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Kim Lee is a musical composer from Korea living in Texas. He is also a tremendous ohev Yisrael. When he spotted my husband’s yarmulke at a recent concert in Lincoln Center, he was overjoyed to meet “authentic Jews.” We spent close to an hour discussing Judaism and hearing Kim gush about his love for the Jewish people, especially “the real practitioners of the Jewish religion.” Kim was palpably excited and interested in anything pertaining to Jews, their religion and their homeland.
When the subject of the Holocaust arose, Kim even apologized on behalf of non-Jews for the abandonment of the Jews. And he described in detail his recent trip to Israel, including a visit to the Western Wall and a tour of Jericho. I pointed out that as a Jew, I cannot enter Jericho for fear of my life. To Kim, who is convinced the War of Independence in 1948 was truly the “Ingathering of the Exiles,” this is sad irony indeed.
Kim had only one negative comment. “The one thing I don’t understand,” he said, “is why the Jews displaced all the Arabs from their land in 1948.”
“They didn’t,” I said, and explained how thousands of Arabs left of their own volition in anticipation of a war and others responded to Arab leaders’ calls to get out of the way of their advancing armies. Indeed, had the Arabs accepted the 1947 UN resolution, an Arab state would have come into existence alongside Israel.
Kim was satisfied with my explanation, but it was disquieting to see a true and seemingly educated lover of the Jewish people who had fallen prey to anti-Zionist propaganda. It was only the latest evidence that not only are Israel’s dismal hasbara (public relations) efforts failing to make a dent among the uninformed, they are failing to bolster the arsenal of knowledge among Israel’s supporters as well.
The lack of an effective and proactive public relations campaign by the Israeli government has long been lamented. Somehow, advertisements showcasing Israel’s gorgeous beaches and the Tel Aviv nightlife just don’t cut it when the international media regularly bash Israel for its “apartheid” treatment of the Palestinians. But even a superficial Israeli hasbara effort wouldn’t get snickered at if it had consistent and corresponding government policy to sustain its claims.
Actions speak louder than words. How can one expect the uninformed to believe Jewish historical claims to the Land of Israel when Israel’s own elected leaders have renounced and continue to renounce those claims in the guise of the Oslo Accords, the Disengagement, support for the two-state solution and ongoing “peace talks” designed to relinquish even more Jewish land?
Leftists in Israel and their worldwide Jewish counterparts, in or out of government, have assiduously promoted the idea of Palestinian statehood and undermined the notion of Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael – in effect verbally arming Israel’s enemies and confounding its friends.
Jews who protest against the worldwide BDS movement face an uphill battle in large part due to Israeli strategies and actions. And Israel’s supporters often are left speaking in direct contradiction to Israeli government policy.
The current prime minister is no exception. No one doubts Netanyahu’s sincerity when he rails against Iran at the UN and other venues in his effort to safeguard Jewish lives. However, his actions at home belie the urgency of his warnings. Netanyahu describes his release of Palestinian murderers as a “goodwill gesture” and pledges to release more because “promises must be kept.” Never mind that releasing terrorists only endangers Jewish lives and that he’s the only one keeping promises.
Recently, members of Knesset attended a conference of J Street, the left-wing lobbying organization. Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi, considered a confidant of the prime minister, hinted of a future “compromise” regarding Jerusalem. Unfortunately, Netanyahu’s ensuing silence seemed to speak louder than his promises to keep Jerusalem united.
Moreover, despite the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and their ongoing incitement against Jews, Israel continues negotiations with the intent to relinquish land vital to its security. Netanyahu claims that “We want to reach an accord with the Palestinians, primarily to ensure [Israel’s] security,” even though he knows that in the past, abandonment of Jewish land has only brought increased terrorism. These pronouncements are made not only at the expense of Jewish lives but of truth itself.
About the Author: Sara Lehmann, a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, was formerly an editor at a major New York publishing house.
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Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state
Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.
In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”
“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”
We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.
ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.
Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.
The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.
And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?
Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.
The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.
We were quite disappointed with many of the points the secretary-general offered in response.
Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.
I understand how two governments can negotiate a ceasefire, but terrorists by definition are not playing by the same rules as you are.
Though the school district eventually pulled the assignment after coming under pressure, the fact that an American school would ask its students to debate whether the Holocaust was “merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain” is both astounding and frightening.
It is not the role of schools or government to make people feel good about themselves. Self-esteem comes with productivity, not in the absence of it.
Despite the exodus thousands of years ago and our break from the ghettos hundreds of years ago, the slave mentality follows us like a long shadow.
While Brooklyn College is famed for its plethora of Jewish professors and students, it is not a Jewish institution. The 92nd Street Y is. According to its own mission and history statement, it’s “a proudly Jewish institution since its inception.”
In a recent tirade on a public radio station in Albany, Governor Cuomo lambasted New York conservatives in one broad stroke. While lashing out against New Yorkers who oppose his SAFE Act, a draconian gun-control bill rammed through the New York legislature soon after the Newtown massacre, Cuomo targeted all Republicans and conservatives as the enemy.
Proud as I am of my daughter’s enthusiasm and her proclivity for outreach, I somehow can’t shake a niggling regret that it had to be in Germany. As the daughter of a Hungarian mother who escaped deportation by running with her family from the Nazis and the daughter-in-law of a Dutch Jewish man whose parents were shot by the Nazis and who was liberated from Bergen Belsen at the age of 12, I am one generation closer to the Holocaust than my daughter. And one degree closer to the idea of shunning anything and everything German.
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