As the world watches and waits the next move from Tehran, vis-à-vis its threats to block the Straits of Hormuz, which would virtually terminate all oil exports from the region, we sit and ponder the earth-shattering ramifications of such a stark provocation. We not only ask ourselves why the international community resists assuming an offensive posture against the rogue state, but far more importantly we, as members of the Jewish nation and proud supporters of freedom and democracy must ask why our own organizations remain eerily mum on this topic.
History has recorded that Jewish organizations have never been among those to retreat from taking bold and forceful stances on issues pertaining to human rights and civil rights, yet it would appear when it comes to addressing the existential menace that modern day Iran represents, an enigmatic paralysis of will is lurking behind the scenes.
Here’s the question, stated simply: Where are the collective voices of the «alphabet soup» of Jewish organizations? Where is the public display of visceral anger and outrage over the fact that such countries as China, Russia, India and South Korea are buying at least 10 percent of their oil from Iran? Why aren›t such perennial bedrocks of the American Jewish scene such as the Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith, the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents and the litany of others like them not mobilizing their troops for massive demonstrations outside the consulates of the respective countries who do business with Iran? Why aren›t the public relations departments of these organizations not churning out exclamatory press releases denouncing these countries on a daily basis? Why aren›t our synagogues and Jewish community centers not being deluged with speakers who can enlighten and educate our people to the dangers of a nuclear Iran and its enablers?
Moreover, it would behoove the leaders of said Jewish organizations to do their homework and become acquainted with the sheer magnitude of the power that groups of people have had throughout the course of history in dramatically affecting foreign policy outcomes. Let’s not forget that Jews of the former Soviet Union were eventually freed from the nightmare of Communist rule due in large part to activists of the Jewish Defense League in the late 1960s and 1970s who served as the proverbial gadfly to more moderate organizations who initially refused to take more bold measures to secure the freedom of their brethren.
Tragically, today we do not hear the voices of indignation, of those who comprehend that this is a definitive moment in history, but rather we hear a deafening silence.
As of this writing it has been reported that despite an intensifying U.S. campaign to smother Tehran›s vital oil exports until it abandons its nuclear program, the Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told a news conference that “We continue to buy oil from Iran.” Quite defiantly he added that, “We have accepted sanctions which were made by the United Nations. Other sanctions do not apply to individual countries.” Iran is India’s second-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, providing around 12 percent of
the fast-growing country’s needs at an annual cost of around $12 billion.
Several days ago another U.S. ally, South Korea, was called on the carpet by Robert Einhorn, the U.S. State Department›s special adviser for non-proliferation and arms control, during talks in Seoul with South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Jae-Shin where he called upon the government there to significantly reduce its dependence on Iranian oil supplies and to cease dealing with Iran’s central bank.
It is clear that both China and Russia have their heels dug in, and refuse to budge on their staunch opposition to tougher economic sanctions against Iran, while continuing to consume Iranian oil.
Let every Jewish leader of every Jewish organization be put on notice. A nuclear Iran is a serious threat to the Jewish state, and the Jewish people as a whole. But the Iranian threat is not exclusively a Jewish issue. While the Iranians have unequivocally declared their intent to obliterate Israel, right now their focus is on provoking the Western world into engaging in a global conflagration; the likes of which we have never witnessed.
Indeed, the time is long overdue to wake the sleeping giant of Jewish organizations. The time is long overdue for their constituents to insist that funding go directly to large scale protests, demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience outside of every consulate of every country that stubbornly refuses to sever ties with Iran. Let the leadership of every Jewish organization learn a hands-on lesson from the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Granted, they were boorish and ineffective, but their hearts were in the right place, and their emphasis on action was commendable (if not the specific actions themselves).
Let us morph into a people whose dedication to the principles of freedom, liberty and democracy will not allow us to eat or sleep or go about the mundane rituals of our daily lives until Iran is isolated in the international arena.
It can be done, but more to the point, it must be done. Our future and that of our children and grandchildren depend upon it!