UPDATE: The NJ Star Ledger printed my letter.
A member of the congregation just pointed out to me a horrible op-ed piece in today’s Star Ledger. It was factually inaccurate and incendiary. Below, is the letter that I just sent to the editor. I hope that others will send letters as well.
To the Editor,
I cannot say with any certainty whether or not Gov. Christie’s trip to Israel benefited the people of New Jersey. However, I do know that Dr. Aref Assaf’s attempt to educate Gov. Christie about Israel was so full of half-truths and mistruths that it demands a response.
Yes, Israel conquered territory in a defensive war in 1967. Israel tried to return the land immediately in exchange for peace but instead received the infamous Arab League Khartoum Resolution of 1967 better known in some circles as “The 3 No’s” – no peace, no recognition and no negotiations. Israel evacuated the Sinai Peninsula in 1978 as part of the Camp David Accords and unilaterally left the Gaza Strip in 2005 which has led to a seemingly ceaseless barrage of rockets on civilian targets in Southern Israel.
Had the Palestinians accepted Israel’s offer to return the conquered territory in 1967, perhaps we would be celebrating the 45th anniversary of an independent Palestinian state this year. Instead of seeking a compromise, though, Israel’s enemies once again chose to pursue Israel’s total annihilation (unsuccessfully – I might add).
I am sorry to hear that Dr. Assaf’s mother is still waiting for Gov. Christie’s visit. However, it is far more tragic that Israel is still waiting for a courageous Palestinian partner willing to compromise for peace.
Rabbi Avi Friedman