(Continued from last week)
It also is imperative to understand that, as a governing authority, Obama does not accept upon himself the usual restraints on the executive that the American Constitution assigns in its separation of powers. When Congress tells him to enforce a law he does not like, he responds by claiming “prosecutorial discretion” — that it is impossible to prosecute every single lawbreaker, so he will not prosecute those who break laws he chooses not to enforce.
He similarly abuses another principle called “Executive Privilege” to violate the will of Congress in other areas. The only way that Congress can deal with these overt violations of the law is by suing him in the American courts, a step that Congress now is taking, but that process takes two or three years for each issue to be adjudicated. (Congress also has one other Constitutional option for stopping a President who commits high crimes and misdemeanors: impeachment by the House and removal from office by the Senate. However, for political reasons, that is not a realistic or practicable option, and no sensible Republican can entertain that step, regardless of what Obama does.)
In terms of Iran and the nuclear bomb, Obama has demonstrated repeatedly that he cannot negotiate effectively with tyrants and dictators. He lacks the experience or knowledge. He dealt with law students among his classmates at Harvard and his occasional students in Chicago. He deals with sycophants in government. He has limited experience in knowing where to stop compromising when someone says “No.” Similarly, he has little experience in understanding that sometimes “Yes” is an outright lie that means “No.”
Most recently, for example, he opened America to Cuba, lifting an embargo of half a century, but the decision is remarkable not for its historicity in terminating the embargo but for how little he got in return. On his watch, Vladimir Putin has deciphered that he can add the Crimea to the Russian polity, and Putin further is emboldened on defying Obama over the Ukraine.
When Obama saw the nascent ISIS just beginning, he told the media that it is merely a “Junior Varsity” — a sports team comprised of the juniors, not the grown-ups, so need not be countered at its start. Even this week, commenting on the recent terror murders of French Jews in the Kosher Supermarket, he brushed the matter aside as a “random” hold-up at “a deli,” the kind of street crime that the mayor of a city should be handling, not the head of a country.
Israeli intelligence knows the deal that Obama is about to make with Iran. Congress knows what he is doing but Constitutionally cannot stop him. Congress only can stop a treaty, not a handshake that says that America will not bother you as long as you keep your promises. The moment is desperate, particularly because the United States, which should be leading the world’s fight for freedom and security, instead is in the stewardship of a narcissist whom Providence has blessed with a unique grace — until a few years ago, when the charm and the luck ran out. Yet, luck or no luck, that deal with the mullahs may be signed by March 24.
During the midst of the Holocaust, no Jew had the power to speak out powerfully to America’s power brokers, to shake the halls of Congress as to what was happening and what needed to be done. A group of rabbis came to meet with President Roosevelt, but he would not agree to meet with them — so they left Washington politely without a whimper. With a President then making decisions that contributed to millions of Jews not being rescued, the American public never heard what was at stake. That is the lesson of 70 years ago.
The lesson is not to worry about whether a President, who already hates Bibi or has mixed views on Israel, will hate Bibi even more and remain even more mixed on Israel. There is no “more” that he can hate Bibi, and Obama cannot be worse to Israel than he is because, for reasons beyond his control, he is as bad as he can be.
Despite some wild comments that Obama wants to see Israel destroyed and does not like Jews, that is not true. Obama does want to see Israel alive, just truncated to pre-1967 lines that he believes, because he simply does not understand — and does not understand what he does not understand — would result in a thriving peaceful Middle East. He historically has surrounded himself with several leftist Jews, including top advisor David Axelrod, former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and several Jews whom he has appointed to financial posts. It is a myth that he does not like Jews, just as it is a myth that he would like other Israeli Prime Ministers better than he does Bibi.
The Israeli leaders whom Obama liked are the ones who gave up the Gaza unilaterally, the ones who gave Yasser Arafat the reins of Government with control over television, radio, newspapers, school education, summer camps, and police. He will like new Israeli leaders who will agree to cede Judea and Samaria, to permanently stop building in Jerusalem and to cede sections of Jerusalem to Abbas. That is the price for Israelis for his love for the last twenty-one months of his Presidency.
In every generation of Jewish history, there comes a crossroads moment when the right word may perhaps invoke a change, may save Jewish lives.
Religious Jews call it “hishtadlut” — trying to do our part, as we seek the protection of Heaven. At such times, the wise and prudent advisors always counsel “Not now. You will make things worse.” But a speech to Congress by Bibi Netanyahu will not make things worse. Things between Israel and Obama will not get worse because they cannot get worse. But when history is written, that speech may — just may, depending on how it is crafted and delivered — result in a Congressional response that assures that Iran not get the nuclear bomb. And then, when history records the moment in March 2015 that Bibi spoke to Congress, Israel will continue to exist and be able to reflect on those days gone by.
And America still may exist, too.
Rabbi Dov Fischer is author of General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine (Steimatzky: 1985). His political commentaries have appeared on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, National Review, Los Angeles Times, and in other major American publications. He formerly was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, is an adjunct professor of law at two prominent American law schools, and is Rav of Young Israel of Orange County, California. He is author of Jews for Nothing (Feldheim: 1983) and is in his fifth year as a member of the National Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His writings can be found at RabbiDov.com As with all of Rabbi Prof. Fischer’s writings, this commentary expresses his own views.