New Haven Register
Published 5:22 pm EST, Sunday, January 12, 2020
Stanley Heller once again uses distortion, prevarication and disregard for context in his relentless campaign to demonize and delegitimize the state of Israel. Heller does this initially by citing groups and individuals who opposed the establishment of the state or its existence.
The first group represents a diverse group comprising early immigrants some of whom were affiliated with the early German Reform movement and who were concerned that support of a Jewish state would interfere with their assimilation into American culture and open them to the old canard of “dual loyalty.” A similar approach in prewar Germany didn’t work out well for the Jews there.
The second group, mainly Satmar ans Neturei Karta, represent ultra-Orthodox sects that believe that a Jewish state should not be established until the advent of the Messiah. The vast majority of worldwide Jewry reject both positions.
Finally, Heller accuses Israel of a variety of crimes. Israel, like all other countries, is not perfect. Having endured 70 years of terrorism, five wars and continuing threats of destruction by its neighbors, its responses might occasionally be considered “over the top.” However, Israel has a robust judiciary, comparable to that of the Western democracies, and investigates and often prosecutes perceived misdeeds. Its policy towards minorities, religions, women, gays and other marginalized groups is comparable to that of those democracies and far surpasses its neighbors who wish its destruction.
Heller cites the Holocaust as an excuse for Israel’s creation. In fact the Holocaust as well as the antecedent 2,000 years of persecution is ample justification for the Jewish state. Had it existed in 1938 the Holocaust would not have occurred.
Coincidentally, I am writing this from Jerusalem where I wander among an incredibly diverse population including Holocaust survivors, Jews fleeing persecution in the former Soviet Union, Vietnamese “boat people,” African Jews fleeing persecution in Ethiopia and African non-Jews fleeing persecution and violence in Sudan and Eritrea, among others.
None of these would have found refuge if Heller’s wish had been granted.
Arthur L. Levy
Chairman, Israel Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council, New Haven Jewish Federation