Delegitimization of Israel: Who we are or what we do?

I write this in response to the article by Carl Hoffman on a talk given by Dr. Einat Wilf,  Delegitimization of Israel: Same War, different tactics  (ESRAmagazine #178).

Dr. Einat Wilf

Dr. Wilf raises the issue of the world’s present low opinion of Israel and the growing danger of economic sanctions, maintaining that this is based on ‘who we are’ rather than ‘what we do'. This being the divide between left and right in Israeli politics. I agree that this issue is of major importance and that we need to mobilize every possible source to change our international image. However, I strongly disagree that the main cause of this threatening situation is ‘Who we are’. Of course there are and always will I WRITE this in response to the article by Carl Hoffman on a talk given by Dr. Einat Wilf,  Delegitimization of Israel: Same War, different tactics  (ESRAmagazine #178). Dr. Wilf raises the issue of the world’s present low opinion of Israel and the growing danger of economic sanctions, maintaining that this is based on ‘who we are’ rather than ‘what we do'. This being the divide between left and right in Israeli politics. I agree that this issue is of major importance and that we need to mobilize every possible source to change our international image. However, I strongly disagree that the main cause of this threatening situation is ‘Who we are’. Of course there are and always will I WRITE this in response to the article by Carl Hoffman on a talk given by Dr. Einat Wilf,  Delegitimization of Israel: Same War, different tactics  (ESRAmagazine #178). Dr. Wilf raises the issue of the world’s present low opinion of Israel and the growing danger of economic sanctions, maintaining that this is based on ‘who we are’ rather than ‘what we do'. This being the divide between left and right in Israeli politics. I agree that this issue is of major importance and that we need to mobilize every possible source to change our international image. However, I strongly disagree that the main cause of this threatening situation is ‘Who we are’. Of course there are and always will be some people who, for many reasons, will never accept us. But what we do, how we conduct ourselves, how we solve our   problems and rule this country are the issues that will either strengthen or weaken these very people.   There are huge numbers of people  all over the world, including many well-meaning Jews, who care about   Israel, who want to see it as a country where human rights, peaceful coexistence and a search for peace with our neighbors is as basic a part of our policy as is security.   We cannot mobilize people to defend our cause if we do not first change our own conception regarding our ongoing conflict with the Palestinian people.     After the Peace treaty with Egypt and after the Oslo accords, I travelled in Europe, and was greeted with overwhelming sympathy and good feeling towards our country. This, unlike the atmosphere even amongst moderate, liberal and I might add, very often intelligent people of today, many of whom do have a thorough understanding of the complexity of the situation.     I need to add that our own self image     is no less vital for our ongoing life and hope in the future of our country, than our image amongst the nations of the world.    

Richelle Shem-Tov     


Kiryat Ono         

 

Amazed by the work you do

I BOUGHT two recently-published prize-winning books to tide me over my flight and holiday in Israel, but ended up not liking either. The bookstore in Toronto where I bought them usually only allows one to swap within 14 days, but I was away for longer. I was deciding whether to take them back with me or not when I started reading your ESRAmagazine.  I had always imagined a tiny shop with old books and second-hand clothes, and was amazed and impressed to discover the scope of ESRA’s charitable works and see the photos of your bookstores in the January 2015 magazine. After that, I was thrilled to donate my books to you, and hopefully someone else will enjoy them. I also couldn't believe that you publish such a professional and interesting full color magazine, which I enjoyed on the long flight home.

Denise Abrahamson Rootenberg

Thornhill, Ontario, Canada

 

Anyone with connections to Norway?

Many thanks for publishing the article on Chris Brown, the town crier of Wimborne in Dorset (ESRAmagazine #179). All avenues I have tried so far to connect with someone in Norway who might help trace the family of Eva, the Bergen-Belsen survivor that Chris Brown’s mother became friendly with, has not up until now borne fruit. 

I was wondering if perhaps an ESRAmagazine reader with family or connections in Norway might be able to help out here with suggestions as to whom would be best to contact.

Many thanks,

Lydia Aisenberg

Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek

Email: aisen@mh.org.il


Credit where it’s due

The photographs of "By the Rivers of Babylon" exhibition at the Bible Lands Museum (ESRAmagazine 179) should be credited to Avi Noam and Ardon Ben-Hama.

 

Magazine stimulates the desire to find out more about our roots

Having picked up ESRAmagazine (#179) on my computer, I have found it most interesting and informative, and it stimulates the desire for more knowledge of our culture, roots and history.   It is attractively presented, with beautifully produced illustrations.   I shall be looking for a copy of Albert Edelson’s Holocaust book, Sailing Against the Current, which was reviewed in that issue.   

Leah Padowich Jacobson

New Zealand

 

 

Barbara, Linda and Zena: Three exemplary women

I want to add to the meaningful tributes in an earlier ESRAmagazine to my two friends, Barbara and Linda, who died during the past months and to Zena Clayton, a more recent ESRA member.

I knew Barbara Lyons from the earliest days of the 35’s Women’s Campaign for Soviet Jewry, which was founded in London in the early 1970s. Her baby daughter, Nicole, cut her teeth on demonstrations. Most of us had kids who played a part in our activities although we women were not socially involved. We hardly ever discussed our personal lives, there wasn’t time and it was not important. Barbara was different. She, with her no-nonsense manner and a good word for everyone, was also a friend. When she invited us to her son’s barmitzvah, which they made in the garden of their home, I said to her: “You and Neil should come to Israel, you would fit in so well.” Years later she quoted me.

We were not a Zionist movement yet most of the leadership of 35’s came on aliyah over the years from 1973 onwards. I believe the relationship we had established with Jews in the USSR who were not free to leave, enhanced our identity with the State of Israel.

Linda Isaacs I met later. I did not know of her tragic beginnings - I thought she had had a privileged life, not like me losing everything twice in Israel and still planning to return. With her Liverpool warmth and flashing smile she attracted everyone who came into her orbit.

My other friend who died in the same period as Barbara and Linda was Zena Clayton. I met her the day we formed the 35’s in 1971. She was one of the first women in London with whom I became friendly when I returned there from Israel with my family. She had two daughters in Israel, but she and her husband David made aliyah much later. Soon after she arrived in Israel she put her expertise as a bereavement counselor to good purpose. Both she and her husband David, who sadly passed on not long after they moved to a retirement home in Herzliya, were immensely generous human beings and supported many good causes.

Most of the other 35’s women who made aliyah, apart from those who joined ESRA, became prominent in a variety of existing organizations, ranging from Yad Sarah, absorption of Russian and Ethiopian olim, WIZO and more.

So I make this tribute to these three exemplary women from the UK who will always be remembered and revered, both by their families and also by all who came into contact with them. I am proud to be amongst them.

Zelda Harris

Tel Aviv

 

Scholarship will cover my expenses. Thank you

I wanted to give my appreciation for the wonderful help of the scholarship that will be used to cover expenses for my studies as a registered nurse. Thank you ESRA staff, volunteers and social worker Liron.  

JZ

Zichron Yaakov

 

No recognition for the suffering people of Sderot

In ESRAmagazine #166 I wrote about Mezach, a project set up by Sapir College to help Sderot residents to achieve their rights. One of the problems that arose time and again was from residents here who suffered from the rocket attacks for over 14 years but did not receive compensation even if they had to stop work.

Aviva is a case in point. Although she received help from Hosen for immediate psychological help and from the Center for Mental Health, she has not received any compensation as a trauma victim because her state was caused by trauma suffered by her adult children from rocket attacks on two different occasions. Her state worsened with the Protective Edge war.

Mezach has set up a sub-committee to try and change the conditions for recognition and compensation which today is only for a one-time terror attack. This is the case according to the National Insurance Law of 1970. No recognition is given to the ongoing suffering of many of the residents of Sderot and Gaza settlements.

By the way, ESRA visitors have offered professional help for Sderot residents, but I think that the case of Aviva shows that it is not always a case of needing professional help, but also needing financial help.

Adele Rubin

Sderot

I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for the help my family received from ESRA’s Welfare Fund. I hope you will continue with your efforts that bring comfort, support and pleasure to people.

Aviva

Sderot


 

 

 


 

 

 

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