My friend, Rich Forer, wrote Representative Herrell about her resolution in the New Mexico Legislature commending Israel (HR1). I wrote about it here.
Forer is the author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion – A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, available here. He’s given me permission to publish his letter which I hope others will read.
Dear Ms Herrell,
Sue Schuurman, whom you recently corresponded with, told me she had suggested that you take a look at my book on the Israel-Palestine problem. I am not writing with any intention to convince you to revoke your loyalty to Israel. That is a personal decision. I am, however, taking the liberty of assuming that you are a kind and decent person and that you value equality and human rights for all people.
With that as the basis for my letter, I want to encourage you to find out to the best of your ability the documented truth of Israel-Palestine. That is a far better approach than allowing one-sided groups and individuals who have never objectively studied the problem to mislead you with inaccurate information.
Briefly, I am an American Jew with ultra-Orthodox relatives living in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. For most of my life, I was a loyal defender of Israeli policy and a member of AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) the powerful organization that lobbies Congress on behalf of the Israeli government.
In 2006, my views changed when I made the decision to study the history of Israel-Palestine, something neither I nor any of my Jewish friends and relatives had ever undertaken. Over ninety-five percent of my subsequent years of daily research was spent examining Jewish sources only, mostly from Israeli State and Israel Defense Forces archives, including the Israeli Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Internal Security.
I studied the writings of most of Israel’s prime ministers from David Ben-Gurion (Israel’s first PM) to Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Israeli historians, many of them committed Zionists, and the Book of the Haganah (the Haganah was the Israeli army that became the IDF). Additionally, I visited Israel and the West Bank a few times as well as Gaza in late 2012 as part of a human rights delegation.
What I discovered would come as a great surprise to most people in the western world. The reason for this is that for decades, since I was a kid in fact (I was born in 1948), our society has been saturated with the kinds of undocumented beliefs and narratives that Eli Hertz expresses in the article Sue found on your website. With all due respect, the very minimal research Mr. Hertz has done is, I suspect, primarily based on the statements of Israeli politicians who themselves have ignored documented history.
I know you can’t take this at face value, but Israel has never been interested in peace, having rejected or ignored numerous peace proposals beginning in 1948 from Syria and Egypt. From Israel’s perspective, negotiations have mostly been used as cover to seize more and more Palestinian land, to mislead its supporters that it truly wants peace and to character assassinate the Palestinian people by demonizing them as obstacles to peace. Israel has always wanted no less than all of the land to the Jordan River for a Greater Israel. If you have time, google the Likud Party Platform, Israel’s ruling party.
Mr. Hertz says “For a real peace to evolve, it must encompass the entire Arab world.” Unfortunately, he neglects to mention that in 2002 the Arab world presented Israel with an encompassing peace proposal, based on the 1967 borders, which would have normalized relations, including diplomatic, with every single Arab and Muslim country. Furthermore, the proposal would have provided security guarantees for all the states in the region. This offer was reiterated in 2007. Israel has never responded to it.
I could respond point by point to Hertz’s allegations, including that the Arabs started five wars (not true; other than the Yom Kippur War which Israel could have avoided, Israel has started every war) and that the Arab world is permeated with anti-Semitism. However, I will leave it to you to make your own determinations in due time.
I do recommend my book as one written by a Jew whose motivation was and is the unmitigated truth without bias toward any side. The book clarifies virtually every argument made in the U.S. and within Jewish society about Israel-Palestine and is available at Amazon. Alternatively, if you would be interested, I would be happy to email you a pdf copy of the book at no charge.
One last suggestion is that if you do not have time to read my book, you can read an interview I did on the Breathing Forgiveness website with Father Yago Abeledo. Here is the link:
Finally, feel free to contact me at your convenience. My number is ——. I would be happy to have a conversation with you and I promise that if we do, I will not have any ulterior motives.
Sincerely, Rich Forer