Now, Mr. Silver, veteran Huffington Post blogger, doesn't spend the entire essay attacking Israel's existence, the way you would expect him to from the article's title. Instead, it's a long, rambling complaint about how the poor suffering Palestinians are suffering so much because they have to pass through checkpoints. Even while Muslims are rioting all over the Middle East, not to mention dying by the thousands in Syria, it's nice to know the Huffignton Post always has some time to wring their hands over checkpoints.
First, though, there's an attack on Judaism and Jews:
"Around this time every year, Jews plan their return to synagogue for the the high holy days. Rosh Hashanah, followed by Yom Kippur, mark the beginning and celebration of a new year and the day of atonement, where forgiveness is asked for all that was done that hurt others. This year it has me thinking about one of the most important and, yet, least discussed lessons of the Holocaust, the failure of Rabbinic leadership during a time of community crisis. I can tell you firsthand that this isn't something spoken about in Jewish Day Schools.This kind of sneering arrogance could only be published in the Huffington Post. First of all, it's wrong. Every year in my hometown, my rabbi speaks about Jewish radicalism and how it must be combated here and abroad. It's also extremely hypocritical, because while Silver mentions these attacks on Arabs, he doesn't mention the numerous attacks on Jews over the past months and years. But more on that later.
I doubt there will be any mention in your Rabbi's sermon of the recent savage beating in West Jerusalem that almost killed Jamal Julani by young Jewish teenagers. Or of young yeshiva students who firebombed a Palestinian taxi, severely burning a family of 6. The youngest of those responsible was 12. Even my Rabbi's sure to be thoughtful sermon will probably not mention nice Jewish boys who daven, study Torah, eat kosher and throw Molotov cocktails at passing taxis."
Yeah, there are Jewish people who are criminals. Big whoop. In case Mr. Silver isn't aware, Yom Kippur is in two weeks and that's when Jews are supposed to atone and then feel guilty about all the bad things they have done. Apparently that isn't good enough for him, all Jews are supposed to apologize for the reactions of four or five people.
Next, Silver gets to the meat of the article: The Kalandia checkpoint.
"After experiencing Kalendia first hand, I came away realizing that until you have walked through the checkpoint as a pedestrian, you remain ignorant of the mechanism and tactics employed to humiliate and dehumanize everyone who passes through it. Which means you are not fully capable of participating in the Israeli-Palestinian discourse."Of course the Israelis want to "dehumanize" and "humiliate" everyone passing through the checkpoint. They are pure evil, and that's what purely evil people do! And if you're thinking that Mr. Silver himself also is not a "participant" but a propagandist, here is his attempt to prove you wrong :
"As an American Jew predisposed to being sympathetic to Israel, I went to Kalandia with the understanding that the checkpoint was a necessary security apparatus to protect residents of Jerusalem from terrorists attacks....After walking through the Kalandia checkpoint, I came away with a different understanding."Notice the slick dialogue here: He went there thinking that it was necessary...but it isn't. According to him there is no reason for Israel to have to protect itself, nor have the Palestinians ever harmed a hair on a Jewish child's head.
If you don't believe me, read further. When he is challenged on his lack of acknowledgement of Palestinian murdering, he cites this quote in the comments section:
But after writing that, he declares that understanding to be wrong:
"The way the checkpoint at Kalandia works is something else entirely, something totally foreign....On others trips I observed women with babies, children, school kids, elderly and infirm people passing through, all subject to humiliation. A mother holding an infant is not a terrorist, kids going to school are not terrorists, but the humiliation machine doesn't discriminate. It enrages all who interact with it; a dumb machine designed to humiliate and de-spirit humans in the guise of performing border security."Actually, Mr. Silver, a mother holding an infant can easily be a terrorist, as can kids going to school. But because you're a tourist who comes in, looks around, and immediately heads for home without bothering or caring enough to do some basic research, you're not aware of anything like that. There's no excuse not to be informed, it isn't like the long bloody history of this conflict is somehow hidden. Maybe if you care more about Jewish lives than Palestinian "humiliation," you would have bothered to look before churning out another Two Minutes Hate for the Huffington Post.
Mr. Silver then continues with demands of all Jews:
"In Israel, certain places that are very close have perceived distances that are so great that they prevent even the idea of traveling there. Kalandia is such a place, but on a map Kalandia is only 6 miles from the Old City.Mr. Silver would love us to go and gain as polarizing an understanding as he does. But note that Mr. Silver doesn't tell you to go to Sderot, where every day Israeli children run for their lives from rockets. They probably wish they had to worry about mere "humiliation!" He doesn't tell you to go to Itamar, where the Fogel family was murdered in their homes. Or to Gaza, where Vittorio Arrigoni was murdered despite being just as anti-Israel as Mr. Silver here. No, he wants you to see only what he wants you to see. Not the other side.
Next time you visit Israel, go. Next time your friends visit Israel, ask them to go. Next time your Rabbi visits Israel, insist they go and report back to the community."
Now here's Mr. Silver's Rosh Hashanah message:
"As a North American Jew, reading this, please consider that if your support of Israel is uncritical across the board, that makes you culpable for perpetuating the conditions at the Kalandia checkpoint. Your behavior gives the Israeli government permission to act in ways that are antithetical to your Jewish values. I believe that if North American Jews demanded change, the Israeli government would be forced to change.As a North American Jew to another North American Jew, please consider that your single day at the Kalandia checkpoint doesn't equip you to criticize or judge Israeli policies or practices towards the Palestinians. You surely know that the conflict is more complicated than the situation of one group of people in one place at one point in time, at least I would hope so. You are so concerned about perceived humiliation of Arabs, but you don't mention the numerous attacks on Jews. Simply being a Jew and pimping the "asaJew" card doesn't convince me that you are out for the best interests of the Jewish people, and this article isn't helping.
The reason I'm sharing my experiences about Kalendia is so that the moment Rosh Hashanah is over you can act with purpose and work within existing and established Jewish organizations and structures and also leverage your own network that supports Israel to demand more humane treatment of Palestinians at the Kalandia checkpoint. Because of what I have witnessed and experienced firsthand, I understand that if you care about Israel you must also care how Israel treats Palestinians."
I'll say what I always say, if the Palestinians want more humane treatment from the Israelis, the Palestinians should make peace. It's more effective than North American Jews like Mr. Silver jet setting in for a week and blogging.
Here's his conclusion:
"The reason I'm sharing my experiences about Kalendia is so that the moment Rosh Hashanah is over you can act with purpose and work within existing and established Jewish organizations and structures and also leverage your own network that supports Israel to demand more humane treatment of Palestinians at the Kalandia checkpoint. Because of what I have witnessed and experienced firsthand, I understand that if you care about Israel you must also care how Israel treats Palestinians.I have no interest in "demanding" anything from Israel because I'm not Israeli and I have no right to criticize their behavior, because I won't suffer the consequences should this checkpoint come down and the bombings return. And guess what? Most American Jews feel the exact same way. I suggest to Mr. Silver that if he wants more humane treatment for the Palestinians, he could look to the cause of the checkpoints, namely, the state of war between Israel and the Palestinians. It's insane to expect the Israeli government to listen to this arrogant little whiner, especially after he whitewashed Palestinian terrorism and considers their entire society to be "sick."
I encourage you to act with a sense of urgency on the issue of Kalendia, because while your life might not depend it, the lives of Jews in future generations certainly will."
But interestingly enough, Mr. Silver doesn't attack Israel's existence, despite the title of the article. That's good news, but you have to consider that goal must be on his mind, if he gave the article that title. Hopefully we won't see any more of this garbage.