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A letter to Rashida Tlaib

The congresswoman should work to build bridges and help Palestinians forego their fantasy of destroying the Jewish state

Dear Congresswoman Tlaib,

You certainly created quite a furor last week with your plans to visit our country in what the programme published on Twitter refers to as “U.S. Congressional Delegation to Palestine”.

I don’t know why you didn’t join the 41 Democratic members of Congress who visited Israel last week. I assume it was because you had a different agenda.

Your letter to our Interior Minister stating that you would like to request admittance to Israel in order to visit your relatives “and specifically my grandmother who is in her 90’s” read somewhat hollow following your decision not to come to Israel after Aryeh Deri acceded to your request. I imagine you expected him to refuse and that would have added to your sense of being hounded and mistreated.

I understand your support for BDS and your desire to wipe the Jewish State off the map, but we aren’t about to go away. I also understand your desire to turn back the clock to 1948, but there are seven million Jews living in Israel today, many of whom are refugees and the descendants of refugees from Arab lands and we are not moving.

You have had a privileged life. You are a graduate of Wayne State University, Western Michigan University and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

My father was also a law student, but Hitler came to power and under Nazi legislation Jews were barred from all public schools and universities. He fled Germany with his parents and built a new life for himself elsewhere. He never expected to return to Germany under a Law of Return and recognized that he needed to open a new chapter in his life and move on just as your parents did.

The so-called “Palestinian refugees” need to move on too. It is now more than seventy years since the State of Israel was established. The past cannot be resurrected however much some Palestinians may still hang on to what they claim are the door keys of their ancestors’ homes.

Israel is not about to disappear and, given our history as Jews, we will never allow our country to be turned into a bi-national state in which we would be the minority. We know only too well what that would mean.

You are in a unique position as a Member of Congress of Palestinian descent. Instead of trying to make trouble, why don’t you work to build bridges between Israelis and Palestinians and help Palestinians come to terms with reality and forego their fantasy of destroying Israel.

The only way there will ever be a fully-fledged Palestinian state is in the context of a two-state solution. Help your fellow Palestinians to come to that realization while it still may be possible.

About the Author
Rabbi Boyden was educated and received his rabbinical ordination in London, England. Having served as the rabbi of Cheshire Reform Congregation for thirteen years, he made aliyah with his family in 1985. He has established Reform congregations in Ra'anana and Hod Hasharon and previously served as director of the Israel Reform Movement's Beit Din.