We’re back with something that we first featured in this space in the May 16, 2014 issue and that proved very popular with readers. The gist of this exercise is that we toss out beginning sentence fragments to Jewish luminaries who then complete them into full sentences, or even paragraphs.
The idea is for readers to not only gain insight into the participants’ mindsets and beliefs but also to compare and contrast the responses of the various participants.
Our current feature consists of two parts: (1) Israel and Jewish politics and (2) Jewish organizations.
We start with Israel and Jewish politics. Our participants are:
Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States.
Eliot Engel, Democratic congressman from New York.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic congresswoman from Florida.
International opinion of Israel…
Dermer: should never be dismissed but will never save Jews.
Engel: has been unfairly negative, particularly in regards to Israel’s effort to stop terrorists. It’s easy for other countries to point fingers but Israel is only trying to protect its citizens. No other country criticizing Israel would do anything differently. Israel has never received a fair shake, and it must be allowed to exercise its right to self-defense without having to respond to unfair international criticism.
Wasserman Schultz: has been troubling over the past few years. While the United States, Canada and other Western governments continue to remain strong supporters of Israel, we’ve seen growing anti-Israel sentiment from all corners of the globe. Most unfortunately, much of the disproportionate vitriol against Israel stems from both blatant and latent anti-Semitism.
To deal with its hostile neighbors, Israel…
Dermer: is offering a plan for peace based on mutually agreed neighbor swaps. We’re trading Canada for Syria.
Engel: must maintain its qualitative military edge in the region, with the help of the United States.
Wasserman Schultz: has a right to take all means necessary to defend its people. Israel has made it clear it does not want to engage in any wars with its neighbors, nor does it want to get involved in ongoing civil strife and wars across its borders. Israel has and should continue to pursue peace and diplomatic relations with all willing partners; its lasting security will rely on dogged pursuit of durable peace and security agreements with those neighbors willing to make them.
Media coverage of Israel…
Dermer: is often shallow, generally uninformed, and primarily responsible for turning a real David into a perceived Goliath.
Engel: has been very unfair, biased, and one-sided in favor of the Palestinians. If there were as much scrutiny of any other war as there was of last summer’s war in Gaza, no country would pass the litmus test. But while Israel is expected to combat a terrorist enemy that uses its own people as human shields, Hamas faces comparatively minimal criticism in the international press. This is simply unfair.
Wasserman Schultz: tends to be biased against Israel. During the war with Hamas last summer, we mostly read about the number of Palestinians who were killed. Most media outlets failed to mention that Israel was targeting terrorists, that Israel had taken many steps to warn civilians of its actions, and, most importantly, that Hamas was purposefully putting civilians in harm’s way.
U.S. congressional support for Israel…
Dermer: is deep, broad, bipartisan, and greatly appreciated.
Engel: is strong and bipartisan, and that’s the way it should be.
Wasserman Schultz: is and will continue to remain strong and bipartisan. I am proud to use my voice and my vote to continue to support Israel. President Obama has also worked with Congress to build the strongest and most cooperative security relationship our two countries have ever seen in areas ranging from joint missile-testing to intelligence sharing to support for Iron Dome.