Thank you for printing Stephen Flatow’s excellent op-ed, “It’s not Birthright that’s in need of repair, it’s American Judaism” (Sept. 4). He explained in a straightforward way why it is not Birthright’s responsibility to discuss with participants anything about the Palestinian issue, but rather to focus on Jewish identity, history, and pride. At the other end of the spectrum is Martin Raffel, who thinks that these young adults should hear about Israel’s treatment of the “poor Palestinians” (“What’s the story with Birthright?” Aug. 14). He would also like to see Democrats, who are no longer the Democrats of yesteryear, take over both houses of the Senate (“A Jewish Democrat’s dilemma,” Sept. 4). That would be very unfortunate for Israel and the Jews; Raffel should be careful what he wishes for.
In addition, Raffel refuses to accept that as long as he is not a citizen of Israel, does not vote in Israeli elections, and does not have to run to a shelter in 15 seconds when Kassam rockets are flying, and
does not have children putting their lives on the line in the IDF, he and his cohorts do not have the right to criticize Israel’s policies. The only thing Raffel succeeds in is making American Jewry more divided.
Nowhere does he mention what Israel does for the Palestinians. More important, he does not understand that no matter how much land, money, and services are given to the Palestinians, it would never be enough. It is really quite simple: Israel wants peace, the Palestinians do not.
As Flatow so clearly explained, the Palestinians, with the help of the rabidly anti-Semitic UN, thrive on victimhood. They are masters of public relations, and can convince anybody that “the poor Palestinians” are being mistreated by Israel. A travesty.
Where was the whole world, and especially Arab countries, from 1948-1967? Only when Israel legally captured Judea and Samaria — as it was a no-man’s land — did the Arabs decide to make the Palestinians pawns. As far as Gaza is concerned, Israel paid the ultimate price and uprooted in 2005 22 magnificent settlements, and left behind beautiful flower export houses so the Palestinians could increase their income. What did they do? Torched the houses and sent Kassam missiles, and of late, fire balloons into Israel causing millions of dollars in destruction. Where is Raffel’s voice about that?
Our job as Americans Jews is to love Israel unconditionally and to support it. Anything else is divisive, inflammatory, and frankly does not bode well for what non-Jews think of us. Raffel is going down a path from which no good can come.