BDS

We all want peace: Letter to the editor by an Israeli, published by West Dunbartonshire newspaper


Here is the letter published by the Dunbarton Reporter on June 14th by Jason Pearlman of Modi’in, Israel, in response to the ongoing controversy surrounding West Dunbartonshire’s boycott of Israeli goods.

Sir,

The name of West Dunbartonshire has featured widely in media concerned with the Middle East this past week.  Here in Israel, it is has taken a notable hit following news of a ban on Israeli goods, and especially Israeli books – for Israeli Jews, there scarcely exists a scarier echo of the Third Reich.

I am Jewish, was born in the UK and now live in Israel.  I live in an Israeli city near the West Bank, and am often in Jerusalem – accordingly I have regular contact with Palestinians, and like a majority of Jews in Israel, daily contact with Israeli Arabs, Christian, Muslim and Druze alike.  What for you may be a political campaign, a hobby, a cause to support – for me is daily life.  And let me tell you a bit about it.

When I drop off my kids at kindergarten in the morning, there is an armed guard at the door.  When I enter any shop, hospital, cinema, museum or office, there too is an armed guard who checks my bag, and either passes a wand over me, or requests I walk through a metal detector.

In my home, I am required by law to have a safe room, with reinforced concrete and an airtight window and door.  I have gas masks under my bed – for me, my wife and my infant children.  I pay a high level of tax to afford a security service capable of defending me and my family from daily attempts on our lives, whether in the form of bombs, shootings, stabbings, deliberate hit and runs, or rockets from neighbouring territories and states. These attacks pre-date 1967, they occurred before Israel’s independence in 1948.  Indeed they began as early as the 1920s, and were carried out by those incited into ‘jihad’ by the Islamic Mufti of Jerusalem and his supporters – a man who, while your parents and grandparents were fighting the Nazis, was making alliances with Hitler.

Yet, when my wife was diagnosed with cancer, she was treated by Jewish and Arab doctors and nurses, and alongside Jewish and Arab patients.  Her surgeon was a Palestinian from Hebron, her nurse was a Druze from Haifa and her day care doctor was a Jew from Jerusalem.  This is not reported in the media, because it is not unique.  This is normal life, and is happening right now.

Speaking of the media, Israel’s press is the most open in the Middle East.  If you doubt me, ask any British journalist in Israel; they have just been across the region covering the Arab Spring – see if they really feel that sound humanitarian reason would propose a boycott of Israeli publications over those from other states.  There is freedom of speech in Israel like nowhere else in the region.

I am not suggesting Palestinian life is all fine and dandy.  But myths such as a humanitarian crisis when economic figures are booming, and claims of occupation when Palestinians are suppressed by their own leaders, mean the Palestinian rhetoric as it is heard around the world is far from reflective of reality.  Moreover, Palestinian television and press continue to preach, to children and adults alike, the culture of jihad, the honour of martyrdom and sickeningly deny Jews the right to exist.  Farfur the ‘Mickey Mouse’ character who sung of suicide bombings to five year olds is just one example.

Finally, I ask you to consider the root of this motion to boycott Israeli goods, and books of all things.  The Left in the UK is enduring difficult times.  In recent years we have seen its key figures invite Islamist preachers and supporters of homophobia, suicide bombings and domestic abuse.  We have seen leaders of Israel’s political opposition unable to speak in the UK.  We have seen university unions deny the very definition of anti-Semitism, and leading members of the Houses of Parliament voice support for suicide bombings.

Remember 7/7, remember the attack on Glasgow’s airport.  Imagine having this threat every day, not for a decade, but for a century.

I am not asking you to agree with Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians.  I am simply asking you understand why and how these policies have come to be.  I am asking you to listen to mainstream voices in Israel, not simply the hard Left or Right.

We all want peace.  But I want a peace that assures my children a future.  We may disagree on how we achieve this, but banning my leaders, boycotting my goods, blocking my books, silencing my voice – does only harm to all of us.

Jason Pearlman,

Modi’in, Israel

23 replies »

  1. Informed, eloquent, fair, balanced and honest – could there be a greater contrast than between this brilliant letter, and the ignorant, groundless spite of Bollan and his ilk?

  2. Mr Jason Pearlman, what a fantastic guy you are and, like OyVaGoy said, what a conrast to the uncouth Bollan.

    Best wishes to you and yours.

  3. The problem is that the hard, and perhaps even the not so hard, left, in the UK and elsewhere, do not want peace.

  4. A wonderful letter, I agree, but we on CiF are used to reading similar pieces by Israelinurse and others. It won’t change the minds of Palestinian lobbyists.

    What we are fighting are latent deeply ingrained anti-Jewish preconceptions that are impervious to reason. Some Scottish Socialists need a cause, an underdog to champion and the Palestinians right now happen to fit the bill.

    • The problem with this letter is it’s a whine. It merely protests the Israeli Jews’ innocence and makes a plea for security. The anti-Israel crowd everywhere believes in the Israeli Jews’ inherent guilt, for the unpardonable sin of “dispossessing the indigenous of Palestine” (what the Arab settlers falsely calling them “Palestinians” actually desire to do to the indigenous Palestinians, the Jews), and consequently think the lack of security is come-uppance, to be stopped only by “rectifying” the “injustice” of Zionism.

      Indeed, I expect the early passage, “I am Jewish, was born in the UK and now live in Israel” to attract rejoinders to the effect I have outlined above.

      Stop protesting Israel’s innocence; assume it in every discussion, and start pointing out the Arab imperialists’ guilt.

      • I would point you toward the paragraph that notes these attacks took place before Israel existed.

        Moreover, I am not talking to those who have charged me as guilty, rather those in that corner of the world who have been lambasted with another story.

        • “I would point you toward the paragraph that notes these attacks took place before Israel existed.”

          Noted. However, Zionist guilt in the eyes of doctrinaire anti-Zionists goes back all the way to 1882.

          “Moreover, I am not talking to those who have charged me as guilty, rather those in that corner of the world who have been lambasted with another story.”

          I agree with the others who say that’s important and worthwhile. But, I don’t think there are many fence-sitters left with regard to the Jewish-Arab conflict. I think (though I could be wrong) most people today have been driven to one of the poles–Israel’s essential innocence, or Israel’s essential guilt. Viewed from one of the poles, mere reiterations of the particular things each of the sides has done to the other are of no consequence; the guilt for the entire cycle of violence is apportioned according to one’s belief as to who is the essential wrong-doer. That means, according to the answer to the question, Who is the native here and who is the invader; who is the indigenous people, and who the settler-colonist.

    • M H – do you know what all the citizens of Israel, Muslim, Christian and Jew, will be doing next Wednesday at 11 am and again at 7pm?

      We’ll be taking part in a national drill simulating rocket attacks. That means that when the siren goes off, we’ll be practising getting into our safe rooms or air raid shelters at school, at work, at home or in public places within the allocated time which ranges from zero to a maximum of three minutes. That’s no mean feat, particularly if you have small children, elderly or disabled relatives.

      We’ll also be testing a new system whereby we get alarm messages via SMS and making sure our gas masks are in order.
      Do you have children, Mostly? Would you be happy about having to explain to a two year old why he or she needs to co-operate with learning to use a gas mask? Believe me, it’s no picnic.

      http://magen.israelpost.co.il/abach/Masks.aspx

  5. Mostly – do demonstrate your incredible and wide-ranging knowledge of Israeli life and point out exactly where Jason’s letter is wrong.

    Or toddle off.

    • “could there be a greater contrast than between this brilliant letter, and the ignorant, groundless spite of Bollan and his ilk?”

      I have no idea whether it was intended, but it really does fit m h extremely well. Perhaps he should change his last name to spite – “mostly spite” would just about cover it.

  6. Fairplay: ‘A wonderful letter, I agree, but we on CiF are used to reading similar pieces by Israelinurse and others. It won’t change the minds of Palestinian lobbyists.’

    I agree that this letter had echoes of the majestic Israelinurse’s writing.

    Letters like this might not change the minds of Palestinian lobbyists, but they very much change the minds of the general public and are very worthwhile, wouldn’t you agree?

    • “Letters like this might not change the minds of Palestinian lobbyists, but they very much change the minds of the general public”
      Chas, you beat me to it. That’s exactly why it’s so important.

  7. Israel is kept in a constant state of war by her neighbours. Under these conditions most countries would have declared a permanent state of emergency, opponents would be thrown in the prison, severe restrictions placed on media and foreign reporters and for all intents and purposes, democracy would have been suspended (hark back to Britain in WWII).

    Not so in Israel. Even under the threat from her enemies 24/7, her citizens and guests (detractors like Guardian reporters) are allowed freedoms that most in the Arab world have probably even stopped dreaming of and many who side with her enemies are actually allowed to sit in the parliament!

    Compared to that, how long did Gerry Adams have to wait before he was allowed to take his (rightful?) place in the Westminster? Good grief, do you remember the time when we were not even allowed to hear his or any other republican partisans’ voice on TV and actors had to provide the voice over.

    Israel is an exemplar of liberty and that’s what grates the islamist loving progressive left.

    The progressive left has no morals, period.

  8. Bravo Mr Pearlman for this eloquent and measured response to the West Dunbartonshire Council’s uninformed and therefore mindless animosity towards Israel. I have sent it to everyone in my address book.

    Please take no notice of the mean-spirited, hate-twisted “contribution” of Mostly Harmless.

  9. “Letters like this might not change the minds of Palestinian lobbyists, but they very much change the minds of the general public and are very worthwhile, wouldn’t you agree?”

    Absolutely, OVG.

    There’s another world beyond the blogosphere! Local newspapers are generally not as politically motivated as the nationals. There are exceptions but they’re quite easy to spot.
    It is also the case that local politicians almost always read the locals, not least because they’re often in them!

  10. Wonderful letter and well targeted at decent people, many of whom I’m quite sure, share our disquiet at what is being proposed by the left and bigots like certain councillors on Dunbarton Council.

    What we hear and see in the media are the views of the vocal minority. I’m quite sure that the silent majority, if asked, would have a great deal of support and empathy with Israel, seeing as they do the way Israel has pushed back at exactly the forces of medievalism that threaten the UK and much of Europe.

  11. In fact, I have my doubts as to whether this guy, if he is a guy, really exists. There seems to be some form, last week it was a ‘muslim’ who thinks Israel is hard done by, this week an ‘Israeli’ citizen who thinks Israel is hard done by. I can’t wait for next week’s CifWatch post, ‘A gay girl in Damascas writes to West Dunbartonshire council’

    • So you find it hard to believe that there really are two people in the world who are prepared to point out some home truths about demonization of Israel?

      Fascinating…

    • I know him personally, MH.

      Can you answer Penny’s question from above: ‘Mostly – do demonstrate your incredible and wide-ranging knowledge of Israeli life and point out exactly where Jason’s letter is wrong.’

    • Hello… I do exist, but it sounds like you wish I didn’t. Ah, Mr. Ahmedinijad, may I introduce you to…..