And Esther said to Hathach, and she ordered him to [tell] Mordechai: “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who comes to the king, into the inner court, who is not summoned, there is but one law for him, to be put to death, except the one to whom the king extends the golden scepter, that he may live, but I have not been summoned to come to the king these thirty days. And they told Esther’s words to Mordechai. And Mordechai ordered to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine to yourself that you will escape in the king’s house from among all the Jews.” (Esther 4:10-13)
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is coming to Congress on March 3. He is coming whether President Barack Obama likes it or not. He is coming whether the Democrats like it or not. He is coming whether his opponents back home like it or not.
He is coming whether the American Jewish establishment likes it or not.
And many do not.
First, liberal Jewish Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) lashed out, calling Netanyahu’s speech “highly inappropriate.”
Then Abraham L. Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, a reliably left-wing organization, panicked, calling the speech “a tragedy of unintended consequences.”
Now, it seems the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the pro-Israel group that will also meet next week in Washington, was privately “in shock” over the speech.
Good. The Jewish establishment deserves to be shaken up.
For more than six years, American Jewish leaders have cowered in fear of Barack Obama–even before he was elected.
In September 2008, they disinvited Gov. Sarah Palin from speaking at a rally against Iran’s nuclear program after Democratic Party leaders, who had already pressured then-Sen. Hillary Clinton to withdraw, threatened to punish the Jewish community for holding a “partisan” event (which had originally been bipartisan).
Nothing has changed. Obama is using the same tactics today, in a brazen effort to portray Netanyahu’s speech as a partisan event–a “campaign rally,” in the words of Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), covering her anti-Israel views with faux concerns about “protocol.”
McCollum is boycotting the speech, along with a minority of Democrats–including Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, my own former opponent. (She represents Skokie, a town where “Never Again!” really used to mean something.)
Yes, there is a political tinge to the event–but it has nothing to do with Netanyahu’s re-election effort in Israel, and nothing to do with Republicans’ opposition to Obama’s “executive amnesty” on immigration, as at least one Democrat has alleged.
The political issue at the heart of House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation is simply that Congress wants a rightful say in the Iran deal, while the White House is looking for ways to avoid the legislature. Netanyahu’s speech is Boehner’s response.
Yet even as Boehner found his backbone, the bulk of American Jewish leadership seems to have continued to lose theirs.
It is worth asking what six years of appeasement have done for the ADL, for AIPAC, and others. Even those who dared to criticize Obama in his first term made sure to endorse him for a second (though, like former New York mayor Ed Koch, they suspected he would betray them).
Has flattering Obama been good for America or Israel? Why would it help now?
The point of speaking to Congress is to deliver a message from Netanyahu directly to the American people. Obama did the same thing when he visited Israel in 2013, and snubbed the Knesset in favor of speaking to a more sympathetic audience of students.
Was that in keeping with “protocol”? Absolutely not.
But while Obama was indulging his peculiar passion for a Palestinian state, Netanyahu will be speaking about a matter of fundamental national security interest to the United States.
Netanyahu will be taking up the task that once fell to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who spent years warning a reluctant nation–left and right–that the United States had to prepare for war.
Obama is doing the opposite, reassuring a nation under attack that it is really at peace–that radical Islam is not the enemy, that Iran can be trusted, that we are safer than ever before (though his own administration reports otherwise).
Americans must hear the truth, protocol or not.
The Jews of ancient Persia were saved by a queen, Esther, who dared to violate protocol to bring her petition to the king, and by the outsider, Mordechai, who urged her to do so, despite the counsel of palace elites.
Queen Esther’s request to the leaders of the Jewish community was that they fast and pray for her as she prepared to take the ultimate risk for their sake.
Religious Jews still observe the Fast of Esther, which falls on March 4 this year, the day after Netanyahu’s speech.
I’ll be fasting one day early.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak