From The River to the Sea. ISRAEL Shall Remain Free

I worked for the United Jewish Appeal from 1980 to 1983. During that period, I was the National Director for Small and Non-Federated Communities, so I am speaking now from an expert’s perspective. I also have very close ties to various Muslim communities and actually lived in a Sufi community in Boston from 1998 to 2005, so I also understand the Islamic perspective from direct experience, not from news broadcasts and social media.

I am absolutely and furiously disgusted by ill-informed American Jews demonstrating against Israel and in favor of Hamas on college campuses.

Claiming to be supporting the Palestinian people by supporting Hamas is a joke. Without Hamas, there would be no “war” at all and the people of Gaza would be going on about their daily lives free of this nightmare. Therefore, any demonstrations claiming to support the Palestinian people of Gaza behind a banner that reads, “From the River to the Sea PALESTINE Shall Be Free,” is actually and fervently supporting Hamas , another in a long line of absentee landlords who make their lavish livings by oppressing the Palestinians in Gaza and causing the Israelis to rain hellfire down on them.  It is deeply antisemitic, even when the people who are doing it are Jews. (It is no secret that Jews are sometimes the worst antisemites.)

The Israeli incursion into Gaza was an absolute necessity to reclaim the hostages that Hamas still holds and to end the continuing missile and drone attacks on Southern Israel.

Until the hostages are freed, and the missiles stop flying, Israel has no choice but to continue this incursion. The fact that many thousands of Jews in Israel are protesting against the Netanyahu government’s necessary (and admittedly despicable) actions speaks to the depth that the Palestinian propaganda machine has infected the national conversation in Israel itself and the extent to which some Israeli Jews do not understand the situation.

Speak to some of the two million Israeli Palestinians, Muslims and Christians, who live and work in Israel, own homes and businesses, vote, serve in the government and fight in Israel’s armed forces They do not want to live under the PLO or Hamas because they know that they are the only Palestinians in the Middle East who do not live under dictatorial oppression…..and they don’t want to trade the freedom they enjoy as Israeli citizens for the oppression they will experience under Hamas or the PLO. The fact that Israeli Palestinians have not risen up en masse against the government of Israel speaks volumes about the reality of the situation.

Asserting that Israel is a “colonial, apartheid” invader in Palestinian territory is a fraudulent misuse of the terms “colonial” and “apartheid.” (The fact that Nelson Mandela said so doesn’t make it true.) To call Israel’s reasonable defense of its sovereign territory “genocide” changes the meaning of genocide, a word coined in 1943 by a Jewish Holocaust survivor. As long as there are millions of Palestinians living outside of the state of Israel, it is impossible for Israel to commit genocide against Palestinians. (Genocide is an attempt to absolutely destroy a given people – a genus – by exterminating them.)

For any Jew to endorse such beliefs is indicative of a wholesale failure to educate the Jewish people about the reality of their situation.

To hear American Jews chanting, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Shall Be Free” is an insult to the Jewish people….and it is a sign of rampant insanity among a segment of ultra-liberal Jews who are so far to the left that they have actually made a common cause with those on the extreme right, and the ultra-orthodox Jewish community that has always been opposed to the foundation of the modern state of Israel on specious halachic grounds….because it didn’t happen in coordination of the coming of the Messiah.

For Israelis to oppose this “war” is even worse. For them to agree with those who chant, “From the River to the Sea Palestine Shall Be Free” is not just treason. It is insane because they are supporting those who are calling for a new holocaust to kill the Jews who live in Israel.

In 1938, no country of succor (outside the reach of the Third Reich) except for the diminutive Dominican Republic opened its doors to Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi juggernaut. During World War II, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Amin al-Husayni (189?-1974)), was a Nazi collaborator. During the war, he lived in Berlin and Rome, consorted with Hitler and Mussolini and encouraged the Holocaust.

Today, in 2024, there is still nowhere for eight million Israelis to go. No country will take eight million refugees, even rich ones. No country will accept one million refugees. (Theoretically, the United States would have to take them because virtually every Israeli citizen has at least one relative living in the United States but theory and practice are two different things.)

Calls for the two-state solution are another joke. There is already a Palestinian nation in the Middle East. It is called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where Palestinians live as second class citizens Jordan, an ally of Israel’s, refuses to merge with the West Bank because they don’t want the PLO in Jordan. Egypt will not absorb Gaza because Egyptians are not Arabs and they don’t want to accept a large Arab community into their already turbulent country.

Jews have lived in Israel for more than four thousand years. As an atheist, I give no credibility to the biblical assertion that God gave Canaan to the Jews, but I give great credibility to history. The ancient Israelites settled in Canaan, interbred with the indigenous residents of the region (probably because they had previous ties to one another) and became the Jewish people.

The expulsion of the Jewish people from Jerusalem by Rome in 70 ACE resulted in the two millennia long diaspora, during which the Jewish people became the second most raped nation in human history, after the African slaves in the New World, which accounts for the crazy quilt of Jewish DNA….but that came after two previous expulsions including the Babylonian Captivity, that had already scrambled the Jewish gene pool.

The fact remains, however, that the Jewish people were expelled from Jerusalem, not from the whole of Israel, renamed Syria Palestina by the Romans. Some Jewish families have lived continuously in Israel for more than four thousand years. The Palestinians did not exist until they were created by the British in 1918. Before that, they were Bedu or former Bedu living in settled villages.

The land that the Palestinians want back was never theirs to begin with. The Turkish Ottoman Empire ruled Israel from 1517 to 1917, when the British took over and, during that period all of the land in Israel was owned by mostly absentee Turks. The local Bedu were sharecroppers or tenant farmers, although some purchased their plots of land from their Turkish landlords. Great Britain continued to honor Turkish deeds and it wasn’t until 1948 that the Turkish deeds were cancelled when the state of Israel was established. (Turkish animosity toward Israel dates from this event.)

From 1858 on,, the Ottomans allowed rich families from other Arab countries to purchase land in Israel. They also had a law on the books that allowed tenant farmers to claim the land they worked after ten years of continuous occupancy. (Turkish landowners developed a practice of relocating their tenant farmers to different plots of land every ten years to prevent their tenants from claiming the land.) That law remained on the books until 2012 when the Israeli Supreme Court overturned it, which prevented both Muslim and Jewish settlers from claiming lands they worked as tenant farmers.

Into this horrendously complicated situation (In Israel, some plots of land have Roman, Egyptian, Templar, French, Turkish, British and Israeli deeds), a bunch of ill-informed, deliberately misled demonstrators being led by Russian agents provocateurs are being used to shatter the unity of the American Jewish Community while at the same time, fracturing the Democratic party into pro- and anti-Israel camps and raising doubts about President Biden’s ability to to carry Michigan, a vital swing state with a large Muslim population.

The Muslim Americans are incensed that the United States continues to supplies arms and ammunition to Israel…but they don’t say a word about the murders of innocent civilians, including women and children, the kidnappings, rapes, and tortures of Israelis (including American Jews) committed by Hamas. They also ignore the fact that the United States has treaty obligations to Israel but has no such obligations to Hamas.

As long as they march behind banners proclaiming “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free,” these demonstrators are demonstrating behind the merger of Nazi propaganda with Russia’s imperialist ambitions.

Russia, you see, wants Trump back in office because they believe they can manipulate Trump into cutting off aid to Ukraine. America’s closest allies believe that is exactly what will happen if Trump is re-elected., which is precisely why the Russians are trying to make that happen.

The Hamas attack on Southern Israel was instigated by Russia through Iran for this express purpose,, to weaken Biden and shove Trump back into the White House.

So, no. any Jew who marches behind a banner that reads, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Shall Be Free” deserves to be expelled from any Jewish organization to which he, she or it belongs. No congregation should allow such people to sit among them. Other Jews should have nothing to do with such people because they are a cancerous growth that must be cut out before it spreads.

And anyone who believes that this is about anti-Israel sentiments having nothing to do with antisemitism is either an idiot or a fool. This is just an excuse for the antisemites to come out and play under the cover of  supposedly worthy cause that allows them to express and demonstrate their antisemitism under the cover of a supposedly ethical opposition to Israel’s natural right to defend itself.

Shortly before his death, I was speaking with my father about what it was like to be a Jew before Israel came into being and what it was like after that.

He said, “Before Israel, we were always ashamed of ourselves. No matter where we went, we could always feel the hate. I felt it during basic training in the Army….and my C.O. in basic was a Jew. After Israel came into existence, that changed. We weren’t ashamed any more.  Israel changed us all.”