Rabbi Arthur Lavinsky of Beth El Congregation in Phoenix, AZ wrote to the AZ Republic in response to an anti-Israel article written by Bishara A. Bahbah. It is reproduced here to do my part to inform.
Earlier this week, there was a horrible anti-Israel article written by Bishara A. Bahbah in the Arizona Republic, and I decided to write a letter to the editor as a rebuttal to his lies. While I’m not sure that my letter will be published, I would like to share it with you, my friends and congregants. (As a postscript to my letter, I specified that while I am the rabbi at Beth El Congregation; I wrote this as an individual and that my views did not represent the views of those of the congregation or its officers).
Letter to the Editor:
Adolph Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, was famous for having said “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.” Goebbels would have been proud of Bishara A. Bahbah’s piece “The real losers in Gaza: Civilians, peace process.” Bahbah’s article was filled with familiar lies and distortions about the Middle East and failed to place the blame for the recent violence squarely on the shoulders of those responsible for the recent violence, namely the Islamo-Fascists of Hamas and their supporters.
There is indeed a tragedy of epic proportions unfolding as innocent civilians, both in Gaza and Israel, suffer terrible disruption in their lives, including countless deaths and injuries. But we must not forget that it was Hamas which decided not to extend the cease fire that it had flagrantly violated for months, and which erupted into war when Islamic terrorists launched hundreds of rockets into Israel, forcing Israel to respond quickly and decisively as any sovereign nation would do.
The express goal of Hamas is to inflict a maximum of civilian casualties, not only upon Israel but on their own population, for even Muslims who fall victims to their brothers’ bloodthirst are hailed as “Shahids” – martyrs who will enter paradise surrounded by 72 virgins, ready to indulge their desires. These terrorists actually increase the bloodshed among the ranks of their own innocent civilians by purposely embedding themselves and their armaments in neighborhoods, schools, and hospitals. In sharp contrast, Israel has taken unprecedented measures to minimize the number of civilian casualties even among its enemies. Yet sadly, because the cowardly Hamas terrorists use their women and children as pawns, the number of civilian casualties soars.
Never before have we seen the likes of Hamas cutthroats who bask in the pool of blood which they have initiated.
Hamas representative Fathi Hamad proudly declared:
“For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly, [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death as much as you desire life.”
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas) Feb. 29, 2008]
click this URL if you would like to watch this speech
It seems that every time Hamas is handed a resounding military defeat by Israel, its leaders call for increased violence, and vow to erase the “Zionist Entity” (They can’t even bring themselves to say the word “Israel”). Hamas caused this war by initiating a barrage of rocket fire into Southern Israel and it is now solely within Hamas’ power to end the carnage. This cannot be achieved by a cease fire imposed by the United Nations, the European Union or the United States. Hamas needs to surrender unconditionally, abstain from all terrorist activity, and begin to deal with Israel in the arena of diplomacy. Until they do, every loss of life and limb, every ounce of innocent blood spilled on both sides of the border, should rightfully be attributed to the murderers of Hamas.
Praying for a lasting and just peace for all,
Rabbi Arthur Lavinsky