It is with more frustration than usual that I give the "Wake Up and Smell the Falafel Award" today. I'm awarding a Jew. And sadly, this is the first Jew on a long list of Jews who need to be told to "Wake Up!"
A few days ago, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest synagogue movement in the United States, gave his opinion on the construction of new housing in Jerusalem: Don't build, at least for now. Yoffie said, "The Union for Reform Judaism, like most American Jewish organizations, supports a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. This means that we believe housing units constructed in Jerusalem by Israel are not settlements and they are not illegal. But a great many things that are legal are not prudent or wise – and building in Arab sections of Jerusalem in the current political climate is one of those things."
Commence shaking of head and sigh. Don't you know Rabbi Yoffie, that the whole brew-ha-ha over Jews building houses in Jerusalem is not about houses? It's about that fact that you, a Jew, get up every morning and breathe. You exist. And that, Rabbi, is the current "climate" and problem of the Palestinians.
Several years ago, when my husband and I visited Malaysia, a young girl bluntly told me, "You Americans have no concept of history." I was taken aback by her brashness, but found that I could not argue with her. Most Americans' knowledge of history is last week's issue of People Magazine. So, not wanting to fall into the I-have-no-concept-of history category, I have made it a point to learn more about history and to be aware of current events. Especially when it comes to Israel. So that's why I've got to ask you Rabbi Yoffie, "Do you know your history?" And is it real history or is it the revisionist history touted by the Arabs that sadly so many Jews swallow hook, line, and sinker?
Do you remember, Rabbi, what Arafat (the inventor of the "Palestinian cause") was offered by Barak and Clinton? Hebron. STATEHOOD. Half of JERUSALEM. And what did Arafat do? He turned it down! Why? Because once again, the entire Palestinian cause is not about land, it's not about statehood, it's not about houses. It's about wiping Israel and every Jew off of the map. And somewhere down in your liberal heart-of-hearts you must know that. Somewhere in one of your Jewish molecules you must sense what this is really all about. It is about your survival. And why a non-Jewish housewife in Middle America gets this and Jews like you don't, is really baffling.
Rabbi Yoffie, you went on to say, "We [the Reform movement] remain committed to an Israel that is Jewish and democratic, we affirm our commitment to a two-state solution, and we support an active American role in the peace process." How noble of you to expouse such a view from the shores of America. Commitment to an Israel that is "Jewish and democratic" and belief in a "two-state solution" is such an oxy-moron. Have you seen who you think Israeli Jews should live side-by-side with. Have you heard the Palestinian chants lately? Have you counted how many rockets have been fired by Israel's Palestinian neighbors.
How hollow your opinion would sound to the Jewish family whose father was shot in the head by his Palestinian neighbors as he drove home one evening. How grotesque your view would be to the mother of the little girl who was playing in her room one Shabbat morning when a Palestinian ran into her home and put a bullet in her head. How utterly shameful your view would be to the family of the little boy in a kindergarten class who was killed by a rocket shot by his neighbors. I wonder how long it would take for your view to change if you had the courage to live in Israel to get first-hand knowledge of what the "two-state solution" would actually entail.
Another history pop-quiz Rabbi. Do you know how many Arab countries Arafat and his Palestinian followers tried to establish a foothold in before they squatted in Israel? Umm, interesting that you don't blame or expect Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria to step up to the plate and offer all the poor Palestinian people a state. Do your remember that Arafat and his followers got kicked out of all of these ARAB countries? So, logical next step. If your own people won't even offer you statehood, look to your enemy. And now Israel is expected to do what other ARAB countries wouldn't even think of doing.
But wait, it gets even better. Do you remember who the original Palestinians were? They were Arabs and, hold on to your yarmulke, JEWS. That's right, dating back hundreds of years, people who lived in the land of Israel were called Palestinians. That name denoted a PLACE not a race. (Try to retain that little nugget of info. It's really important.) The British, who ruled Palestine from 1917-1948, decided to divide the land between the "Palestinian Arabs" and "Palestinian Jews." Guess who got 77% of the "equal" divide? The Arabs. And guess what their land was called? Trans-Jordan. Interesting, huh? The Arabs were given the land that is now known as Jordan. Perhaps that's why King Hussein once said, "Palestine is Jordan and Jordan is Palestine." Arafat followed suit by saying, "What you call Jordan, is actually Palestine." Ah, just a few facts that revisionist historians don't want you to remember. But as a Jew, you should know this history inside and out. Today's Palestinians are Arabs who chose to remain or return to the 23% of the land that was given to the Jews in 1922, despite being given 77% of other land to live on.
So Rabbi, before you give another reformed opinion, put all these real facts in your pipe and smoke for awhile. And then tell me if you still think the prudent thing to do is for Jews, who are the G-d given rightful owners of Jerusalem, to quit building homes for Jewish men, women, and children in one little neighborhood that exists in the 8,019 square miles of Israel. Wake up, Rabbi, to yourself. You are Jewish. So act like one and quit helping the Palestinians cut your own throat.