Secretary of State Henry Kissinger died today. He left an important legacy and impact on the world. He was a huge name in diplomatic circles. However, you don’t need to be famous to make the world a better place. Every one of us can make a difference. That is why I am sending letters to 160 different diplomats. I strongly encourage you to write your own letters and send them to leaders around the world. Below is what I am sending. But you can — and should — find your own words. Just do it! Your voice is needed!
I really appreciate your role as a world leader. Thus, I am writing you about the horrific pain that Iran-backed Hamas brought to Israelis and Palestinians – as well as citizens of 40 other nations who also were either killed or kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on October 7th. I am also writing with deep concerns about anti-Semitism and other hate – as well as some ideas on possible solutions.
I know you and your nation can be a part of making things better for Israelis, Palestinians, and the world at large.
This past week two Palestinians were lynched in the West Bank by other Palestinians who accused them of collaborating with Israel. Footage showed the crowd cheering these lynchings. Sadly, this was not an outlier. Indeed, it’s vital to review a recent poll of Palestinians living in Gaza as well as Judea and Samaria (West Bank) by the Arab World for Research and Development – AWRAD. I encourage you to read the whole report at bit.ly/awrad-report. Some key findings include:
• 75% (including women) support the terrorist attacks on October 7th (killing, beheading, raping, kidnapping)
• 74.7% oppose a two-state solution, and only want to destroy Israel and have a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea”
• 76% Have positive view of Hamas, only 10.3% have positive view on the PA, and only 9.1% positive view on the UN
A lot of that hate existed long before Israel’s response to the Oct. 7th attacks by Hamas. Indeed, one of the biggest challenges has long been the ongoing culture of hate in Palestinian textbooks and media. Groups including IMPACT-SE, Palestinian Media Watch and MEMI have all documented this over the years. Such lasting and significant hate campaigns undermines a two-state solution. It is also child abuse as young children were trained to “grow up to blow up.” Additionally, the Palestinian “pay to slay” policies that give money to terrorists have long undermined efforts for peace.
Do not take this to mean that I don’t think Israel has made mistakes. They have — and sadly continue to — make many mistakes. Some of Israel’s extreme leaders and settlers are a disgrace to the Jewish people and Israel. But none of that justifies murdering babies in their bed, the rape and torture of women and children, or the murder of people with disabilities. Nor does it justify the Hamas strategy of intentionally using their own schools, hospitals and Mosques as places for weapons and terrorism. My heart goes out to the many innocent Palestinians who have been used by Hamas as civilian shields.
I am truly hope that you and your government will:
• Stand up for the end of Hamas and the culture of hate that takes away from a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
• Support trust building efforts and coexistence programs.
• Fight to get all the hostages released and humanitarian aid continues.
I also hope you will do even more to fight anti-Semitism and hate crimes of all types. The number of threats to people based on stereotypes, conspiracy theories and hatred it out of control. It is vital for you and your government to continue your leadership against hate crimes of all kinds.
One idea for making progress is to use the issue of climate change to bring people together. Prior to the Hamas attacks, we saw great progress amongst the countries who signed the Abraham Accords in working on food security and other issues. Israel has 800 climate-related startups in energy, agriculture, infrastructure, AI, foodtech, and other fields. Israelis, Arab neighbors, and others can work together to find win-win solutions that can bring a more sustainable and better world. A key example of this is the Arava Institute in the Negev.
This month Israel planned to bring a delegation of more than 1,000 climate leaders and practitioners to the United Nations’ global climate event, COP28, to share solutions and help expand regional peace. However, due to the war and high levels of anti-Semitism, that delegation was canceled. Additionally, major climate events in Israel had to be postponed. Such work needs to be put back on track.
Prior to the war, Israelis were already using innovation and grit to move beyond evolutionary progress to scientific revolutions. However, everyone – regardless of their background or location – can take Israel’s can-do spirit in their own efforts to fight climate change. Together we can work for peace and a better future for all while we also create a sustainable future.
These issues are very complex.
I’ve been to the Middle East dozens of times and previously worked full time on Middle East peace issues. Our family still funds many efforts in the region, especially on climate change and supporting a better future for people with disabilities. However, earlier I was in Gaza when Israel withdrew all their settlements, soldiers, civilians and even cemeteries with a hope of a better future for all sides. I went to Ramallah, Jericho and other areas to meet with Palestinian leaders and hosted Palestinian leaders for meetings with top US Jewish leaders. I also led an effort that spent more than $1 million a year to promote peace and a two-state solution in Arabic. But in the end, despite the numerous peace plans over the years from Israeli and American leaders, the Palestinians would not say yes to a state. It was heartbreaking.
I hope that you will help create new and better beginnings and progress. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you for your consideration.