Dear friends, Israel has become more controversial than it has been in many decades. One hears a lot of unfavorable comments about Israel from many quarters. Some of us may feel that much of the criticism of Israel is old-fashioned anti-Semitism. One wonders about those whose criticism is solely limited to Israel, as if Israel was one of the most oppressive places in the world. One wonders, for example, why those talking about settlements say nothing about the massive settlements of ethnic Chinese in Tibet and to destroy Tibetan culture, resulting not in terrorism but in self-immolation as a form of protest. One wonders why much of the world feels the Palestinians are entitled to a state of their own but not the Kurds. Could this unevenness be anti-Semitism? There are widespread reports that young American Jews are less supportive of Israel than their elders because of Israeli policies. The main reason I think lies elsewhere. Because of the State of Israel, Jews are no longer a people of powerless victims, as we often were in pre Israel days. Those whose lives have been lived, with all of the benefits that the State of Israel's existence brought, no longer deeply feel the problems that Israel's existence put an end to; they don't realize that the lives they lead would be quite different if Israel had not come into existence. There are those who say that we have a right or even a duty to criticize Israel's policies. That may indeed be true, but we must not lend our support to those whose real aim is not to get Israel to change her policies, but to see Israel disappear. This May, we will celebrate the 68th anniversary of the founding of Israel. Let us be proud of what Israel has accomplished, proud of its existence and unafraid of those who threaten it.
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