Roger L. Simon

Time for Rahm Emanuel to bar mitzvah himself

I wish Rahm Emanuel the best on the bar mitzvah of his son, which is taking place at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. And I certainly condemn those who choose to make this event an opportunity for protest. But I think this is an even more important opportunity for Emanuel to do some serious reflecting on his own values and conception of manhood.

Emanuel should pay closer attention to what kind of example he is for his son. His reputation for bullying others and his constant use of unimaginative obscenities to achieve his goals is only part of it, although that part is emblematic of a larger whole. Given the current condition of the world, the man who could famously say “Never let a good crisis go to waste” now seems more than a little callous in his lack of moral awareness and his roughshod treatment of opponents and allies alike.

Of course, one of those supposed allies is the state of Israel, which his administration has indeed treated with something close to contempt. There is no stronger indication of that than their policy (or lack thereof) toward the Islamic Republic of Iran that will soon be, if it isn’t already, an existential threat to Israel. It’s hard to say what role Rahm Emanuel played inside the administration vis-a-vis Iran, but we all know the results have been catastrophic. The mullahs have marched on with their nuclear program without the slightest hint of interruption. (Let’s not even discuss the reactionary disregard the administration manifested toward the courageous democracy movement inside that country. That was reprehensible and now possibly disastrous for the Iranian people.)

Further, Iran, according to a report today, has been arming Hezbollah with an estimated 42,000 rockets aimed at Israel. No wonder Israelis are a little peeved with Rahm.

There is an interesting Hebrew word that no doubt Emanuel knows, Hesed. Often it is translated as “mercy” or “compassion,” though I have today also seen it translated as “loyalty.” This reflects a tantalizing mixture of ideas worth considering on a bar mitzvah, if not for the son, at least for the father.