An Open Letter To Durham, North Carolina Mayor Steve Schewel
By JOEL LEYDEN
I just finished watching the Durham City Council meeting of April 16, 2018, which implemented a ban on working with Israeli security forces. Durham is the first and only US city to institute a ban on working with Israel.If you had not stated that you were a Jew and Zionist, that your father had worked for the ADL, I would not be writing this letter. You appear to be a good man, but lacking knowledge on several historical facts.There is no occupation. There was a war in 1967 and Israel won it. Under international law, there is no occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank or what we refer to as Judea and Samaria. As for Gaza, there is no occupation there either – there isn’t one Israeli civilian or solder there.Gaza is ruled by Hamas, defined as a Foreign Terror Organization by the US State Department. The term “occupation” was brought into the Palestinian-Israel conflict by Yasser Arafat in 1967 and has been used as a tool for Israel’s destruction ever since.But even given that legally there is no occupation, Israel continues to reach out for peace. A Palestinian state has been rejected by the Arabs five times since 1948. There truly is no Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is an Israeli-Iranian conflict, as Iran directly funds Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.I served as a humanitarian officer in the IDF for over 16 years. Ours is not a perfect army, but we do not shoot civilians. In fact we risk our lives at security checkpoints and on our borders not to shoot civilians, as Hamas and Hezbollah use civilians as human shields. We provide tons of humanitarian aid on a daily basis to Gaza.I implore you to rethink the resolution that you and the Durham City Council just passed.AdvertisementI can assure you that if the ADL and several other Jewish organizations are in complete agreement (something they never are) that singling out Israel constitutes antisemitism, you should listen to them. Singling out Israel demonizes it and plays right into the BDS playbook. Never mind that it was used only as a quote in your council’s statement or that you were just referring to Israel’s police and military.You had antisemitism thrown in your face at that meeting. You didn’t tolerate it. I ask you to remove Israel’s name from a resolution regarding police training – unless of course you care to add a few dozen nations that provide security training to the US to that list.As a Jew, as a Zionist, as a human – I and many others are prepared to find the resources to create an economic and cultural boycott of Durham.Hate can start in Durham and spread like a cancer.When Israeli Arabs chant: “From the River to the Sea,” they are not referring to the Mississippi and the Atlantic.When we say never again, we mean never again.
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