I was thinking of Richard Heideman’s book, The Bloody Price of Freedom, during the week of Israel’s observance of Remembrance Day and Independence Day back-to-back: the only nation in the world to do so.
Israel’s mourning of 24,072 victims of war and terror and immediately celebrating its independence right after is the real-life metaphor that the book’s title evokes. Our losses are great, and are the price we continue to pay for our independence.
Heideman is a respected attorney with a career spanning four decades of advocacy for, and defending of, Israel, including recovery of assets taken from Jews during the Holocaust, representing terror victims and their families, and an array of volunteer roles that complement these.
Reading The Bloody Price of Freedom, I imagined that this is what the mating of Perry Mason along with the idealism of Theodor Herzl and the passion and moral clarity of Menachem Begin would produce. That it was written by one man along with his incredible legal team is astounding and all the more noteworthy.
The Bloody Price of Freedom takes you figuratively right to the prosecutor’s table inside a court where Israel’s enemies are on trial. Heideman unpacks case by case, chapter by chapter, and references actual litigation in which he has been involved along with other cases. He puts them into the context of Israel’s ongoing war against terrorism, the broader attempt to delegitimize Israel’s very existence, and how Israel legitimately defends itself on all fronts. It’s not a real court case, but would be fascinating to see if it were.
Laying the foundation for his case, Heideman notes facts that many know, but are important to establish. These start with the Arab boycott, the anti-Israel bias at the UN, and the more recent delegitimization campaign of BDS and claims of apartheid.
Establishing these facts, he takes on the correctly termed “hijacking” of history with a concise overview of the history of the Middle East. With each footnote documenting every point so the reader does not have to take his word, Heideman figuratively submits these as evidence to make his case. The documentation throughout is astounding.
After taking on BDS and allegations of apartheid as the newer front that Israel’s enemies have created, Heideman turns his focus to terrorism. Because he has spent so much time representing terror victims and their families, he brings important personal experience to complement the historic reality. After documenting much of this reality, he turns to Israel’s efforts to defend itself that are maligned by its detractors.
Heideman takes particular aim at the International Court of Justice as being compliant if not an accomplice. As a lawyer with unimpeachable integrity, Heideman’s disdain for the ICJ is clear over its abuse of the legal system for which he has such high regard. It may not do anything in the context of changing reality to call out the court as being biased, but this is an important part of taking apart the overall case against Israel.
Speaking at the Jerusalem book launch earlier this year, I was mesmerized listening to Heideman talking about the decades of assaults Israel has faced on all fronts. He spoke clearly, passionately, intelligently, and with no notes. It was as if he had been preparing this as his closing argument to the penultimate case for weeks if not longer.
Writing toward the end of the book, Heideman speaks of the need for unity among American Jews. That’s the case with regard to defending Israel, and in general. However, because the threats and challenges to Israel come from points worldwide, and Israel’s defenders are likewise around the world, both Jews and Christians, we should look at our allies globally and not just in one country.
The Bloody Price of Freedom is the product of years of work and countless sources cited for accuracy and transparency. It is a volume that is a must-read and an addition to the library for anyone with a passion for Israel who wants to understand Israel’s legal standing, and the criminal behavior that continues by many as a way to attack and defame Israel.
The only thing I’d have liked more is to hear Heideman’s own voice throughout the book. He is to be commended and thanked for this important work. ■
The Bloody Price of FreedomRichard D . HeidemanGefen Publishing, 2022$29.99, 320 pages