Howard Rieger, Malcolm Hoenlein: “I’m Sorry”

Budy Macy pleads with Jewish leaders

Dear Howard and Malcolm,

While the United Jewish Communities’ General Assembly is taking place in Nashville , it is important for me to express my feelings to you.

For the past 21 months, since late January, 2006, I have been relentless in my criticism of your apparent inaction and silence regarding our fellow Jews in Israel. I now realize that I have made a huge mistake, and I apologize. I had made assumptions about you which were misguided and incorrect — calculations that were based on my ignorance and naiveté.

I foolishly believed that the two of you, both prominent leaders within the North American Jewish community, were more than just businessmen making a good living from the charity of others. I had assumed that you actually believed in your organizations’ creed: Helping all Jews in need. And, it had been accepted by me without question that you were men who possessed a thorough knowledge of our People’s past, a realistic view of our present, and common sense and courage to help ensure our bright future in Israel.

Please forgive me for projecting onto you such exalted qualities, based solely on the titles of your positions of leadership, and for criticizing you for things you have no desire or capability of achieving.

Malcolm, I am proud to be “nuts”

Malcolm, during the past couple of years, I have heard from several individuals the way in which you describe those with whom you disagree. We are either “nuts,” “idiots” or both. That is not surprising, as that is the modus operandi of the fantasy-based Left. By describing someone as nuts and/or an idiot, and convincing yourself of it, it provides you with the justification for not listening to that person at all and invites others to do so, too. For, only a fool takes advice from a crazy person.

Well, if caring about my fellow Jews more than my ego, wallet or social standing is nuts, then I am extremely proud of the title to which you have ascribed to me. If expressing concern about the welfare of the 10,000 Jews who are still struggling severely more than two years after being expelled from their homes is crazy, I appreciate your label of honor ( ). If exhibiting public outrage at UJC’s refusal to provide shelters to the victims of constant rocket attacks in Sderot and throughout the western Negev is idiotic, then count me in ( / ). If being angry at your refusal to tell Olmert & Co. to destroy those who are maiming and killing Israeli citizens, and to prevent Jewish children from being human punching bags is moronic, then I am grateful for your praise. And, if “yelling at the top of my lungs” against an inevitable repeat of the suicidal mistakes of the past
14+ years since Oslo at the summit in Annapolis in two weeks is nuts 14+ and idiotic, thank you for your kindness!

I am a former “Liberal” who is still a true Liberal

Until a couple of short years ago, I had believed that those who call themselves “Liberals” were truly beneficent souls, and, I had proudly attached that label to my sleeve. I have since learned that they, the members of the Left, have adopted that line of consciousness (as opposed to true belief or cause to action) to avoid the harshness of the reality in which they are steeped — that it is much easier and more pleasant to go through life believing the world to be a wonderful place and to project their values of decency and civility onto all of their enemies, even onto the most vile among them. Actually, this is foolishness. When it costs the property, health and lives of other people, it is vicious.

I had believed that groups whose names contained the word, “peace,” such as Peace Now and Americans For Peace Now, must, by definition, be wonderful, caring souls. What radically altered my thinking was their “response” to those who were physically removed from their homes in northern Samaria and Gaza in August, 2005. One would have thought that such self-proclaimed humanitarians would have expressed deep sadness and empathy for the victims of “disengagement,” and that they would have raised millions of dollars for their re-settlement. Nothing of the kind occurred. In fact, they pretended that the expellees were fine, in order to pave the way for the next round of expulsions that would be ten times grander in scale. A similar inaction and lack of concern currently exists among most of the Left with regard to the
tragedy in Sderot.

Most members of the Left are not Liberals; they are self-styled Liberals, insensitive and intolerant. They relate arrogantly and with hostility to anyone that disagrees with them, unless these people are far wealthier than they. In short, they stick close to power and anything that helps get them through the day without facing life’s harsh realities. And, they generally do so, in regard to Israel, by empowering the enemies of the Jewish people while trampling on their own freedoms and quality of life. The pseudo-Liberal is a master at blind idealism, and at avoiding honest discussion based on facts.

Members of the Left claim that it is the Israelis’ fault that peace has eluded Israel for all of these years. They say that they just have to try harder; this, despite the Israeli Government’s strict adherence to the principles within the Oslo Accords and the physical expulsion of 10,000 of their own citizens from northern Samaria and Gaza (among numerous other compromises and efforts). How do they explain that our enemies continue to preach hatred and call for the destruction of Israel in their schools and mosques, and within their media and government? (Visit to review hundreds of examples.)

In about two weeks, leaders from Israel and the PA will join world leaders at the Annapolis summit in Maryland. Israel will be pressed by President Bush, Secretary of State Rice and others to give more and more land to the Palestinian Arabs in return for empty promises of peace, promises from those who couldn’t deliver peace even if they wanted to. Israel will be pushed to give up all of Judea and Samaria (the center of ancient Israel ), and half of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. Howard, should these “compromises” come to fruition, please tell me how comfortable you would feel flying into Ben Gurion Airport, knowing that the PA is within a cheap rocket’s distance of your plane?

Israel’s reality is stark; her enemies surround her with ever more potent weapons. Carving out a “Palestinian” Arab state next to Israel, and putting her enemies within ten miles of her major population centers, including Tel Aviv, is a strategy for disaster – a plan for the destruction of the Jewish State. Should this occur, and there are dead Jewish bodies piled ten-high in “Palestine,” the Left in the Diaspora would say, “You were right; we never saw it coming.” Well, you should not only have been able to see it coming in slow motion, you will have been largely responsible for its occurrence just like many mainstream Jewish leaders in the 1930’s!

Buddy Macy

November 19, 2007 | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. Buddy and Seva are absolutely right. The Jewish people need to be united in support of Israel just as they describe. The Annapolis conference is ridiculous, and Israel shouldn’t give up one ounce of Judea and Samaria (or any other part of the country).

    By the way, not to be bitpicky, but I do disagree with Seva’s disliking of American Jewish leaders spending $500 on a hotel room. I say the more money paid into the Israeli economy the better. Those $500 rooms help support a lot of people – not just the hotel owners. Because the hotels make that kind of money, they can afford to pay better salaries to plenty of waiters, maids, busboys, etc., and so in reality, that money truly does filter down to Israelis who most likley aren’t so wealthy.

  2. The posts by Buddy Maxy and Seva Brodsky are the best condemnations of liberal radicals that I have ever read. They spell out the reality in a very clear fashion and I can only hope that these are well read and these radical will wake up. Israel’s future may depend on it.

  3. Seva Brodsky wrote them as requested

    I grew up in the USSR and was a secular Jewish activist in Boston until May of 2007. I have often clashed with the local Jewish establishment on various issues. Together with my fellow activists we had a modest degree of success in influencing the direction taken by the Jewish mainstream orgs in Boston. But I was growing increasingly uneasy and dissatisfied with such activities– it felt like I was spitting against the wind much of the time. So I decided to pack my bags and put my body where my mouth was, making aliyah.

    Having been in Israel for more than six months now, I can say this much:

    Unfortunately, Buddy is mostly right. Even more unfortunately, Ehud Olmert is mostly wrong. Worse yet, Ms. Rice, and even President Bush, who relies on her (and for whom I have voted), are largely wrong, too. I am no longer amazed by both Israeli and American politicians stepping on the same rake, time and again. For some reason, wishful thinking has become more important than facing reality and recognizing it for what it is, however painful that may be. Ascribing our own notions of tolerance, honesty, and good faith to people from other, especially radically different cultures, is not only naive and wrong — it’s downright suicidal.

    All these “negotiations” and “promises” are futile and counter-productive.
    The only things that really work, especially here in the Middle East, are power and fear, realization that one can or cannot win, honor and shame. The Arabs must realize that they cannot win — as soon as they do that and turn inward to deal with their own many problems, there will be peace and prosperity. My recent trip to Jordan convinced me of that. The peace treaty between Jordan and Israel is quite successful, both politically and economically.

    The situation is far from perfect, but at least I felt much more good will there, and saw much more prosperity and reliance on oneself in Jordan than among the Palestinian Arabs. Trade between Israel and Jordan accounts for a very large portion of Jordanian GDP. The borders are much more secure and business is robust. Almost as soon as Jordan buried the hatchet, it began reaping peace dividends, as did Egypt some years earlier. In such honor-shame cultures as Egypt and Jordan that took a lot of courage and realistic self-critical assessment on the part of their leadership.

    Until and unless this happens among the Palestinian Arabs, all these conferences, talks, negotiations, and promises will only lead us down into another Oslo-like abyss, with yet more violence and bloodshed to follow. I have no particular desire to traverse that delusional and self-destructive path. Especially since I have moved here, for I will now have to bear the cost of such misguided efforts with my own skin. Is history no lesson? Are we condemned to repeat the mistakes of the recent past and reap the bitter harvest yet again?

    It may be quite comfortable to sit in NYC, DC, or Boston, make occasional lavish trips to Israel, stay in fancy hotels — I’ve seen some of our American Jewish “leaders” there with my own eyes — all this to the tune of about $500 per night, which made my stomach turn, especially in view of all the financial hardships that many Israelis experience daily. That money would feed many poor Jews here in Israel, and there are a lot of poor people here. Many people here earn $500 in a month!

    It may be gratifying for the Jewish community “leaders” to do things that make them feel good, like “social justice,” “tikkun olam,” etc. But doing so at the expense of fairly and honestly assessing the really serious problems we are facing is not only wrong — it borders on cruel negligence, especially when it comes to those in the positions of power and influence.

    People who would behave like this in the “real world” of business and industry would not last a year, yet we have a whole cadre of Jewish bureaucrats (for lack of better term) who have been doing just that for many years. In fact, this is all that most of them know how to do. There are occasional exceptions, but they merely prove the rule. In the world of domestic politics, such politicians would not last more than one term, but our own Jewish bureaucrats seemed to have earned their tenure somehow.

    From a perspective of a Jew who took the plunge from the comfort and safety of the U.S. and into the uncertainty and risks of Israel, your actions give me no peace of mind and do not make me feel safe. In fact, I fear your actions and feel much less safe as the result thereof. We the grey unwashed masses, who do not like what you do, may not be able to hold your feet to the fire, so as to remove you and replace you with more realistic people, since there is no democracy or meritocracy at work in the mainstream Jewish orgs, as I have discovered by dealing with them.

    However, you will be judged more harshly — history will be the ultimate arbiter of your actions. And it will be on your conscience if something like what happened in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s (when the Jewish leadership failed so miserably to protect its people) repeats here in Israel in time to come. You, along with the delusional and corrupt Israeli leadership, whom you support and condone, will be sharing the blame for the calamities, which have already begun.

    One might say that it is up to the Israeli electorate to choose proper leadership. This would be true in a mature democracy. However, Israel, while a democracy, is far from being as mature, stable, and sophisticated as that of the U.S. Therefore, the Jews in the U.S. carry a large part of the responsibility for being their brothers’ keepers. Since most American Jews would not trade their comfort and security for the harsh realities of Israel — certainly, most secular left-wing American Jews wouldn’t, and they constitute an 80% majority in the U.S. — it behooves them to at least be responsible when it comes to Israel, rather than act in the knee-jerk fashion that they are used to.

    This is where responsible leadership is of paramount importance. I believe that it is more important to listen to the “dissidents” and alarmists among us than to be smug in the knowledge that 80% out there can be safely relied upon to sustain your comfortable lifestyles. If anything, we need more American Jews to become realistic, to open their eyes, to jettison their grandparents’ notions, ideals, and dogmas, and stare the 21st century in the face. When we compare how much the U.S. government gives to the State of Israel vs. how much private individuals, organizations, and charities give, your role becomes singularly important and vital.

    Please, please stop following down the trodden path, which only leads to the abyss, and please become realistic, creative, and honest with yourselves and with us. Dear fellow Jews in America, please help us — we really do need you! We may be able to survive without most (or even all) of the U.S. monetary and military support, but I don’t think we can say the same about your generosity.

    Please help us educate the Israelis in the proper workings of democracy — complete with responsibility, transparency, and accountability — and please help us stamp out the corruption, nepotism, and cronyism, which are destroying Israel — courtesy of the legacy of Mapai, Mapam, Histadrut, and the general sins of the leftist Founding Fathers of Israel, who have come to dominate and control the country along with its mass media, industry, and politics. Please spend the Jewish money wisely, as our very lives truly depend on it.

    People of Israel are tired — not just of the non-ending wars and hardships — they are tired of the political shenanigans of their leadership and have all but given up, becoming inert and apathetic. And as the old wisdom says, the opposite of love is not hate — it’s apathy. Please give us hope by doing what’s right (rather than just doing what’s Left), and please do not squander the good will that you may still enjoy — it won’t last forever.

    “I have seen the enemy, and it is me” — never mind hostile Arabs: we have become our own worst enemy. And if we cannot, with a lot of help from you, succeed in building a strong, vibrant, and robust democracy here in Israel, then the prospects for Israel will appear quite gloomy very shortly. And if we cannot overcome ourselves, the next thing will be our external enemies overcoming us — not on account of their strength, but our own weakness — we will have thrown in the towel. And then — instead of trying to build a new, more meaningful (if less comfortable) life here, in the land of my ancestors, surrounded by my people — then I will have to run for my life.

    Only there will be no Israel left then.

    “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem …”

    Seva Brodsky

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