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It’s always a few people in each generation that help to keep the spark of our people alive. Last Thursday night, I was incredibly gratified to be able to participate in a very well organized rally at the National Mall, organized under the excellent mentorship of Rabbi Ari Israel of the University of Maryland Hillel. The real fire that ignited the spark, however, came directly from three dynamic, young college students from the University of Maryland Hillel: Daniel Berdugo, Malka Goldberg and Nathan Cohen. These three young leaders are proud to call themselves Zionists and have the potential to carry the torch of professional and responsible advocacy for our people into the next generation, and give me hope for the future of the state of Israel and the Jewish people.
I was honored to be asked to participate at their rally, organized entirely by these students to commemorate the 1600th day of captivity of Gilad Shalit, who had been captured by HAMAS on Israeli territory on June 25, 2006, and has been held in captivity, ever since. There were several hundred people at the rally, mostly college students from across the country. The following were my remarks:
We Jews are very good at counting. We count the days a baby boy is born until he is brought into the fold through Brit Milah. We count the days of the month of the yearly calendar which is punctuated with both joyful times and sad.
I can only begin to imagine the agony of the sitting and the waiting and the counting that Noam and Aviva Shalit, Gilad’s parents, have been going though. 1600 Days of waiting by the door, of wondering what sorts of conditions Gilad is going through, if he is being kept warm, if he gets enough rest, if he is being fed, if he is being beaten, if he is being tortured…if he is alive.
As a mother, I can only begin to feel Noam and Aviva’s outrage at the duplicitous moral superiority of the quote, “humanitarian institutions” of Universal Jurisdiction, such as the International Red Cross.
According to Article 126 of the Geneva Convention, the International Red Cross has the prerogative to visit any prisoner of war and to meet with him individually, to check on his welfare and report back to his families and loved ones.
Where have the efforts been for the International Red Cross to meet with Gilad Shalit? Why are they not insisting on a meeting?
Where is the outrage, that this organization, who has the unmitigated gall to dare to say that Gaza is a huge prison, when they can’t even visit the one real prisoner who is there?
What has been going on is that Islamist terrorist organizations such as Hamas have been setting the agenda, and we, in the civilized world, have enabled them to do so because we are afraid of their dastardly acts. These Islamist terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, are the bullies in the playground of the international community.
It is time for us in the civilized world to summon up the courage, once and for all, and to call Hamas controlled Gaza, what it actually is, one huge, Islamist terrorist prison that has total disregard for human rights and the rule of law, where even fellow Palestinians who were members of Fatah have been summarily executed, where no criticism of the government, what-so-ever, is tolerated. and where homosexuals are hung from the public square.
Yet, the International Red Cross, and much of these other institutions of universal jurisdiction has the unmitigated hypocrisy to single out the one vibrant democracy in the Middle East, Israel, where there Arab members of Knesset, and where each and every hospital delivers the most sophisticated medical care in the world to all of its patients, irrespective of whether or not they be, Arab, Muslim, Christian or Jew; where Sudanese refugees fleeing atrocities, run over the border to Israel for s Where Every Time there is an earthquake, a hurricane, a flood or a Tsunami the Israelis are the first to arrive unto the scene and to deliver highly sophisticated medical care.
Yet, in what can only be described as a Kafkaesque inversion of the truth, only Israel, alone among nations, is singled out for such stringent moral scrutiny, and international opprobrium.
This is a duplicitous double standard. Hamas is using this vulnerable young soldier to blackmail the state of Israel, while the institutions that are set up specifically for this purpose are yawning and looking the other way.
When the international court of opinion allows itself to adopt the view of terrorists and thugs, the international court of opinion is behaving like a bunch of quivering cowards and jellyfish.
The world will be judged by how it treats Israel, and these institutions of international jurisdiction will be judged by how they are treating that most vulnerable of all Israelis, Gilad Shalit.
I ask you please to demand that the International Red Cross visit Gilad Shalit today, and that the United Nations stand up and recognize Hamas and Hezbollah for the thugs, terrorists and tyrants that they actually are, and demand his immediate release.
Thank You Very Much