Harry Pierson 0

Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants in support of Israel's right to self defense

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I respectfully ask that as much as you may support Israel, if you are not a Holocaust survivor or descendant, please do not sign the petition. If you are, please add a comment briefly describing who you are. In either case, please pass this petition along to all eligible signers.

Today's news prominently features an ad attacking Israel, which was published in the New York Times, purportedly signed by "over 300 Holocaust survivors and their descendants." Upon closer examination, it turns out only 40 of the signers were Holocaust survivors.

As a child of two Holocaust survivors, who has been among hundreds and hundreds of Holocaust survivors my entire life, I know what a vast distortion this is as a representation of the position of Holocaust survivors and their opinion of Israel. This ad in the NYT is also prominently featured on the website of the "International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network." This needs to be countered.

As Holocaust survivors and their descendants, we are painfully aware of the importance of Israel. We are in 100% of support of Israel's right to self-defense, including stopping all acts of aggression against the citizens of the State of Israel.

Israel is held to a double standard no other country in the world is asked to accept. After a single attack on US civilians, the US carpet bombed Afghanistan, and remains in Afghanistan 13 years later. According to British Medical Journal Lancet, the US and its allies killed 600,000 Iraqi civilians, just because of the (erroneous) belief that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Yet as awful as Saddam Hussein was, no American civilians were ever targeted.

Despite all precedents in human history of the universally accepted right of national self defense, Israel is targeted and held out for derision when it responds to to thousands of Palestinian rockets aimed at Israel. These are not bottle rockets, the Palestinians have Khaibar class rockets, named after a famous slaughter of Jews by Muslims, rockets capable of flying 125 miles with a 375lb explosive payload. Israel remains one failure of Iron Dome away from one of these rockets hitting a Tel Aviv highrise, with a result of dozens or hundreds of Israeli fatalities resulting. Only those who hold Jewish blood cheap could say Israel has no right to stop these rockets.

What makes this conflict different from all other conflicts is constant images of Palestinian casualties on a tight 24 hour loop on CNN etc. There exists no such coverage of 192,000 deaths in Syria, this figure coming from retiring UNHCR chairwoman Navi Pillay. She bemoans the lack of world response, yet she oversaw a UN Human Rights Council that issued as many condemnations of Israel as the rest of the world combined. The council voted on June 30, 2006 to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every council session. The Council's special rapporteur on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict is its only expert mandate with no year of expiry.

The constant refrain is that Israel's response is "disproportionate." What is a "proportionate" response? A proportionate response is one that uses only enough force to get the agressor to stop their aggression, and nothing beyond that. Have the Palestinians stopped firing their rockets? If the answer is no, then the fact is Israel's response was insufficient, not disproportionate. The Palestinians are lucky they're not dealing with the US, other Arabs, or the Russians or Chinese. There would be no quarter whatsoever as long as a single rocket or mortar was fired.

No other country in the world goes to the lengths to avoid civilian casualties the way the IDF does. Certainly not the US, which killed 1,000 civilians in the 2nd Battle of Fallujah in November 2004, with indiscriminate artillery fire. Israel makes phone calls, drops leaflets, and "knocks on the roof" in advance of an attack, despite the complete loss of the factor of surprise. If the Palestinians insist on listening to Hamas and becoming casualties, instead of listening to Israeli warnings, the blood is on Palestinian hands only.

Of course horrible accidents happen in a war. That is why the Palestinians should not have turned any differences into a war, and should not have begun attacking Israeli civilians with rockets and terror tunnels.

In any war, approximately 10% of soldiers deaths are due to friendly fire. This was has been no different. Of the 64 IDF casualties, at least 5 are known to have been the result of friendly fire.

Despite the claims that Israel was guilty of war crimes in Operation Castlead, in April 2011, the chairman of the UN inquiry, Richard Goldstone wrote in a Washington Post OpEd:

"We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."

"Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy."

I am certain that any unbiased investigation will show the same result of this conflict.

Six million Jews died in Europe because there was no place for them to go. At the Evian Conference in 1938, country after country said they would not accept European Jewish refugees. Hitler saw the green light when the countries of the world turned their back on the Jews.

Even after the existence of the death camps was revealed, the British restricted Jewish emigration to what is now the State of Israel. Hundreds of thousands, or even millions, could have been saved had Israel existed in 1939.

Almost 1,000,000 Jews were forced out of Arab countries after 1948, their land and belongings confiscated. Jews are under attack today throughout Europe, with cries of "Jews to the ovens" at every pro-Palestinian rally. The German Jews of the 1930s could not conceive of the German people following a lunatic like Hitler, and they paid for their naivety with their lives.

The poor misguided Holocaust survivors and their descendants who have come out in support of the Palestinians are even more misguided than the German Jews of the 1930s. The Hamas Charter calls for the death of all Jews, and the destruction of Israel. It is no secret agenda. If they didn't back up their doctrine with actions, one could try to ignore it. But rather than build an economy and a better life for their children, all Palestinian resources are directed to an existential battle with Israel. In a recent survey conducted by Arab pollsters, 60% of Palestinians say their number one goal in the next five years should be an Islamic Palestine from river to sea, i.e. destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement by an Islamic state. This is no surprise as previous polls have consistently shown that Palestinians are in support of a two state solution, but only as a stepping stone to a one state solution, under Shariah law.

Please separate yourself from the useful idiots, who are easily manipulated by images and body counts. Two thousand dead Israelis would satisfy their need for "even-handedness," but Jews value life and not martyrdom. We will not let a single Jew die unnecessarily just to gain international pity points.

Every life, Palestinian and Israeli, is precious. But until we make clear we will not be beaten by those who would use Palestinian casualties as their ultimate weapon, Israel will know no peace.

Harry M. Pierson
Asheville, NC

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