Jews are often accused, particularly since the Holocaust, of being overly
paranoid about antisemitism - seeing the effects of antisemitism where
none really exist. After watching and listening to the world news (CNN
International, BBC, Sky News) along with the reaction of world governments
and the UN to the latest violence here, most of us here can only conclude
that antisemitism in the guise of anti-Israeli sentiments is alive and
well in the world at large. Just last night I watched a 20 minute report
on CNN in which Saeb Erakat and Hannan Ashrawi were interviewed and lied
openly without challenge by their interviewers while I waited for an Israeli
response. In a 20 minute report not one Israeli was interviewed. On my
way home from work I listened to the BBC discuss what Israel was doing
in "the occupied territories", a pre-Oslo term that bears no relation to
reality when discussing the totally Palestinian controlled areas of Ramallah,
The following was written by a former American of exceptional
insight -Stuart Goldstein. It is fairly long, but extremely well-written
and informative. Stuart Goldstein is a board-certified nurse-practitioner
and former president of the Conservative synagogue in Nashville.
Stuart Goldstein now lives in a small town near Haifa in Israel with his
wife and three sons. If you want, please share it with as many people
as you can, ASAP, including newspapers, radio, and TV stations wherever
Before I head off to work for a 17 hour Yom Kippur shift, here are some
facts as many of us see them and are living them in the current days:
- The myth of Ariel Sharon:
Sharon probably wishes he was as powerful as the world press makes him
out to be! Was Ariel Sharon's ascent to the Temple Mount a smart thing
to do in the current situation? No. Was his ascent to the Mount a sufficient
"provocation" to trigger off the violence we have seen since that Friday?
Also no. He went unarmed and without violence to visit a Jewish holy site
that all agree is an act allowed to all Jews. Arab Israeli MKs were there
as well without "provocation" even though they are Israeli Members of Parliament.
The Thursday before Sharon's visit, an Israeli Border Patrol soldier
was murdered by a double roadside bomb inside if Israel, an unprovoked
act of violence we had not seen in years. The next morning (before Sharon's
ascent to the Mount) a Palestinian policeman, on a joint patrol with an
Israeli partner, pulled his automatic rifle on his partner murdering him
and then wounded another Israeli policeman. When Sharon ascended the Mount,
he saw the mounds of boulders which had been prepared well in advance for
pelting Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall below. There was obviously
well-planned uprising in the wings waiting for a convenient spark which
Sharon provided. It is clear to Israeli security forces that that
spark would have come from somewhere else eventually.
After he left, the Imam in the El Aksa mosque on the Mount whipped the
congregation (about 2 thousand worshipers) into a frenzy repeating the
"new Palestinian truth" that the Israelis have secret plans to take over
the mount and destroy the mosques there and that Sharon represented their
scout. The Moslem sermon on the Temple Mount today included the following
supplications: "We want the battle against the enemy to be orderly.
We want dead amidst the enemy. We want to kill and not be killed.
We must fight guerrilla warfare." Thus the violence started as the crowds
surged out after their prayers and began throwing the awaiting boulders
over the wall and surging into the Old City to take over and burn an Israeli
police station there, severely injuring a number of policeman who did not
shoot into the crowds. Did you see it on the news?
We again ask the world, did the unarmed visit of a Jew
to the Temple Mount justify this past week's violence? Are we to then assume
that the Palestinian people are so out of control that any act to which
they object may produce such violence as the only response? How then are
we to trust any peace agreement? How then are we to trust Palestinian sovereignty
in the Old City or trust them as our peaceful neighbors? Why is it that
the world ignores the fact that the only time in history that there has
been unlimited access to all religions to their holy sites in the Old City
has been since the 1967 re-capture of the Old City by Israel?
- The myth of mere rocks against rifles:
Here is what a typical Palestinian attack looks like. Thousands (no
exaggeration) of Palestinians, mostly young men and children, begin to
storm an Israeli outpost which protects an Israeli village or the road
bordering Palestinian territory (NOT occupied bu Israel) with Israel proper.
I have never heard the question asked as to why we need such protection
if we have a peace agreement and a partner for peace. Behind this mob,
hiding behind buildings and other cover are both Palestinian police and
civilians with automatic weapons who fire on the outpost.
The soldiers can either ignore these "mere rock throwers" until they
physically overrun their outpost and attack what is beyond (unarmed Israelis)
or selectively fire to try to stop the surging crowd from reaching the
village they are protecting. As the world decries the 80+Palestinian deaths,
no one stops to ask how many would actually be dead if Israeli forces were
actually doing what they are accused of - shooting indiscriminately into
these crowds with their automatic weapons. Literally hundreds or thousands
of Palestinians would be dead by now if that were the case. And, instead
of stopping the violence, the Palestinian diplomats now sing their one-note
tune demanding an international inquiry into the violence, as if this will
be a solution to anything no matter what is discovered.
Yes, tanks and helicopter gunships have been moved in to the worst areas.
But they have been used as tactical scare tactics not as offensive weapons.
Simply imagine how many would be dead if the fire power in these weapons
had been used.
So, rock throwers are not mere nuisances. These masses of attackers
represent a true threat to both the soldiers in their outposts as well
as the Israeli citizens that live behind these outposts. Are more Palestinians
being killed and injured than Israelis? Of course. They are out in the
open while the Israeli troops are trapped within bunker-type buildings.
The Israelis are not leaving these outposts to give chase as they well
could. They are defending their positions. All media reports I have seen
paint this as Israeli aggression.
Are children being killed? Indeed. I ask you, what kind of parent allows,
and in many cases encourages, their child to
go to the front lines of what is basically a war to throw stones at
armed troops?? ! This is NOT civil disobedience or demonstration. This
is mass mob rioting with all the dangers that entails. The Palestinians
send their children to be slaughtered and then cynically use this against
us in the court of world opinion. The reporters know this but are quick
to blame us for the outcome.(I hope you all saw and read about the false
front page NY Times/AP photo"showing" an Israeli soldier about to attack
a bleeding Palestinian boy which turned out to be an Israeli soldier trying
to protect a bleeding American yeshiva student who had been pulled out
of a taxi, stoned and stabbed, from further attack. The press assumption:
if a youth is bleeding, it must be the outcome of Israeli aggression).
- The myth of Israeli presence as a provocation:
The Palestinians have come to their borders with us and not vice versa.
There has been no unprovoked Israeli insurgence into Palestinian territory.
Wherever there is an Israeli presence - as approved by the Oslo agreements-
it is to protect Israeli citizens who are constantly under threat of attack
by our "peace partners". The Israeli outposts, well outside the independent
Palestinian towns and villages, did not suddenly move towards those towns
and villages and magically become objects of provocation. The Palestinians
left their homes in masses and attacked these sites. Their diplomats ask
us to remove our troops from these areas of "provocation" in order to gain
land by violence that they did not gain by negotiation. If we allow that,
where does it end?
Still, with all that, Israel yesterday agreed to hand control
of a Jewish religious site in Nablus (Joseph's tomb) over to the Palestinian
police in order that there would be absolutely no "provocative" Israeli
presence anywhere near the Palestinian town. A few days before, in an unprecedented
act of sheer hatred, the Palestinian police refused to allow Israelis to
evacuate a severely wounded border policeman who had been shot in the neck
by Palestinian rioters. Negotiations went on for 4 hours to no avail and
the policeman died. In the meantime, Israel smuggled doctors dressed as
Arab residents into Nablus to try to save the live of the son of the Nablus
governor. He was airlifted to an Israeli hospital for treatment. Did you
see this in your news?
In an agreement worked out by both sides, the Palestinians promised
to protect this holy site as the Israelis withdrew.
During the withdrawal, one Israeli border policeman was killed and
several seriously wounded. After the withdrawal, the Palestinian masses
stormed the tomb, pulled out Jewish religious articles, prayer books and
the like and burned them, set fire to the inside of the tomb, and destroyed
as much of the tomb itself that they could, stone by stone. These are acts
by people who, according to Saeb Erakat and Hannan Ashrawi, just wanted
Jewish presence out of their town but bear no hatred towards Jews or Israelis.
They just want peace.
In all the years of conflict, not a single mosque, whether occupied
and used or not, has been touched by Israeli authorities or civilians.
This is the behavior of people who propose to have control over a city
holy to 3religions and to protect the holy sites of all. This horrible
act yesterday said more to Israeli Jews about the Palestinians true feeling
towards the Jews than almost any other act during the current violence.
Attacking army outposts represents a totally different statement than that
made by destroying Jewish holy artifacts and sites. To us, it represents
the true face of modern Islam.
- The myth of one-sided effects of violence:
As I speak, I can only exit my village in one direction, the roads being
closed off in the other 2 directions by burning tires and rock and Molotov
cocktail throwers. Lat week, my car was stoned and molotoved while exiting
an archaeological site near my home and far from Arab towns, This is inside
Israel proper where we are expected to trust our Israeli Arab citizens
and try not to believe that there is fifth column within our midst. Throughout
the country many main roads have been sealed off by either Palestinian
or Israeli Arab riots. There are Jewish towns and villages where food and
supplies must be airlifted in because there is no open roadway in or out
of the villages. These are homes in Israel proper, not in yet to be negotiated
territory. Have they mentioned this in your news? Is our government simply
supposed to ignore this and abandon its citizens to whatever fate may await
them at the hands of the mobs? Would an American (or French) government
allow its citizens to be slaughtered by a mob of armed rioters? (By the
way, Le Monde finally came out yesterday and publically decried Chirac's
emphatic and public support of the recent Palestinian actions).
Perhaps the most telling interview I heard was on the BBC with a member
of the Palestinian Legislative Council. When asked if Arafat truly had
the power to stop the mob violence, he said that it probably could not
be done without exerting fatal force on the rioters. I was amazed when
the logical follow-up question was not asked: "Then how do you expect the
Israeli forces to stop this violence without using fatal force?" That question
has never been probed in any media report I have seen. It is the duty of
any government to protect its citizens from violence. Just what are we
supposed to do here? Even a thousand soldiers in a row cannot stop a mass
of thousands of rioters with rocks and automatic weapons.
- The myth of Lebanon & the UN:
Four months ago, Israel left Lebanon and then waited patiently while
the UN took months to get permission from the Lebanese government to supervise
the drawing of the border between the 2 nations. Israel withdrew to that
border without hesitation and has been there ever since. The UN moved in
to"monitor" the situation. Every single day since our withdrawal, mobs
of Lebanese come their side of the border to throw rocks, bottles of burning
oil, and molotov cocktails at the soldiers siting in their outposts, and
worse, at farmers trying to tend their fields. What do they want??? For
years the myth was that if Israel would only leave their security zone
then things would return to normal.
We left. We continue to be taunted daily by mobs that have increased
in size rather than decreased over time and whose weaponry had increased
in sophistication (they now use rock catapults which are a serious weapon)
and the damage they produce. The UN sits there in silence (other than their
readiness to condemn Israel at the drop of a hat). Israeli soldiers have
acted with the ultimate in restraint and there have been minimal casualties..
Yesterday, the worst nightmare of our country occurred. In an incredibly
well-planned attack, Hizbullah forces crashed the border fence, drew a
small patrol to the fence break with fire and then kidnaped 3 soldiers
who were whisked away in a civilian automobile - not spontaneous act of
violence. One of those soldiers was the cousin of the Bedouin chief of
security at my hospital. I comforted him as he cried like a baby on my
shoulder when he got the news at work last night.
Lebanon, of course, has clean hands in all this because it was done
by the Hizbullah, not the Lebanese army. No matter that Lebanon, as a supposedly
sovereign nation, should be held accountable for cross border violence
instigated from within its boundaries. No matter that after Israel returned
its security zone to Lebanese control that the Lebanese turned the area
over to the Hizbullah rather than placing their own troops in control there.
Lebanese sovereignty, between Syria and the Hizbullah, is a total myth.
Where is the UN? Why they're debating a proposal condemning Israel for
their recent aggression against Palestinians. Kafka lives!
And I return to my original premise about antisemitism posing anti-Israelism.
The facts discussed above are available to the world press and they are
certainly available to world leaders as well as the UN. Where is there
any semblance of justice here? Surely there is enough wisdom around to
understand that the side with the most weaponry is not always the aggressor.
Was Russia condemned in the UN over Chechnya? Do you remember the massive
fire power used in those battles by the Russian army against poorly armed
rebels (also Muslims by the way)? Did you see the pictures of massive destruction
of the Chechnyan towns and villages? Did that incident get half the attention
that the Palestinian cause always gets? Ask yourselves why.
The last and most unfortunate myth:
- The myth of modern Islam as peaceful religion:
The three monotheistic religions of the world either began or perpetuated
themselves through wars and holy battles. The two oldest of these religions,
Judaism and Christianity, learned eventually to put away the sword and
center their religions on faith in their God and acts of loving-kindness
in the world.
The third religion, Islam, still separates the world into the "Lands
of Islam" and the "Lands Under the Sword". The violent acts of recent days,
instigated by the Imams in the mosques, show that Islam continues to put
little value on human life and continues to believe that the world will
be converted to Islam through violent subjugation. Any concept of sharing
space or land in which there is a Muslim presence is anathema to them (no
non-believer may even enter the city of Mecca).
In addition, they find it necessary in every way possible to try to
negate all holy site claims of other religions, particularly Judaism, as
we are witnessing with their denial that the Temple Mount ever housed a
Jewish temple along with the denial that Joseph's tomb was a Jewish holy
site. This, all ironically, while Jews the world over turn towards
Jerusalem to pray, Muslims (even in Israel) turn their backs on Jerusalem
as they turn towards Mecca.
When will the world media awaken and realize that Islam is not the peaceful
faith it pretends to be and that the Islamic "cause" is, by definition,
a violent one? Even as they report on the world's hottest trouble spots,
overwhelmingly caused by Islamic violence, they continue to paint the palestinians
and the surrounding Arab world as victims and not the aggressors they are.
And so, these are very sad times for us as a people. What many don't
comprehend is that they are perhaps even sadder times for the world at-large.
If the world's moral compass becomes so warped as to accept almost any
act against Israel as legitimate, where does that end? Israelis watched
in stunned silence as 2 thousand Palestinian supporters crowded into Times
Square. We see it as the ultimate chutzpah and ask where the AMERICAN Jews
So my friends, it is a very sad start to a new year. I am heading for
our hospital, where I will be for at least the next 17 hours as we are
the government army evac hospital for all of Northern Israel. As you might
suppose, we are on high alert. A nice way to spend my Yom Kippur. Those
of you who believe, please pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and our nation
as a whole. Those of you who don't, we could sure use some positive energy,
thoughts, and actions coming our way. We feel abandoned as in no time in
recent history. Whether you even support Israel itself, support truth and
justice and don't allow lies to warp your thinking and that of your friends..
In dreams of peace,
Stuart, Wendy, Josh, Noach & Eli