A New Year’s Message

This past November, we saw an unprecedented number of rocket attacks coming from the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip into southern Israel, some reaching as far as Jerusalem. At the same time, we saw aggression from Israel’s Syrian border as well. While Israel was defending against these threats, many supporters of Israel throughout the United States united in order to tell the world that this is wrong. That no country should have to worry about receiving international criticism in the course of defending their innocent civilians, which is any and every countries obligation.

The efforts of the organizations and individuals who organized rallies and prayer groups to help Israel had this point as its guiding thought, that a moral obligation must not be criticized. One of these rallies I had the privilege to attend was organized by Stand For Israel. There were many inspirational speakers who spoke to us about needing to stand united for Israel in its time of need. Rabbi Joseph Potasnick, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis, said it most clearly, “Shema Yisrael, Yisrael Imeinu, Yisrael Echud, listen Israel, Israel is our nation, Israel is one.” We must unite as one in order to tell the world Israel has a right to exist.

All of the speeches that I heard at this rally led me to a big question: why do we wait for a group of terrorists to shoot rockets into Israel, targeting innocent civilians, in order to stand up and say no? There are other dangers that Israel faces when the rockets launched by terrorists are not bombarding them. What about the newspapers that assault Israel with libelous claims? What about college campuses, where Israel is constantly charged with false claims by groups like the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)?

This is what must be realized: We must always be united for Israel, and do what must be done. This applies especially during times where there are not any rockets being shot into Israel by terrorist groups. That is when our defense against the media attacks on Israel is at it’s weakest. Of course, there are select groups of people who respond to these media attacks with a media defense, but this defense is limited. It is limited because these groups do not have the same impact as the rallies that took place during this past November. People must make an effort to say to the world that the media is wrong. That Israel is not an “occupier” or an “apartheid country”.

What must be done?  If you must, switch to a different newspaper. Write a letter to the editor countering the points of the libelous article. But please, for Israel’s sake, do not sit there and remain silent. We must always be united for Israel’s sake. May this New Year brings us peace and no more innocent lives be lost in 2013.

About the Author
Justin Goldstein is currently a second year MSW student at Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work.