Remarks To the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

Posted on March 13, 2003 In Press Releases

Thank you all for coming to Washington. This city needs to hear your perspective.

As a Baptist from Sugar Land, Texas, I don’t claim to be an expert on the Orthodox Jewish community.

And while I’d like to be able to tell you that I carefully studied comparative religion in college, let me just say that Baylor was the best school I ever got thrown out of.

But here’s what I do know: the infusion of Torah into the actions of daily life is a compelling force for good in this world. To take the ordinary and the mundane and — through prayer, tradition, and custom — elevate it to something holy is remarkable. Jewish dietary laws are, perhaps, the most well known example of this process. It’s the way something completely common can become a vehicle for pursuing ultimate good.

Food is no longer simply a means by which the human appetite is satisfied. Instead, food becomes a means by which we derive the energy needed to understand and to obey the guiding hand of Providence.

In this way, what may seem be the extraordinary burdens of the religious life are, in fact, the foundations of a life filled with direction and purpose.

We’re meeting during a time of great stress on our governing institutions. The prospect of going to war in a just and noble cause has to summon our most somber reflection and attention.

I know the prospect of putting young Americans in harm’s way is weighing heavily on the mind of our President. And there’s something you can each do to help President Bush. You can ask, as I do, for God’s guiding hand to be placed upon his shoulders as he decides the best way to confront evil. Leaders who wrestle with these most difficult questions are strengthened by the prayers of people they’ll never meet. The President told us this last week. So, please continue to pray for President Bush and please include those of us in the congressional leadership.

You’ll all be pleased to know that the Republican leaders I serve with are all strong believers in the God who gives us meaning and direction. We all know the empowering strength that comes from deep faith. One lesson that Faith teaches is the importance of holding firm to our principles. We’re seeing that at work through the incredible moral leadership President Bush is asserting in the war against terror. Despite extraordinary opposition, President Bush is standing firm on the need to defend this country by confronting evil.

We’ve heard the seductive siren song of appeasement before. The appeasers claimed that concessions to militaristic and evil regimes would bring them into the orbit of civilized societies. Listen to Neville Chamberlain vainly attempt to justify his conduct:

“One thing is I think clear namely that Hitler has concluded that we mean business and that the time is not ripe for a major war.

“Therein he is fulfilling my expectations. Unlike some of my critics I go further and say the longer the war is put off the less likely it is to come at all as we go about perfecting our defenses and building up the defenses of our allies.

“That is what Winston and Co. never seem to realize. You don’t need offensive forces sufficient to win a smashing victory. What you want are defensive forces sufficiently strong to make it impossible for the other side to win except at such a cost to make it not worthwhile.

“That is what we are doing and, though at present, the German feeling is it is not worth while yet, they will presently come to realize that it never will be worthwhile, then we can talk.” — Neville Chamberlain.

But there was no talk. There was only reckless militarism and genocide.

And millions died as a consequence of Neville Chamberlain’s misguided belief that evil could be converted to equanimity through the granting of concessions.

The Appeasers were wrong sixty years ago but their destructive worldview is still at work — sapping strength and weakening resolve today. The pursuit of peace is always a noble goal.

But policies that, in a feckless attempt to treat two conflicting parties equally, recklessly subordinate a country’s basic right to security, in the face of endless violence directed at children, to a “process” are inherently and fatally flawed.

We see it in the endless pleas for ever-longer applications of “diplomacy” to problems that words simply have not and cannot solve. And we see it in the reckless climate fostered by leaders in the other party which appears to countenance remarks like those made recently by Representatives Moran and Kaptur recently. They were wrong and every leader must reject their moral equivocating.

When a tyrant or terrorist is determined to destroy free societies and replace them with a dictatorship or a brutal theocracy, there can be no reasoning with such people. There can be only defiance, and courage, and through the strength of our Creator, ultimately victory for those free people who refuse to surrender their liberty in the face of aggression.

Unfortunately, this lesson is lost on those clamoring to impose a so-called “road map” on the men and women of Israel.

There is a confluence of deluded thinking between European elites, elements within the State Department bureaucracy, and a significant segment of the American intellectual community. This consortium of complacency, these inadvertent servants of tyranny, and these neo-appeasers share a common frame of reference. They seem to believe that strains of violent aggression can be best constrained by concessions on the part of free societies. The neo-appeasers are dead wrong about Iraq. They’re dead wrong about Israel.

At this moment, this collection of fancy thinkers, is attempting to coerce the President into accepting what they innocuously call a “Road Map.”

This absurd scheme flows from an ethically obtuse obsession with establishing moral parity between the lone fountain of liberty in the Middle East and an apparatus of terrorism that was organized and deployed to destroy the Jewish State. So, let’s drop the Foggy Bottom temporizing and be perfectly clear about this.

As President Bush has made clear, there’s only one real road map to peace: Free minds, free markets, free elections, and the freedom to worship.

The path to security and stability lies down the road that Israel has already traveled. They don’t need directions. The Israelis don’t need to change course. They don’t need to travel the path of weakness as defined by the neo-appeasers.

Let’s consider who seeks to impose this thinking on the Bush Administration. Morally-ambivalent nations that are more concerned with their popularity among Arab dictatorships than the peace and security of the free world.

The true “Road Map” is the road President Bush has described: Democracy, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law. Israel is not the problem. Israel is the solution. It is the model for what the rest of the nations in the Middle East should be. The focus of the free world should not be directed toward pressuring the freest, most prosperous, most advanced society in the Middle East.

So let me ask, when the Europeans call on the Israelis to make concessions, what exactly do they want Israel to concede: Her freedom; her security, her existence?

This is no “Road Map” for peace. It is a “Road Map” for destruction. We can’t reward terrorism with concessions.

The Jewish State has every right to reject proposals that will undercut her fundamental ability to defend herself.

During the Cold War when liberty was besieged by tyranny, who asserted the moral courage that defeated totalitarianism. It was the United States of America. American leadership was the driving force that demanded the free world make its stand against an Evil Empire. Once again, Europeans are questioning America’s determination to confront evil. Fortunately, President Bush has the wisdom to reject the counsel offered by these neo-appeasers.

Why has President Bush consistently refused to meet with Arafat? It’s simple. Arafat is a terrorist.

And President Bush is a man who honors the sanctity of innocent life and rightly despises tyrants and dictators who end lives to further their schemes of domination and destruction.

We were told time and again that, to shift world opinion to our side, threatened democracies had to “take chances for peace.” What utter nonsense!

During the 1990s, we had the so-called “peace process.” Israel, encouraged by the United States, took chances for peace and what good has come of it?

Is the United States now treated with greater reverence or with greater contempt in the capitals of Old Europe?

Have the terrorist groups targeting Israel been placated or are they now, instead, directing more violent aggression against Israel?

Sadly, the negative answer is the unavoidable and undeniable response to each of these troubling questions.

Will another cycle of piecemeal concessions make Israel more secure or less secure?

My friends, this screenplay has already been written. It’s called the “Road to Perdition.”

In the search for Mid-East peace, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations have been wrong. And they’re still wrong. The suffering of the Palestinian people is not the product of Israeli democracy. Rather, it is the consequence of corrupt Palestinian dictatorship. The Palestinians who are truly committed to peace have been betrayed by a “process” that tolerates and even funds terrorism against Israel.

By tolerating terrorism, the European Union and its fellow travelers are perpetuating conditions that make peace between Israel and the Palestinian people impossible.

The “Road Map” is a false promise because it cannot deliver progress toward peace without enforcing accountability on terrorist elements within the Palestinian leadership. Only one path can deliver true peace and security to Israel. The acceptance by Arab states of core democratic principles.

During the coming weeks, the U.S.-Israel alliance will be tested. And we need to be certain that the Europeans and others understand that America will never abandon our ally and friend.

Fortunately, we have a President who will leave no doubt.

On June 18, 1940, Winston Churchill rose before the House of Commons and said the following:

“Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war.

“If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

“But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”

My friends, the fanatics know that to defeat Israel would be to strike a crippling blow against the whole free world. In this way, the Israel of our day and the Great Britain of 1940 are remarkably similar. In the weeks and months ahead, let us rededicate ourselves to our common mission, the defense of freedom.

And let us pray, as Abraham Lincoln did, that we receive that Divine Assistance without which we cannot hope to succeed, but with which success is certain. Thank you and God bless you.