Agudath Israel speaks out on Iraq war


agudah1.jpgUpon consultation with its rabbinic leadership, Agudath Israel of America issued the following statement: Since September 11, 2001, the United States has been involved in a war against forces of evil and terror.  These forces pose a grave danger not only to the United States and its allies in the Western World, but also to our Jewish brethren in Israel and across the globe.America’s efforts in Iraq have been part of this larger battle.  While, in retrospect, the planning and execution of some of these efforts may have been less than perfect, there have also been significant achievements.  The bottom line, at this time, is that the stakes in Iraq remain high, and that there still remains much to be done.

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.


  1. “While, in retrospect, the planning and execution of some of these efforts may have been less than perfect…”

    Thank you for your opinion Aguda but no one asked you about the planning. I am sure not all Aguda projects go according to plan eithir.

    The rest of it was nice.

  2. I think you could make the case that the war in Iraq has actually made things MORE dangerous for Jews in Israel and abroad. Iran poses a bigger threat than Saddam (post-Osirak) ever did, and it was Saddam who kept Iran in check.

    Saddam was pure evil, but I would rather be up against his fictional WMDs that (shortly) Iran’s real ones.

    While this comment by Agudah is ostensibly about the war, it is, in my opinion, primarily about jostling for position with reform and others. Politics as usual.

  3. Charedim

    One can argue legitimately that Saddam kept Iran in check, but we know now that the Iranians have been building nukes facilities for a long time even before the invasion of Iraq.
    On the other hand it was Saddam who was the biggest supporter of Palestinian terror, actually paying big bounties to the families of suicide bombers who “succeeded” R”L.
    The fact that Palestinians greatly mourn the loss of Saddam is not insignificant to me.

    The PA has been rudderless since Arafat died, and without a morale and financial booster since the Iraqi invasion.

    On the other hand the Iranians have their own agenda, and the Arabs know it. If they could nuke “soniehem shel Yisroel” tomorrow, would they spare the Palestinians?? Of course not.

    For what its worth, my personal opinion mirrors the Agudah position exactly. Bravo to them – politics or no.

  4. Lefi Anias Daati (in my humble opinion), the current world “leaders” are merely Shluchim (agents) of the Ribono Shel Olam in bringing us Mashiach Tzidkeinu BB”A. If I understand correctly, RASHI (who had Ruach HaKodesh) says [in Sanhedrin 98b, at the top of the Amud]:
    Paras (Persia/Iran) and Maday (?) will wage war on Bavel (Babylonia/Iraq) and conquer it. They then will proceed to make war in Eretz Yisrael. This will be the war of Gog UMagog, which will lead to the Geulah Shleimah BB”A!

  5. Charedim Kol Yisroel,

    You are saying that we may have needed Saddam Hussein to keep Iran in check? So we should have let Saddam stay alive and well, and in charge of Iraq so he could keep Iran in check?

    Now that Saddam is dead, how specifically is Iran empowered that it would not have been if Saddam Hussein would be in charge of Iraq?

    Sounds like you’ve biten too many democrat party talking points.

  6. Whoa.

    I am not defending Saddam. I’m just saying that people should take an honest look at whether we’re better or worse off post-Saddam, notwithstanding how enjoyable it was seeing him removed from power. It’s not enough to base one’s geopolitical views on who the Palestinians did or did not mourn.

    Yes, Saddam paid Palestinians who murdered Jews. But the missiles that Hezbollah launched at Israeli ships didn’t come from Costco. I would argue that Hezbollah (brought to you by the letters I,R,A, and N) is perhaps Israel’s biggest threat, and that Iran’s ascendancy is a major enabler of this.

    Messing around with balances of power in the Middle East can be hazardous to one’s health, even if all one is doing is fighting very bad people.

  7. We, as Bnei Yisrael, must understand that individuals that mask themselves as those that support Israel are an on-going problem that will compromise our beliefs. Individuals such as Osma bin Obama, Billary, and Gouliani only offer lip service that placates, yet quietly they undermine that which they say publicaly. Condi Rice, y’sm, almost kissed the ring of Saudi Prince as he declared to split Jerusalem. Please, this Pesach Chag Sameach, may WE, KLAL YISRAEL, daven for Hashem to rebuild Jerusalem as soon as possiple.

  8. C.K.Y.
    Was there any Homocide attacks on Israel since the great one ( saddam)
    is gone?
    Iran is also dangrous,
    but for now in israel its quite,

  9. There is admittedly a thin line between emunas chachamim and blind faith. However, it is painfully surprising to me how quick people on this site are to condemn anything from the leadership of Agudath.

    I’m avoiding the accusations of lashon hara, but I’ve obviously dropped the “LH bomb,” as at least a hava amina. I don’t get it. How you can express so casually an opinion? Are we Americans first, pertually infatuated with our freedom of speech? Or are we Jews struggling to shteig in emunas chachamim. I’m far enough away from true humility to recognize my own struggles with gaavah, but I guess I’m close enough to it to recognize that to voice publicly opinions in opposition to Agudath dances dangerously between foolish and rotten.

    “Politics as usual.” Indeed. Politics can be ugly, but to throw that out at the leaders who work tirelessly for the otherwise voiceless frum velt is at least bad judgement.

    A dear friend of mine used to say the following when decisions were made on a level above his “jurisdiction,” whether from the Rav of a shul or another talmid chacham, or, al achas kama v’kama, the voice of Gedolai Yisroel in America. “I’m not entitled to an opinion.” Words of wisdom when questioning anything. If you want to accuse me of blind faith, perhaps you’d be more satisfied with, “I’m not entitled to voice my opinion.”

    Maybe someone can show me chapter and verse in Shmiras Halashon where it is mutar to be cholek on Gedolim. Please give some thought to this before you defend yourself just because you think that you’re supposed to defend yourself.

    A gutten!

  10. It is often important to stand up to the reform. they spout such nonesense almost all of the time, that Aguda or the OU need to come out with statements that are Jewishly based.

  11. cky,

    You stated that “it was Saddam who kept Iran in check” and therefore “the war in Iraq has actually made things MORE dangerous for Jews in Israel and abroad.”

    You still failed to respond ‘specifically’ how Saddam Hussein made Jews safer by “keeping Iran in check.”

    Iran is surrounded on every side with U.S. troops. Almost every country bordering Iran. That keeps it in check far better than Saddam did.

  12. It is very easy to say what is wrong with something. I venture to say that if any of the commenters had their way things would’t be better to say the least. My point is as long as there is a basic concept of trying to do the right thing on behalf of the government(which there most definitely empathetically is) everyone (as in commenters not the agudah of whom it’s not my place to comment)should just shut up because it’s in much better hands than our’s.(Yes I’m talking about God). A Gut YomTov

  13. Erev Pesach so little time.
    But this is so wrong. ( let me get this done before my wife says learn/work or help) Women are pesky because they’re usually right.
    Mark; “the rest of it was nice” Is this how one address chochomim? Besides that was obviously a caveat recognizing that while we agree to bush in principle we aren’t vetting his execution.
    Chradim; you’re starting politics, and the entire thread thereafter. The chochomim simply said we support Bush’s general effort & intentions. Besides our chochomim aren’t JOSTLING we are simply alerting and stating a torah value, to avoid an erroneous value being purported as ours.
    Let me quote; “we are showing deference in recognition to his constitutional authority, and to his (correct) moral values.” Nothing more nothing less. ( notice no strategic comments)
    PS My personal opinion is that many are against his strategic decisions due to his moral stance. He may not be perfect, and he isn’t, so what.
    That’s why liberals and Hollywood are leading the fight against him.
    Let me conclude; I will not say the chochomim are right because that itself is a lack of derech eretz, as if I can decide, NOIRAH T’HILLOS, but I will defend them and the Torah they stand for.
    PS Allright I’m ready for the counterattacks ready to be hurled. I may not be able to look at them until chol hamoed.

  14. To jdspro,
    “pro funding?” meaning for sale?
    Let me reiterate, this was a statement to correct a possible misconception of halachik stance.
    Not political, not strategic, not analytical, not a lobbyist, and most certainly not a kiss-up sell out pro-funding.
    Just a value (moral statement. procedural mistakes not-withstanding). More so, it is not our affair how able he is even if bush should turn out to be shlo lshem shomayim.
    Chag kosher v’sameach.

  15. I have yet to see any Yeshiva bochurim enlisting in the Armed Forces. If this war is so important to the Gedolim then they should encourage their flocks to do their fair share.


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