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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ahmadinejad's Hatred for Israel Believed by Portlander

I was appalled today when I read the letter to the editor from a Portlander who asked the questions of what did the Palestinians do to deserve 60 years of occupation and death at the hands of Israel, and why is it that anyone who suggests that Israel be made to live in peace within its own borders are labeled madmen or anti-Semitic?

Of course I wrote a letter to the editor immediately back after reading this trying to explain a few facts in 153 words. Whether it will be published or not is another question.

This shows that some Americans will swallow what a person like Ahmadinejad is saying. If the person wasn't already prejudice against Israel to start with, he has wound up believing the garbage Ahmadinejad is spewing. Hopefully, the students at Columbia University are better informed about current events.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Nursery With Toddlers Almost Hit by Rockets

Six rockets and a mortar shell fell in Israel Monday that were shot from Gaza and the aim was to hit a nursery school. I have found that these terrorists are always aiming for women and children. Mensch, they are not. Sderot, the town that is only one mile away from these attacks, has a population of 22,000. The parents have endured rocket attacks constantly, but now that school has begun, are taking their children out of school until the attacks cannot hit the schools. Olmert has now vowed that every rocket launcher and those people involved will be destroyed. Hamas is riling up the Gaza population telling them to beware of Israel, now.

This is how it goes. Terrorists constantly flail at Israel without retaliation until something that cannot be endured happens; and then we retaliate. Then we are the bad guys. If the rest of the world were asked to put up with such behaviors, I doubt very much that they would. Even in Portland, when the case happens that we try to defend ourselves, the terrorists are urged by some to keep up the fight against us.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Helping Sderot Schoolchildren

Portland's Hadassah group held a picnic this summer in Portland on August 19th in order to donate money for the children of Sderot, Israel for school supplies. One of the members will travel there this fall and see how the city is faring.

The first day of school was Sunday, September 1st, and 1.5 million children went back to school in Israel. In Sderot, a rocket landed near the school Saturday night, which is in the city. That was followed by two more Qassam rockets. Parents know that the schools are better fortified than their own homes and hope for the best. This past month 300 rockets landed in the area. The people of Sderot have had rockets attacking them for the past four years.

Our newscasters are always remarking that these Qassam rockets are homemade, as if they can cause no damage. They may be homemade, but cause a great deal of problems. I'm sure none of our American citizens would be blase about such attacks near their children's schools, homes or stores. Hamas continues these attacks while peace talks are being negotiated.

I lived in Safed, in the northern Galilee from 1981 to 1985 where I taught in the junior high school. We had practice bomb drills there in a bomb shelter in the school where we had to spend hours. I had hoped that by this year, such a need of bomb shelters would be a thing of the past. The bombing continues.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Letters to Editor in Oregonian Again

Robert Hamilton wrote an article in the Oregonian stating that arming Israel with $30 billion dollars because we are giving $20 billion to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates is obscene.

It was commented on by Linda Cohn who wrote that she agreed and said that what Israel needs is for the international community to tell the Palestinians that they must honor their signed agreements with Israel, to end all terrorist activities, accept Israel's right to exist and destroy all terror groups and confiscate illegal weapons. They should also preserve and protect all Jewish holy sites and educate their people for peace.

Roberta Palmer answered that with a list of reasons why Palestinians should resist the Israelis. She concluded that Israeli crimes are very long and stated that Israel stole Palestinian lands, cited the destruction of houses and orchards, and even the restriction of movement at checkpoints, road blocks and "Israeli" only highways. She went on about how Gaza children suffer from malnutrition and post traumatic stress from Israeli violence and intimidation. Even imprisonment whose only crimes were to be between 15 and 45 were listed. She stated that when the PLO accepted the legitimacy of Israel within the 1949 armistice borders, the Arab population ceded more than half the land granted them by the UN partition. She thinks the Palestinians accepted Israel's government and Israel persists in violating UN resolutions 242, 181 and so on. She thinks we are confiscating the remaining 22% of their land is forcing them to accept defeat as a people. She hopes they continue to resist.

Needless to say, I wrote a reply to this letter which is full of so many untruths, that I had a hard time deciding what to say in 150 words or less. I hope my letter gets printed but probably won't. I hate the idea of her having the last say on this, which people will think is all truthful.


Criticizing Israel

Recently Christiane Amanpour presented a three-part series on CNN examining the role of religious fundamentalism in the world, starting with "God’s Jewish Warriors." I watched, as did many of my friends and was appalled with what I heard. My antennae shot up quickly as I was contronted with false statements, one after the other in quick succession. I was afraid this would happen. Cristiane is Iranian, and I had a feeling she would be presenting something alien to the actual facts that I knew. The program moved along so swiftly that I could not take notes on anything. In order to counter any viewpoints, I needed to have taped the program and played it back with a lot of stopping and starting.

A non Jewish friend saw nothing wrong with the program. All three segments met with approval. The negative presentation of Jews was accepted. I, on the other hand, saw nothing wrong in the presentations of the Moslem and Christian segments, not being aware of any problem with their sides, whereas he was a little disappointed with the Christian episode.

Jews are so accustomed to negative comments about their religion that we are very sensitive to any criticisms. The same goes for Israel. People are just so ready to believe the worst about us, that they do. We are constantly either ignoring comments and hoping they go away, or get in the defensive mode, which I do. From the Dark Ages, people have been accusing us of poisoning their children, their well, their food. Adolf Hitler told lies about us and tried to exterminate every one of us. Persia’s Hamen told lies about us and tried to kill all the Jews and now Iran’s ruler is saying the same thing. These are but a few of the examples that come to mind.

Recently the British academia have come out against Israel and are boycotting any trade with it. Britain, who had the mandate to keep order in "Palestine" after the Ottoman Empire fell, never did favor the Jews there. Finally, someone has stood up to this hatred. Standing with Israel is the University of California’s Robert Birgeneau at Berkely, New York University’s John Sexton and Columbia University’s Lee Bollinger.

Since 1948 Israel has been constantly attacked by the surrounding Arabs, but have accomplished a great deal. It has no oil or other natural resources but produced universities, research centers and other institutions of like causes. The USA scientists have more patents in the world, but Israel is second. Israel has more start-up companies listed on Nasdaq and export more life-saving medical technology than any other country. Israelis have received more Nobel and other international science prizes than any other country. Israeli academics are at the forefront in working on peace efforts. The British boycott seems to be backfiring.* All this effort is from one of the tiniest states in the world, smaller than one third of the size of Oregon with only about five million Jews at the young age of fifty-nine years. With the creation of another state, Palestine, it will be even smaller.

Jews do a lot of criticizing of ourselves, mostly in regards to Israel. A friend of mine in Israel just wrote and said that he felt that unless you live there, you really don’t have the right to criticize. It’s the Israelis whose lives are on the line. He’s right. I lived there for five and a half years and became a citizen. I felt the same way. However, we have people to the left and people to the right living in Israel, and all have a chance to voice their opinions, just like America. It’s a different feeling when we criticize ourselves; it’s more like it’s family criticism. When others do it, we feel the antagonism, the hated of people with no understanding or empathy. Usually they criticize the wrong things. They swallow propaganda and it shows how little they really know. To be so quick to believe the worst hurts. If only they would criticize something blaringly incorrect.

When confronted with, "Gee, I can’t criticize Israel without you thinking I’m antisemitic", I realize that this is true. I am very defensive about Israel. I am aware of all the problems Israel is facing and know they are trying harder than most people understand to be fair and righeous in their dealings with Palestinians.

Somehow, child psychologists and marriage counselors have come up the idea of starting with something positive and then slipping in a criticism and ending on a positive, helpful note. I just wish people would do the same thing when discussing Israel. Don't just criticize us. Is it so much to ask that people learn something about the situation first?

* Alan M. Dershowitz "Academic Hijacking" in Hadassah magazine Aug. Sept 07