Congressman Proves Israel is a Bipartisan Issue

Sherman’s Prayer

“The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel.  If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.”

— Benjamin Netanyahu, 2006

A Jewish-American Voice

Congressman Brad Sherman called for more than prayers, at Temple Valley Beth Shalom, in Encino, California.  During Shabbat services on August 16, 2014, Sherman stepped outside his role as a Congressman to encourage Jews to stand for Israel.

Although Valley Beth Shalom is careful to remain non-partisan in matters political, it is a vigorous advocate for Judaism and a safe haven for Jews.  Speaking as a Jewish voice—and setting aside politics, per se—Congressman Sherman shared the message that we live in serious times.  Not only as Jews but as Americans!

If Israel Wins, We All Win

brad-sherman“Israel,” Sherman insisted, “is fighting a war it never trained for.  The public relations war.”  Sherman explained that Hamas does not expect to win their battle in Gaza: “The win they are looking for is from the war they are waging on the TV sets across Europe and America.”

“Jews are 2% of Americans,” Sherman continued, “Jews must reach out to the 98%.”  As an impassioned Jew, Sherman lifted his voice to exhort his fellow worshipers to practical religious action “for the sake of Israel.”

Sherman pled with congregants to take the PR campaign to the streets, to inform people correctly as to what Israel has been suffering and exactly what is at stake in this conflict.  The ramifications of not doing so could have wider implications, not only for the Middle-East and all of Jewry, but for America.

“Jews alone,” Sherman said, “cannot save Israel.  So, please contact everyone you know, so that they understand the truth and just how important it is to keep Israel safe.  We need community leaders involved, and we need people to contact their representatives and senators in the Congress.”

Nuclear Iran

The other topic the congressman wanted to broach was that of Iran: “We need to pass sanctions now,” insisted Sherman.  “We need to have those in place, and ready to be implemented, by February!”  Sherman went on to enlighten worshipers that Iran’s nuclear program is “the greatest existential threat to both Israel and America.”  According to Sherman, Israel and America are inseparable in the eyes of the Iranian leadership.

The one thing that hurts Iran’s nuclear program the most, in Sherman’s view, is depriving Iran of its ability to participate in the American banking system.  Sanctions against Iran are sorely needed, “especially if negotiations with the Obama Administration fail,” Sherman claimed.

Outside the Sanctuary

After worship services were over, and hoping the congressman might be more amenable to answering questions along political lines, I approached Congressman Sherman outside the sanctuary and queried him, with regard to the Obama Administration’s holding-up of arms shipments to Israel.  “Israel is going to get everything it needs,” he replied.  “The hold-up you mention was a glitch, a bureaucratic need for someone to sign off on the shipment.  Don’t worry about that.”

When asked about the single best way for Jews to fight the PR war, Sherman responded by saying, “We literally have to call up all our friends, relatives, and co-workers and talk about Israel to them.  Even if Israel is normally something we do not talk about with these people, we need to start.  We need to make sure that the 98% are getting the message on Israel.  We can’t let the TV reporting on this carry the day.”

When asked about Obama’s weapons deal with Qatar, a deal that could help Hamas significantly since Qatar is their arms supplier, Sherman skirted the issue, saying, “I am no fan of Qatar.  Qatar is the home of al-Jazeera, which is a big help to Hamas.  But I think the larger issue now is Iran.  If you are networked in any way, get word out on Iran.  Iranian sanctions are the next big thing, beyond Israel’s success in the current conflict.”

Iranian Pushback

israel iranCongressman Sherman’s campaign against Iran is—to give Sherman proper credit—an ongoing one.  Having recently visited Congressman Sherman’s Facebook page, I am well aware of the pushback he has been getting, at least since November 30, 2013, on this issue.

Writes a pro-Iran constituent: “I am outraged that Representative Sherman wants to block repairs for Iranian airplanes that will help the Iranian people.  Doing so would punish ordinary Iranians, unravel the nuclear deal, and put the US and Iran back on the path to war.  I hope the representative will rethink his position and apologize for these remarks.”  Writing further, the constituent claims that sanctions against Iran only hurt the people, not the government.

But, in the end, is it not the people who have the ultimate power to replace an evil regime?  Indeed, there is no other power that can do so with such overweening legitimacy.  And making life under tyranny softer for the Iranian people, and not harder—as it should be—will not help those people to choose to overthrow what amounts to a great evil in the world.

Sherman Has Israel’s Back

On the points of Israel’s PR war and Iranian sanctions, Brad Sherman must be upheld.  He sees himself as a warrior in a world where good versus evil is the main struggle that lies before us on battlefields both actual and potential.  And he perceives the reality that every war must be fought in terms practical and emotional—on the battleground of the war theater and in the hearts of human beings.

There are fine points with Congressman Sherman on which I might differ, with regard to this matter.  And there are political matters of import in which I might actively choose to oppose the congressman.  But on this issue, I must stand firm with Congressman Sherman.

Israel is where Brad Sherman shines.  It has always been so.  I attended the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference in Washington, DC, in 2012, and heard President Obama lie to us outright, saying he had “Israel’s back.”  Indeed, Congressman Sherman was there, saying much the same thing.  Only Congressman Sherman meant it!

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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