The Orthodox group Agudath Israel recently released a statement expressing their strong and continued support for the Iraq war.
The statement comes after consultation with its rabbinic leadership. Excerpts of the text read as follows:
….Agudath Israel of America believes that President Bush is entitled to great deference in his ongoing efforts to stabilize the situation in Iraq. Such deference is appropriate both because of the constitutional authority that inheres in the President’s position as Commander in Chief, and also because of the moral authority the President has consistently displayed in leading the battle against international terror.
We feel compelled to express our views at this time because the Union for Reform Judaism, purporting to have arrived at its position through an application of “halachic norms” and “Jewish values,” has publicly proclaimed its opposition to the President’s policies in Iraq. This group is entitled to its own organizational position, but that position is neither a legitimate expression of halachic Judaism nor reflective of authentic Jewish values.
Agudath’s backing of the president is interesting, in light of the fact that there are barely any Orthodox Jews serving In Iraq.
To be sure, there are nearly 2,000 Jews serving in Iraq, a very respectable number. Likewise, there are Orthodox Jews like Army SPC, Joe Kashnow, whose leg was shattered in Iraq. Still, for the most part those in the Agudath camp talk a big game but when push comes to shove they are as scared as anyone to pick up a rifle and patrol the lawless Baghdad streets.
Agudath’s statements are not the first time American Jewish groups have supported military action from their living rooms. I always found it astonishing how many pulpit rabbis have no problem encouraging the Israeli army to ramp up its attacks on Arab nations and Palestinian terror cells never once thinking about what that might mean to the parents and siblings of those who have to go into Gaza at two in morning to raid a specific terrorist base. It’s easy to support a war, its much harder to actually fight one.