Answers to a Liberal Rabbi's Blog

On Thanksgiving morning, the rabbi at my synagogue posed a series of questions on his blog.   Today, I took the liberty of responding  to them there.  Following are his queries and my answers.

Why have we, as lovers and supporters of Israel, found it necessary to flood social media like Facebook and Twitter with constant statements of support for Israel? It is truly heartening to see so much support but what need is it fulfilling and what role is it playing as war moves from the battlefield to the Internet?

A:  We don’t ‘find it necessary’ to flood social media with statements of support for Israel and its military.  Israel is a part of us and we a part of it.  It is no more necessary to reiterate this support than it is to end a phone call to loved one with ‘Love you.’  No one makes us.  We want to.

Why is it, as some have argued, inappropriate for those who love Israel to mourn the deaths of children in Gaza? Why do we not include the numbers of  children killed by Israeli bombs as fatalities when we talk about the war?

This question is remarkable similar to one quoted by Daniel Gordis in a June, 2011 Commentary article entitled, Are Young Rabbis Turning on Israel.  At Boston’s Hebrew College’s rabbinic school, students were asked to muse on the following paragraph:

“For Yom Ha-Zikaron, our kavanah [intention] is to open up our communal remembrance to include losses on all sides of the conflict in Israel/Palestine. In this spirit, our framing question for Yom Ha-Zikaron is this: On this day, what do you remember and for whom do you grieve?
Gordis responds, But could one even begin to imagine President Franklin Delano Roosevelt saying to Americans, while the Second World War was raging and young American men were clawing and dying their way across Europe and the Far East, that Memorial Day ought to be devoted in part to remembering those among enemy populations who died at our hands?  http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/are-young-rabbis-turning-on-israel/

Answer::  Either you can’t accept that there is an enemy or you haven’t yet identified one..

Why, almost 20 years after the peace treaty signing on the White House Lawn are we still, it seems, no closer to a two state solution which would end the occupation and give Palestinians a state of their own?

Imagine a Massachusetts native, growing up in that bluest of blue state, attending Brandeis University, devoting a lifetime to working with similar people.  What are the chances that person becomes a Republican or a conservative?

Now imagine a Gaza native, attending Islamist schools in the territory, spending a lifetime associating only with people who, like he had, spent their childhoods aspiring to die in Jihad against Israel and The West.  What are the chances that person would ever grow to accept the validity of a Jewish State in the Levant?

There is no two-state solution because one side doesn’t want it.  It wants the death and destruction not only of nearby Jews, but Coptic, Iraqui and Lebanese Christians as well.

Why is there still the need to argue “Israel’s right and responsibility to defend itself”? Why isn’t this just a given and why would anyone contest this point?

Pls see previous answer.

Why, seven years after Israel “disengaged” from Gaza, has  Hamas and other factions constantly fired life threatening rockets into Israel instead of building their own society and working peacefully with Israel to allow for more access and less restrictions?

Because building a productive economy and society won’t get its leaders what they want.  Otherwise, they might not have destroyed the greenhouses and hydroponic farm operations which were left for them by departing Israeli settlers.

I certainly believe that Israel is justified in responding to the incessant rocket attacks on communities in the South. But, I also believe that this response is by no means a long range solution to the issues facing Israel and I hope that a cease fire will come sooner rather than later and somehow can lead to a Middle East free from pain and suffering.

So, you want a cease fire at any strategic cost, or a cease fire which improves the military and political position of our homeland and our nation?

In the current Weekly Standard, William Kristol muses:  There are some facts so obvious that only a liberal could deny them. One of them is that, from Benghazi to Be’er Sheva, the West is under attack.

By the West I mean those nations—wherever on the globe they are—that hold aloft and carry the torch of liberal civilization, that seek to build on the achievements of modern liberalism and the older traditions of Athens and Jerusalem. The United States stands at the head of the West, having had leadership thrust upon us several decades ago—at about the same time the state of Israel came into existence after the collapse of Western civilization in Europe

Israel is the only country which as a country is an outpost of the West in the East.”

To be an outpost is to be under the threat of attack. To be a leader is to be subject to attack. And so Israel and the United States bear the brunt of the attacks on Western civilization.  http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/west-fights-back_663845.html


Perhaps you don’t believe the West is under attack.  You think that the Ft. Hood murders were work-place violence, that the Underwear Bomber was a troubled young man, and that the assassination of a recruitment officer in Little Rock, Arkansas, was unrelated to Islamic Jihad.  If you are so inclined, you don’t believe the assertions by parents of the Little Rock killer and Underwear Bomber attempted killer that their sons had been radicalized.


As the recent Presidential election was coming to an end, Detroit native Michael Barone wrote that America is at war with itself.


One America listens to Rush Limbaugh, the other to NPR. Each America has its favorite cable news channel…
One America tends to be traditionally religious, personally charitable, appreciative of entrepreneurs and suspicious of government. The other tends to be secular or only mildly religious, less charitable on average, skeptical of business and supportive of government as an instrument to advance liberal causes.  http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/332753/two-americas-michael-barone

Your blog posts make it clear to which America you see yourself as belonging.  What they fail to display is any grasp of the “other side” of important questions.  Inviting Gazans who would just as soon slit your throat, and those of your children,  to sit around singing Kumbaya may be a blog post, but it’s not a survival strategy.


May God bless the United States of America and keep it strong, and may He likewise bless the State of Israel and keep it strong.