Beware of Groups Who Demean Their Own People op-ed in The Durham Herald Sun

January 2nd, 2016 by Mike Ross

• By Michael Ross and Robert Gutman Guest columnists

The recent op-ed from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), “Jews should resist racism from North Carolina to Palestine,” is part of its long-standing effort to de-legitimize Israel. Other efforts have focused on undermining Israel’s intellectual and property holdings and to carry out disruptive street protests against Israeli artistic performances.
The current effort is more insidious and dangerous. They seek to conflate justifiable concerns about the status of people of color here in the United States with the treatment of Palestinians at the hands of allegedly racist Israelis. The authors wish to persuade champions in the social justice movement here in America to join them in their efforts to weaken Israel. These good folks should beware invitations to align with a group that seeks to undermine its own family.
The opinion piece starts with the very reasonable assertions with which we agree: All of us, Jews and gentiles alike, should treat every human being, regardless of group identifiers, with the greatest respect.
But, alas, it then quickly drifts into defamation of groups with which they disagree. They scold American society with hyperbolic claims of pervasive racism and repeatedly use pejorative terms such as “white supremacist.” They demonize anyone who views our society in other than narrowly racial terms and claim there is a ubiquitous “white supremacist right” which targets blacks, immigrants and those who appear Muslim or Arab.

Their deliberate distortions can only lead to an unhealthy splintering of our society’s cohesion. The editorial is a blatant effort to poison the relations between US blacks and their fellow citizens. We must always remember and need to reaffirm that we share so much more in common than that which divides us. Our country, though not perfect, has been able to achieve and provide remarkable benefits for ourselves and humanity, when it is united.

The article ignores the plain fact that the Palestinian fatalities are the consequence of deliberate and planned Arab assaults with knives, guns and stones, and the consequent Israeli defensive response. These attacks come not from spontaneous or random acts, but from the incitement by Arab political and spiritual leaders who publicly urge youths to kill and who give inspirational and instructional lessons on-line about where and how to attack civilians on the street. Palestinian leaders are continuing to promulgate the lie that Jews are threatening to defile al-?aram al-Šar?f, also known to Jews as the Temple Mount. As in the past this serves to incite deadly attacks against Jews.
Of great concern is the appetite of the authors to try to enrage U.S. blacks against Israeli society in general. This will fail. The largest numbers of visitors from America are Christian and at least 30 percent are groups from black churches. These visitors see the truth.
The op-ed doubles down on their efforts to enhance racial animosity by misleading their readers in stating: “58 Palestinians have been killed …by racist violence.” This serves to create the false notion that the responses of the Israel Defense Force to deliberate knife attacks are actually the result of color testing of the skin of the assailants. “Those of us who have visited Israel frequently know how well the communities of different color interact in that country.”
If helping the Palestinians is really the authors’ prime motivation, why not insist that the Palestinians accept the Two-State Solution along the parameters they have been repeatedly offered but repeatedly declined? Imagine if the Palestinians were to say “yes” to a deal, accept Israel as the Jewish State, and truly commit to an end of the conflict. Their opportunities for peace and prosperity would be endless. Should not that be the goal of a true Jewish Voice for Peace?
Michael Ross is the chairman and Robert Gutman the vice-chairman of Voice for Israel of the Triangle.

Rescind Resolution

April 30th, 2018 by Mike Ross

Marcia Harris wrote a simply superb letter to the editor of the Durham Herald Sun, on April 27, 2018. It exposes the mendacity and the ludicrous nature of the Durham City Council declaration to essentially refrain from accessing law enforcement expertise from Israel.

Rescind Resolution
Do you live in Durham or visit its many shops, restaurants, and local attractions? Are you aware that according to national crime statistics, in 2016, on a scale of 1 (lowest)-100, Durham’s violent crime rate score was a whopping 64, compared to the national average of 31? Yet in a smug, short-sighted move, on April 16 the Durham City Council passed a resolution opposing “international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training…” The resolution singularly mentions Israel as a country with which they will not engage in training.

Firstly, who defines “military-style training”? I guess the council members can use this phrase to avoid training with any country they dislike. None of the training in Israel has been with the military, but rather with the Israeli police. At a violent crime rate over double the national average, does the City Council really believe that Durha is doing such a great job that it cannot learn from other countries with far greater expertise in counter-terrorism and in decreasing crime?

At least 300 high-ranking sheriffs and police from New York and Maine to California have benefited from Israeli training. Participants speak highly of the experience. Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer called Israel “the Harvard of antiterrorism.” Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed made the following comments as he rejected demands to stop allowing the Atlanta Police Department to train with the Israeli police department:”I happen to believe that the Israeli police department has some of the best counterterrorism techniques in the world. And it benefits our police department from that longstanding relationship.” Atlanta’s deputy police chief Joseph Spillane praised his Israeli peers for …”how far they go in regards to human rights and the rights of the people they may be investigating.”

I urge the Durham City Council to rescind their ill-conceived resolution. Perhaps they feel there is no need for such training of their police at this time, but why preclude the possibility in the future?

In the meantime, I’m happy to live in Raleigh, with a violent crime rate of 36, plenty of great restaurants, shops, and entertainment, and a City Council with common sense!

Marcia Harris