NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

November 24, 2012

Column: Speaking out in defense of Israel

Barbara Anderson
Newburyport Daily News

---- — “Enough of the silence.

It’s time to speak up.

It’s time to speak out.

It’s time to speak truth.

It’s time to speak on behalf of Israel.”

Rabbi Baruch HaLevi, Congregation Shirat Hayam of the North Shore.

Time-out from dealing with the aftermath of the election in Massachusetts, to be one Gentile columnist speaking up, speaking out, speaking truth on behalf of Israel.

Sunday evening Chip Ford and I attended the Israel Solidarity Rally in Swampscott.

We’d been watching the news reports about the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas. There had been 1,300 rockets since January of this year, close to 2,000 more this month; over 14,000 since 2001, which was our own turn to face the hatred of radical Muslims.

Fortunately, Israelis have their own version of President Reagan’s “Star Wars” program, meant to protect us from an attack by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Their “Iron Dome” has shot down most of the rockets, or Israel would have been wiped off the map as its Arab enemies have long desired.

We Americans wouldn’t put up with, on average, three rockets a day; we would respond as we did in Afghanistan, which harbored the terrorists that attacked us. The Israeli army was poised on the border with Gaza, preparing to invade if their air-attack defense doesn’t end the aggression. Pro-Hamas activists rallied in some of our cities, blaming Israel for defending itself. Pro-Israel Americans began to speak up in response.

I’m not getting into the religious aspect of God giving the Holy Land to the Jews, either before or after the Romans occupied it. The simple historic truth, as far as I can determine it, is this: After Rome, Turkey occupied Palestine. Turkey picked the wrong side in World War I, joining with Germany; they lost. Great Britain, which led the battles in the Mideast, won Palestine, and allowed Jews to settle there. After World War II, when aggressive Germany lost again, the United Nations partitioned the area between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The Arab border countries immediately attacked. Israel won. The Arabs attacked again in 1967. I clearly remember the Six Day War, which the Israelis won, picking up now-disputed land in the process. In 2005, they agreed to turn over part of the area to the Palestinians. Terrorist organization Hamas used their new space to launch more rockets at Israel. This month, it stepped up the attacks. The United States and Egypt have just brokered a cease-fire that won’t solve the long-range problem.

So where does history go from here? If Israel falls, terrorism wins; evil wins, as it almost won in World War II.

I wish the United Nations had given the Jews Germany instead of Israel. After we taught the necessary lesson in Afghanistan, and once we made (and make) sure that no country has weapons of mass destruction to use against us and our other allies, it would be nice to be out of there. As young Israelis just faced death and wounds from an invasion of Gaza, young members of the Coalition of the Willing have died and been disabled in the Middle East. Now that the United States is poised to become energy-independent, there will soon be no other reason for us to be there than defense of Israel against barbarians.

As Washington tries to find a rational immigration policy, it should start by inviting Israelis to come here, where their brains, industry and courage will enhance the American dream as long as they don’t join liberal American Jews who vote, incredibly, for Big Government and for gun control.

In the meantime, we joined the rally in Swampscott, praying “Peace to you, I wish the best for you.” We all had the cease-fire to be thankful for, on our American Thanksgiving Day.

Here is a related item for which I am thankful this week: my nephew (from my second marriage) Benjamin Morse, has just published the children’s Bible (Part 1, Old Testament) that he’s been working on for eight years. “The Oldest Bedtime Story Ever” from the Bible Beautiful Series is a joyous work of art. With his two master’s degrees, one in biblical interpretation at Oxford University and the other in modern art at the Courtauld Institute in London, Ben has created an amazing book using his medium of cut-out figures and colorful patterns, with whimsical touches like Noah’s family wearing yellow rain slickers, and charming narrative.

He gave me my autographed copy when he was here last weekend. It’s just become available at Amazon, I am ordering several for Christmas presents. His mother, Marblehead native Jane Anderson Morse, was one of the first women ordained an Episcopal minister. She died at age 51; her son honored her by using her photo in the cutout of the whirlwind from which God spoke to Job.

Jane got her doctorate on the Book of Job, which remains a mystery to many of us, as it tries to explain the suffering of innocents. Yet despite all the troubles in the world, it was right to say my favorite Jewish prayer as we sat down for Thanksgiving dinner: “Grateful, am I, to You.”

---

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a regular contributor to the opinion pages.