An Open Letter to the Man at the Bar

I understand you. I understand how difficult it is to believe me when you see the statistics. I understand why you criticize Israel, as you are a Lebanese American. I understand you believe Hezbollah to be your legitimate government. And I understand why you support a state of Palestine in order to get the refugees out of your home country, “to make room” for your family. I understand you.

BUT, what I don’t understand is your complete lack of understanding, or willingness to comprehend the situation in which the statistics in question are to be debated. What I don’t comprehend is the fact you are unwilling to recognize Hamas’ use of its people as human shields. What I don’t understand is why you defended Hamas simply because fewer Israelis paid the ultimate price for survival. What I don’t understand is your legitimization of the death of a 4-year-old boy by a terrorist organization, while simultaneously equating said terrorists to a defensive army. I simply don’t understand.

I implore you to take a moment to appreciate the situation on the ground, to realize the complexity of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The most difficult part is to look past the fudged numbers and realize the reasons for the disproportionality of casualties and thus the seeming disproportionality of force.

You told me that Israel restricted the Palestinians from moving from place to place through 75 ft. walls while simultaneously ignoring that only 5% of the security fence is concrete. Moreover, this concrete is only in the locations in which the majority (75%) of suicide bombings have occurred. And you relinquished your argument when you came to comprehend that the fence protects the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians.

You argued that the creation of settlements in Judea and Samaria are continuously displacing the Palestinians from their homes, but you realized the fallacy of your argument when I showed you the location in which the houses were built. Though you continued to debate, I hope you can see the truth. These houses are being built in the territory almost absolutely partitioned to Israel by both sides.

You told me that Palestinian children are being murdered each day in Gaza by Israel’s bombs and you cited Amnesty International’s facts as given to them by the legitimate government of Gaza. However, you were willing to concede or at least stop debating when you were told that government was in fact Hamas and the facts were distorted. You came to understand that Hamas changed the figures of the death tolls in order to garner international support.

You have come to understand so much tonight and yet you continue to argue against the legitimacy of Israel’s arguments based on the simple ignorant numerical statistics. I implore you yet again to dig deeper, research further, and make informed decisions.

And to the friends of yours who looked in awe at our debate back and forth, I challenge you to question what your friend may have told you. Do your own research, and make your own decisions. Only then can you truly understand.

About the Author
Seth Greenwald is passionate in his fights both against anti-Semitism on college campuses as well as the fight against anti-Israel bias and slander worldwide. Seth first developed a passion for Israel after traveling there for his Bar-Mitzvah, kindled that passion through United Synagogue Youth, and has continued to develop throughout his undergraduate career at Clark University. Seth also served as an intern at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting for America (CAMERA), Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), and the David Project.