It is the time of the year when we are reminded of the plight of our ancestors. Unfortunately, the first night of Pesach will mark the 51st day of the continuous slaughter of both Jewish and non-Jewish Ukrainians in their homes.
This year, I might argue, we need no additional reminder of what oppression and execution looks like. From when we wake up in the morning, to when we lay down at night, the news, our conversations and our thoughts are permeated by the senseless killing perpetrated by one individual. One person who fancies himself some sort of leader, but alas, Dictator Putin is nothing more than a demented psychopath.
It would be nice to consider how we might be able to share a Pesach meal with those who will go without in this war-torn region; but might I suggest, instead, that we consider how we can put an end to the wanton murder of innocent Ukrainians?
At the moment, I do not see any agenda item that is more paramount. I am hoping that our government and our president also see it this way. If the United States of America does not take a leadership role in removing this threat to the world, I invite you to share with me who else is capable.
I do applaud the sanctions that we have put into effect and continue to put into action, but clearly, what we have done so far is not enough. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, it is not enough. President Biden suggested that it would take a month, or longer, for the first sanctions to have a clear and demonstrable impact.
We are coming up to two months, and I, for one, do not see a discernible impact. We need to be taking more unabashed action every day. Despot Putin is killing people every day, there is no rationale for taking a wait-and-see or reactionary approach. Make no mistake, this is not his first conquest, and it is most certainly not his last. It is just his most destructive thus far. His last will only be assured when he is no longer the dictator of Russia.
I will end today’s diatribe with some salient thoughts about the United Nations. Putin’s manipulation of the UN during his war of choice has proven that the UN is the optimal place for him to disseminate propaganda and lies for maximum effectiveness with the least amount of credence and accountability. Russia asserts absurd claims and, because of the perceived importance of that body, too many countries accept its preposterous positions as factual.
How can any person, world leader or country — and most importantly, the U.S. — rely on or have any respect for any decision the UN espouses? Add to this that a murdering psychopath is the tyrannical leader of one of only five countries that holds a permanent position in the UN’s governing body, the Security Council. I ask again, how can anyone consider the UN to be a relevant, respected or useful institution?
An organization that enables and promotes war and persecution more than it protects peace has very little value from my perspective.
I do want to give credit where credit is due. In an unlikely move, our ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, along with Atlanta’s very own Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, Michèle Taylor, were able to remove Russia from the HRC for its heinous actions. But let’s be clear, this still leaves China, Cuba, Venezuela, Pakistan and Sudan on the council — models for stellar human rights activity.
In closing, I wish the Atlanta Jewish community, my friends and family (with a special shout-out to my friend, Ambassador Michèle Taylor, in Geneva) a very happy and meaningful Passover. I will pray this Yom Tov that nothing like this ever comes to our shores; but if it does, I would hope that the world would come and answer our calls for help, in a meaningful way.