Tuesday, December 23, 2014


By: Prof. Ervin Birnbaum

It is surprising and stunning to observe that some supposedly highly informed people refer to the State of Israel as an "apartheid" State.

Apartheid is defined in the Webster New Universal Unabridged Dictionary as "the policy of strict racist segregation and discrimination".  When one considers that Dr. Salman Zarka, a Druse physician, born in the village of Peki'in in Northern
Galillee, became this month the Director-General of Safed's Medical Center, after having served for years as the highest commander of the Israel Defence Forces' Center for Medical Services, one wonders how in the world he managed to
avoid the punishing apartheid supposedly imposed by Israel on its minorities.

When I consider Dr. J. Daka, my wonderful dentist, welcoming his numerous Jewish patients with a wide smile in his clinic
in the city of Netanya, although he is an Arab from a neighboring Arab village, I wonder how in the world he manages to
avoid the punishing apartheid inflicted by Israel on its Arabs.

When you travel from Netanya to Afuleh in the direction of Mount Tabor, where the prophetess Deborah fought a victorious
battle against Yavin the King of Hazor 3,300 years ago, and you pass near millitant Arab-Muslim strongholds such as the city
of Umm-El-Fahem, you can't help but stare mouth agape at the beautiful villas inhabited by the Arabs in the heart of Israel.
Now if that is apartheid, believe you me, friend, it pays to live under apartheid.

All one needs to do is to check reliable statistics from impartial sources to receive revealing statistics about which State
treats its religious, ethnic, racial and other minorities as human beings. The only State in the Middle East where the Christian minority of any racial, color or economic background increased in recent decades is Israel.

Consider the following figures, easily checked out: In 1948 there were in Syria 27,000 Jews; today there are 100. In Lebanon
there were 10,000 Jews in the 1950's; today there are less then 100. In Iraq there were 125,000 Jews in 1948; today there
are zero. In Yemen the number of Jews dropped from 45,000 in 1948, to approximately 200. And so on, down the roster of
Arab lands. Yet the Jews who were driven out of Arab lands form no refugee camps because their sisters and brothers in
Israel were ready to welcome them and help them. Yet, there are numerous Arab refugee camps, poor people whom their
brothers were not ready to embrace and kept them in consistent squalor. Would it be out of line to consider that this was done and continues to be done for a political purpose, though it lacks a sense of humanness?

To call Israel an Apartheid state is at best a gross distortion, a lack of understanding of the meaning of the term. However,
in many cases it is simply an outright, blasphemous lie. It is exploited for political ends, taking advantage of well-meaning
individuals of all ages and all professions from university students to high-level academics who believe what they see in
print, or what they are being told by people who are capable without blushing to look straight into their listeners' eyes and
utter the famous BIG LIE. Precisely because of its absurd enormity, it would seem preposterous to be uttered were it a lie --
and yet, that is exactly what it is -- a lie. It is a useful tactics, exploiting the psychological weakness of good people who can't
even begin to fathom the enormity of such distortion. This tactics was used in the past, it is used today, and no doubt will be
used in the future, by all dictators, zealots, insanely ambitious people whether it be a Stalin, Hitler, Ahmedinejad, Arafat or
others who cannot attain their goals by truthful and honest means.

Among those who are forced to resort to highly devious means to attain their ends in destroying the State of Israel is the so-
called "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" group. One of the examples of how they operate was produced at the University
of Harvard, as recorded in the daily paper of the University campus, "The Harvard Crimson" in an article entitled "HUDS
(Harvard University Dining Services) Suspends Puchases from Israeli Soda Company". It relates that "some members of the College Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Harvard Islamic Society" cited "discomfort with...the potential" of Sodastream
machines produced in Israel "to offend those affected by the Israel-Palestine conflict".  Since this discomfort "could be offensive to Palestinian students", Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash, a member of the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance, agreed that these machines not be used on the university campus. Miss Sandalow-Ash claims that her stand is neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semite. It is purely a stand against the occupation.

Surely, it would have been proper for Miss Sandalow-Ash to ask herself several questions before reaching her decision. 

Is Sodastrem really in occupied territory? Sodastream is relocating its facility to undisputed, non-controversial land in Israel's Negev. It could be considered "occupied" land only if you agree with the extreme Palestinian stand that all of Israel, including Tel Aviv and Haifa, are to be viewed as occupied land -- in other words, that Israel has no right to exist. This is indeed, one of the basic principles of the Boycott group. It goes hand in hand with the group's demand for the return of all the refugees to Israel. Is this what Miss Sandalow-Ash desires?

The representative of the Jewish Alliance could have further taken into account not only the discomfort of the Palestinian
students, but also the feelings of the Jewish students, who could wonder why one should introduce a soda-machine into
the Israel-Palestine conflict? How far should one go in playing games with those so-called "microaggressions"? The head
of Hammas, Halled Masshal, recently sent his daughter for treatment to an Israeli hospital. Since this could have been a
matter affecting life, I could see his refusing Israeli medication. However he evidently didn't. But to wipe the faces of thousands of Jewish students in the dirt by offending them and causing them potential discomfort in refusing a product just because it is manufactured in Israel, that seems to be allright for Miss Sandalow-Ash. Yet, God forbid, don't call her anti-Israel nor an anti-Semite. After all, she is Jewish, representing a Progressive Jewish Alliance. How could she be less sensitive to Jewish feelings and needs than to her Palestinian cousins?

One can feel overwhelming pity for good individuals who do not see how they become instruments of evil, not realizing that a Palestine Solidarity Committee and an Islamic Society are utilizing them for their own satanic ends of destroying Israel through boycott. Would it perhaps be helpful to Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash and to hundreds of dedicated Jewish students throughout the campuses of American Universities, and to thousands of well-meaning Jews throughout the United States, to point out that when Hitler became Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, precisely two months later, on April 1 he came out with his first manifest anti-Jewish act which consisted of an ECONOMIC BOYCOTT. Throughout Germany gigantic posters appeared on billboards informing the German public of a general boycott on Jewish businesses. The posters read:

Till Saturday morning,10 o'clock
The jews are given to reflect
Then the fight begins! 

The day, April 1, 1933, marked the beginning of the stage of psychological isolation of the Jews in Germany.
Let us be aware. History has a tendency to repeat itself.

Ervin Birnbaum is Professor of Political Science at City University of New York, Haifa University and Moscow University of Humanities. He published numerous books including "The Islamic State of Pakistan", "Politics of Compromise" and "In the Shadow of the Struggle", and most recently "Turning Obstacles into Stepping Stones". hadnerv1@012.net.il

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Letter Not Published

Carol Denbo wrote a letter to the Jewish Advocate in response to a letter which was published. The published letter referred to an article earlier published about J Street.

Denbo's was told her letter would not be published, with an explanation that the Jewish Advocate had a new policy and would no longer publish responses to letters.

Posted here are Denbo's letter, followed by the correspondence between Denbo and Daniel Kimmel, the editor of the Jewish Advocate. This correspondence has been edited to make it easier to follow. The correspondence is followed by the original article about J Street and the letter to which Denbo responded.

Denbo's letter, submitted November 14:

Stan Fleischman's letter last week placing part of the blame on Netanyahu for the inability to find a workable two state solution has several flaws.

First, there were no announcements of "new settlements" but simply announcements about plans for future building in existing communities which will in all likely hood  remain part of Israel if there were ever to be an agreement. Abbas has already decreed that any  Palestinian State would become Judenfrei. With over a million and half Arabs currently living in Israel,  Mr Fleischman might want to ask himself who in this case the real undemocratic leader is. Finally the recent escalation of terror attacks on innocent Israeli civilians has prompted the Israeli government to consider preventing Palestinian Arabs in disputed areas from riding on certain buses. I would not call this undemocratic but simply a smart move on the part of the Israeli government to safeguard its citizens from terrorism.   Let's not rest the blame for the lack of peace on the only true Democratic government in the Middle East.

The fact remains that there will never be a workable two state until the  Palestinian leadership recognizes Israel's right to exist as a sovereign Jewish State and stops inciting its citizens to violence.

Carol Denbo
Swampscott MA

The letter was submitted with the following request:


Can you kindly print this in next edition of Advocate?

Thank you

Kimmel's response:

I'm afraid not.  I've been discussing the letters column with the publisher and the decision was made that letters should address articles in the paper, not other letters.  I know this will seem unfair but I'm sure there will be an opportunity for you to respond to an article or op-ed, or perhaps you would like to submit an op-ed for consideration yourself.  However as a response to a letter from another reader, we're not going to be able to use it.

Denbo to Kimmel:

That is a bad decision!! I am in total disagreement.

Subscribers should have the opportunity to express an opinion that is totally contrary to another opinion. Letters do have an influence on readers and you are not allowing an opportunity for a dissenting thought.

I am getting fed up with the direction of your paper and will  discontinue my subscription!

Kimmel to Denbo:

I've offered you alternatives to express your viewpoint.  We have limited space for letters and we can't use it for a back and forth between readers. I am more than happy to have a wide range of views and "dissenting thought" in the paper.  However we (not just myself) have decided that readers arguing with each other is not the ideal format for that.

Denbo to Kimmel:

Who is the "we"?

The Jewish Journal has a policy that allows for ONE response to each letter and no more. This way it allows for another opinion and it does not have to be carried on endlessly. It is not "arguing" but simply presenting another viewpoint! It is a policy that you need to consider.

Until that time, I have decided to discontinue my subscription to your paper.

There are many others who feel the same way and I would advise you to take another look at this if you do not wish to lose more subscribers.

I am not in the habit of writing op-eds; I simply write letters!

The original article about J Street, published October 31, 2014:

J Street documentary shows strengths, weaknesses of controversial group 
Local screening continues ongoing debate 

By Sam Lanckton 
Special to the Advocate 

"We wanted to see what the J Street journey was like. This is an interesting topic that has not been covered," filmmaker Ken Winikur said at an Emerson College screening of his film, "J Street: The Art of the Possible" on Oct. 22. "My view of how you get politics done in America dramatically changed while making the film. It is extremely difficult. Their dedication to the cause, whether you like them or don't like them, gave me a new admiration for people who can stick it out in politics."

"I want people to walk out after viewing this film feeling hope, because the alternative is...there is no alternative. And the American Jewish Community has a role to play in this," co-director Ben Avishai said.

"Time is running out on a two-state solution. This is a dire situation. You can love J Street, you can hate J Street. But either way, time is running out," Winikur said. "It's in everyone's best interest, Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans, to resolve the conflict."

"We want people to feel a sense of urgency and a sense of optimism about what's happening," Avishai concluded.

The film makes the case that there is an urgent need to resolve the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and to find a workable two-state solution. Experts such as former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman and others weigh in on the merits (and flaws) inherent in the goals J Street is trying to achieve, and the ways in which the group goes about trying to achieve them. At times vilified as an anti-Israel lobby, at times praised as a thoughtful, albeit critical, partner with the Zionist cause, the organization emerges in the film as a project created by complex individuals attempting to negotiate a most complex set of political, societal and ideological issues.

If the film has a hero it is Jeremy Ben-Ami, executive director of J Street. He is seen traveling the country and speaking out at venues large and small in defense of the notion that one can be pro- Israel while also being critical of Israel's policies. Some listeners and co-panelists greet this concept with scorn, while others seem won over to Ben-Ami's point of view.

As the attempt to achieve a two-state solution suffers repeated setbacks, the staff at J Street becomes ever more frustrated. Further frustration derives from efforts by more mainstream American Jewish organizations to marginalize the organization and even to dismiss it as irrelevant. J Street achieves perhaps its greatest victory when Vice President Joe Biden addresses its annual conference, thereby conferring on the group a much-needed degree of legitimacy.

Following the screening, Avishai and Winikur helped lead a discussion on creating a two-state solution in light of the recent war in Israel. Participating in the discussion were journalist Danny Rubinstein, Israel's longest serving West Bank correspondent and former editor of Ha'aretz Daily, and Professor Bernard Avishai of Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Dartmouth College, an author of three books on Israel, and father of co-director Ben Avishai.

"The two-state solution doesn't have any future. Not because I don't like it," Rubinstein said. "I like it very much. I like a lot of things I cannot achieve. It's not practical anymore. It's one state today. It's one economy. I don't believe the Arabs will continue with terrorism and violence, not for much longer. Today we are under assault from a political campaign. And the Israeli government is doomed to lose. Israel is becoming an apartheid state, and we have to figure out a way for this not to happen, for everyone there to co-exist."

"A two-state solution has to mean some kind of confederation, some kind of urban infrastructure that is divided up cooperatively," Professor Avishai countered. "There is no such thing as a one-state solution. At some point you cannot deny political rights to people and expect them to swallow it. At some point it becomes violent."

The avoidance of such future violence through a two-state solution is the mission of J Street. Whether one agrees or disagrees with their politics or methods, this intelligent and insightful film offers an engaging glimpse into the organization.

The letter published November 14 to which Denbo tried to respond:

Two state alarms

I can’t agree more that “there is an urgent need to resolve the tension between the Israelis and Palestinians and find a workable two-state solution.” (“J Street documentary shows strengths, weaknesses of controversial group”, Oct 31). While Abbas and the Palestinians have contributed their share of obstacles to peace, such as calling the temporary closure of the Temple Mount a “declaration of war”, Netanyahu and his government have likewise been taking every opportunity to fan the flames of fear and discord.

The deterioration in the Middle East situation has spurred J Street to launch a program of “two-state alarms” to alert American Jews of undemocratic actions of the Netanyahu government. These include the announcement of new settlements, allowing dozens of settlers to move into a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood, and proposing to keep Jews and Arabs on segregated buses by creating Palestinian-only bus lines.

Newton Highlands
(The writer is a member of the J Street Boston Media Committee)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A new immigrant gives advice to the prime minister

Prime Minister Netanyahu should bow to reality and recognize the “State of Palestine.”

By Alan Stein

As published in the Jerusalem Post on November 6, 2014.  It may be found on the Jerusalem Post website at http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/A-new-immigrant-gives-advice-to-the-prime-minister-380926.

As an oleh chadash, or new immigrant to Israel, I recognize one of my responsibilities is to tell the prime minister how to run the country. I feel somewhat derelict, as my teudat zehut (I.D. card) is already nine days old and I have yet to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu any advice, but I will try to rectify that starting here and now. I herein provide my advice on how to deal with the nefarious effort by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in violation of the solemn commitments made by the Palestinian Arab leadership in the failed Oslo accords, to obtain international recognition of the non-existent Palestinian state of which he is president.

Prime Minister Netanyahu should bow to reality and recognize the “State of Palestine.” Although it does not meet the internationally accepted criteria for statehood, generally accepted standards are never applied to entities fighting Israel and the PA has, for most practical if not legal purposes, been a state for nearly two decades. Fighting international recognition is a costly and losing battle and there can be benefits for Israel if it can treat Palestine as a state.

Besides giving Netanyahu this advice, I am happy to offer additional assistance in the form of the following letter to be sent by him to Mahmoud Abbas:

My Dear Friend Mahmoud,

I wish to apologize for not immediately and enthusiastically agreeing to your insistence on having the Palestinian Authority recognized as a state. In my own defense, it was somewhat difficult, since you have been assiduously avoiding speaking with me during my term as prime minister of the Zionist entity. I hope you’ll accept my apology and join with me in ironing out the technical details necessary for our states to live side by side.

I invite you, at your convenience, to come and speak to our Knesset in our capital of Jerusalem. I welcome your expeditious appointment of an ambassador to Israel. My government will cooperate fully in enabling you to find a suitable location for your embassy in our capital.

I hope you will reciprocate by inviting me to address your legislature in your capital of Ramallah. I will soon choose our ambassador to your state and expect you to similarly help us find a suitable location for our Israeli embassy to be built in Ramallah, the capital of Palestine.

We do still have technical details to negotiate, as we are both obligated by the Oslo accords, which remain in effect until superseded by an agreement between our states.

While we accept in advance your sovereignty over Area A, Israel still has overall security responsibility there, while we have joint responsibilities over Area B and Israel retains full responsibility for Area C. We also need to negotiate the allocation of Areas B and C between our states.

We should be able to agree on the general principle enunciated once by president Clinton in another context, that as much as possible predominantly Arab areas should be allocated to the Arab entity, predominantly Jewish areas should remain with the Jewish State of Israel, and the rest of the disputed territory should be divided between our states rationally and in a way which keeps the border between us as natural as possible.

I don’t have to remind you that there are certain unsociable acts, including launching missiles at kindergartens in Sderot, building tunnels into Israel and using them to launch terror attacks, bombing pizzerias and various other activities which have been popular with your people the past few decades, which are acts of war and, in some cases, war crimes. I trust that you, as president of Palestine, will work assiduously to prevent all such acts and will understand if, despite your best efforts, your citizens continue these popular activities and we in Israel will be forced to defend ourselves.

On a personal level, let me express my admiration for the way you have maintained your role as president into the tenth year of your four-year term. Here in Israel, we are inconvenienced by something called “democratic elections.” Every few years we elect a new Knesset and if the people don’t like what I’m doing I can be kicked out on my tuches. Perhaps we can get together one day over a nice plate of hummus and you can give me some advice on how to avoid calling elections.

Your friend,

It’s possible the prime minister may wish to make some small changes before sending this letter to Mr. Abbas; I am prepared to offer any additional assistance he requests.

Personally, I am delighted to finally be a citizen in a country where everyone is the prime minister.

The author just made aliya (October 22) and even on the plane was thinking about submitting this sort of op-ed to The Jerusalem Post. He’s been busy with other things, such as the wonderful Israeli bureaucracy, but finally got around to composing it last evening.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Who Is Israel's Peace Partner?

Published in the Miami Herald, Sunday, November 9, 2014. June Neal is a PRIMER-Connecticut spokesperson.

This we know:  you don't shake on a deal when the other guy has his fingers crossed behind his back.

Uri Dromi's Oct. 31 Other Views column, Bibi should not let relations with U.S. deteriorate further, calling  for Israel to adopt the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, is dangerously naive because he assumes Israel has a trustworthy peace partner.  Israel does not.

The Palestinians have had decades of opportunities for an independent state and they rejected or sabotaged them all, from the1937 Peel Commission to 2008, when Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered to cede almost all the West Bank and to share Jerusalem.

That's 77 years.  The Arab response?  Five major invasions of Israel, intifadas, suicide bombers, point-blank murders of innocent Israeli citizens, rock throwing, and rockets smuggled through Gazan tunnels and fired on Israeli civilians.

The Initiative calls for a complete withdrawal by Israel back to the 1967  lines.  Remember, Israel regained the West Bank only after successfully defending itself against Arab invasion and it maintained control as a buffer zone against future attacks.  The future would prove Israel's wisdom.  In 2005,  when Israel withdrew every Jew from Gaza, the Palestinians turned it into a launching pad, sending thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian areas.  Imagine an independent Palestinian state abutting Israel's border, where it takes a plane only two minutes to get from the Jordan rift to Jerusalem?  Where Iran or any terrorist group can set up base? 

The Initiative calls for adherence to UN Resolution 194, which the Arabs have twisted to meaning allowing the return of millions of refugees.  But that's not what it says. Compensation is generalized to all parties.  Israel didn't cause the Arab refugee problem; the Arabs fled when Israel was attacked by seven Arab nations and it is they that should provide compensation.  Indeed, when hundreds of thousands of Jews had to flee for their lives from their homes in Arab countries, only the infant State of Israel helped.  

 From 1948 to 1967,  Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan controlled the West Bank.  Not Israel.  Where was the demand for a Palestinian state then?    

As for sharing Jerusalem, the Old City is already divided into four sections, with a Muslim quarter. And all week,  there has been violence at the holiest site in all Judaism, the Temple Mount, the Jew's ancient capital which predates the Dome of the Rock by hundreds of years.  It is now a danger zone for Jews to visit, while Arabs pray unimpeded at their mosque. 

The Arabs have shown they have no intention of living peacefully with the Jewish State.  Fingers crossed behind their backs.

June S. Neal
Delray Beach

Monday, October 13, 2014

Boston Globe Correction Saga Part V

Sent to Ms. Clegg and Mr. Bernstein October 13:

Dear Ms. Clegg and Mr. Bernstein: 

Since it's been two weeks since our last communication, I am assuming you are willing to neither issue a correction regarding the incorrect characterization of Israel's determination regarding the legal status of approximately 1,000 acres of land in the Gush Etzion area as a "seizure" nor provide a reference to a definition of "seize" which does not involve the taking of land from another owner. 

I am unwilling to write a letter correcting your error, since I believe it is your obligation to correct your errors. I would be interested in writing an op-ed describing the situation, the provisions for correcting errors according to various codes of ethics for journalists and our correspondence. (Obviously, this could not be done under the constraints of a letter to the editor.) Please let me know if you would be willing to give such an op-ed fair consideration. 

I have, however, composed the following letter about today's article, "Donors pledge $5.4b to Gaza Strip," and request that you consider it for publication. A suggested headline would be "Going back to the status quo in Gaza should not be an option."

Thank you. 


Alan Stein

The letter submitted will not be posted until either The Boston Globe publishes it or it's clear The Globe won't publish it.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Defending Israel

This is a High Holiday sermon by Rabbi Van Lanckton of Temple B'nai Shalom in Braintree, Massachusetts. It's also available on the Temple B'nai Shalom website.

Temple B’nai Shalom
Braintree, Massachusetts
Rosh Hashanah 1 Tishrei 5775 September 25, 2014
Rabbi Van Lanckton

During Operation Protective Edge, Alice and I called our cousin Larry in Israel. Larry’s oldest son, Amit, served in Gaza as an IDF reservist. Larry told us the following story.
Hamas had built tunnels extending from Gaza deep under nearby Israeli communities. They stored tranquilizers and handcuffs in them. Hamas intended to raid Israel through the tunnels and capture and kill Israelis. 
To destroy the tunnels, the IDF needed troops on the ground. 
The IDF assigned Amit to enter Gaza with his unit to locate and destroy tunnels. 
The IDF would warn residents to leave an area. Amit and his unit would then investigate on foot. 
In one house they found fifteen Muslim women and children. Amit said to them. “What are you doing here? Did you not understand our warnings to evacuate?”
One of the women answered, “No. We knew nothing. We heard nothing. We did not know you were coming.”
She was lying.
The soldiers took the people out of the house. Then they investigated. The house concealed the entrance to a tunnel.
They led the people away to safety while the IDF prepared to destroy the tunnel. 
Then one of the women said to Amit, “We are hungry. They left us with nothing to eat.”
So Amit and his buddies dug into their own rations and provided food and drink to the women and children.
IDF soldiers like Amit must follow the IDF Code of Conduct. That code defines three core values for all IDF soldiers to follow. One of these mandates every soldier to protect human dignity. The Code states, “Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position."
The section of the Code entitled “Purity of Arms” states:
The soldier shall make use of his weaponry and power only for the fulfillment of the mission and solely to the extent required; he will maintain his humanity even in combat. The soldier shall not employ his weaponry and power in order to harm non-combatants or prisoners of war, and shall do all he can to avoid harming their lives, body, honor and property.
No other army in the world known to me places ethical conduct at the heart of a soldier’s duty in this prominent fashion.
Israel started Operation Protective Edge in July to protect its citizens from the constant barrage of Hamas mortars and rockets. The response by Hamas was to launch more rockets. Hamas aimed them at civilian targets, including Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. They tried to kill Israeli civilians. They did not care that many residents of the target cities were not Jews. They were trying to kill anyone they could. It did not matter whether the victims were Jews or Arabs. 
Because of Israel’s brilliance and diligence, Hamas failed. The Iron Dome succeeded. The system spotted rockets and their destinations as they were launched, ignored the ones that would fall in empty land, and destroyed more than 90% of the rest. Israel had created shelters for its citizens and installed sirens that warned them to run for cover. 
Israel soon discovered the second threat, the extensive network of tunnels reaching into Israel to kill or capture Israelis. That was when Israel expanded the war to send in troops, including our cousin Amit. Here too Israel succeeded. Israel persisted until it had neutralized the tunnels and destroyed the great majority of Hamas rockets and launching sites.
Hamas expected that Israel would be unable to bomb the rocket launching sites imbedded in civilian areas or destroy the tunnels concealed there because of the predicable deaths and injuries that civilians would suffer. Either that or Hamas wanted its own civilians to be killed in hopes that the world would blame Israel.
As the operation proceeded the headlines and stories focused attention on the deaths of civilians, just as Hamas had hoped. Israel’s detractors even accused Israel of genocide. 
Professor Asa Kasher led the effort to create the IDF code that I mentioned earlier. He held an endowed chair in ethics and philosophy at Tel Aviv University. 
Professor Kasher evaluated the performance of the IDF during Operation Protective Edge. He concluded that the IDF complied with its duties under the code. 
Israel’s detractors claimed that Israel killed civilians when doing so was not necessary and that Israel violated the requirement of proportionality. Professor Kasher found both claims to be false.
As Professor Kasher explains, Israel did not forfeit its ability to protect its citizens against attacks just because Hamas used human shields. Instead, Israel took extraordinary measures to limit civilian damage while insisting on its legitimate right to bomb rocket launchers in order to protect its own civilians. 
The IDF first issued clear warnings designed to remove non-combatants from the scene of battle. They distributed leaflets urging residents to leave. They made personal phone calls warning people an attack was imminent. Before an attack they even dropped non-explosive missiles on the roof. This “knock on the roof” served as the final warning before an attack.
Sometimes the IDF could not accomplish a mission without endangering the lives of civilians. In those cases, the IDF complied with the principle of proportionality. As Professor Kasher explained, under that principle an army can take actions that it knows may kill or injure civilians if the expected gain in military advantage is proportionate to the expected damage.
Professor Kasher concluded that Hamas, not Israel, is culpable for deaths of civilians in Gaza. Hamas in the first place sacrificed the well-being of Gazan civilians by building the tunnels. They did not use for peaceful purposes the concrete and other materials that went into those tunnels. They did not build homes and schools. They did not even build shelters to protect their own civilians.
Moreover, Hamas continued the war long after ceasefire offers were accepted by Israel and rejected by Hamas. The final terms Hamas accepted were the same as the earlier ones. By then, more than two thousand in Gaza were dead. 
Israel identified and reiterated sustainable quiet as the single goal of Operation Protective Edge. Israel achieved the goal of quiet with the present ceasefire. Israel must now ensure that the quiet continues and remains. Israel must work with other countries to destroy Hamas weapons and eliminate any tunnels that may remain. Israel must also prevent Hamas from regaining its ability to assemble weapons or dig tunnels.
Meanwhile, Israel needs our help to rebuild its economy and strengthen its defenses.
We should show our support in person by visiting Israel. Understand the situation in Israel first-hand by being there.
We can do more than just go for a short visit. We can arrange to visit for longer to serve as a volunteer. Among other programs we can assist at a military base for a period of one or two or three weeks with all our expenses during the week paid by the IDF. Israel welcomes volunteers of all ages and provides a simple application process.
And we can make aliyah, moving permanently to Israel.. 
In a dramatic show of support and a radical change to her life, one member of our congregation has done just that. Theresa Levine made aliyah this month. She sold belongings that she could not bring with her, such as her car, and gave away her beloved ice skates. She said good-bye to her family and friends. She investigated where to live and how to make a living in Israel.
After all that preparation she made the move. She is now living in Haifa. 
Theresa sent us an email this week. The subject was “Israel” with four exclamation points. Here is an excerpt:
You and the rest of B'nai Shalom have been in my thoughts. I miss my shul family in Braintree.  
It has been an amazing adventure so far. Everyone in Israel has been so kind to me. I'm using the busses and finding my way around; running errands like opening my Israel bank account and learning to shop for groceries. 
I am meeting with my new rabbi this afternoon. I'm nervous about so much, despite all the studying I did (under your guidance). I don't want to do the wrong thing (I want an Israeli Meryl and Mary Lou to guide my way!)
Thankfully most people here in Haifa speak English- but I'm starting to use Hebrew wherever I can in my conversations. 
All my love, 
Even if we don’t go to Israel, we must educate ourselves on the issues. We must be ready to counter anti-Israel claims.
I recommend subscribing to sources available on the web that provide reliable analysis of the truth about Israel. I will include links to the best sources when I send you my sermon by email:
AIPAC -  HYPERLINK "http://www.aipac.org" http://www.aipac.org 
Caroline Glick -  HYPERLINK "http://carolineglick.com" http://carolineglick.com    
Daily Alert -  HYPERLINK "http://dailyalert.org" http://dailyalert.org   
Daniel Gordis -  HYPERLINK "http://danielgordis.org" http://danielgordis.org  
Gatestone Institute -  HYPERLINK "http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org" http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org  
Honest Reporting -  HYPERLINK "http://honestreporting.com" http://honestreporting.com 
Please explore them, sign up to receive updates, and keep informed. Then you will be prepared to discuss Israel with friends and neighbors.
We can also help Israel by correcting erroneous claims in local media. I joined a group called PRIMER. I invite you to join as well and will also send you that information by email. HERE IT IS:  HYPERLINK "http://primerma.org" http://primerma.org  We alert each other when we find biased, misleading and factually false media reports. We send corrections and have enjoyed success in seeing them published.
Finally, we can help Israel today, right here, right now. We can buy Israel bonds.
Israel needs our financial help after this war. Operation Protective Edge will cost Israel as much as four billion dollars. 
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about Israel’s needs last week. He pointed to the Islamic State and other enemies of Israel that surround her. "We need a very strong defense,” he said. “We need a strong army and also a strong economy. Achieving a balance between them is one of the central goals before us. I intend to achieve both strong security and a strong economy.”
As just one example, we need to help Israel strengthen her defenses against rocket and other attacks. Not only by Hamas. Also by Hezbollah and Iran and the Islamic State terrorists.
Israel has the Iron Dome to protect it from attacks such as those from Gaza, fired from launchers a few miles away. Israel is developing two other levels of missile defense. They are called David’s Sling and the Arrow Theater System. David’s Sling will protect Israel from rockets fired 65 to 200 miles away. The Arrow system will protect against long-range and ballistic missiles. With all three systems in place, Israel can defend herself against rockets fired from nearby and far away.
All of these defenses are expensive. Each Iron Dome installation costs about 100 million dollars. Each Iron Dome missile costs about 50 thousand dollars. The Arrow and David’s Sling systems are even more expensive. 
Israel hoped to have these in full operation next year. But limited funds may force a delay. Our help can speed the development and deployment of these essential defenses.
Let us not be the generation that failed Israel in her hour of need. When future generations ask us what we did when we could have helped Israel, we must be able to respond that we answered the call.
Please now take out your pledge cards and look them over. If you don’t have one, the ushers will pass one to you. 
Take a look at the amounts listed. Find the amount you purchased last year, or better still the highest amount you can stretch to purchase this year. 
Got it? 
OK, now, please think again. Please buy a bond at the level just above that one. And remember: you are making an investment, with an excellent rate of return, while also helping Israel. 
Israel needs our help now. 

As we look over these cards, please make a decision here and now. Please hand in your card after folding the tab of your choice. If we take the cards home with us, we are less likely to help Israel to the extent she needs. 
As we are considering our pledge cards and the ushers are collecting them, we will sing Am Yisroel Chai, led by our Cantor.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Church Israeli - Palestinian Resolution

This is an outline given by Arthur Seltzer to ministers and church delegate during a meeting in New Haven, Connecticut concerning the hateful UCC "Boycott and Sanction" resolution. Since it was prepared as an outline, it is in rough form but is still interesting, informative and useful.

A Discussion - September 2014

Arthur Seltzer, M.D.

PREMISE 1 - Israel's right to exist in secure and internationally recognized boundaries

Foundation of UN Security Council Resolution 242 - 1967

•Palestinian Right to Enjoy Sovereignty - This is supported by Israeli government and electorate, provided the Palestinian's agree to #1. Current Government of Israel Position presented when Netanyahu came into office at Bar Ilan University - support a 2 state solution - Jewish State of Israel and demilitarized Palestinian state. Any return of refugees and their descendants should go to the Palestinian Arab state

Background - 

1947 UN Resolution 181 - Partition - Arabs voted NO

Pre - 1967 Founding of PLO - there was no West Bank or Gaza Administration by Israel - its goal = elimination of Israel

Post 1967 War - Arab League - Khartoum - No recognition, No peace, no negotiations

2000 - Camp David - Clinton/Barak/Arafat - proposal for withdrawal from 95 - 97% of West Bank, Settlement Blocks vs comparable land swaps from pre - 67 Israel, all Gaza, most Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem including in  the Old City - rejected by Palestinians; start of Intifada of Terror

Hamas and recent Gaza War - Hamas - Islamist group - no acceptance of Israel anywhere in the Land, terrorist activities since Oslo Accords 1990's, suicide bombings, thousands of missiles, terror tunnels, use of human shields, indiscriminate rockets to inflict harm on Israeli civilians, terrorized Christians in Gaza

PREMISE 2: Is Israeli "Occupation of Palestinian Land and Human Rights Abuses a Major source of Conflict?"

Until 1918 - "Palestinian Land" part of Ottoman Empire

1918 - 1948 - West Bank and Gaza under the British Mandate for Palestine

1920's - League of Nations - Support for "National Homeland for the Jewish People" as stated in the Balfour Declaration

1947 - UN Resolution for Partition of Palestine - opposed by Arabs; continuation of fight to destroy Israel

1948 - 1967 Jordan rules the West Bank; Jordan destroys synagogues in the Jewish Quarter; denies access of Jews or Israeli Christians to Holy Sites

1967 - Present - Israel Administers West Bank; Settlements in <3 bank="" land="" of="" p="" west="">
SETTLEMENT BLOCKS - need to remain part of Israel in any reasonable agreement


GUSH ETZION - Agricultural Villages on land purchased by Jews in the 1920's and 1930s

 - Over-run by the Arab Legion in 1948

 - Kibbutz Kfar Etzion - Jewish fighters surrendered May 1948, but 127 massacred by the Arab Legion

 - Settlements Re-established 1948, includes offspring of the original residents

 - 70,000 residents in the Gush Etzion Block

MAALEH ADUMIM - over 40,000 Israelis - settlement built on a barren hill just East of Jerusalem

ARIEL Block - built on a barren Samarian hill

 - Includes University with 12,000 students; 2000 students from abroad; 400 from Arabic speaking homes

Multiple Factories in Settlement Blocks; Thousands of Palestinian Arab jobs - respected employees - see PA Press

Major Source of Conflict - Acceptance of existence of a Jewish People - historical connection to the Land, with rights to sovereignty and self - determination in any part of the Land. Israel willing to compromise, withdraw....not willing to commit national suicide. Dangers on all borders - Islamist rejectionists - North, South, East, Islamic Republic of Iran and nuclear ambitions. Wherever Israel has withdrawn for the purpose of moving towards a peaceful resolution, the response to a "perceived weakness" was more terror and rockets.

Resolution Concerns Raised re Israeli Actions:

1.       Separation Barrier and Checkpoints - results of Terrorism and Suicide Bombings; 1000 Israelis killed 2001 - 2002 in acts of terror

2.       Water - Israeli fulfilled its commitments; Palestinians did not

3.       Travel Restrictions into Jerusalem - Security needs - perhaps too strict or extensive; not for us to judge - ask families who lost loved ones in acts of terror

4.       Segregated Roads - Danger is for Israeli Jewish citizens to travel on roads in Palestinian Authority Area A; signage marks danger for Israeli citizens to enter PA lands

5.       Arrests and Israeli Military - Actions are under the rule of Law; free press; extensive presence of media; vibrant democracy; Trials, Appeals; Contrast with Extra-Judicial Executions in Gaza


1.       Puts the onus and blame on one party - Israel

2.       Does not recognize decades of rejection by Palestinian Arabs of any Jewish State

3.       Does not reflect historical facts and security needs in light of geopolitical threats to Israel, prior terror, rockets, violence, Islamist threats - Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran

4.       The movement is against efforts at cooperation between moderate Israelis and Palestinians

a.       Trade Union Agreement between Israel Labor Groups and Palestinian Labor Group - opposed by BDS

b.      Groups to support Academic Cooperation between Hebrew U and AL Quds University - opposed by BDS

c.       Film Producer Agreement - opposed by BDS

5.       Supports Unlimited Right of Return - demographic destruction of the Jewish State

6.       Settles for Nothing short of elimination of Israel

BDS:  Makes Peace more Difficult to Achieve

Discourages Moderates to Compromise and Cooperate

Sanctions Firms on West Bank that employ Palestinians -

May deprive people from health benefits of Israeli discoveries - South Africa example

Hurts the Academicians Most Eager for a Resolution and Dialogue

Strengthens the Rejectionists

Christians are under distress in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and Lebanon. Where is the outcry?

Path to peace - Support of Israel as a Jewish , Democratic State and Model of Freedom and Western Democratic Ideals; Encourage Palestinians to Negotiate Directly with Israel; Support demilitarization of Gaza and Hamas; Support the concept of a Jewish State next to a demilitarized Palestinian State; Recognize the incredible security risks for Israel in a volatile Middle East.

BDS is not the path to peace.

The BDS anti-Zionists want the elimination of the Jewish State.

A view of JStreet

This article was written by Brian Grodman and published in the Jewish Reporter in New Hampshire. It is posted here with the permission of the author.

On September 21st, JStreet had a presentation at Temple Israel in Portsmouth.  I was disappointed not to attend.  I was observing the unveiling of my mother’s gravestone with my three millennial children, Adam, Jesse & Talia, along with my girlfriend, Charlotte Crockett.  My sons have been outspoken supporters of Israel with a combined count of almost twenty trips to Israel and numerous pro-Israel activities while in college and graduate school.  Adam and Jesse understand, and have expressed, the danger that JStreet poses to their peer group.

JStreet has been contrasted with AIPAC.  However, a review of numerous AIPAC accomplishments illustrates complete bipartisan congressional participation.  Both Democrats and Republicans provide sponsorship for every AIPAC supported bill.  As I have written on these pages, I have attended many AIPAC Summits, Washington Policy Conferences and New England dinners.  At each of these impressive gatherings, both sides of the aisle are greatly represented.  Conversely, JStreetPAC endorses approximately 100 candidates and incumbents for Congress.  Without exception, each one is a Democrat.  Does this make sense?  Are Democrats the only ones who support Israel and Israeli values?  The American support of the Jewish State of Israel should not be limited to one religion, one ethnicity or one political party.  It should always be bipartisan.  The obvious conclusion is that the PAC for JStreet is actually a PAC supporting the Democratic Party and not Israel.

In 2008, I was at Harvard listening to Professor Alan Dershowitz explain why he was supporting Barack Obama for president.  Professor Dershowitz has been a well known supporter of liberal candidates for much of his career.  However, even this esteemed liberally-bent figure wrote in the Jerusalem Post (10/7/2013) “J Street’s approach is arrogant and paternalistic.  Its leaders have the chutzpah to claim that they know better than Israelis what is good for Israel.”  JStreet continually encourages President Obama to take action that is contrary to the policy of the government of Israel.  Why does an American organization believe it knows more, and has the right, to dictate how the leadership in Jerusalem should act?

During the past two conflicts involving Israel (Cast Lead and Protective Edge), JStreet admonished Israel for “disproportionate response.”  Any response that was of equal nature would not have ended the conflict.  Was Israel supposed to use homemade rockets to fire back?  What gives someone in the relatively safe haven of the United States the right to state how Israel responds to a threat emanating from dozens of tunnels, hundreds of Jihadists, and thousands of rockets, all seconds and minutes away from schools and hospitals?

Over one hundred Boston area entities sponsored the Rally for Israel on August 7th.  This rally was attended by thousands of people at City Hall Plaza.  The lead sponsorship included CJP, AIPAC, ADL, and JCRC, among others.  Over fifty area synagogues, from Reform to Orthodox, were sponsors and provided transportation.  However, JStreet removed their endorsement of the event.  This rally was purely to show solidarity with our Jewish homeland.  Why would politics get in the way of an event of this magnitude?

JStreet states they seek an “open tent” policy, where all views are shared.  However, their conventions do not allow speakers with alternative viewpoints, while including BDS (boycott, divestment & sanctions) supporters.  It is well known that virtually the entire population of Israel is against the BDS movement.  This strategy economically harms her citizenry.  Why would JStreet include presenters with this narrative?

Finally, as a committed Jew, I am a proud Zionist and concerned for our Jewish people in the Diaspora.  If younger people become attracted to the misinformation that JStreet presents, they will surely turn their backs on Judaism.  After 3,000 years, that would be devastating.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

"Civil disobedience" is increasingly misused

This was originally posted to the JFR: The Jewish Faculty Roundtable discussion list by Paul Burstein of the University of Washington. It is posted here with the permission of the author.

I think we need to be very careful here. "Civil disobedience" is a term that is increasingly misused, and it would be a good idea to highlight its original meaning. The basic idea, I believe, was that one would engage in peaceful (i.e., "civil") activities that were in fact illegal, but then agree to pay the legal penalty for committing illegal acts as a way of drawing attention to problems in laws or the administration--e.g., disobeying a law against equal accommodation in public facilities to show how outrageous such laws were. Many people disapprove of civil disobedience, but it has a good pedigree--Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.

What many of the anti-Israel (or worse) campus groups often propose or carry out are actions that are not civil disobedience in the traditional sense. The actions are not peaceful, and the perpetrators expect to avoid punishment.  We have to highlight this over and over again, with examples.

In addition, we have to figure out some good way of highlighting the way the term "academic freedom" is being misued. Those hostile to Israel, etc., proclaim the right to do anything they want because what they're doing is protected under the rubric of "academic freedom" (e.g., teach blatantly one-sided classes about the Middle East), while denying others the right to participate in activities that would normally be seen as manifestations of academic freedom, such as "no to study programs in Israel," not to mention denying others the right to engage in activities that virtually every American has the right to engage in (e.g., go on a trip to Israel).

I should add that it would sure be nice of some university administrators took meaningful stands on these issues. The silence from those at the top of universities is astonishing.  And even when someone takes action, such as Phyllis Wise, there's an awfully strong tendency to retreat, when attacked, into discussions of the precise details of whether procedures were followed, without taking any moral stand at all.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Boston Globe Correction Saga Part IV

Received from the new editorial page editor, Ellen Clegg, September 26:

Dear Alan,

Brian McGrory forwarded your email to me. We do not believe the editorial was in error. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please send it along to me and I'll forward it. After Peter Canellos left the paper, I was assigned to be editor of the editorial page. 


Ellen Clegg
Boston Globe
office: 617-929-3339

Response sent to Ellen Clegg September 27:

Dear Ms. Clegg:

Congratulations on your new position as editor of the editorial page and thank you for responding to my request for a correction.

I did receive a response, on September 24, from Matthew Bernstein, to my second request for a correction. As I pointed out to Mr. Bernstein, every definition I've seen for the term "seize" involves a taking of ownership from another, previous owner. Since the Israeli announcement that its investigation had shown the property in question was not privately owned, there was no "seizure" of land unless there is another, obviously obscure, definition of "seize" which has eluded me.

In other words, unless there is such an obscure definition of "seize," your editorial, as well as all three letters, contained the same factual error. If you are able to cite such a definition, I will withdraw my request for a correction; if not, I again request a correction.

Alan Stein

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rosh Hashana Plea and Suggestion From Rabbi Ervin Birnbaum

Ervin Birnbaum is rabbi emeritus at the Masorti congregation Bet Israel in Netanya and the founder and director of the Russian outreach program Shearim.

Dear Friend:

A brief plea and suggestion:

If you have the opportunity on Rosh Hashana when most of your family members are together, or possibly soon thereafter, before you begin a meal, you may perhaps wish to express the following thought (with slight changes in the Diaspora):

We are thankful to be here in our own Jewish Land where we can celebrate the advent of a New Year, especially now, when the climate of antagonism in the world resembles in so many details the fatal year 1939. We can be here and we can celebrate thanks to young people like those who laid their lives on the line in the recent war in Gaza, to whom we owe an expression of eternal gratitude. We can be here and we can celebrate because we are in our one and only independent sovereign Jewish State from which all the hatred of the world will not move us.

We know well how false were the blood libels pinned on our People during the ages, despite their widespred acceptance among the nations.

We equally know how false are their accusations of our cruelties in the recent war, despite their widespred acceptance among the nations.

We know that we pretty much stand alone, dependent on our inner unity and on the One Almighty Power in whose saving grace we place our trust.

May we be granted, together wth our sisters and brothers everywhere, a year of much-yearned -for peace, and a year of security -- in addition to the many individual prayers for our wellbeing and those of our loved ones.

Have a wonderful, truly uplifting Holiday. May you emerge into the New Year with renewed self-confidence, aware of your tremendous potential, confident of our splendid People's ability to withstand all pressures of our foes, and forge ahead into an ever more creative future.


Ervin Birnbaum

The Continuing Saga with The Boston Globe

A response was received from The Boston Globe on September 24, at which point the request for a correction was renewed. The following is that exchange. As appropriate, additional correspondence will be posted.

Dear Mr. Stein, 

Thank you for your query, and for your continued interest in our pages. I regret that your original note find its way to me. I just searched our e-mail queue, letter@globe.com, and found no sign of it there. It's possible that it might have been snagged on an e-mail filter. 

As for your request for a correction, none is warranted. The usage of the term "seize" in both the editorial and subsequent letters is open to interpretation, both politically and by definition. And, in fact, the third of the three letters actually makes the point that the land in question is technically under Israeli control, and had been seized by Jordan in the late 1940s. 

I would consider a letter to the editor offering your viewpoint on Israel's official position on ownership of the land, but I can't guarantee I would publish it at this point, as it has been more than two weeks since the original editorial. 

I do encourage you to write again in the future. 


Matthew Bernstein
Letters editor

The following response was sent to Mr. Bernstein on September 24:

Dear Mr. Bernstein, 

Thank you for your response. However, I find your response unsatisfactory. 

While there are slight variations in definitions given for the term "seize," they all involve the taking of property that had been owned by another party. This was manifestly not the case in the Israeli announcement, which essentially simply clarified the fact that its investigation had determined the land was not privately owned. 

It is true that many other newspapers, even some in Israel, have also incorrectly used the term "seize," as did the writer of that third letter. This makes the error in The Boston Globe understandable, but does not make it permissible. 

If you are able to show me a legitimate definition of "seize" from a reputable reference which applies to your usage, I will withdraw my request; otherwise, I repeat my request that an appropriate correction be issued. 

Alan Stein

Monday, September 22, 2014

Followup to "Correction Requested From The Boston Globe"

After receiving no response from The Boston Globe to the September 15 request for a correction and seeing no correction in the newspaper itself, the following, along with the text of the original request, was sent to the editor of The Boston Globe on September 22. If a response is received and it is appropriate to do so, the response will be posted here.

Dear Mr. McGrory:

It's possible that The Boston Globe has issued a correction about the factual error I pointed out in an email a week ago and I somehow missed noticing it, but I suspect this issue simply fell through the cracks during the changes relating to the resignation of Peter Canellos from his position as Editor of the Editorial Page.

Under that assumption, I am including the original email I sent to you and again request an appropriate correction be issued, both in accordance with the ethical standards of professional journalism and your responsibility to your readers.


Alan Stein

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Correction Requested From The Boston Globe

The following letter was sent by email to the editor of The Boston Globe on September 15, 2014. Copies were sent to Peter Canellos, editor of the editorial page; Dante Ramos, deputy managing editor of the editorial page; Matthew Bernstein, letters editor; and Lawrence Harmon, editorial writer. If there is a response, it will be noted and, if appropriate, posted here.

Dear Mr. McGrory: 

The September 6 editorial, "Israeli seizure of 1,000 acres is wrong move at wrong time," and three letters published today, September 15, all included the same, basic factual error: they all falsely stated that Israel had seized land in the disputed territories. 

Israel did not seize any land. Rather, after appropriate investigation, Israel concluded the land in question was not privately owned. In keeping with its open and democratic nature, Israel did not keep that conclusion secret and is even providing the opportunity for anyone who believes its conclusion was incorrect to come forth with evidence. 

The Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists stipulates journalists should "acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly." 

I request that you act in accordance with that code and issue an appropriate correction. 


Alan Stein, Ph.D.

Founder, PRIMER-Massachusetts
President Emeritus, PRIMER-Connecticut
Promoting Responsibility In Middle East Reporting

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Oded Revivi, Mayor of Efrat, Writes to The New York Times

P.O.B. 1022

PHONE: 972-2-9939310
MOBILE: 972528443663

Letters to the Editor
New York Times

In response to your article "Israel Claims Nearly 1000 Acres of West Bank Land Near Bethlehem," Aug. 31, 2014, and the allegation that the land is privately owned by Arabs, I would like to clarify the matter with the following factual information:

In 1967, Israel became the sovereign authority in Judea and Samaria. Preceding Israel was Jordan, who replaced the British in 1947.  Before the British, the Turks ruled over the land of Israel and controlled the land that over time had passed from one nation to the next.

Today Judea and Samaria is being held by the Israeli government which has inherited all the legal property rights. (Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria between 1948 till 1967, but their occupation was only recognized by Britain and Pakistan).

According to the Turkish land registration, there are essentially two types of land =96 private land and State-owned land. The government of Israel is very careful not to make any use of private land, and as for State land, there is a long and complex public procedure that the government undertakes before making use of State lands, and this is to make sure not to harm any private person by depriving him of his rights.

The declaration publicized in the New York Times is proof of this very public procedure and allows for anyone who feels himself harmed to come forth and prove his rights to the land.

I would like to use this opportunity to make an additional comment. In English it is customary to term the areas of Judea and Samaria as "occupied territories". To those using this term, I would like to ask, occupied from whom?

If we go back to the registration of rights from the time that the Turks ruled, it is clear that there are private lands that were registered as such and which the State of Israel does not dispute and does not touch. On the other hand, to who do the State lands belong to? The Turkish government does not claim their ownership and neither do the British. The Jordanians, in their peace treaty with Israel, declared that they are relinquishing any claim of ownership to the lands of Judea and Samaria.

If we examine the declarations and decisions of the United Nations and other bodies that preceded the UN, it can be proven that these lands were designated for the State of Israel and as such, the State of Israel is permitted to make use of these lands.

As pointed out above, the State of Israel exercises extreme caution before making use of these lands (even though these lands have been part of the historical Jewish State from Biblical times), and it would be proper if those that attack and criticize her would have knowledge of the legal foundations of the issue before voicing condemnations.


Oded Revivi, Esq.
Mayor of Efrat

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Boston Globe Has a Sense of Humor

The Boston Globe showed it has a sense of humor. It published a letter from me today (Sunday, September 7, 2014) in its magazine section. Actually, it published half of a letter I sent.

This is what it published:
Debating Debates 
I couldn't help but be puzzled by H.D.S. Greenway's August 17 Perspective, "How We Talk About Israel," that suggested free-flowing exchanges about the Arab-Israeli conflict were "off-limits" in the United States and implying that criticism of Israel was essentially being squelched. My observation has been almost the opposite, with disproportionate opportunities given to anti-Israel (a more accurate description than "pro-Palestinian") vitriol. For example, I've actually tried to keep track of the "dialogue" in The Boston Globe, and since the beginning of May, I've counted 17 pro-Israel opinion items being outnumbered by 20 anti-Israel opinion items. 
Alan Stein
Founder, PRIMER-Massachusetts
Promoting Responsibility In Middle East Reporting

This is what it cut from what I submitted:

Given that public opinion polls generally show three to four times as many people sympathize with Israel than with the Palestinian Arabs, if anything this seems to indicate that the media, or at least The Boston Globe, stifles the pro-Israel voices. 
Also curious are his assertions regarding anti-Semitism. The reality is that supporters of Israel are extremely reluctant to charge anti-Semitism, but the current outburst of shameless attacks on synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses and the blatant anti-Semitism in online postings by "pro-Palestinians" make undeniable what was shown by studies years ago: there is a high correlation between anti-Semitism and attitudes towards Israel.
It reminds me of Archie Bunker in All in the Family, saying “stifle it, Edith.”
The Boston Globe simply stifled the part where I pointed out it stifled pro-Israel voices, and for good measure also stifled the part where I brought up the connection between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, the latter being the modern, socially acceptable way to express one's anti-Semitism.

You just have to laugh!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Letter to United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon

This is a copy of a letter sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon by Gila and Doron Tregerman, the parents of the late Daniel Tregerman, who was killed in a Hamas mortar attack on his kibbutz (Nahal Oz).

For UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon

Dear Sir,

My name is Gila, I am an Israeli citizen, and I am a resident of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, near the border with Gaza.

A week ago, we lost our elder son, Daniel 4.5 yrs old, which was killed by a mortar shell, fired from Gaza into Israel deliberately.

I address you after your announcement to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to establish an international investigation Committee to investigate "Israel's crime" in the recent fighting in Gaza.

About us: Doron and I were married five years ago and we have three amazing kids: Daniel 4.5 yrs, Yoval 3.5 yrs and Uri 4 months old. We were a happy family. We lived in Kibbutz Nahal Oz near Gaza, and found ourselves constantly debating whether not to abandon Nahal Oz and move to another location, quieter, safer, far from rocket fire from Gaza, and far away from the alarms.

Then came the threat of terrorist tunnels, which Hamas members dug from Gaza to Israel under our home to hurt us. At night we heard noises and voices digging beneath us. Thus, in the last six months our children slept with the window closed and locked. We were afraid that they will be kidnapped from us.

Can you imagine our life, Mr. Secretary-General? How do you live in constant fear of mortar shell and terrorists emerging from tunnels?

Then, last Friday [August 22], Daniel was killed. All the precautions that we have taken have failed. Daniel, 4.5 yrs old, was killed in our House, while playing with Yoval in a tent built indoors and not outside, because it's dangerous. He was killed from a mortar shell that was shot by terrorists from Gaza, he died in our hands. Daniel died in front of his little sister and his best friend Yoval, 3.5 years old; he died in front of Uri, only four months old and right before our eyes, his mother and father.

We failed. We couldn't protect our beautiful and talented baby. Daniel was killed from a mortar shell that was fired by Hamas members from an elementary school for boys in Gaza City. It wasn't a stray shell. It wasn't accidental death. From that school terrorists fired deliberately to the kibbutz to murder civilians — children, women, old people. This time they also achieved the goal. Daniel was killed almost immediately. Daniel's father, Doron, covered him with a blanket while crying bitterly and we escaped from home with two small children, leaving our precious son behind, in order to protect them from bombings who continued to explode around the house. Yoval, Daniel's sister saw the terrifying sight and understood that something terrible happened. It is unbearable to watch that little child staring at the wall, in overwhelming silence with teardrops from her eyes.

This week, while the "shiv'ah"(Jewish ritual of mourning) at Doron's parents home, we heard of your decision to appoint an international investigation Committee to investigate "Israel's crime" in the recent fighting in Gaza. You informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu half an hour after our Daniel was killed, perhaps while he was lying dead in our living room, covered in a blanket.

The investigation Committee will examine the "crimes of Israel" during the fighting. The investigation Committeeis not asked to investigate how terrorists shoot out of U.N buildings and schools.

The Committee is not asked to investigate how inside buildings of the United Nations and in hospitals in Gaza terrorist infrastructure flourish and maintain over time, or how from these places terrorist left for activity aimed against innocent people.

It wouldn't investigate how Hamas is abusing the Palestinian people, and how its members impose on residents of Gaza, even on children, digging tunnels aimed only for terrorism against Israel.

It wouldn't investigate how after these excavations carried out under duress and in slave-like conditions, the Hamas murdered the diggers, even the children, just to be sure they won't be able to pass information to Israel.

Why are you silent? Does your silence indicate consent with the abuse of the Palestinian people and the Israeli people?

The answers to these questions will remain unknown.

And I want to ask you, Sir:

Are you and the U.N does not see the links that make up the global terrorism picture?

The terrorists units, fully equipped and full of hatred that attacked us in our homes, are the same units that kidnapped 43 UN observers in Syria; They are the same units that decapitated innocent people in Syria and Iraq; those unites crashed aircrafts into crowded buildings in 2001 in New York; those unites threaten the essence of democratic life, and life itself, in Europe, in the United States and anywhere on the plant.

Let me tell you some more about the history of our lives here, on the border with Gaza. My husband's parents, Doron, also live near the border fence and three and a half years ago a Qassam rocket exploded and destroyed their home.

Up until a few years ago they had good relations with the residents of Gaza. They hired workers from Gaza to work in their fields and Paulina, Daniel's grandmother, drove them home – to Rafah, every evening after work. They use to invite each other for weddings and other celebrations and often traveled to Rafah or Gaza to enjoy life at cafes there.

All that ended when Hamas rise to power and ordered the civilians who worked in Israel, to kill their Israeli employers; otherwise, Hamas would hurt their families. Daniel's grandparents used to tell us this, longing and hoping that the good proximity will resume. They even found ways to maintain contact with their friends from Gaza during the mortar shell. Like the parents of Doron and their friends from Gaza, we want to live in good proximity, in peace and security. It is our hope that our neighbors, the people of Gaza will be able to live peacefully in their homes and build and develop their beautiful country. We believe that the vast majority of the people on this plant do not want to see the sights of blood, tears and fire of the radical Islam movement, but to live peacefully, enjoy kid's laughter, wait for a better tomorrow.

We do not seek the people responsible for our Daniel's death.

We only wish your response and your voice against this crime and the crime Hamas committed against their own people.

Gila and Doron Tregerman
Parents of Daniel (RIP), Yoval and Ori
Nahal Oz, Israel