Recent op-eds and letters from our members
Yasher Koach to three of our active writers, each of whom has had a letter or op-ed printed in the Santa Fe New Mexican in the past week.
1. Manny Marczak writes in an op-ed entitled “Reader View: U.S. abstention strains ties with Israel” posted online Saturday, January 14, 2017, and in the print edition on January 15:
The U.S. decision to abstain from the vote has exposed the consistently failing foreign strategy of the administration of harming its ally by strengthening its enemies. Israel is an island of sanity in the Middle East, while the countries around are a blazing fire, with hundreds of thousands slaughtered and butchered. Secretary of State John Kerry’s defense of the administration action at the U.N. only caused to further strain diplomatic reaction.
A day after Kerry’s speech, United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May came out against his address criticizing Israel, stating that disproportionately focusing on settlements and criticizing the composition of the Israel government is not a constructive way to work towards solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. “We do not believe that the way to negotiate peace is by focusing on only one issue, in this case the construction of settlements, when clearly the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is so deeply complex.”
Kerry said “settlements” or “settlers” 62 times in his 72 minute speech and “terror” or “terrorism” 14 times. Based on those numbers, the focus of the address was on communities beyond the 1949 armistice line and their expansion, which he said was a major obstacle to peace.
The U.S. secretary of state also called the coalition “the most right-wing in Israel history, with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements more committed to settlements than any in Israel’s history leading towards one state.” On that, U.K. Prime Minister May stated: “We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally.”
The U.K. government believes negations must take place between Israel and the Palestinians, with backing from the international community. The comments came less than a week after the United Kingdom voted in favor of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 condemning Israel for settlement activity, the first resolution critical of Israel not vetoed by the U.S. since 2009. May defended the vote for resolution 2334 by saying the U.K. government “continues to believe that the construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is illegal. But we are also clear that the settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict.”
In particular, the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism, with which they have had to cope for too long.” Earlier in December, U.K. Prime Minister May praised Israel as a “thriving democracy, beacon of tolerance, an engine of enterprise and an example to the rest of the world for overcoming adversity and defying disadvantages.
European Union External Action spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic, remarked after Kerry’s speech, “The only way to end the conflict is through a two-state negotiated, negotiated between the two parties.”
Manny Marczak is a resident of Santa Fe.
2. On the same day as Manny’s op-ed, Jacob Amir wrote “Reader View: A Defense of Israel’s Right to Exist” in response to Gerald Rosen’s incoherent and racist/anti-semitic letter to the editor of January 3 (see our previous analysis of Rosen’s letter here):
Gerald Rosen (“Room for refugees,” Letters to the Editor, Jan. 3) ignores the fact that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. He claims that the European Jews in Israel are not Judeans and should be sent back to Europe and the U.S.
But recent genetic research has clearly shown that despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level. The researchers studied six Jewish populations: Yemenite, Ashkenazic, Near Eastern, North African, Asia Minor and the Balkans, and Ethiopian. The first five showed a strong affinity. Other research showed that the Jews in different countries are much closer to Jews in other countries than to their non-Jewish neighbors.
All that means that, even though there is no “Jewish DNA,” there is definite biological-genetic evidence that the Jews are one people. And they are all Judeans.
When Rosen writes that “Israel was, is and will be a lawless troublemaker,” he betrays an enormous anti-Israel bias. Israel is the only democracy in the area, with free elections, free press and an independent judiciary.
Anybody, Jewish or not, who denies the right of the Jewish people to have its own nation-state, while not denying that right to any other people, can rightfully be called an anti-Semite.
Jacob Amir, M.D. is a resident of Santa Fe.
Noticeably changed from Dr. Amir’s initial submission is the editorial page’s editing of Dr. Amir calling Rosen a racist, which is a result of the arguments in his third paragraph. Here was the original wording of the last paragraph as submitted by Dr. Amir (underlined portion is what the New Mexican left out):
Anybody, Jewish or not, who denies the right of the Jewish people to have its own nation-state, while not denying that right to any other people, is a racist and can rightfully be called an antisemite.
3. Also responding to Gerald Rosen’s rant, Richard Lieberman wrote in the New Mexican on January 13, 2017:
Gerald M. Rosen’s plan for the Middle East (“Room for refugees,” Letters to the editor, Jan. 3) involves “eradication,” “evacuation” and racial profiling of “actual Semitic refugees.” His hateful venom is directed mainly at the Jews, who he generously states are now “more acceptable than they used to be.” One wonders why such ugly thoughts are given voice in The New Mexican.
Richard Lieberman, M.D., Santa Fe
The Paris “Peace Conference”…
…is, of course, mis-named. Without both of the two key parties present, this conference, which could go on to recommend the requirements of a peace treaty to the UN General Assembly (wherein the US does not have a veto) on January 17, is trying once again to impose terms where free negotiations of the parties should be taking place; it is unlikely to create peace – but it may make French president Hollande, and Secretary of State Kerry feel good about themselves.
NGO Monitor, an excellent resource, has published a report that shows France can’t be considered an impartial mediator in convening the Conference: it funds BDS organizations illegally (under French law). In its January 10th report, NGO Monitor notes in its executive summary:
- The French government funds numerous French, Israeli, and Palestinian organizations that support and promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, despite the fact that such boycotts are illegal under French law.
- The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (The Platform) is one such grantee. One of the Platform’s government-funded projects is explicitly geared towards influencing elected officials, media, and public opinion regarding the conflict – an obvious abuse of taxpayer money. The Platform supports boycott campaigns targeting Israel and partners with organizations instrumental in BDS efforts.
- France directly and indirectly funds several other NGOs with alleged ties to the PFLP terror group.
Buy your tickets to hear Dennis Ross speak on February 15.
Many thanks to those who have already purchased “Host” tickets. You too can be a Dennis Ross event Host, including two reserved seats and admittance to a pre-event reception. For more information visit www.sfmew.org/dennis-ross/.
Can you help the Jewish Federation of New Mexico make calls to solicit donations on Super Sunday, February 5 in ABQ?
You’ll be back in Santa Fe long before the Super Bowl that evening. Please send an email to email@example.com. The Federation has allocated funds to support SFMEW. You can allocate some time to help the Federation.
See a sneak preview of our first educational media campaign ad scheduled to run in the New Mexican: Israel, New Mexico, and Water.
SFMEW is a beneficiary organization of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico.