We had a gratifying turnout at the July 23rd Beth Ami-hosted Solidarity with Israel gathering. On short notice, 150 people crowded into our sanctuary and spilled into the social hall. People from all over Sonoma County came to support Israel and learn how they could help.
Thanks to the Sonoma County Israel Committee for bringing inspiring speakers, several from San Francisco, who offered facts we can use to refute the false accusations made against Israel. We heard about the shameful and deliberate way Hamas uses human shields to make Israel look bad and about the concrete terror tunnels that enable terrorists to infiltrate Israel.

It’s galling that no other country is criticized for not losing enough people in a conflict. Even though Israel sends alerts to Gazan civilians before hitting missile launchers that Hamas deliberately places at mosques, schools, and hospitals and uses to fire rockets at Israeli civilians, Israel is slammed in the media for Hamas-caused casualties. It’s a shame that the concrete donated to build schools in Gaza was used to build extensive terror tunnels, and that Hamas won’t allow Gaza civilians to take refuge in them.

The following are facts documented by Honest Reporting, a wonderful organization dedicated to bringing to light media bias against Israel and publicizing the facts. Learn more at HonestReporting.com.

Since Hamas came to power in Gaza in 2005, it has openly declared hostility and launched thousands of rockets into Israel. Is there any example on Earth where two warring parties have completely open borders with each other?

There has been no blockade on basic food items, medicine, and other humanitarian goods. Since Hamas came to power, trucks pass over the border with Israel almost every day, laden with these supplies. There have been no reports of starvation or health epidemics in Gaza. Even during the recent conflict, supplies of humanitarian goods enter Gaza almost every day. How often does one party in a conflict feed and provide medical services to the ones attacking it?

Perhaps the most important question is this: If the borders were truly “sealed,” how did Hamas manage to import an estimated 800 tons of concrete and 10,000 rockets? Think how many schools, hospitals, and apartments could have been built using the steel and concrete that instead went to build offensive weapons and sophisticated tunnels under the border.

There has never been a complete Gaza siege. However, Israel must make every effort to prevent materials that Hamas uses for warfare from entering the strip. If the current border restrictions still allowed Hamas to build up an arsenal of 10,000 rockets and create over thirty tunnels into Israel, one can only imagine what they would do with a completely open border.

Now that the world’s journalists have left Gaza and are free to speak, they have revealed the level of intimidation that went on if anyone dared report something unfavorable to Hamas. Any journalist who didn’t fall into line was expelled.

The following remarks are excerpted from an interview with the Israeli writer Amos Oz. Thank you to Yona Miller for sending the interview information:

“What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?
What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?
I am afraid that there can be no way in the world to avoid civilian casualties among the Palestinians as long as the neighbor puts his child on his lap while shooting into your nursery.
This morning I read very carefully the charter of Hamas. It says that the Prophet commands every Muslim to kill every Jew everywhere in the world. It quotes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (an anti-Semitic diatribe) and says that the Jews control the world. So I hardly see a prospect for a compromise between Israel and Hamas. I have been a man of compromise all my life. But even a man of compromise cannot approach Hamas and say: ‘Maybe we meet halfway and Israel only exists on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.’
Unlike European pacifists, I never believed the ultimate evil in the world is war. In my view the ultimate evil in the world is aggression, and the only way to repel aggression is unfortunately by force. That is where the difference lies between a European pacifist and an Israeli peacenik like myself. A relative of mine who survived the Nazi Holocaust in Theresienstadt always reminded her children and her grandchildren that her life was saved in 1945 not by peace demonstrators with placards and flowers but by Soviet soldiers and submachine guns.” (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
Here’s a sobering quote from Hamas that shows what Israel is up against: “We love death the way the Israelis love life.” How do you make peace with that philosophy?

What You Can Do:

When you see a negative headline, article, letter, or op-ed, respond with a letter to the editor. Copy it to IsraelAction@1IS.US. Even if your letter isn’t printed, the editors take notice.

Write to your Senators and Representative so they know their constituency supports Israel.
Donate. One very effective pro-Israel organization is HonestReporting.com. It’s been rated a 4-star charity (that’s 4 out of 4) with exceptional commitment to accountability and transparency. And Mogen David Adom is always on the ground caring for the injured (www.afmda.org).
The CBA Israel Committee is busy planning Israel-focused events for the coming year, including: a workshop on how to answer Israel’s critics with important facts, to be held after the High Holidays; an Israel Opportunities Fair, with various organizations sharing information about travel and education opportunities: and our annual Israel Celebration at the end of April. Our popular program for young children, Beth Ami & You, will be back this year with Israel-focused fun activities. You are welcome at all these events. Please consider joining the Israel Committee. Watch this space and cybershul for details.
Pick up more information in the Beth Ami lobby or contact Eli Cohen at EliCohen@IsraelUpdate.INFO.

By Esther Baruch