. Regardless of how you view AIPAC, it is the most effective organization today working to ensure Israel’s survival. Imagine how many people would have been saved if AIPAC was around in the 1930s. 

Here’s an example of what Israel is up against, Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, the Lieutenant General and the Head of General Security for the Emirate of Dubai, sent a few questions to his 1.5 million Twitter followers. Question 1 — Is it permissible for Jews to live in Arab lands? Twenty-two percent answered yes, 17 percent answered no and 67 percent answered “Jews do not have a place with us.” Question 2 — How do you envision Israel’s future regarding Jews? Nineteen percent answered a two-state solution, 14 percent answered a one-state solution and 67 percent answered “We will throw them into the sea!”

As Jewish Americans, we must do everything in our power to ensure Israel’s survival, both physically and economically. We cannot sit back and wait for others to step forward, and like Mordechai and Esther, we cannot wait for a miracle. It’s up to us to ensure that, God forbid, if need be, we will always have someplace else to go.

Rabbi Jeffrey Shron is spiritual leader of Kehilath Israel Synagogue.