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By the CyberRav—Rabbi Rafi Rank
It’s difficult to believe that one can honestly embrace religious principles without acting on them in some political capacity. If you strongly believe in something, you want to make it happen. By the same token, many such religious convictions are fraught with political complications or unforeseen consequences that make their promotion difficult in synagogue. We debate the issues, but promote one side or another and you create a very unhappy community.
Still some actions are so obvious from a religious and political perspective that ignoring them would be morally reprehensible. The community now faces one such issue—dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat.
Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is someone who speaks loudly. He may be lying, or deliberately provocative, but whatever his intentions are, his words taken at face value, are belligerent and hostile. For example,
"Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury."
"As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."
"Israel is a tyrannical regime that will one day will be destroyed."
Or again, some of his other weird views:
“[There is] no significant need for the United States."
“They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets."
“The victorious powers [of the world wars] call themselves the conquerors of the world, while ignoring or down-treading the rights of other nations by the imposition of oppressive laws and international arrangements.” [end quote]
Nuclear weapons in the hands of a man with views like these is not only a clear and present danger to Israel, it is a clear and present danger to all civilized people in the West and in the East. I seriously doubt whether the ambitions of an Ahmadinejad can be stopped by diplomatic means, then again, no diplomatic strategy should be spared in punishing Iran for violating the international community’s security or its peace of mind. I would urge you to call your representative in Congress and your senators to urge support of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (IRPSA), an act that would limit Iran's ability to import and produce refined petroleum products by requiring the president to impose sanctions on companies providing refined petroleum to Iran or helping Iran expand its own refining capacity.
Sometimes Torah is in the midrash, the study, and sometimes Torah is in the ma’aseh, the doing. Now is the time for ma’aseh. You may think that Ahmadinejad is some boorish politician who sadly got into power, but some very boorish politicians who sadly got into power did some horrific damage in this world before their governments collapsed. Let’s make sure that it doesn’t come to that in this case.