by David Lentz
Last week Governor Christie returned from his first trip to Israel. He was accompanied, among others, by our own Max Kleinman, UJC MetroWest executive vice president; Jac Toporek, executive director of the N.J. State Association of Jewish Federations; and Mark Levenson, president of the New Jersey-Israel Commission.
We applaud Governor Christie for visiting Israel and for encouraging a strong Israel-New Jersey relationship. We are pleased that he got to see Israel’s security concerns and dilemmas first-hand. It is important that the Jewish community and others encourage influentials to visit Israel. This experience is life changing, as many of us know from personal experience, whether traveling with family or accompanying our non-Jewish friends and colleagues.
Accusations against Israel, however, continue to make the headlines in many newspapers, including The New York Times (NYT) and the Star Ledger. In last Sunday’s NYT (April 14), former President Jimmy Carter accused Israel of abandoning its commitment to a two-state solution.
“Since 1967, the consensus in the international community and among the majority of Israelis has been that there would be two political entities, with Israelis returning to their pre-1967 borders except for some small land swaps along the border…As late as May 2009, President Obama accepted this concept as the basis for peace. This strategy has been abandoned as Israel tightens its control over the West Bank and East Jerusalem, now populated by more than 2.5 million Palestinian Muslims and Christians.”
He also accused Israel’s concern about Iran’s nuclear proliferation as a cover up for its “real goal” — a one-state Israel.
Last week also saw the re-establishment of diplomatic discussions with Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russia, China, and the United States. No new ground was broken; the only result was the decision to meet again in a month’s time. This is an ongoing and well-known strategy of the Iranian government, which is to keep the world talking and waiting while they continue to enrich uranium and get closer to the nuclear weapons goal. Israel’s prime minister was the only national leader to complain that six big world powers had given Iran "a freebie" in a new agreement that permits Tehran to enter negotiations about its disputed nuclear program without first halting the enrichment of uranium that could be used in a nuclear bomb.
And just Monday, in a Star Ledger op-ed, Dr. Asaf Arref, founder of the American Arab Foundation, described the Jews who fought for independence in 1948 as terrorists and Israel an occupying country.
“Since 1967, it [Israel] has controlled the lives of millions of Palestinians under an oppressive military regime whose legal system is not designed to procure justice, but to serve the interests of the occupying forces. Unlike New Jersey, Israel is not a country for all its citizens. Israeli laws fundamentally favor Jews, while Arabs, Christians and Muslims are treated with disdain and are subject to hideous, discriminatory practices.”
These accusations are false. It is imperative that we keep our community, friends, families, colleagues and public officials informed on the facts related to Israel. The Israeli government has worked tirelessly for peace negotiations. The Palestinians did not accept the Barak and Olmert peace proposals or show up last fall at the negotiating table, at which their place is still empty. How can a two-state solution be created without a partner for peace? For more information on how to refute these kinds of allegations, visit www.campaignfortruth.info.
With the upcoming Presidential and Congressional elections this fall, it is vital to elect politicians who are pro-Israel and support ending Iran’s nuclear proliferation. To learn more we encourage you to attend “Jews and the 2012 Presidential Elections at Adath Shalom in Morris Plains. The program will take place this Sunday, April 22, at 9:30 a.m. and feature Uriel Heilman, JTA’s managing editor.