Tuesday, November 21, 2017

'Drain the swamp' not the State Department

'Drain the swamp' not the State Department

By Arnold Pinsley

The State Department definitely needs to be drained.  It has a history of 85 years of one costly mistake after another.  Our noble chaps felt that a little character with a moustache was a joke - in the name of isolationism, folks like Watson (IBM) and Joseph Kennedy (steel) continued to sell him materials necessary to his war machine; no attention was paid to the terms of the treaty that ended the 'War to end all wars' which forbade his nation the development of a military.  From 1938 until Treasury Secretary Morgenthau intercepted a cable in 1943, State Department stonewalled any mention of what was happening to the Jews, Gypsies, and physically and developmentally challenged in the way of Hitler because it might hinder the war effort - no bombing of railroad tracks or trains taking people to extermination or slave labor camps (where slaves died in three to four months due to starvation or beatings); the numbers slaughtered exceed 25 million.

In 1945, General Stillwell, Commander of the China, Burma, and India theater was charged with Communist sympathy and brought back to home in disgrace for, horror of horrors, suggesting that we achieve a rapprochement with the Communist Chinese because Chiang Kai-Shek wasn't fighting the Japanese and the Communists were.  In 1950, following the policy set re General Stillwell, State and Defense stumbled into the US into a Korean Conflict, also including the Chinese which carried us into 1953 when an agreement to cease hostilities was hammered out - why are there 35,000 US troops still stationed on the border?

1948 saw the establishment of Israel which State advised President Truman not to recognize.    In 1953, State and the British Foreign Office conspired to assassinate Mossadegh, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, because he wanted to nationalize the country's oil resources and together these two organizations made Reza Pahlavi Shah of Iran.  Luckily he died of cancer before the British and Americans could kill him for the same crime as his predecessor - not to worry, these two organizations saw to it that the country became a theocracy.  The Iranian theocrats nationalized the country's oil reserves as soon as they took power with nary a peep from the State Department or the international captains of industry.  Every attempt to remove the theocrats from power by the citizens of Iran has been ignored by the State Department.  We are told that the Iranian people love us; one wonders why.

President Eisenhower was besieged by State and Defense to bail out the French in their attempt to maintain control of Vietnam (then called 'French Indochina').  Immediately after WW II, the State Department purged anyone with any real knowledge of China and Southeast Asia.  President Eisenhower had sufficient gravitas and intelligence to withstand the pressure from State, Defense, and CIA - unfortunately his successor did not have his gravitas and we entered a military engagement in Vietnam which cost more than 50,000 lives with many more seriously wounded not to mention the even greater number of Vietnamese maimed or killed.  Wonderful way to negotiate a favored nation trading alliance, don't you think?

Now let us move on to Israel where State Department activities have for more than 50 years resembled Einstein's definition of insanity, 'performing the same failed experiment over and over again in the hope of a successful outcome'.  Isn't that brilliant?  Obviously State believes that the 22% of the original British Palestine Protectorate left as a homeland for the Jews and made part of the League of Nations Charter and, in its turn, the United Nations Charter was way too much land - State has been pressuring Israel to cede more and more land to the 'Palestinians' who are virtually all of Saudi or Syrian descent.  They arrived in Judea and Samaria in 1948 after King Abdullah I of Transjordan had ethnically cleansed all Jews from that area and destroyed countless Arab villages so that massed Arab armies would be able to sweep the Jews of Israel into the sea.  Said Arabs were then lodged in 'Refugee' camps like Sabra and Shatilla where they are kept in squalor as stateless refugees to this day - no pressure from State Department to change this at all - a disgraceful policy.

It is obvious that State has never forgiven some Jews for having survived WW II, because treatment accorded Israel is abominable. The State Department wants to keep providing money to PA/PLO/Fatah which has been in administrative control of 98% of the land in Judea and Samaria for more than two decades and continue paying millions of dollars per year to the PA.  A large portion of this largesse has paid salaries to terrorists convicted of murdering Israeli citizens and handsome pensions to families of deceased martyrs to the PA cause.  Every PA social media organ is used to incite violence against Israelis without a word of condemnation from our State Department.  No condemnation from these 'professionals' regarding the firebombing of more than 200 churches in Iraq and violence perpetrated against Christian Arabs in the past two decades either.  In 1986, the population of Bethlehem was 75% Christian, today it is barely 10%.  Now our State Department accedes to a Russian proposal that an Iranian camp be located in Syria within three miles of the Israeli border (see BBC aerial photos of the site).  That is really going to create a stable environment in the area, isn't it?

Let us now look at other incomprehensible policy messes; Iraq, Afghanistan, and Arab Spring.  President Bush, Sr. had sense enough to stage a pretend conflict with Saddam Hussein where Saddam was allowed to remain as a bulwark against the Iranian theocrats - his son decided that he had to do better than daddy and remove the bulwark.  Not the best idea Bush Jr. ever had and here Colin Powell, Secretary of State, was never able to meet with Bush Jr. alone to explain to him the danger inherent in removing Saddam.  I don't know whose idea it was to enter Afghanistan - I do know that when Representative Wilson wanted a few million dollars for schools and hospitals for Afghanistan after we had armed the Mujahidin to help them defeat Russian incursion, the cornucopia was suddenly dry.

In 2001, the Bush Jr Presidency was encouraged by two of the worst characters ever to advise a President in this nation's history, Cheney and Rumsfeld, to enter Afghanistan.  It is now the longest conflict in American military history and our State Department has done little if anything to negotiate a cessation of hostilities.  The Arab Spring is still paying dividends in slaughter and mayhem.  President Clinton had sense enough to realize that a dictator in Libya could be counted on to keep the nasties at bay; Secretary of State Clinton couldn't see this and she had to remove him.  Libya is a massive training ground for many lovely terrorist groups and a tribal battle ground today.  Egyptian military had enough sense to remove a Muslim Brotherhood Caliphate before it could become a fully functional destabilizing force in the Middle East.  US State Department denied weaponry to the Egyptian military and almost drove it into the arms of the Russians.

State and Defense treat the Turks with kid gloves even though, as Orhan Pamuk writes in his autobiography, 'Istanbul', 'the music of Armenian, Greek, and Ladino is no longer heard in the streets of Istanbul', and the Turks have been engaged in engaged in almost a century of denial of Armenian Genocide and uninterrupted slaughter of Kurds.  Although Iraqi  and Syrian Kurdish tribes did a great deal of the heavy fighting against ISIL, State Department in conjunction with Russia, accords them no seat at a bargaining table.

Doesn't make for a great resume, does it?

Friday, November 3, 2017

The international versus the local character of the Arab/Israeli conflict

By Barry Werner

It is a mistake to view the Palestinian/Israeli conflict as a dispute just between the Palestinian Arabs and the Israelis. It started long before there was such as thing as Palestinian identity and it has never been just a local conflict. Until the PLO was given the role of the sole representative of the Palestinian People, there was no such thing as a Palestinian People. The Arab world as a whole started the conflict to prevent a sovereign Jewish community from being established in the lands that the followers of Mohammed conquered in the 7’Th Century. The Arab war aim was to merge Palestine with “Greater Syria”, not to create an independent state for the Arabs of Palestine. Most of the Muslim world joined in and it became a wider Arab/Muslim conflict against Israel.

The conflict became internationalized even further. The Middle East was a locus of competition between the West and the Soviet Union in the Cold War. The Soviet Union armed the Arabs against Israel and the Kremlin demonized Zionism (the political left in the Western world still repeats that propaganda today). The Non-Aligned group of countries used opposition to Israel as a way to express their anger over past Western colonialism and sided with the Arabs. The West’s geopolitical and economic interests were seriously affected and so resolving the conflict became an obsession for them and for the UN.

After the combined Arab countries (and Cuba) failed to destroy Israel the Arab world created the PLO to continue the fighting. Reframing the conflict as a struggle for Palestinian nationalism rather than as a war by the Arab World against the Jewish People so soon after the Holocaust was intended to make the Arab cause more palatable to the West, but only as long as the ultimate goal of destroying the Jewish state was accomplished.

The international character of the conflict can be seen clearly in the 1970’s worldwide Arab rampage of terrorism and plane hijackings and in the attack on the world’s economy by use of an oil embargo. It was a global Arab attack on the Western world. The Arab world learned that terrorizing the west was a winning strategy that turned the West against Israel. (In recent years the Islamist jihadi rampage in the West is more about demonstrating the dominance of Islam than it is about the Arab conflict with Israel. Israel is now a secondary target; jihadis attack Jews everywhere without regard to their relationship to Israel. The Islamist jihadi movement is about world domination.)

As a consequence of the Western world trying to appease the Arab/Muslim world, the conflict over the land of Palestine was not allowed to be resolved normally. The background to the conflict over the land of Palestine is as follows. In 1948 Jordan and Egypt illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza. In 1967 Israel liberated the occupied land. But even though the Arab world had seized the land illegally they wanted the land back. The Western world wanted to appease the Arabs and tried to give the West Bank and Gaza back to the Arabs in various “peace initiatives” of its own and in UNSC Resolution 2334.

It is very important to see how the international character of the Arab/Israeli conflict changed with time.

The Arab world’s goals changed drastically with the Six Day War. A new Arab goal emerged, namely erasing the Arab world’s dishonorable defeat in that war. Russia massively resupplied the Arab armies and the Arab world started yet another war in 1973, the Yom Kippur War, but lost again. In 2002, the Arab League proposed the “Arab Peace Initiative”, offering Israel normalization in the region if, but only if, Israel agreed to erase every centimeter of territorial gain it made in the Six Day War. Since the intention was to erase the Arab world’s dishonorable defeat, Israel was either to give back every centimeter of territory conquered in the Six Day War or there would be no deal. (In recent years, the Arab League softened the terms and allowed for an equal exchange of land, and Israel agreed to accept the offer but only as the start of negotiations.) 

In recent years the situation changed drastically again. Now the major Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries, and Morocco) see Israel as a potential ally against the religious fanaticism that threatens to destabilize them, the threat of expansionist Iran, and the many severe economic and ecological threats the Arab countries face.

However, the PLO, and its “rejectionist” offshoots, such as Hamas, etc, keeps on fighting and expecting the Arab world and the West to back them up as before (Hamas also looks to Iran for support).

The Western world is still trying to appease the rejectionists as if there has been no change in the goals of the moderate Arab governments.

Two conclusions can be drawn.

First, the West should respond to the new international reality and shift its emphasis from supporting the rejectionist war against Israel to encouraging and supporting cooperation between the moderate Arab world and Israel. The West should encourage the Arab world to normalize relations with Israel and partner with Israel and the moderate Arab governments in addressing the many serious problems that confront the Middle East.

Second, to finally bring an end to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict it should be disentangled from the web of international intrigue and resolved on its own merits. The Arabs waged an “all-or-nothing” war to destroy Israel and lost. An objective peace initiative would emphasize these points:

  •  Israel has by far the strongest claim to the land liberated in the Six Day War of 1967 (the West Bank and Gaza);
  •  It is reasonable for Israel not to allow the hostile, antisemitic, Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza to return to Israel or to become citizens of Israel because they have been taught antisemitism and hatred for Israel for as long as the Palestinian Authority, the PA, has been given the authority to do so by the Oslo Accords. (Not preparing its people for peace was an essential violation of the Oslo Accords by the PA, it’s reasonable that they should have to pay the price for violating the fundamental intention of the Oslo Accords.)
  • For humanitarian reasons, unless the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza can be relocated to other Arab countries (not a likely scenario since all the other Arab countries don’t want them and they have good reasons to be afraid of them) they should be given an independent but disarmed state of their own, or several small independent disarmed states, or whatever, where they presently reside, on only whatever land it takes to maintain them in Gaza or the West Bank. But they should not be given the whole West Bank.
  • The Palestinian Arabs and the Arab/Muslim world as a whole should agree to an end of claims against Israel and publicly recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. 
  • The Arab/Muslim world should acknowledge Israel for its democratic, inclusive multi-cultural character and its defense of Arab rights and Muslim religious sites.

The Western world should restrain the antisemites among them from supporting the extremist Arabs’ attempt to polarize the world to the exclusion of Jews and Israel. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Anti-Israel bias in Boston Globe revealed in discrimination op-ed

This op-ed was published in the Jewish Advocate on August 4, 2017. It may also be found on the Jewish Advocate website at http://jewishadvocate.our-hometown.com/news/2017-08-04/Editorials/AntiIsrael_bias_in_Boston_Globe_revealed_in_discri.html.

Following the text of the article, we include here the correspondence with the Boston Globe. This correspondence was not included in the Jewish Advocate.

Jewish Advocate

Anti-Israel bias in Boston Globe revealed in discrimination op-ed

By Alan H. Stein

Alan H. Stein is the founder of PRIMER-Massachusetts and PRIMER-Israel, and president emeritus of PRIMER-Connecticut.

The July 18 Boston Globe op-ed by Katherine Franke headlined, "Mass. shouldn't outlaw boycotts," was so biased and hateful that CAMERA felt compelled to issue a major alert devoted entirely to it. But it wasn't out of character for the Boston Globe, which has a long track record of strong anti-Israel bias.

Franke's op-ed was not only factually flawed and misrepresented the anti-discrimination bill before the Massachusetts Legislature in order to unfairly malign Israel, it was given a misleading headline designed to imply something false: that the Legislature was considering a bill that would outlaw boycotts.

I've been keeping a log of Globe opinion pieces - editorials, op-eds and letters - relating to Israel since September 2014, and categorized each as either pro-Israel, anti-Israel or neutral. During that time, the anti-Israel opinion pieces have outnumbered the pro-Israel pieces 92-75. I'm sure I missed some items, but the disparity is pretty clear.

The most telling category is editorials, since that reflects the official opinion of the newspaper. During this period, I found only one Globe editorial that could be considered pro-Israel; published last November, it deplored the UNESCO decision "denying the Jewish people's historic connection to the holiest site in Judaism." In contrast, I found seven anti-Israel editorials.

There were 33 pro-Israel op-eds, compared with 48 anti-Israel op-eds. Of the pro-Israel op-eds, 18 were from Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby and 7 were from famed attorney Alan Dershowitz. Take those away, and we see the Boston Globe published only eight pro-Israel op-eds, in contrast to 48 anti-Israel op-eds!

There have been slightly more pro-Israel than anti-Israel letters, 41- 37, but even here, but it seems like when the Globe publishes pro- and anti- letters in the same issue, it generally gives more prominence to the anti-Israel letters.

For example, the Boston Globe chose to publish just two letters about Katherine Franke's anti-Israel op-ed, one supporting the op-ed and one criticizing it. This may seem balanced, but the Globe put the anti-Israel letter prominently on top. The anti-Israel letter was two-and-a-half times as long as the pro-Israel letter it published - 235 words to 92 words - and exceeded the Globe's 200-word limit.

Franke's op-ed itself was nominally in opposition to a bill before the legislature, "An Act prohibiting discrimination in state contracts." The key provisions are that companies entering into significant contracts with the state must certify they are in compliance with certain existing anti-discrimination laws and will not refuse "to do business with any other person when that action is based upon such other person's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation."

Franke misrepresented that provision as a "pledge that they will not engage in a boycott." She then used that misrepresentation to link the anti-discrimination bill to the prohibition on political boycotts in Alabama at the time of the Montgomery bus boycott.

We can argue about whether Massachusetts should enact a bill to punish hateful anti-Israel boycotters; however, the bill under consideration was written to avoid including the word boycott. This was pointed out to the Boston Globe, with a request for a correction. The Globe acknowledged receiving the request but dismissed it, arguing that 'pretending discrimination' and 'boycotting' are synonymous.

The headline, "Mass. shouldn't outlaw boycotts," clearly implies the bill would outlaw boycotts. Even if one buys the Globe's argument about boycotts and discrimination being the same, the bill does nothing to outlaw anything. When pressed on this, the Globe claimed the headline was, "smart, pertinent, and accurate."

At the same time, it is hard to imagine the Globe publishing an oped with the headline, "Mass. shouldn't outlaw discrimination."

Yet the Boston Globe not only published an op-ed supporting discrimination against Israelis, the newspaper defended it.




Email Exchange


The following is the exchange of emails with the Boston Globe. Most emails also contained the prior emails; that duplication is omitted here.


Sent July 19 with subject "Please issue a correction" to comments@globe.com and letter@globe.com:


To: The Boston Globe

The July 18 op-ed, "Mass. shouldn't outlaw boycotts," contains, among many other factual errors, the blatantly false statement that the anti-discrimination bill being put before the legislature "would require that anyone who applies for a state contract over $10,000 must sign a pledge that they will not engage in a boycott that targets a person or entity because of their 'race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation..'"

The proposed bill doesn't even contain the word "boycott."

As you are aware, while newspapers aren't responsible for the opinions contained in the opinion pieces they publish, they are responsible for the accuracy of the facts they publish. In accordance with that solemn responsibility, the Boston Globe is obligated to publish a correction.

Additionally, the very title of the op-ed, while technically not factually incorrect, is tantamount to a factual error because it strongly implies there is an effort to have Massachusetts outlaw boycotts. Even the language incorrectly given in the op-ed would do nothing to restrict boycotts.

Quite frankly, the Boston Globe should be embarrassed that it published such an error-filled and malicious op-ed, one which effectively promotes discrimination, and should not only issue corrections for the factual errors but apologize for publishing it.

Sincerely,

Alan Stein


Sent July 21 with subject "Resend: Please issue a correction:"


[I sent this request for a correction on July 19 and have neither seen a correction issued nor received a response to my message. Since the article was given prominence in the Boston Globe, the error was blatant, unquestionable since the text of the proposed legislation is publicly and easily available, and fundamental to the entire thrust of the article, there is no question but that a correction must be issued. I therefore infer that my original email got lost in cyberspace and never reached the Boston Globe; hence this resend. If this doesn't reach you either, I will try again using a different email account.]


Received July 21:


Dear Mr. Stein,

I did receive your original e-mail, so there was no reason for the follow-up. I don't think the column was in error as you describe. I have pasted a link to the language of the bill in question (I acknowledge that the word "boycott" is not included, but please note this language:  "... will not during the duration of the contract, refuse, fail, or cease to do business with..." That sounds like the description of a boycott to me).

I have shared your original letter with the op-ed editor, and we'll revisit this after the weekend.

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S1689.Html

Best,

Matthew Bernstein
Letters editor



Sent July 21:


Dear Mr. Bernstein:

I am astounded by your response.

The proposed legislation is called "An Act prohibiting discrimination in state contracts," not "An Act prohibiting boycotts in state contracts."

I cannot imagine that the Boston Globe would have ever published an analogous op-ed had the rest of the sentence you partially quoted ended with the word "race." And had the Boston Globe had the poor sense and insensitivity to publish such an analogous op-ed and received a request for a correction, I cannot imagine anyone at the Boston Globe defending the indefensible by saying "That sounds like the description of a boycott to me."

Ignoring all the bias, hatred and factual errors in the op-ed which I didn't mention in my earlier email, what about the headline, which is totally the responsibility of the Boston Globe and had such a disgracefully misleading implication that it was tantamount to a factual error?

As I wrote, the Boston Globe is obligated under various codes of ethics to issue a correction for the factual errors in the op-ed and has a moral obligation to apologize to its readers for publishing such a disgraceful op-ed with such a misleading headline.

Sincerely,

Alan Stein


Received July 24:


Alan,

Matt Bernstein forwarded his email stream about your objections to Professor Franke's column. No correction is needed. I concur with Matt's interpretation -- and the interpretation of many others -- of the bill. The term boycott isn't used in the legislation, but the definition is.

You might note that we ran an opposing view today. And Jeff Jacoby has also weighed in.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017/07/23/the-state-should-not-compelled-subsidize-boycotts-israel/L5YbIGAfn94e4n0wT6NKhO/story.html

http://view.email.bostonglobe.com/?qs=e767102c3831d9812ba5afe2e81772b3587068eebabd894f8be9eb47a15df9a88dc3a175a60f35bac1cdc37b2a1e5a52c32b34dcd93a2d2e4d7d96b117f41120e4f0aaefd212f78355740ce926f793d5


Ellen Clegg



Sent July 24:


Dear Ms. Clegg:

You've got to be kidding.

At last count, there were 77 co-sponsors for this legislation, which they called "An act prohibiting discrimination in state contracts," not "An act prohibiting boycotts in state contracts." Although I often disagree with many of our state legislators on various issues, I believe most of them are fairly intelligent. I can only infer that you believe either (a) all 77 co-sponsors erred in using the term discrimination rather than boycotts or (b) discrimination and boycotts are synonymous.

Also, neither you nor Mr. Bernstein has responded regarding the headline, "Mass. shouldn't outlaw boycotts," which is so blatantly misleading, clearly implying the bill would outlaw boycotts, as to be tantamount to a factual error. I still await a response regarding that issue.

Finally, regarding Jeff Jacoby's weighing in, I double-checked both yesterday's paper and today's paper and couldn't find the item to which you sent a link. Has or will his "weighing in" appear on the actual paper, or merely online or in emails?

I do appreciate the column by Jeremy Burton being run, but an error-filled, hateful op-ed doesn't get balanced by a single rational op-ed. As with violence and terrorism, it's easier to destroy than to rebuild; it's easier to inspire hatred than to undo the damage.

Sincerely,

Alan Stein


Received July 24:


Jeff has a newsletter that goes to subscribers who sign up, and is also published on our website. There's no such thing as "merely" online anymore, because that's where our audience is growing.

I thought the headline was smart, pertinent, and accurate - it reflects the gist of Professor Franke's argument quite well. No correction needed there, either.

Ellen Clegg


Sent July 24:


Dear Ms. Clegg:

Re "merely" online: Perhaps I should have written "online only." Since the entire printed paper is also online, the "online only" readership is clearly a proper subset of the total readership.

Re the headline: It may have been smart, but it certainly was neither pertinent nor accurate. I just went through Franke's op-ed again and saw nothing to suggest she was arguing the proposed legislation would ban boycotts. Although I haven't done so on a professional level and headlines were never my forte - for me they were generally an annoying afterthought - I have edited both newspapers and newsletters and would not have given anyone who came up with a headline as misleading as the one on Franke's op-ed the chance to write another.

I do thank you for at least reading what I've written and hope that, even though the Boston Globe is clearly unwilling to take ownership of its mistakes at this time, attempts will be made to be accurate and responsible in the future.

Sincerely,

Alan Stein

Sunday, July 23, 2017

D'Var Torah: An Extraordinary Israeli Family and Bridge Between Israel and the Diaspora

[In my American synagogue, Temple Israel of Natick, congregants give the D'var Torah during the summer months. A few years ago, at a meeting of our Israel Action Committee, I suggested the committee should take advantage of the opportunity, with each year one of us giving a D'var Torah about Israel. Everyone then pointed at me, and I wound up giving it three out of the last four years. This year's was special for me because, by coincidence, I was scheduled for the same day as my mother's yahrzeit.


This was my D'var Torah as delivered, except for minor changes I made on the spur of the moment.

Alan]


Today's double-parshah brings us to the end of Bemidbar, as the Israelites were ending their 40 years in the desert and preparing to finally enter the land of Canaan. Moshe distributes the portions of the land to the different tribes.

After being attacked by the nations that lived on the east bank, the Israelites were already in possession of a vast tract of land outside their originally intended borders. Shades of the yet-to-come Six-Day War.

The tribes of Reuvain and Gad had large numbers of sheep, found the land was good for grazing and decided to settle on the east bank, angering Moshe, who feared the other tribes would believe those tribes were afraid to continue into Eretz Yisrael. To alleviate the problem, Moshe made a deal with them: the tribes of Reuvain and Gad would lead the charge into the land of Canaan, but after the land was conquered they could return to their land on the east bank.

Moshe also gave half the tribe of Manashe territory east of the Jordan River. There are several explanations given; I'm partial to the explanation that Moshe was concerned the separation of the tribes would create a sense of alienation, but by having half of the tribe of Manashe on either side of the Jordan it would serve as a bridge, between the Jews living in Eretz Yisrael on the west bank and those in the Diaspora on the east bank.

Sometimes it feels as if Marsha and I, splitting our time between Israel and America, also serve as a bridge.

The first time I went to a General Assembly of what was then CJF, the Council of Jewish Federations - now JFNA, Jewish Federations of North America - the theme was ״אנחנו אחד,״ We are One. Actually, I don't remember what the Hebrew was; my Hebrew then was even worse than it is today. At that time, we didn't seem to need bridges between the Jews in Israel and America.

Today, we have lots of bridges, most prominently Partnership2Gether - the wonderful volunteer program Steve and Carol Doppelt run in Haifa each summer is part of that - and Birthright.

I'd like to talk about, one bridge, one family, an Israeli family which spans Europe, America and Israel. An extraordinary family but also a microcosm of the Israeli experience. I think it can give some insight into what it is to live in Israel, to be Israeli, with the clarity and the ambiguity, the heartache and the joy, the way Israelis cope with a conflict the Palestinian Arabs won’t end, yet still manage to live full, fulfilling lives.

Ervin Birnbaum is rabbi emeritus of Bet Israel, our Masorti synagogue in Netanya. He was born in Czechoslovakia, as a teenager fled the Nazi deportations to Budapest and fought with the Underground. Seventy years ago today, the British had just taken him off the Exodus - Paul Newman should have been playing him - prevented him from staying in Eretz Yisrael and put him on a ship back to the Europe from which he thought he was escaping.

He eventually landed in New York with his parents and brother, having lost most of his other relatives during the Shoah, earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University and his rabbinical education from the Jewish Theological Seminary, although in reaction to his experience in the Holocaust, he was an atheist at the time he served his first pulpit.

Ervin and his wife Hadassa, who grew up in New Jersey, have three sons, Aiton, Liel and Daniel, all born in America before they made aliyah in 1970. They settled in Sde Boker, where Ervin founded an English language college preparatory school at the urging of David Ben Gurion. They moved to Netanya in 1978, when Ervin became rabbi at Bet Israel as well as National Educational Superintendent for Foreign Language Programs of Youth Aliyah. In 1989, he founded Shearim, Gates, today the longest running Russian outreach program in Israel, and which he still runs, at the age of 88.

Hadassa is a retired social worker who, among many other things in retirement, was the volunteer coordinator for ESRA's (English Speaking Residents Association) Moadon for Young Disabled Men and Women. She's even more active and involved than Ervin, but I want to move on to their sons, grandsons and a special Shabbat service at Bet Israel this past winter.

Aiton is the eldest son. He's a psychologist and also a licensed tour guide who leads the monthly tiyulim, tours, Shearim organizes to help Russians learn more about Israel and which Marsha and I go on during our months in Netanya.

Liel, a teacher, is the middle son. You read about one of his sons in 2014, although his name wasn’t given. During the last Gaza war. Liel’s son was critically injured and it was touch and go for weeks as Liel and his wife and family, brothers and parents, were living every Israeli family's nightmare.

The youngest is Dani, who is a businessman, the CEO of SodaStream. A few years ago, he was honored as Israel's outstanding exporter. He brought some of his Arab workers from the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim to the ceremony, at the president's residence in Jerusalem, and insisted that he be subjected to exactly the same security screening as his workers. He was incensed when they were subjected to more rigorous screening than he. When he was presented with his award, he publicly chastised Shimon Peres for the way his  Arab workers were treated.

His company, of course, has been one of the most prominent targets of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, in spite of the fact that he employed over 600 Palestinian Arabs at wages 4 times what they would have earned if they had jobs with the Palestinian Authority. This anti-Israel movement especially targets companies operating beyond the 1967 armistice lines even if those businesses provide much needed employment for Palestinian Arabs. When Dani was forced to relocate his company to Rahat, in the Negev, he provided bus transportation for his Arab employees and fought the Israeli government to provide work permits for as many as possible.

The Birnbaums are a very musical family. The Russian outreach program Shearim got started in 1989 when Ervin saw Russian immigrants begging for money as street musicians. He convinced one of them to come to Bet Israel the next Monday at noon. At Shabbat services, he ordered everyone in the Congregation to come back, Monday, noon, for a concert.  Except for some holidays and summer breaks, there's been a concert at the same place, in the heart of Netanya, every Monday ever since.

Aiton and Liel serve as rabbi and cantor for the High Holiday services at Bet Israel. Dani used to serve as a High Holiday chazzan at a synagogue in Cincinnati. Dani's wife, Bat Ella, goes on concert tours. Although she's totally secular, her music is all tefillot, many from her late friend, Debbie Friedman, with whom she often sang. It would be fantastic if Temple Israel could get her to perform here on one of her tours.

Once a year, for Hadassa and Ervin's anniversary, the whole family comes and runs the service, which that Shabbat is like going to a hootenanny. Last Friday night, the family led a musical Kabbalat Shabbat, which I've heard was fantastic although we missed it because we're here for the summer.

In my opinion, the best voice in the family belongs to Nitzan, Bat Ella and Dani's son. In fact, I think he has the most beautiful singing voice I've ever heard. I've told his grandmother he should be sent to tour college campuses here in America.

One Shabbat last summer, he led services for the first time. Marsha and I, being here in Natick, missed it. But we didn't miss an even more special Shabbat a few months ago, when Nitzan led Shabbat services the day before his induction into the army.

During the service, after the Torah reading, we recite the prayer for Israel. It's the same one we will say here in a few minutes, on page 149.  With his father standing beside him, Nitzan so beautifully chanted this prayer for Eretz Yisrael the day before being inducted into the IDF.

Dani was standing beside Nitzan because, in our synagogue in Israel, we follow the prayer for Israel with the prayer for the safety of our soldiers.

That Shabbat, that was Dani's job.

Dani, whose nephew the soldier had almost been killed little more than two years before, chanted the prayer for our soldiers, standing with his son the day before his induction ... and with everyone in the congregation standing with them both, as one with the entire family. It doesn't get more Israeli than that!

In Israel, it's all personal and always personal. Everyone has close relatives or friends who have been injured or killed in war or in terror attacks and everyone - except for some of the ultra-Orthodox - worries about their children in the army.

I really can't describe the emotions I had ... we all had ... as that father, our friend, whom many had known since he, too, was young, read the very personal prayer for the safety not just of anonymous young men and women defending us all, but for the safety of his own son.

One of the other reasons sometimes cited for Moshe allowing the tribes of Reuvain and Gad, and half of the tribe of Menashe, to dwell outside Canaan was the benefit the Israelites could derive from support outside, from their Diaspora. And remember Moshe insisted those tribes join the rest of our people during wars.

Today, we have a larger Diaspora than two and a half tribes out of twelve and, as in Biblical times, we have plenty of internal disputes. But we should always remember our connection to each other, that we are one large family, and like any family we must support each other.

Parents, like Dani and Liel and Aiton, and grandparents, like Hadassa and Ervin, and young men and women, like Nitzan, need and deserve to feel that our hearts, not just in Israel but here in the Diaspora, are with them.

שבת שלום.

Testimony submitted in favor of "An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts"

[The Massachusetts State Legislature held a hearing on July 18 regarding anti-discrimination bill H.1685/S.1689, "An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts." I was prepared to testify, but had to leave before my turn came, so I instead submitted my prepared remarks to the committee members by email. This is what I submitted. - Alan Stein]


Good morning. My name is Alan Stein and I live in Natick and also have a home in Israel. To me, BDS is personal, so I'm going to explain a couple of reasons why I think you should support the anti-discrimination bill, H.1685/S.1689, "An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts."

Let me tell you about someone I know, Dani, and about the true nature of BDS.

Although we didn't know each other growing up, Dani spent a good part of his childhood not far from me in New York, and went to graduate school at Harvard and now runs a business in Israel. He ran a factory in Mishor Adumim, about 5 minutes from Jerusalem. It was an island of peace where Palestinian Arabs and Israelis, Muslims, Christians and Jews, worked together as equals, with equal pay and equal benefits.

A couple of years ago Dani arranged for some of the workers at his factory to come to a ceremony at the Israeli president's residence in Jerusalem when he was presented an award.  He was so livid when he learned his workers were scrutinized more thoroughly than he was that he actually bawled out Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, in his own home, for the way his workers were treated.

Dani is the kind of person the world needs and his company is the type of company the world needs.

Yet his company, Sodastream, is one of the companies most targeted by BDS. BDS caused hundreds of Palestinian Arabs to lose their jobs.

That's the nature of BDS. It's a hateful movement that's also anti-peace.

While those promoting BDS have a right to do what they're doing, immoral and despicable as it is, they don't have the right to discriminate without facing consequences.

This bill simply calls upon the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to do the right thing: to not reward, with state contracts, companies that unfairly discriminate against certain residents of Massachusetts based not on what they do but on who they are.

I urge you to do the right thing and support this bill.

Thank you.

Alan Stein
Natick, Massachusetts

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 http://jewishadvocate.our-hometown.com/news/2017-06-02/Editorials/To_regain_liberals_support_Israel_must_make_peace.html.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

It's not Israel who's oppressing the Palestinian Arabs

I wrote this in response to a misguided letter, written by an obviously ignorant woman, which was published in the New Haven Register and Middletown Press:

Thanks to the seven hour time difference, I read Susan Klein's letter, "Why I support BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions)" shortly after the start of one of the saddest days of the year here in Israel, Yom HaZikaron or Memorial Day. On this day, we remember those who have been killed during all the wars that have been forced on us, along with those who have been murdered in the countless Arab terror attacks we have suffered. To read a letter from a Jewish woman who is obviously so grossly misinformed added to the sadness of the day.

Contrary to what Ms. Klein wrote, although many of those who recently started calling themselves Palestinians are being oppressed, Israel is not one of their oppressors.

The Arabs living in Israel have the same legal rights as all other Israeli citizens. There is really only one significant difference under the law: Arabs aren't forced to risk their lives by serving in the army. That hardly constitutes "oppression."

Of the Arabs living in the disputed territories:

The Arabs in Gaza are governed by Hamas. We send them food, fuel, electric power, water, medical supplies and building materials. Our hospitals treat many of their patients. They send us their rockets.

Of the Arabs in what Jordan renamed the "West Bank" after capturing it in 1948, approximately 95 percent live under their own government, the Palestinian Authority. Only a relative handful, perhaps 150,000, live in territory administered by Israel. Tellingly, the Arab population in the territory administered by Israel has skyrocketed during the nearly quarter century since the Palestinian Authority was established, strongly implying the Arabs know life under Israeli administration is far better than life under their own government.

No, we Israelis aren't oppressing the Palestinian Arabs; we have no interest in oppressing them. We would be perfectly happy had they not spurned the many opportunities given them to establish there own state, including 1937, 1947, 1967, 2000, 2001 and 2008, or during the period from 1948-1967 when all the currently disputed territory was ruled by Egypt and Jordan.

As I write this letter the evening of May 1, the solemnity of Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day, has been transformed into the joy of Yom Ha'atzma'ut, Independence Day. We would like nothing better if neither we nor the Palestinian Arabs had more lost lives to mourn on future Memorial Days. Unfortunately, the choice isn't ours; it's theirs.

Theodore Herzl, the prophet of modern Zionism, the national liberation movement of our Jewish people, said "if you will it, it's not a dream."

When the Palestinian Arabs stop trying to destroy our dream, and finally will it, they too can celebrate their own Independence Day.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Plight of refugees now spans 5 generations

The following is a response to the Associated Press article by Karin Laub which completely misses the point regarding the generations of descendants of Arab refugees.

One cannot help but empathize with the plight of the Arabs still living like refugees nearly seven decades after their families left their homes during the war six Arab armies initiated the day after Israel was re-established in 1948. Unfortunately, the long article "Plight of refugees now spans 5 generations" fails to deal with the question of why these people, who have since started calling themselves "Palestinians," are still living as if they are refugees and the solution given is best described by the Hebrew word "hifuch." The closest English translation is "upside down."

All other groups who became refugees in the aftermath of World War II, tens of millions of people, including 800,000 Jews forced out of their homes in Arab countries, integrated into their new countries. Uniquely, the Arab refugees were not permitted to integrate, even though almost all went to Arab countries sharing their culture and language.

The primary reason: the Arab countries wanted to use them as pawns in their continuing war of extermination against the world's only Jewish state. Shamefully, the United Nations has been complicit in this. It created a separate agency for the Palestinian Arab refugees, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which even created a unique definition of refugees applying only to Palestinian Arabs. In its definition, a descendant of a refugee is still called a refugee. Whereas the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) successfully resettled all other refugees, the UNRWA deliberately didn't resettle the Palestinian Arab refugees.

The United Nations even censured Israel when it tried to provide modern homes for people in areas it recaptured in 1967, forcing Israel to move those people back into refugee camps! And after governing 95 percent of the Arabs in the disputed territories for nearly a quarter century, the Palestinian Authority itself hasn't closed a single refugee camp.

It is thus obvious why the statement in the article that "a solution would likely require setting up a state of Palestine" is hifuch, upside down.

The solution is to start treating the Palestinian Arabs the way other displaced people have been treated and integrating them into the countries in which they have been residing for generations, in many cases far longer than their families lived in Palestine.

Stop oppressing them. Stop using them as pawns in the war against Israel. Treat them with dignity rather than as children. Let them start to live normal lives.

A side benefit: this might also pave the way for peace.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Demolishing the Libelous Accusation that Israel is an Apartheid State

The following brilliant letter was sent by Todd Sone to the Toronto Star in response to what euphemistically might be called a misguided column by Azeekha Kanji.

From: Todd Sone
Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017
To: lettertoed@thestar.ca
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Dear Ms. Kanji & Toronto Star Editors:

I am writing in response to your article "Canadians Know Palestinians Deserve Justice' published in the Toronto Star last week.  In the article you label (and libel) Israel with practicing apartheid  "The idea that Israel is, or is rapidly becoming, an apartheid state is not new;".  To accuse a country of practicing apartheid is a very serious charge...so let's see if this is what, in fact, occurs in Israel.  I will ask you a series of relevant questions dealing with issues of systemic racial/religious discrimination that will hopefully shed some light on the charge:

1. If Israel practiced apartheid would it tolerate an Arab on its Supreme Court, the country's highest judicial authority? https://en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Salim_ Joubran

2. If Israel practiced apartheid would it tolerate the #2 police official in the country being an Arab? http://www.haaretz.com/ israel-news/1.714313

3. If Israel practiced apartheid would it tolerate that the head of Golani, one its most esteemed military units, be a Druze? http://www. timesofisrael.com/in-first- druze-officer-to-lead-golani- brigade/

4  If Israel practiced apartheid would the society nominate an Arab to be Miss Israel? https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Rana_Raslan

5. If Israel practiced apartheid would it make sense that 13 Arabs are sitting elected parliamentarians in Knesset (the 3rd largest party) including Arabs in cabinet? https://www. knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/mkindex_ current_eng.asp?view=1

6. if Israel practiced apartheid would it make sense that the gov't has appointed Arab ambassadors to other countries? https://en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Yahya

7. If Israel practiced apartheid would it maintain Arabic as one of its two official languages? https://en. wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_ of_Israel

8. If Israel practiced apartheid would it be acceptable to award the Israeli Oscars to Arab-made movies? http://variety.com/ 2016/film/awards/israel-oscar- best-foreign-film-sand-storm- 1201868901/

9. If Israel practiced apartheid would it be the only country in the Mideast where the Christian population (mostly Christian Arabs) is actually growing and prospering? http://www.jpost. com/National-News/CBS-report- Christian-population-in- Israel-growing

10. If Israel practiced apartheid would 20% of the student's at the Technion, Israel's equivalent to MIT be Arab and would the system encourage even more to attend?  http://www.timesofisrael.com/ israels-mit-uses-education- not-affirmative-action-to- triple-arab-enrollment/.

11. If Israel practiced apartheid would it have made incitement to racism illegal?

12. If Israel practiced apartheid would we see integrated amenities/ public services for all religious or racial segment in Israel? (e.g. buses, beaches, parks, restaurants, places of worship and business, universities)

13. If Israel practiced apartheid would Arabs, just like any other segment of society, be able to seek redress through the independent judiciary?

14. If Israel followed policies of apartheid would it make sense that Israel's Declaration of Independence state: "The State of Israel... will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice, and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets; will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex...."

15. And then there is this which has something interesting to say about how the vast majority of Israeli Arabs feel https://www.hks.harvard. edu/news-events/news/press- releases/coexistence-in- israel-study

Hmmmm....So ask yourself....would a country that does these sorts of things....exhibits these sorts of traits and takes these sorts of actions....does a country like this act in a manner consistent with one that promotes or practices systemic racial or religious discrimination or apartheid? Or perhaps, just perhaps there is something else going on here that could explain the long-standing terrible conflict with the Palestinians. Could it be that Israel was forced to fight (and continues to fight) a defensive war which it won, gained territory, and then, being the only victor in the history of warfare, sued for peace and was rejected countless times by the vanquished? Could it be that there exists a Palestinian population some of whom want peace, but whose leaders refuse to recognize the right of the one and only Jewish State to live in peace and security surrounded by a sea of hostile countries that is the primary source of the conflict? Is it reasonable to assert that Israel, a country that represents 0.2% of the landmass and <1 a="" and="" be="" big="" labelled="" mideast="" much="" of="" p="" population="" problems="" region="" s="" so="" source="" the="" with="">
I urge you to come to visit Israel and spend a day in the life.... Come spend an hour visiting an Israeli hospital and see Arab doctors and nurses treating Jews and see Jewish doctors and nurses treating Arabs every minute of every day.  Come shop in my local supermarket where Arab cashiers work alongside Jewish stockboys.  Come ride the bus with me where Jews and Arabs sit side by side with both Jewish and Arab drivers.  We will take that bus to go and visit a university dorm that I attended or the campus of any major university in Israel that I have visited on many occasions and see Arabs and Jews living in the same buildings and studying in the same classes together. Arab professors teaching Jews and vica versa. We can then go visit a pharmacy to see that more than 50% of pharmacists and a large % of skilled healthcare workers are Arabs.  Come visit Israel, where last week I met the person entrusted with operating the newest most expensive piece of equipment at my local hospital who is an Arab who trained in both Israel and Jordan and then opted to return to Israel to join the workforce.

Is Israel a perfect society? Absolutely Not. No society is...especially one that is <70 ...we="" against="" and="" apartheid="" arab="" areas="" be="" been="" bring="" but...="" but="" canada="" certainly="" challenges="" close.="" countries.="" countries="" democracies="" development="" different="" done="" equality="" even="" face="" fight="" first="" for="" forced="" france="" grown="" hand="" has="" have="" having="" hostile="" human="" in="" including="" integrate="" is="" israel="" it="" limited="" lived="" makes="" many="" minorities="" minority="" mistakes="" more="" much="" multiple="" my="" needs="" no="" not="" numerous="" of="" old="" other="" p="" populations....sometimes="" provide="" records="" rights="" sector.="" seen="" society="" some="" studied="" survival="" than="" that="" the="" there="" these="" to="" up="" usa="" wars="" way.="" wife="" work="" world.="" worst="" years="">
Let's look at the real places with systemic racial and religious discrimination.  Do women have equal rights in Saudi Arabia? Do Christians have freedom of religion in Afghanistan or Yemen? Do homosexuals have equal rights in Iran?  What about Lebanon? Is there freedom of expression or an independent free press in Syria or Libya? Does a Christian or a Jew enjoy full religious freedom in Saudi Arabia? Could a Jew walk into Gaza without being murdered within 10 mins? Are Jews allowed to live in Gaza or is the place completely Judenrein?  If you are prepared to be truly honest about the sources of racism and discrimination in the Middle East, you will see that Israel represents pretty much everything that is right and forward thinking about the Middle East as represented by the following economic/political/social phenomena:

- The highest rate of R&D spending in the world  http://www.oecd.org/sti/inno/ DataBrief_MSTI_2017.pdf

- The only country in the Mideast that is ranked as 'Free' by Freedom House https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Freedom_in_the_World

- Liberal Democracy with multiple political parties representing every major segment of society where Arab citizens have equal vote https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Democracy_Index

- Vibrant Free Press https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Media_of_Israel

- Independent Judiciary https://books. google.co.il/books?id= 7lfFAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA86&lpg=PA86& dq=independent+judiciary+ index+israel+index&source=bl& ots=naIgheuwPu&sig=OqpC2dlgb3- eWNMM-myk1uT3Yt8&hl=en&sa=X& ved=0ahUKEwigjO7rs_ fSAhWK7BQKHbG_CK0Q6AEIQzAH#v= onepage&q=independent% 20judiciary%20index%20israel% 20index&f=false

- A cadre of Basic Legal Rights that protect freedoms of religion, freedom to protest, equality for citizens

- One of the most LGBT friendly countries in the World https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Israel

- Entrepreneurial economy that has made Israel the startup capital of the world and such that Israeli companies are  in the top 3 in the world terms of foreign listed countires on Nasdaq https://www.bloomberg. com/graphics/2015-innovative- countries/      https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/List_of_Israeli_ companies_quoted_on_the_Nasdaq

- Multiple Nobel Prize winners https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/List_of_Israeli_ Nobel_laureates

- Leading academics across every major discipline in the Arts and Sciences

- One of only a handful of countries that has elected a woman as head of state (for longer than Kim Campbell was PM)

And Alas, Alan Dershowitz, the renowned legal scholar from Harvard says it more eloquently than I ever could.  http://www.huffingtonpost. com/alan-dershowitz/lets-have- a-real-aparthei_b_485399.html

I would appreciate if you could forward this email to Ms. Kanji as her email does not seem to be available.

Sincerely,

Todd Sone
Ra'anana, Israel

Friday, March 24, 2017

(List of) Inconvenient Truths the Anti-Zionists Don’t Want People to Know

(A PDF file with this list, in a format suitable for printing and distributing, is available on the PRIMER-Connecticut website (www.primerct.org) in the "Resources for Activists" area.)

Zionism is, at its essence, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.

Anti-Zionists deny the right of the Jewish people to our own nation.

Denying that right to the Jewish people, while promoting it for others, is anti-Semitic.

Until relatively recently, the people today calling themselves Palestinians were insisting they weren't Palestinian.

The PLO has never removed the articles in its charter calling for the destruction of Israel.

Israel and the disputed territories take up less than a quarter of what constituted Palestine at the time of the British Mandate.

Historically, Jerusalem has never held much interest for Arabs or Muslims except during those times when it was controlled by others.

Jerusalem has been at the heart and soul of the Jewish people since King David made it his capital about 3,000 years ago.

The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 makes this statement of official United States policy: "Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel."

The term "West Bank" is relatively new.

Only a handful, perhaps 50,000, of the so-called Palestinian refugees are really refugees. The youngest of the refugees are now 68 years old and have no recollection of ever living in what is now Israel. 

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is in the twelfth year of his four year term. Abbas is no moderate, has shown no inclination to make a peace agreement with Israel and has neither the ability nor the authority to do so even if he wanted.

The Christian community is increasing and thriving in just one country in the Middle East: Israel. It's being decimated in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas-run Gaza. Under the Palestinian Authority, Bethlehem has turned from a Christian city to a Muslim city.

The proportion of civilian casualties in the Gaza wars has been amazingly low compared to the norm for post-World War II conflicts. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  said "Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties." Israel has been criticized by international military leaders for setting a standard their countries are unwilling to match.

The Palestinian Arabs have shown far more interest in there not being a Jewish state than in having one of their own.

Mahmoud Abbas has admitted he's responsible for the continuation of the conflict.

Mahmoud Abbas has told his people he will never compromise on any of the key issues. 

Abbas rejects the very concept of a two-state solution.

Abbas bluntly told President Obama he would not commit to an "end of conflict.”

Abbas demands ethnic cleansing.

Mahmoud Abbas was a prime instigator of the year-long and counting wave of knifings, shootings and vehicular attacks.

In Israel, Arabs comprise nearly a quarter of the population. They have full, equal rights.

The BDS movement is anti-Zionist and thus inherently and irredeemably anti-Semitic.

Mahmoud Abbas refuses to make peace with Israel, defames and slanders Israel at every opportunity, but when push comes to shove he knows Israel is his only friend.

The "illegally occupied territories" aren't even occupied. They are disputed territories and Israel has a strong legal claim to them.

The "1967 borders" were never borders.

The Palestinian Arab leadership accepted the Israeli presence in the disputed territories and depends on it.

Hundreds of national groups are more deserving of statehood than the Palestinian Arabs.


Israel is the front line state in the fight against fanatical, Islamist terrorists.