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Letter: Response to Michael Mandel’s Letter

I agree; a local paper is hardly the venue to be discussing international affairs, including Israel and the Middle East. However, since the subject was raised a response is warranted. And although others have already responded eloquently, I feel the need to add my words to the chorus because of the critical nature of the issue.

I say to you, dear Jewish, Christian, and peace loving Muslim neighbor: The modern day attacks on Israel are the modern day version of the blood libel.

Today’s Jew haters are following Hitler’s example, who infamously said as part of his plan to demonize the Jews: tell a lie enough times and it becomes truth.

Israel is not perfect. Neither is our own blessed republic, the United States of America. No civilization holds the claim to perfection and every system has its flaws. But the demonization of Israel as the aggressor and “the problem” in the Middle East is ludicrous. It would be funny if it were not so dangerous.

Let me ask you a simple question: If you were an Arab relocating to the Middle East and you had to decide which country to settle in, where would it be? Choose one: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, the territories controlled by the PA, or the State of Israel?

Well, in case you’re still undecided… the only place in the entire region where an Arab has individual equal rights and the freedom to worship and believe as he chooses is the State of Israel. The only place in the entire region that offers equal rights (or any rights at all) to women is Israel. In Israel, an Arab can own his own business, be treated as a complete citizen of the land, run and be elected for the Knesset and accomplish any of his dreams and aspirations.

If an Arab is hurt in Israel he receives the same treatment or better in Israeli hospitals as any Israeli Jew would receive. He may even be treated by an expert doctor who happens to be a fellow Arab, who received an excellent education in Israeli universities. By contrast, woe is to the Jew (or American­­?) who needs to be treated in an Arab hospital…

While most of the region is preparing their children for Jihadism (holy war), Israel prepares its children to make contributions to the world by developing cutting edge technology and medicine.

And Israel is the problem? Is this some kind of joke?

The same people who celebrated on 9/11 and protested the death of Bin Laden have become the judges of morality and justice, deciding whether Israel is to be deemed apartheid or otherwise demonized. We might as well bring in death row inmates to serve as judges and jurors in the justice system…

Hitler was evil, but he was no fool. He came very close to succeeding in implementing the final solution. Coupled with G-d’s Divine mercy, victory of the good guys came about in large part because of a fearless leader named Winston Churchill who was unafraid to call evil for what it is: evil.

Today’s copycats of Hitler’s plan are succeeding as well, so far in the PR war. The lie is being repeated over and over again to the extent that well-meaning Americans, even well-meaning American Jews, are beginning to believe it.

Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu said it best last month at the UN: “This house can decide to vote anything; it can conclude on majority opinion that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east… I’m not here for applause; I’m here to tell the truth.” He quoted the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s words to him in 1984 when he was serving as Israel’s ambassador to the UN: “One truth will dispel many lies, much as a small lone flame will dispel lots of darkness.”

Netanyahu understood that although heavily outnumbered, the truth is on his side, and he had the courage to stand up and tell it as it is. Once you have that courage, all it takes is for one small child to call out: “But he has nothing on…” and the lie simply melts away.

Dear Jewish, Christian, and peace loving Muslim neighbor: It is important that we speak out against these modern day blood libels. The Jewish people have been the target of these lies time and again since our inception as a people 3,300 years ago; so nothing is new. Except that this time around the scapegoat is not just the Jew; today’s anti-Semites are also - equally - anti-American, anti-freedom and modernity. As a society, we must have the courage to speak out for truth and elect fearless leaders who do the same.

All that we hold dear is at stake. The Judeo-Christian values that have made this country the greatest country in the history of the world are being threatened. A lot is at stake, including our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Rabbi Shalom M. Paltiel
Chabad of Port Washington