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March 07, 2003 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-07

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Iraq War Necessary And Just

Pursuing Peace And Justice

tion regime in Iraq, for months
Philadelphia/JTA
waged by Al Qaida, not Iraq.
or years if necessary while a
wo profound teach-
No. This 50-plus-year war has
ne cannot answer the
totally different American and
ings of Jewish tradi-
been waged by a loose, shifting
question of whether
world approach to Iraq, the
tion should be guid-
collection of states and groups,
going to war with
Middle East and Islam takes
ing the actions of
not infrequently divided and
Iraq is morally justi-
hold;
Jews today in regard to Iraq.
fighting among each other but
fied without first establishing
• Encourage a multilateral
The first is Tzedek, tzedek,
all drawing upon Arab cultural
Nvhat state we are in now.
"Marshall Plan" for massive
tirdof; or "Justice, justice, shall
resentment and radical Islamic
The truth, which many
relief and rebuilding in Iraq
you pursue." The ancient rabbis
RA BBI
fundamentalism.
RABBI
American Jews find too bitter
before war, not waiting until
asked, "Why 'justice' twice?"
ART HUR
to swallow, is that we are in a
IRVING
afterward when there will be
They answered: "Seek just ends
state of total war already. We
WAS KOW
GREENBERG
Iraq's
Provocation
by
just
means;
seek
justice
for
face an implacable enemy who
. Count erp o int hundreds of thousands more
Point
dead, perhaps millions more
ourselves, justice for all others."
The question is whether our
has struck and killed Jews
refugees, than are already suf-
Certainly it is a "just goal" to
overt war against Al Qaida
repeatedly, who has vowed to
fering and dying under the misapplied
make certain that Iraq has no weapons
should be extended to Iraq. The
wipe out the state of Israel while mak-
sanctions;
of mass destruction, cannot pour death
answer: Iraq, by its behavior since
ing clear — in Djerba, in Mombasa,
The world Jewish, Christian and
upon Israel or the rest of the world.
in Pakistan — that all Jews worldwide 1990, has confronted the United
Muslim
communities, the European
But
war
against
Iraq
is
not
the
just
States and made war a needed
are targets of this murderous hostility.
Union and many nongovernmental
means of accomplishing this just end.
response.
The very same enemy is at war with
organizations should supply food, medi-
Instead, it is likely to endanger many
Iraq invaded Kuwait. After losing
the United States of America. Sept. 11
Iraqi, American, Israeli and other lives. cines and clothing to desperate Iraqis —
the Gulf War, to avoid invasion, it
represents open warfare and mass
and do this actually on the ground to
It is also likely to endanger Israel —
promised to disarm. Instead, Iraq frus-
murder, but this war has been waged,
make sure both that the effort does not
bring on, as U.S. intelligence experts
trated and expelled inspectors while
overtly and covertly, for decades. The
just
feed the ruling dictatorship, and
have
confirmed,
the
sharpest
danger
of
renewing its effort to achieve nuclear
aggression includes relentless indoctri-
that
it is not just used as a tool by the
a
last-ditch
chemical/bio-
arms.
nation of hatred against Americans,
United States or other hostile powers;
logical attack upon the
In conjunction with
aid to America's enemies, bombing of
THE TOPIC
• Urge a worldwide treaty to elimi-
people of Israel — and
chemical and biological
U.S. embassies and terrorist violence
What
is the Jewish
nate weapons of mass destruction held
endanger the moderate
weapons, these instru-
against its allies and interests.
view of a U.S.-led
by all nations;
Arab governments that
ments are intended to
The co-incidence of war on America
• Urge the United States to insist on
have made peace with
conquer Israel, to subdue
and the Jews is not a coincidence.
war against Saddam
all-Arab
peace treaties with Israel, plus
Israel.
and
extort
Iraq's
neigh-
America is seen as the source of eco-
Hussein's Iraq?
a peace settlement between a secure
A war also will take
bors, and to intimidate
nomic dynamism that is sweeping
Israel and a viable Palestine;
hundreds of billions of
away traditional hierarchies and of cul- and drive out the West.
• Call a world conference of reli-
dollars from America's own people —
Should Iraq succeed in rearming, it
tural transformation that is undermin-
gious leaders to face and end the use
from health care for our seniors,
would not hesitate to use these terror
ing authoritarian faiths and inherited
of traditional texts and contemporary
schools for our children, healing for
weapons (or to supply them to Al
structures. The West, modernity,
fears to justify violence against other
the
earth.
An
attack
on
Iraq
will
Qaida
or
other
terrorist
groups
and
media, "uppity women," homosexuali-
religions (like the effort in some
increase the unaccountable power of
regimes) for use against the United
ty, unlimited cultural choices, the
Christian communities during the past
the oil companies and regimes that
States, Israel or Jews anywhere, or
decline of Islamic civilization in the
generation to eliminate anti-Semitic
have provided money to both the Al
against other populations.
arts, science and human rights — are
interpretations of Christianity);
Qaida terrorists and the Bush adminis-
Here we come to the core questions:
all lumped together and blamed on
• Urge the United States to join the
tration, that have corrupted American
Maybe Iraq can be hamstrung or
the "Great Satan," America.
International
Criminal Court, and
politics
and
robbed
American
stock-
delayed.
Maybe,
even
if
armed,
Iraq's
These hated values are further stig-
broaden its jurisdiction to include
holders, that befoul the seas and scorch
dictator will not strike in fear of
matized by hanging them on Jews and
international terrorism as well as gov-
the earth.
American retaliation — just as he has
on Israel, the "Little Satan."
ernmental war crimes;
It
will
also
worsen
already
deeply
held back since 1991.
Anti-Semites charged that Jews
.
• Urge the United States to adhere
wounded human rights and civil liber-
This is precisely the needed judg-
introduced modernity and capitalism
ties not only for Arabs and Muslims in to the Kyoto treaties and begin an all-
ment call. Unlike a situation in which
in Western Europe; other anti-Semites
out effort to conserve energy and
America but even for Persian Jewish
we have been openly attacked, and
blamed Jews for communism in
bring renewable energy sources on
immigrants
who
were
rounded
up
striking
back
in
self-defense
is
self-evi-
Eastern Europe. Now, Islamic Jew-
line, minimizing use of oil and coal.
along with Muslims — and increase
dently justified, the Iraq situation is
haters blame them for purveying the
These specifics are strands in a larger
the use of torture of prisoners held
debatable. Maybe Saddam Hussein
evils of western capitalist democracy.
weave of planetary community, and
overseas by the CIA, as was reported
will never attack and we can get by
Arabists have recently claimed that
we need to be imagining that weave in
recently by the Washington Post.
without a war.
America is hated because it supports
all its wholeness. Then we can choose
My personal judgment is:
Israel. In fact, the opposite is closer to
what
aspects of this future we can
Taking
the
risk
of
no
imposed
dis-

the truth. Israel is hated as the outpost
Options To War
begin to embody in the present.
armament is intolerable. No dictator
of Western civilization successfully
So in good Jewish fashion, what is the
so vile and no regime so dangerous
placed in Dar-al-Islam (the land
practical alternative to war? What
dare be allowed to become a nuclear-
divinely ordained for Muslim rule
Learn To Distinguish
would "just means" be?
biological threat. We need only
only) and maintained by its Western
The
second crucial Jewish teaching for
American Jews could:
remember the massive losses of life
technology and skills.
this
hour
comes from Psalm 34:
Support
the
Franco-German
plan
to

due to the world's initial appeasement
Some argue that the war is being
Bakeysh shalom radfeyhu, or "seek
intensify and prolong the U.N. inspec-
of Hitler and Stalin.
Rabbi Irving Greenberg is the president
peace and pursue it." Again the rabbis
• If the United States strikes pre-
of the Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt
emptively, it risks inflicting limited
Rabbi Arthur Waskow is director of the asked, "Why both 'seek' and 'pursue?'"
They answered: Most mitzvot, or reli-
Foundation. His e-mail address is
deaths. If we allow Saddam to maneu-
Shalom Center. His e mail address is
WASKOW'on page 34
yitz@jewishlife.org
GREENBERG on page 34
shalomctr@aol.com

New York City/JTA

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3/ 7 .
2003

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