Raymond M. Berger
Real Bullet Points

In a Time of War, a Letter to a Jewish Community Leader

Dear American Jewish Community Leader,

Recently we had a discussion about Israel’s recent incursion into Gaza. As you know, this incursion was in response to Hamas’ invasion of Israel, massacre of over 1,200 and kidnapping of more than 240 Israelis.

You told me that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were killing too many Palestinians in Gaza. You believe that the international condemnation of Israel was due to Israel’s actions. As a leader of our Jewish community, your views matter.

I want to share my thoughts on recent events.

On October 7, about 3,000 Gazan terrorists invaded southern Israel and carried out the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. The attackers committed barbaric, pre-civilization atrocities on their victims. This included the burning alive of Jews, mutilation of living victims, and mass rapes of women. Hamas murdered 40 infants, beheading at least some of them. One Hamas terrorist put a baby in a heated oven. The terrorists carried out these killings in front of parents and other family members in order to inflict emotional torture on their victims.

Shortly after the massacre, protests broke out in the West Bank. Then, after an errant Palestinian rocket (initially blamed on Israel) killed civilians next to Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza on October 17, these protests exploded across the world. In a massive display of hatred, millions of protestors swarmed into urban streets. They screamed anti-Israel and antisemitic chants. Many of these supported genocide against Jews.

These massive displays of Jew-hatred occurred before the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Contrary to your contention, these displays occurred before Israel had done much of anything against Gaza.

No protests of this magnitude occurred after earlier massacres of hundreds of thousands of Moslems in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen by their fellow Moslems.

This suggests to me that our enemies hate us not because of what we have done, but because of who we are.

To Israel-haters, news reports of Gazan casualties may have added to the enmity against us, but they were not the cause.

In a fair world, Israel would never modify its defensive tactics in order to appease “international opinion” because that demonstrably would result in more dead Jews.

To put the issue of Gazan civilian casualties in perspective, we might listen to what was said by Colonel Richard Kemp, former head of British forces in Afghanistan. According to Kemp, in recent armed conflicts, such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq, the civilian to combatant kill ratio is 4 to 1—-that is, four civilians are killed for each combatant killed. The comparable ratio for the 2014 Israeli Operation Protective Edge was one civilian killed for each combatant killed.

This ratio is unique in modern warfare. It is the result of extraordinary efforts made by the IDF to prevent civilian casualties, efforts which often impede Israeli military objectives and endanger Israeli soldiers’ lives.

On another matter you told me you believe that the Biden administration has been unequivocally supportive of Israel’s defense needs. My observations suggest otherwise.

Examples of US efforts to restrain Israel’s defensive actions include the following:

  • In an act of appeasement, the Biden administration has waived many economic sanctions against Iran. As a result, Iran has gone from a nation in dire financial straits to one that is flush with cash. The sanctions waivers have resulted in the flow of billions of dollars to Iran. Administration claims that this cash can only be used for humanitarian purposes are ludicrous. Iranian leaders have announced they will use the money as they please.
  • Secretary of State Blinken has relentlessly threatened Israel with the withholding of military aid.
  • This administration has refused to supply Israel with heavy duty bombs that could penetrate Hamas terror tunnels. (They have provided less effective bombs).
  • The administration has pressured Israel to agree to days-long cease fires that would enable Hamas fighters to escape, regroup and rearm.
  • It has pressured Israel to allow fuel and other humanitarian aid to be delivered to Gaza in the absence of more than token hostage releases. There is certainty that Hamas seizes this aid and uses it in its war against the Jews.
  • The administration has insisted that Israel reduce the width of its security zone with Gaza, impeding Israel’s ability to deter attacks like the one on October 7.
  • The administration has loudly condemned Israeli “settler violence” in Judea and Samaria. They have exaggerated the extent of this violence, ignored the role of anti-Israel NGOs in fomenting the violence, and have ignored Arab attacks against Jewish individuals and communities in the same area.

I acknowledge that this administration has provided substantial diplomatic and tangible military support to Israel, but the above exceptions concern me. They also send a dangerous signal to our enemies.

Shamefully, there is an ignominious history of Jewish American leaders’ reluctance to support Israel. Prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948 much of this was motivated by the concerns of these leaders that Jewish emigration would weaken their power and livelihoods. More recently this weakness in Jewish leaders’ support for Israel has been motivated by misguided adherence to left-wing ideologies. These ideologies favor weaker parties, like the Palestinians, over stronger parties to a conflict, like Israelis. Jewish community leaders have often pandered to Jews who hold these ideologies.

At a time when the existence of the world’s only Jewish state is in peril, it is time for American Jewish leaders to support the decisions about self-defense made by the Israeli government.

I hope you will consider the ideas I have presented in this letter.

Sincerely yours,

A member of your community

About the Author
The author is a life-long Zionist and advocate for Israel. He believes that a strong Jewish state is invaluable, not only to Jews, but to the world-wide cause of democracy and human rights. Dr. Berger earned a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has twenty-seven years of teaching experience. He has authored and co-authored three books as well as over 45 professional journal articles and book chapters. His parents were Holocaust survivors.
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