Because of this, I rarely ever give real political opinions—that is until it comes to Israel. For me, the safety and security of my brothers and sisters in Israel transcends politics.
Together with many others in the Jewish community, I have watched with alarm as Iran marches closer and closer to nuclear weapon capability.
There is no doubt that attacking Iran must be the last option used. We also know that Iran with a nuclear capability will be a threat not only to Israel but also to the United States and indeed to the entire free world. Nonetheless, it is of primary danger to Israel.
- For full coverage of US presidential race click here
At the UN last month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel “will be eliminated.” Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader and commander of the Iranian military, has called Israel a “cancerous tumor” amongst other derogatory and alarming names.
We Jews live with the memory of a short 70 years ago when six million of our brethren in Europe were murdered at the hands of the Nazis.
As Jews, we are again in a situation where nearly half of us live in a relatively small area known as Israel. Needless to say, Israelis cannot risk allowing its sworn enemy who has vowed to eliminate them to gain the means to do so. But Israel as a country seems to be unable to stop Iran on its own. It needs help from its strongest and closest ally, America.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear at the United Nations that based on known information (from the IAEA), Iran will be just weeks away from being able to create a nuclear bomb by next summer at the latest.
Clearly, the decision whether to defend Israel and stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon will fall to the next United States Administration.
Life and death choice
Here is where the responsibility of Jews in the United States comes in. There are many issues in this upcoming election. Yet, I submit that as Jews there is no issue more important than the Iranian threat towards Israel.
Thus, we must block out all of the noise – to use President Obama’s term when referring to Israeli concerns about Iran – and focus on which presidential choice will more effectively deal with Iran and thus protect Israel. This is literally a life and death choice for millions of Jews in Israel.
In 1944, Jews did not speak up and pressure the Roosevelt Administration to bomb the train lines that were taking millions of Jew to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps. Let us not make the same mistake again.
American Jews have a solemn responsibility this election year, and that responsibility is not toward a political party or ideology – it is towards Israel.
There are things about the Democratic Party and President Obama that appeal to me personally. Yet, when it comes to Israel he has shown that he cannot be trusted.
Whilst he might say all the right things, when he is unscripted and many of his actions speak louder than words in this area. As a Jew I would not feel comfortable placing the lives of my family in Israel in President Obama’s hands.
I therefore say to my friends who are committed Democrats that they must consider Israel and the life and death situation its citizens will face in the coming four years, and vote based on that and not on any other consideration.
If this means that you will have to hold your nose while voting for Romney and then vomit afterwards, it will be a small price to pay for doing your share in helping save the lives of millions of Jews.
Rabbi Levi Brackman is co-founder and executive director of Youth Directions , a non-profit organization that helps youth find and succeed at their unique positive purpose in life