Below we post response of Walter Ruby of Ruby Jewsday to our comments.
Just a friendly reminder to our readers -- Walter Ruby is a protected liberal minority on this site. Please no personal attacks! Substantial criticism is welcome and encouraged on the other hand. We would like to comment on one point -- Walter strongly affirms that he knows many more Arabs and Moslems than we do. What is the basis for such affirmation? We regret to say -- lack of information and research. In our youth we knew quite a few Moslems in Moscow, some of them were Arabs. Unlike Walter's acquaintances we did not drink wine discreetly. As a matter of fact, we drank cheap and awful Soviet vodka without any discretion. They were good comrades, and would hate to see us or Walter dead. But, they all, wanted to see Israel gone completely off the face of the earth. The existence of Israel, as one of them told us -- was like a dagger in the heart of the Middle East. Despite these disagreements, at the time we had a common enemy -- Soviets, so these topics were discussed in a friendly fashion. We wish we could return the joviality and friendliness of those times (sans Soviets). We have to admit, that know we understand exactly what they meant by wishing to remove the "dagger" from their body. By the way, Walter, could you find Israel on this map? No? Why not? Could you ask your friends to put it back there? We can't ask ours anymore.
Hey, Walter, Jewish Russian Telegraph might be closer to reality than you think.
Greetings to my friend Greg, the editor of the Jewish Russian Telegraph in Boston. I wrote a piece a couple of years ago tweaking the Boston Jewish establishment for ignoring the opinions of Russian Jews, including Greg and others involved in the Jewish Russian Telegraph. I have long tradition of criticizing the American Jewish establishment for imposing its writ and will on Russian Jews going back to the 1980's when the heads of American Jewish establishment groups used to decide policy on Soviet Jewry in consultation with Washington and Jerusalem (and sometimes after negotiations in the Kremlin) without consulting the brave refuseniks and Prisoners of Zion whose asses were literally on the line. That same kind of arrogance and paternalism by both the government of Israel and the American Jewish establishment continued after hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews emigrated here, and over a million to Israel and has had the unfortunate but predictable impact of confirming many Russian Jews in hard line positions vis a vis Israeli-Palestinian peace and on domestic issues in this country.
Greg, who is a mensch of a human being and puts out Jewish Russian Telegraph as a labor of love, takes the usual tact that us American Jews live in dreamland and dont understand that "These people want us dead." Who are 'these people" Greg? All Arabs? All Muslims? And how many Arabs and Muslims do you know well enough to have come to a sweeping conclusion like that?
Last month I spent a week in Jordan at an interfaith conference including some prominent American and Israeli rabbis, Not only did nobody try to kill us, but they wined and dined us at fancy clubs where wine was discreetly present. Also, they are signing on to a new Israeli-Jordanian-American plan to get hearing aids to poor Jordanian children whose parents would not otherwise be able to afford them. Jordaina-Israeli trade blossoms and grows despite a not very good political situation.
In my other kippah, as Muslim-Jewish Relations Program Officer for the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (www.ffeu.org), I am involved in the implementation of a "Weekend of Twinning of Mosques and Synagogues Across America on November 21-23. The subject that will be discussed in as many as 50 mosques and 50 synagogues across the U.S. and Canada that day will be "Confronting Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism Together." And I can say that in over 100 phone and face to face conversations I have had with American imams and mosque leaders over the past month in planning this event, I have not had one person reject this idea and tell me that he wants to kill me or that the Jew is the eternal enemy and the Muslims should have no contact with us. Na'abarot, on the contrary, I have received a very warm reception and over 20 mosques have already signed on to participate (many others are in the process of signing on). Sure there are small groups of radicals out there, but the vast majority of American Muslims are anxious to join the mainstream of American society and they see that mainstream Jews can be allies in this regard.
Aha, I hear Greg snorting, that is because you American are such "useful idiots" in Lenin's term. We Russian Jews are so much more aware of how hard the real workd really is. Except, Greg, with due respect, I know many many more Arabs and Muslims than you do and maybe some of that experience has some relevance to the question as to who better understands the Arabs and Muslim, you or I. I would submit that the world of the Jewish Russian Telegraph is NOT the real world, but some cartoon variant thereof, a black and white pastiche of good guys and bad guys based on outdated perceptions formed in Soviet times that have little relationship to the real world of the 21st Century.
In the real world, you cant beat 1.2 billion Muslims into submission; you have to reach out to the moderates who reject the medieval visions of Bin-Laden and his ilk, and who dont want to live under the morals police of Al-Queda, Hamas or Hazbollah. Israel is belatedly waking up to the reality that trying to destroy Hamas by sealing off Gaza and punishing its people has had exactly the opposite impact, just as the American project of colonizing Iraq created aradical upsurge in that country and across the Islamic world. But I doubt Greg and the Jewish Russian Telegraph team has woken up to these realities yet. For them, there can only be one policy; silnaya ruka, force and more force. The policy positions he is proposing represent an absolute dead end for Israel and the Jews.
posted by: jrtelegraph