DR. ALEX GROBMAN is the the son of Frank Grobman, who owned and operated a Frank's Pharmacy at 831 North 5th Street from the 1940s until being burned out in the 1968 race riot, and Reba Grobman, who worked as a secretary to Rabbi Kahn of Congregation Beth El in the 1970s.
Today Dr. Grobman is recognized as one of the world's leading scholars in matters relating to the Holocaust. The Holocaust Teacher Resource Center website, through whose speakers bureau Dr. Grobman can be contacted, states the following about him:
Alex Grobman is an historian with an MA and Ph.D. in contemporary Jewish
history with a major in the Shoah from the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem. He is president of the Brenn Institute, a think tank dealing
with historical and contemporary issues affecting the Jewish community.
Dr. Grobman is the author of Rekindling the Flame: American Jewish Chaplains and the Survivors of European Jewry, 1944-1948, and editor of In Defense of the Survivors: The Letters and Documents of Oscar A. Mintzer AJDC Legal Advisor, Germany, 1945-46. His latest book Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened, and Why Do They Say It? published by University of California Press in Berkeley was used to refute David Irving at the Lipstadt/Irving trial. In 2002, it was published in Italian and in paperback. In 2007, it will be published in Greek. He has also edited three academic guides: Anne Frank in Historical Perspective, Those Who Dared: Rescuers and Rescued, and Schindler’s List.
Dr.Grobman has just completed a book on the Vaad Hatzala in the post-war period 1946-1949.
Dr. Grobman's latest book is "Nations United: How The UN Undermines Israel and the West."
Dr. Grobman is also involved in the defense of intellectual freedom in America's schools. He trains students how to respond to Arab propaganda on American campuses. One student who worked with him for three years became president of Harvard Students For Israel. Another became active at Yale University and is in Harvard graduate school this year. Other students are at Yeshiva University and Columbia.
New Jersey Jewish Standard - December 14, 2006
Iran and the Holocaust denial conference
On Monday, the Iranian government opened a two-day conference ostensibly to discuss the Holocaust in an open environment where all sides of the story can be analyzed. Aside from well-known Holocaust deniers, no Holocaust scholars are in attendance. The conference raises a number of questions: Why has Holocaust denial become popular in the Middle East? Why is Iran holding the conference? How can we respond to those who seek to deny our past?
According to Itamar Marcus, who monitors and reports on media of the Palestinian Authority, the objective of Arab Holocaust denial is to reject the connection of the Jewish people to their immediate history, erode the legitimacy of Israel, and allow the Arabs "to appropriate the role of historical victim and apply it to themselves. Television and modern technology have provided authoritative vehicles for defaming and denying the Jewish people, their religion, history, nation, and land ... in order to sever contemporary Jews from their past and the Land of Israel."
A number of governments have denounced the Iranian Holocaust denial conference for what it is: a forum to deny the Holocaust and advance the Iranians’ own agenda. In a televised address on Dec. 14, 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, raised Holocaust denial to an international level when he said: "They [the Jews] have created a myth in the name of the Holocaust and consider it above God, religion and the prophets ... If someone were to deny the existence of God ... and deny the existence of prophets and religion, they would not bother him. However, if someone were to deny the myth of the Jews’ massacre, all the Zionist mouthpieces and the governments subservient to the Zionists tear their larynxes and scream against the person as much as they can."
"On the basis of this myth," he said a couple of months later, "the pillaging Zionist regime has managed, for 60 years, to extort all Western governments and to justify its crimes in the occupied lands — killing women and children, demolishing homes, and turning defenseless people into refugees."
Why has Ahmadinejad become such an advocate of Holocaust denial? One plausible explanation historian Victor Hanson offers is that he understands the West’s fixation with "multiculturalism, moral equivalence, and relativism." As "a Third-World populist," he assumes that his own fascist government will "escape scrutiny" if he continues to list the past misdeeds of the West. He also appreciates the importance of victimology. If he wants to annihilate Israel, Iran has to be seen as the victim‚ not Israel. He turns to the Europeans with a question: "So we ask you: If you indeed committed this great crime, why should the oppressed people of Palestine be punished for it? If you committed a crime, you yourselves should pay for it."
He knows that there are millions of educated people in the West who question the need for nuclear weapons and do not hold their culture in high regard. If the West can have nuclear weapons, why can’t Iran? "Your arsenals are full to the brim," he says, "yet when it’s the turn of a nation such as mine to develop peaceful nuclear technology you object and resort to threats."
Ahmadinejad also understands that relativism has become part of Western thought. In this environment, who can be sure that the Holocaust was not overstated, the facts embellished or even made up in order to steal Palestinian land?
Iran’s success in analyzing Western malaise, Hanson concludes, has persuaded them to create a reality without the Holocaust, thus enabling them to become the victims and Jews the aggressors who need to be punished. In this way, "Ahmadinejad’s righteously aggrieved (and nuclear) Iran can … finally set things right in the Middle East. And then a world that wishes to continue to make money and drive cars in peace won’t much care how this divinely appointed holy man finally finishes a bothersome war of destiny."
Rather than ring our hands in frustration, we should seize the opportunity to teach about Holocaust denial, which is a threat to the way we transmit history to future generations. If the history of the Jewish people can be distorted, so can the history of other groups. Holocaust deniers seek to make Fascism and National Socialism legitimate alternatives to democracy, which makes this a problem for all those who cherish a democratic way of life.
San Diego Jewish World - July 5, 2007
the irrational: the excuse Jews make
Quite frequently there is significant evidence in the press about a particular event to understand what is transpiring, yet at times we seem unable to analyze the information, assimilate it or comprehend its import. Part of the problem is a predilection not to accept what is unpleasant. Denial becomes the response. Additionally, confronting the truth, especially when a situation concerns us deeply is difficult to acknowledge because it might require some form of action that could disrupt our lives.
During the Shoah, most Jews in Europe and the U.S. were unable to comprehend what the Nazis were planning because there was no historical precedent for the systematic, bureaucratically administered destruction of a people—and especially one scattered throughout Europe. In November 1942, Jan Karski, a member of the Polish underground resistance movement, met with leaders of the West in London and in July 1943 with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to inform them of his first hand account of the Nazi effort to destroy the Jews of Europe. Karski also met with U. S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter accompanied by Frankfurter’s friend, the Polish ambassador in exile. After Karski told Frankfurter what he had seen in the Warsaw Ghetto and in an extermination camp, Frankfurter said he could not believe it. When the ambassador protested, Frankfurter said he was not calling Karski a liar, but that he could not accept the information. Either Frankfurter found the thought of Jews being killed in this fashion inconceivable or he knew that if he acknowledged the systematic destruction he would have to act publicly in their defense.
After having experienced the Shoah, the idea that a group might seek to destroy the Jewish people should not seem like such an alien concept, yet that is precisely the way some Israelis and American Jews act when it comes to the Arab/Israeli conflict. Attacks against Israel by Arab religious and political leaders are a real threat to their very being as a nation and a people. Accusations that Jews are Satan, sons of apes and pigs, and evil are not just words—they have motivated Arab homicide bombers and other Arab murderers into indiscriminately maiming and killing Jewish men, women and children on buses, in cars, restaurants and in their homes.
Some Israelis are willing to overlook public pronouncements in the Arab media that call for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. They seem oblivious to the impact Arab textbooks claiming Israel is illegitimate have on students. They ignore clear violations of agreements made with the Jewish state, and statements challenging any Jewish connection to sacred sites in the country. Rarely is anything said when the Holocaust is denied. With all of the Arab demonization of Jews, Israel and the denial of their right to live in the Land of Israel, there are many Israelis who staunchly adhere to the notion that Arabs want peace.
What do the Arabs have to say or do before Jews acknowledge the true extent of Arab hatred and their ultimate goal to obliterate Jewish presence from Israel? Why do Israeli officials lower themselves to meet with a Holocaust denier who also rejects their historical connection to the Land of Israel? In other words, is there any way for us to understand this self-destructive and suicidal conduct?
Kenneth Levin, a clinical psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, offers one of the most credible explanations for this aberrant behavior when he says that Israelis are in “state of chronic siege,” which causes them to seek ways out of their stressful lives. Their search for a more normal existence has produced “the Oslo approach,” which is founded on “wishful thinking” that has no connection to “reality.” Those maintaining this view in the face of contradictory evidence and who will not tolerate any debate are textbook “delusional,” Levin says. Jews who question Arab motivation are called “enemies of peace,” similar to those engaged in anti-Israel terror.
Israelis are influenced by a number of factors Levin explains. The so-called “new historians” who rewrote Israeli history convinced a substantial number of Israelis that Israel was at fault for the occupation of the territories and that its military aggressiveness is prolonging the conflict. This in turn has created an impetus among some Israelis to pressure Israel to relinquish the territories, which they claim would end the hostilities and herald a new era of peace. That so many Israelis see Israel as the aggressor is quite surprising in view of what really happened: The Arabs rejected the UN partition plan in 1947 and five Arab countries invaded Israel after it was declared a state in 1948. In 1967, the Six Day War was precipitated by Egypt’s closing of the Straits of Tiran (Israel's primary shipping route to the south and especially for oil), a casus belli (an act of war) in of itself, the blockade of the port of Eliat and the escalation of border fighting along the Egyptian and Syrian fronts. In 1973 the Arabs attacked Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.
Unrelenting verbal and physical attacks to undermine and destroy the Jewish State are ignored, while the Arabs responsible for these actions are presented as “moderate” in their behavior and in their expectations of what Israel must do to ensure peace in the region. In particular, Israel is being asked to mend its ways and to be more accommodating in its concessions to the Arabs.
Levin considers this attitude delusional since it fails to acknowledge the limited importance Arabs attach to Israeli actions. For a century, for example, Israelis have touted the power of economic inducements to bring social stability to Arab countries and act as a disincentive to radicalism. This approach fails to take into account the lack of significance Arabs view commerce with Israel when compared to the economic potential of working with half a billion Arabs. Ironically, as Arab wealth has increased, ideologically motivated extremists have more funds to pursue their aggressive agendas.
Israelis also fail to consider the need for Arab regimes to keep Israel at arm’s length in order to placate the fundamentalists who threaten them. That Egypt has reneged on practically all of it agreements of the 1978 Camp David treaty is also ignored.
Israel has no control in determining when the Arabs will decide that peace should come to the Middle East, Levin opines. That will only happen when the Arabs themselves believe that it is in their interest to stop the fighting. In other words, Israel’s military should be able to prevent the Arabs from winning a war, “but they cannot force peace.” This reality is so painful that some Israelis “take refuge in delusions of Israeli culpability,” regardless of all the evidence to the contrary.
The tendency to withdraw “to delusions of transgression, and of salvation through self-reform and concessions, is common, even endemic, within communities under siege,” Levin says. In psychiatric literature they describe this as “Jewish-self hatred” or “identification with the aggressor.” Attributing antisemitic caricatures to fellow Jews is another manifestation of this pathology. Assuming responsibility for something over which you have no control is similar to an abused child who feels responsible for his plight and views himself as “bad.” The child maintains, “the fantasy that if he becomes good enough,” his father will cease hitting him, his mother will give him attention and whatever other form of abuse he suffered will stop.
The “fellowship fallacy”—that the Palestinians share Jewish values, goals and positions is another myth that pervades some Israel circles. Having met informally or in public forums with high-level individuals from the territories who are connected to the PLO, the Israelis hear statements that are less antagonistic and more reasonable than heard from the PLO leadership. They assume that these conciliatory words are what the PLO would really agree to in negotiations with Israel. Such was the case after informal discussions with Faisal Husseini, the leading spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization in the disputed territories. In October1989, Husseini proclaimed, “The Palestinian Peace Camp has won, and now leads the PLO and the Palestinian people.”
In a November 1992 speech to an Arab youth group in Amman, Jordan, however, Husseini declared, “We have not conceded and will not surrender any of the existing commitments that have existed for more than 70 years… We have within our Palestinian and united Arab society the ability to deal with a divided Israeli society….We must force Israeli society to cooperate…with our Arab society, and eventually dissolve the ‘Zionist entity.’” During the Oslo period, he asserted that their objective was to establish a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea.”
The attitude toward Husseini illustrates the willingness of many Israelis to overestimate words of encouragement and underestimate the contradictory and inflammatory rhetoric he expressed to others. This situation continued under Yasser Arafat whose assurances about his yearning for peace would, incredibly, be accepted with greater credibility than his speeches and statements to the Arab media and public, and the racist curricula taught in Palestinian schools. The same attitude seems to be operating with regard to Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestine Authority.
Those who challenge these myths are attacked as racists and extremists for denying the humanity of the Arabs and their feelings and aspirations. Mordecai Bar-On, a founder of Peace Now, believed that part of the reason for this intolerance was due to a lack of education and upbringing, which breeds less tolerance and an inability to understand the “other” and complex issues. This would account, he said, for the Sephardic community’s mistrust of Arabs. Distrust could also be found among elements of the Ashkenazi community that were less educated and were more traditional in background and practice.
Still another popular myth is that Arabs cannot be antisemitic since they themselves are Semites. If Arabs think that they cannot be antisemitic, it's out "of either ignorance or bad faith," declares Bernard Lewis, one the world's leading experts on Islam and the Middle East. "Semite, like Aryan, is a classification of language, not of race or nationality. The misuse of both these terms originated in the same quarters, and serves the same purpose." Antisemitism has never "been directed against any but Jews, and this has been well understood by all concerned. The Nazis saw no difficulty in simultaneously hating Jews and courting Arabs, and there were few Arabs who likewise found no difficulty in responding to this courtship."
The Egyptian intellectual Dr. Mamoun Fendi, a columnist for the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, also refuted the argument incessantly discussed in the Arab media—that the Arabs are Semites and accordingly cannot be antisemites. "When Arabs respond to accusations of antisemitism with the argument that 'we are Semites,' he said, "the West laughs... because the term antisemitism as it is understood here in the West, is not the result of an anthropological classification of the races. The 'semitism,' of the concept of 'antisemitism' is mostly connected to the Jewish holocausts in Europe—that is, to the hatred of those people [the Jews], which led directly to the gas chambers in which the Jews were cremated. Therefore, when some Arabs say 'We are Semites,' the ordinary man [asks]: 'When exactly were the Arabs cremated in the gas chambers of Europe, and how are the Arabs connected to this?' Of course the Arabs were not cremated by the Nazis. Therefore, the Arabs' claim that they are 'Semites' is... an attempt to shove themselves into someone else's history.
"There are [in the West]... some who ask whether this [Arab] attempt to shake free [of charges of antisemitism] is connected to the Arabs' denial of this history, and that therefore, they stand in the same ranks as Europe's Neo-Nazis who deny that the gas chambers existed and that the Holocaust [ever] happened. While Germany purifies itself of this historical crime, we find that some Arabs celebrate the event [i.e. the Holocaust]."
Denying Israel's right to exist "has clear genocidal implications," asserts Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer. There is little doubt that abolishing the Jewish state would result in the "wholesale murder of its citizens."
After the Israelis defeated the Arabs in the War of Independence, Ben-Gurion said "The Arab people will not be reconciled to the fact that six hundred thousand Jews defeated them; and this will remain a critical issue for us for a long time." He also recognized the Arabs would not be deterred from liquidating the Jewish State—that they would take every opportunity to achieve a strategic advantage, and that they believed time was on their side: "It should not be assumed that the defeat has restrained them from [wishing to] extirpate us from our land. They are certain, with some justification that time is on their side. Ten, fifty, a hundred or two hundred years. They have a classic example right here in the country—the eleventh-century Crusader conquest. A Christian state rose[and] thrived for decades, [but] eventually the Muslim world overpowered and totally annihilated it."
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir also understood the extent of this hatred when on October 16, 1973, she warned members of the Knesset: "I have never doubted for an instant that the true aim of the Arab states has always been, and still is, the total destruction of the State of Israel, or that even if we had gone back far beyond the 1967 lines to some miniature enclave, they would not still have tried to eradicate it and us."
Golda realized that Arab leaders like Yasser Arafat were telling the truth when they openly declared that there was no solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict other than the destruction of the Jewish state. Yet, there is a predisposition in the West to disregard whatever the Arabs say as insignificant since it does not reflect what they really mean or will do, observes professor Gil Carl AlRoy.
This theory blames the Arabic language for this disconnect. At best, the correlation between words and action is unpredictable and random. Christian missionaries spread the patronizing notion that Arabs were wonderfully mischievous children.
Most scholars reject such views about the Arabic language. There is no ambiguity. Special emphasis is added to ensure that what was said, was intentionally said and is clearly understood. And therefore, failure to destroy Israel should not be misconstrued as a lack of commitment to achieving that goal. In the West, journalists and diplomats tend to highlight the discrepancy between what Arab leaders say in public and in private. When Arab leaders make a public statement that affronts Westerners, it is rejected as being meant only for Arab public consumption, for the street, while in private these same leaders are amiable and conciliatory.
Levin and others have done a great service by diagnosing the irrational behavior of many Israelis and Jews who persist in acting out their fantasies. If we are to move beyond this delusion, to accept the situation as it is instead of what we wish it to be, we need to understand the nature of this pathology, which has caused tremendous damage to Israel and the Jewish people. We cannot afford to “rationalize the irrational.” The future of the Jewish state is at stake..
San Diego Jewish World - July 15, 2007
Shuckburgh theorom: 'Moderates are always at a discount'
As U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice embarks on the latest American mission to the Middle East to revive peace talks, she is expecting “moderate” Arab leaders to help her find common ground with the Israelis. For years Yasser Arafat was portrayed as a moderate with disastrous results. The latest moderate to be anointed by the Americans is Mahmoud Abbas.
But it was not so long ago that a number of news services reported that Abbas declared that the Palestinians should “Raise [your] rifles against the Israeli occupation,” at the 42nd anniversary of the founding of his Fatah party. His people would not cease their fight, he said, until they established an independent state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital. He also referred to Arafat as a “Martyr.”
is hardly a moderate position any more than is his demand for
the Right of Return of the Arab refugees to Israel. Yet, this
does not seem to bother the U.S.
Alec S. Kirkbride, District Commissioner of the Galilee and Acre District, added that there were a number of moderates who were prepared to cooperate with the British, even though they disagreed with the British mandatory policy. It was “impossible” to estimate their exact number, however, because “they were naturally disinclined to come into the open.”
On October 6, 1924, the Palestinian Arab Congress explained the difficulty of finding moderates when it told the League of Nations: “It is a gross error to believe that Arab and Jew may come to an understanding if only each of them exchanges his coat of extremism for another of moderation. When the principles underlying two movements do clash, it is futile to expect their meeting halfway.”
The inability of Israel to accept this painful truth has led its leaders to sign disastrous agreements costing many Israeli lives, and has not brought peace any closer. In fact, it has lessened the chances of achieving peace because Israel continues to reward terrorists by retreating from lands where Jews once lived and by exchanging large numbers of Arab prisoners for Israeli soldiers languishing in Arab prisons.
That the Israelis are exhausted by endless fighting is not surprising. Ehud Olmert expressed this desperation when he said: “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want [to]… to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies. We want them to be our friends, our partners, our good neighbors.”
As long as Arab political and religious leaders continue to preach hate, teach their children to become homicide bombers, fire missiles to force Israelis to abandon their homes and property, and demand the right of all refugees to “return,” there is no chance for peace.
Israel should stop deluding herself that peace is around the corner. Israeli leaders need to define the objectives of the country, explain why they have a moral and legal right to the state of Israel, and do whatever it takes to show the Arabs that no amount of terrorism will force them to leave their land. Only when the Arabs truly understand that the Jews are in Israel to stay, can there be a chance for a dialogue. Until then, Israelis are negotiating with themselves and are seen by some as “Walking Like Sheep to Slaughter.”.
New Jersey Jewish Standard - August 30, 2007
Much will be written about Judah Nadich, the 95-year-old rabbi emeritus of the Park Avenue Synagogue and founding board member and honorary trustee of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School who died on Sunday. He was an icon in the Conservative movement.
During World War II, Nadich was an American Jewish chaplain. After the liberation of Paris in August 1944, he served at the Office of the Theater Chaplain in the city. By virtue of his position, he became an unofficial spokesman on Jewish affairs for the foreign correspondents of The New York Times, The New York Herald Tribune, and other members of the American press in the region.
He and other American Jewish chaplains alerted American Jewish organizations and leaders about the problems confronting the Jews of France: the need to return to the Jewish community the children who were placed in convents, on farms, and elsewhere by parents who were no longer alive; the urgency of providing relief to a significant proportion of the Jews during the upcoming winter months; the importance of resolving legal issues of how to recover confiscated property and the legal status of foreign Jews in the country; and the difficulty of reuniting families.
After Earl G. Harrison, a former U.S. Commissioner of Immigration, visited Germany and Austria to assess the condition of the Jewish displaced persons, his negative report about the plight of the Jews in Europe created a great deal of criticism throughout the United States. President Harry S Truman was disturbed that military government officers had not provided the Jewish DPs with proper housing or treated them humanely.
As a result, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, then Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, reluctantly agreed to assign a chaplain as special adviser on Jewish affairs to the Theater Commander of the U.S. Forces in Europe, until a prominent civilian could be appointed.
The need to respond immediately to Truman prompted Eisenhower to find a Jewish chaplain. Chaplains were already in Europe, knew the issues facing the DPs, and understood how the army functioned.
Jacob Trobe of the American Jewish Distribution Committee (JDC) recommended Nadich to the position. Nadich was picked over another chaplain because of his experience at the Office of the Theater Chaplain, and because he had impressed Trobe.
In his role as adviser, Nadich also became the liaison between the army and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), the JDC, the Jewish Agency, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Congress, and other Jewish organizations in the United States, Great Britain, and Palestine.
On Aug. 27, 1945, Nadich began a tour of the Zeilsheim DP camp outside Frankfurt. Two days later he began an extended tour of the camps in Bavaria, and then two days in Berlin. He also made an extensive inspection around Heidelberg under the command of the Seventh Army.
Upon his return to Frankfurt, Nadich met with Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s chief of staff, highlighting the importance Eisenhower attached to Nadich’s mission.
Smith was disturbed to learn that in the Third Army area, under Gen. George S. Patton, American soldiers stood guard at the gates of the DP camps, Jews had to obtain exit passes, only 10 percent of the camp population was permitted to leave at any one time, and the surrounding villages and towns were off limits to them.
Smith’s response was swift. He immediately called a number of the generals in the Third Army, including Patton, to demand that conditions be improved. On Sept. 15, Smith conveyed the substance of Nadich’s report to Eisenhower.
After Eisenhower issued a memorandum to his commanders to provide the DPs with adequate housing and nourishing and sufficient food, allow them to guard the camps themselves, and make regular inspections to remove all incompetent personnel, Nadich explained why much more was needed, especially in the Third Army area.
Simon Rifkind, U.S. district court judge, replaced Nadich after arriving in Frankfurt on Oct. 22, 1945. Nadich remained for another three weeks to assist in the transition. He then returned to the United States, where he was discharged from the army. He later wrote about his experiences in his book "Eisenhower and the Jews."
The American Jewish chaplains played a vital role in helping the Shearith Hapletah, the remnant of the Shoah. Nadich will be remembered for having been an advocate of the survivors at the highest level of the American military.
The rabbi is survived by his wife, the former Martha Hadassah Ribalow; his sister, Esther Rosenberg of Baltimore, Md.; daughters Leah Meir of Teaneck, Shira Levin of New York, and Nahma Nadich of Newton Centre, Mass., and eight grandchildren.
Tehey nafshoh tzerurah bitzror hachaim: May his soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life..
College Students Need To Know about Israel:
Sending our children to college marks a major milestone for both parents and their children. Through no fault of their own, or ours, some of them will find themselves ill-prepared to deal with the anti-Israel propaganda disseminated throughout their campuses. Below are a number of suggestions that parents and teachers can use to help their children understand and effectively respond to the issues surrounding the Israel-Arab conflict.
Israel is engaged in a war for its survival. There is nothing in the Arab media or statements by Arab political or religious figures that indicates they have ever accepted Israel's right to exist. The Palestinians and their supporters have manufactured specious arguments that have fooled some in the West into thinking that Israel does not want peace and that the Arabs are the victims of Israeli aggression. Today, they say the obstacles to peace are the settlements; tomorrow there will be other excuses to justify murderous attacks against the Jewish State.
Students need to know the basics of modern Middle Eastern history and the Israeli/Arab conflict. Approaching the Middle East from the historians' point of view engages students intellectually and emotionally. With perspective, they can be confident when confronting those who distort history.
Students should be very careful about the information they do use. For example, a well-known and oft-used full-page quote from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is a fake. The alleged source is the August 1967 issue of Saturday Review, but this article does not exist in that or any other issue of the Saturday Review.
A week and a half before he was assassinated, at the annual convention of the Conservative Judaism's Rabbinical Assembly on March 28, 1968, Dr. King did say: "Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how the desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality."
Arabs have raised a number of questions about the context in which these remarks were made, insisting that Dr. King knew little about the Middle East and that this was said before Israel's "occupation" of the West Bank (even though the Six-Day War took place in June 1967).
Learning To Analyze
Students also need to learn how to analyze news. The media uses language and pictures to slant a story in order to make it "sell," and that determines how the story influences listeners and readers.
Sometimes the biases are a result of bad reporting and simple ignorance. At other times, the slant is deliberately anti-Israel and often anti-Semitic. Students should check HonestReporting.com, which dissects news reports daily, to see which reports are straightforward, which are not, and how the two approaches differ.
A Moral Imperative Beyond the Jewish Issue
Responding to Arab propaganda is a moral imperative that goes beyond the "Jewish issue." Universities have the responsibility to seek the truth. Failure to react to lies allows people to think there are no answers and to rely upon fabrications as truth.
Becoming involved in the campus newspaper and other campus organizations are important ways for students to develop strategic alliances and counter misconceptions. For example, when the Jewish National Fund (JNF) wanted to come to Harvard, members of the Sierra Club balked. As president of the Sierra Club, Josh Suskewicz, my student, researcher, and ultimately president of Harvard Students for Israel, convinced them that the JNF is not racist.
Informal discussions in the dorms also offer important opportunities to defuse anti-Israel feelings. Providing a balanced view that tells the truth can influence people.
Students should learn to counter Arab propaganda by seizing the initiative, publicizing Israel's positive actions, and explaining her specific policies. Before someone decides to build a "Wall" in front of the dining hall, preempt them by holding a teach-in about why the Israeli security fence was built and how many lives it has saved on both sides. The same should be done before "check-points" are erected on campus.
To inhibit use of the "Zionism is Racism" canard, mount an exhibit about Zionism and Israel's accomplishments. For example, a few years ago, students at Harvard produced an effective display of posters highlighting Israel's contributions to the world.
Recent examples of such stories include Israelis who: won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering a cell process that leads the way to DNA repair and may control newly produced proteins and immune systems; created human monoclonal antibodies that neutralize the smallpox virus without inducing dangerous side effects; devised a simple blood test that diagnoses mild and more severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis; developed of a non-invasive treatment of intrauterine fibroid tumors.
Most of Microsoft's Windows operating systems were developed in Israel. The complete design, development, and production of Pentium NMX Chip technology, the Pentium 4 microprocessor, and the Centrium processor-were all carried out in Israel.
Cell Phones and Gay Rights
Israeli techies developed voicemail, and cell phones can't work without Israeli technology. The Israelis developed ICQ, now mostly known as Instant Messenger. Microsoft's and Cisco's only research and development facilities outside the US are in Israel.
Another Harvard exhibit explored democracy, gay rights, women's rights, ethnic diversity, and technology in Israel. An Israeli rock concert attracted students indifferent or hostile to the politics.
According to my student Josh, "When we demonstrate that we can co-exist and get along, it enormously improves our standing as advocates. Highlighting Israel's unique culture allows people to feel closer to Israel and brings the connection to life, resulting in more dedicated and focused advocates."
The Write Stuff
Letters to local college newspapers and media are another way to counter distortions from Arab propagandists and to gain support from non-Jews. Correspondence should stick to the facts and not become personal attacks.
Qualified students should try to become regular contributors to the campus paper. When truth is distorted, it should be corrected in print via a letter to the editor or in an op-ed piece.
During his first two years in school, Josh published several articles in the Harvard Crimson. As his mentor, I reassured him, checked his facts, and made sure the arguments were cogent.
An English major, Josh did his "homework" by engaging in extensive reading and felt confident enough to question his professors when they intended to invite Tom Paulin - who said that Israeli settlers should be shot - to lecture.
Rachel, a student at Yale University, worked with me via e-mail and telephone to learn about the Middle East conflict. She was frustrated by her inability to respond effectively first to Arab lies on campus and then to Jews participating in a Jewish Federation program which sympathized with Arabs and Arab propaganda.
As a result of our correspondence, she successfully confronted an anti-Israeli professor from the university about his attacks on the Jewish state.
Sometimes pressure from alumni and the fear of losing funds are the most effective means of protest. Verbal abuse of Jewish students at Columbia University became so serious that students, working with a Boston-based organization called the David Project, documented the harassment.
It took a massive letter-writing campaign to Columbia's president by concerned alumni, students, parents, and faculty as well as coverage of the incidents on campus by the mainstream national media before the Columbia administration agreed to take steps to address the problem.
David Ben-Gurion once observed, "Nothing is more dangerous for Zionism than the fatalistic belief in the eternity of Israel."
The fight for the Jewish State will continue for years to come. We must educate the next generation to defend Israel-and we need to do it now.
I suggest students begin by reading the following material: Primary books: Alan Dershowitz, The Case For Israel, (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2003); and Mitchell Bard's Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, (Chevy Chase, Maryland: American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2001), Reply Myths and Facts; and Alex Grobman, Nations United: How the UN is Undermining Israel and the West (Green Forest, Arkansas: Balfour Books, 2006).
One of the most important ways students can demonstrate their concern for Israel is to vote for candidates who strongly support the Jewish state and Jewish causes. For many undergraduates, their first election may occur during their first semester of college. Voting is a very tangible way for them to help Israel, the Jewish people, and the U.S. in their fight against those who wish to destroy our democratic way of life. Primary websites to check regularly
Additional Internet and Hard Copy Sources
The following should be read on a regular basis:
Personal search engine keywords such as Israel, Jews, Jewish, Middle East will put news articles with those words into your own mailbox, daily or as set.
The Basic Library-must-reads-should include:
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