For Whom Doth He Speak?

The recent address given by President Barrack Obama (YouTube – President Barack Obama – 2011 URJ Biennial Plenary) to the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) that runs in excess of thirty-minutes, from his opening comments and throughout, he praises the accomplishments since the Union’s inception in 1873 founded by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise a native of Bohemia who came to the United States in 1846.  Since then the Union has grown from an initial membership of 34 congregations in 28 cities to more than 900 congregations in the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is the largest Jewish movement in North America and represents an estimated 1.5 million Jews. In 2003 the General Assembly approved a new name, Union for Reform Judaism, to better reflect today’s reality.

To become more familiar and to understand better the context and reason(s) for such praise being lauded upon this Jewish organization by the leader of a super-power nation, I visited the organizations website: http://urj.org/about/union/affiliate/  wherein it clearly states its mission:

‘The primary mission of the Union for Reform Judaism, the congregational arm of the Reform Movement, is to create and sustain vibrant Jewish congregations wherever Reform Jews live in North America.’ [Emphasis is mine]

Navigating the sites menu and reading the related subject-matter what becomes quite evident and clear is that this is a Jewish organization dedicated  ‘to support Reform Jewish congregations and to perpetuate and advance Reform Judaism.’

So just what is Reform Judaism?

Taken from the Jewish Virtual Library web site: ‘one of the guiding principles of Reform Judaism is the autonomy of the individual. A Reform Jew has the right to decide whether to subscribe to this particular belief or to that particular practice.’
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/what_is_reform.html [Emphasis is mine]

What should remain understood within the context of this seemingly liberal belief structure; the Reform goes on to emphasize ‘Reform Jews are heirs to a vast body of beliefs and practices embodied in TORAH and the other Jewish sacred writings’ and, ‘we are all an essential part of K’lal Yisrael-the worldwide community of Jewry.’

The thread that clearly runs through Obama’s speech to the URJ members is their many positive contributions to America by their support in the early days of the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King and,  the freedoms he and fellow African-Americans shared in part contributed to his becoming President of the United States.
It was shortly after this that the camera conveniently moved toward the applauding, exclusively white audience save for one, though smiling, African-American sitting amongst them (nice that they could invite at least one other representative of the Black community).

From this point Obama’s speech, to much accolade from the audience, reiterated the accomplishments of his administration in realizing the Change and reforms promised during the 2008 election and sounded more a stump-speech, in light of upcoming 2012 election.

However, the applause becomes audibly diminished when the President struck a sensitive cord upon calling for the universal recognition for the rights of all nations’ peoples, the freedom and dignity to live in peace and security. An obvious contradiction to the segregation, genocidal treatment and human-rights abuses militarily imposed by Israel and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon the Palestinian peoples of Gaza and the West Bank and beyond.

Throughout listening to the speech, recognizing the reality of what is known to be transpiring in the United States regarding its failing economy, growing unemployment, escalating foreclosure, etc., one cannot help but ask: is there a disconnect between this known reality and the comments in the President speech and, this could not be more evident wherein he speaks to the, to date, failure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?

It should be of no surprise to anyone current in international state-of-affairs to know tensions are mounting in the Middle East particularly as of late, as it pertains to Iran and Syria.

The entire Middle East region is a tinder-box ready to be ignited that potentially. a global conflict could ensue involving Russia and China given their stated support to Iran’s position within the conflict.  On-going posturing by the United States, NATO allies and Israel forces versus that of Iran which is presently staging a major `war games’ exercise in the region, could escalate.

In light of these growing tensions, it is here one need ask:for whom doth the President speak? For it is here the President iterates and acknowledges the values for which Israel stands are too, those held to by America and,  to which his administration, on behalf of the people of the United States, as Israel’s ally, commits to uphold and defend.

Recognizing that the URJ membership is comprised of only 1.5million, presumably Americans in the United States; the President’s timely speech is obviously meant for the broader, domestic and international audience.

I leave it to you to decide:

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