Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Israel and Gaza: Today's Required Reading

Today we are seeing just how complex is the dance of diplomacy. Everyone is talking cease fire; everyone is posturing for someone, whether it be for the Israeli Electorate, the Arab Street or the next American President. But behind all the placid platitudes there is still a war going on, as Israel is now devoting itself to systematically destroying the tunnel system in southern Gaza that has been a lifeline for terror. Of course, when Israel does that, they first warn the residents of the area to take shelter elsewhere.

Some highlights from today's reading material. This is hardly exhaustive, as there is plenty analysis to go around. This is just a snippet that might inspire and inform, and most of all be useful to you in confronting these difficult times.

The ADL did a survey of US Newspaper Editorials and found that most are backing Israel, and yes, just about every politician on both sides of the aisle is too. So maybe we don't need to be so concerned about the so-called anti-Israel media bias - though it doesn't hurt to keep a watchful eye.

...Which is exactly what we are doing. I've been speaking about how important it is for each of us to ask what we can do. Take a look at what TBE member Beth Boyer wrote in today's Advocate and Greenwich Time, responding to a prior letter from a pro-Hamas propagandist. And then see what former (and always missed!) TBE member Ron Agronin wrote in the Naples (Fla) News in a spirited defense of Israel. Ron is father of current Beth El'er Robin Druckman.

The ADL has taken Ron's point, that no other nation would tolerate incoming missiles from a neighbor, and turned it into an ad campaign. Go to and click on "Viral Media Campaign Makes Case for Israel" to see the posters.

If you are looking for some quick facts, for speeches, school presentations, interviews or just talking to neighbors, the UJC has provided these talking points.

See this moving video from Israel 21c, Finding hope in the midst of conflict - it will let you know all you need to know about the true value system held by Israel with regard to children - all children.

See Sec. of state Rice's comments to the UN yesterday. From her mouth, as they say, to Obama's ears... I've referenced Marc Shulman's updates in the past and I find them to be most informative. It's at

An excellent always-current display of feeds from Jewish and Israeli news sites and blogs can be found at

See these Myths and Facts on the Gaza crisis, responding to such innacurate claims as:

“Israel broke the cease-fire with Hamas.”
“Israel has reacted to Hamas rocket fire with ‘disproportionate force.’”
“Palestinians in Gaza are innocent victims.”
“Israel's operation in Gaza will only embitter Palestinians and make them seek revenge rather than peace.”
“Israel should negotiate a cease-fire with Hamas.”
“Hamas targets military objectives.”
“Hamas fears Israel's military might.”
“At the end of Operation Cast Lead, Israel will have to negotiate with Hamas.”
“Israel deliberately attacked a UN school.”
“Media coverage of Operation Cast Lead is fair and accurate.”

Meanwhile, I'm delighted to have just heard that Dennis Ross has been appointed as ambassador-at-large and senior advisor to Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton. According to the press release, "In that job, designed especially for him, Ambassador Ross will be the secretary's top advisor on a wide range of Middle East issues, from the Arab-Israeli peace process to Iran. Ambassador Ross will not reprise his previous role as special Arab-Israeli peace envoy, a post that will be held by someone else; rather he will be working closely with both the special envoy and the secretary. Ambassador Ross is expected to take his post immediately after inauguration."

Finally, many of us have gone to Israel with Keshet Tours. They have done wonderful mitzvah work in areas hit hard by the missiles, particularly Sderot and Netivot. See what they are doing at their site, and scroll down for the Keshet Relief Fund.

Don't forget tomorrow evening's solidarity rally at Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford.

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