Dear Rabbi Lerner,
Allow me to start by being honest with you. I read your article https://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/israel-has-broken-my-heart-im-a-rabbi-in-mourning-for-a-judaism-being-murdered-by-israel/ and stopped when I felt I could go on no longer. Before I resolved to read any further I told myself I would only do so under one condition. The inclusion of 2 words. Never Again. Having not found them anywhere in your piece I chose to not read it till the end.
I wish you to understand 2 very important things. First and foremost, I am not without compassion when it comes to the death and suffering of innocent Palestinians. Secondly, unlike many who may even appreciate my letter to you, I respect your intentions and do not see you as a traitor to the Jewish people. I do however find your approach apologetic and weak and subsequently potentially harmful to the very cause you claim to promote. Peace for all.
You seem to somehow be afraid to call out for Hamas for being what it truly is, an instrument of evil. They care little if at all for their people, and wish to see, if possible oversee the destruction of our people. Whether you wish to see it or not, the greatest perpetrators of abuse on the Palestinian people are their very leaders. Whether it is the misappropriation of funds by the Palestinian Authority or the building of terror tunnels by Hamas, the leadership has shown anywhere from little to no concern for their citizens to a desire to use them as pawns in a self-serving conflict with Israel. Even in your piece, you try to spin Hamas’s lack of recognition for Israel into something resembling a desire for peace. They have shown nothing to indicate that is what they want. On the contrary, they’ve shown nothing but contempt for the peace process and manipulation of Gaza’s population.
Before I address the most important issue regarding your stance, let me first state a very important point. The Israeli government is by no means without fault. There are certainly events that have taken place that very likely could have been handled differently and in a more productive and yes, maybe even more merciful manner. That being said, as a Jew and son of Holocaust survivors, I do not question the overall approach and actions of the government for one split second. You see Rabbi, and this is something you fail to address in your latest piece, the modern nation of Israel was founded on an often unspoken promise of the words, Never Again. The Jewish people have throughout the ages been targeted for death and destruction merely for being Jewish. From the ashes of the brutal murder of 6 millions Jews the State of Israel was born. I am comfortable in saying that the majority of Jews I have known over the years have preferred peace over conflict. That being said, sometimes you must fight fire with fire, and if that means those who protect you must choose between your safety or the safety of others, I thank God that they do what they are designated to do, see to it that the mass murder of Jews never happens again. If anything, knowing what is at stake, I have grown to increasingly admire Israel’s restraint, and challenge you to find any nation or organization, particularly their enemies that would show anything close to that shown by Israel.
Golda Meir once said the following:
“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
I urge you to not only read that quote Rabbi Lerner, but to study it, meditate on it, pray on it, and sleep on it. If after that you don’t restructure your thought process, maybe I will conclude I was incorrect about your intentions, an outcome that will sadden me significantly, but do nothing to change how I and many other Jewish people feel.
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