Saturday, June 10, 2017

True liberals have never stopped supporting Israel

An abridged version of this letter was published in the Jewish Advocate on June 9, 2017. After the original text, I'm including links to the op-ed to which it responded along with the version of my letter that was published.

True liberals have never stopped supporting Israel

I find the op-ed by Shifra Freewoman, "To regain liberals' support, Israel must make peace," to demonstrate mindless hostility to Israel and incredible ignorance, even as she claims she is "not misinformed."

Just one example of many: Freewoman indignantly insists Israel must stop "building new settlements."

The Israeli government hasn't built a new settlement in approximately a quarter century!

As an Israeli citizen, I can assure Freewoman we want peace far more than she does. We're the ones who have to send our children into the army. We're the ones getting shot at, stabbed, bombed.

We've tried virtually everything short of national suicide. We've frozen building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. We've released terrorists, including mass murderers. We've given away land and repeatedly offered the Palestinian Arabs virtually all the disputed territory, the heartland of Eretz Yisrael. We've been met not only with rejection, but with terrorism, bus bombings and rockets and thousands of us have died.

Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas have managed to turn most of even the most dovish Israelis into realists. We're all critical of the Israeli government, but the most extreme but sane peaceniks, when asked point blank, will acknowledge that nothing Israel could have done would have made a significant difference, that Yasser Arafat was never going to make peace and that Mahmoud Abbas doesn't want to make peace and/or is incapable of making peace. Yet we continue to dream and to try.

I'm reminded of the way Senator Lloyd Bentsen, during a 1988 vice presidential debate with Dan Quayle, said "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

Israel has developed a free, democratic, liberal society despite being under constant attack since its re-establishment. Palestinian Arab society, unfortunately, is virtually a polar opposite. It represses gays. It demands a Judenrein state. It encourages terrorism and glorifies terrorists. It rejects peace.

I've served liberal causes all my life. I know liberalism. And I know Israel doesn't have to do anything to "regain liberals' support" because no true liberal has abandoned Israel.

To bluntly paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen: Shifra Freewoman, you're no liberal. 

By Alan Stein
Natick, Massachusetts and Netanya, Israel

The op-ed to which this letter responded was entitled "To regain liberals' support, Israel must make peace" and may be found at