New York Perspectives on the Israeli-Lebanon conflict

I was in New York last weekend and came across several rallies on both sides of the conflict. I attended the “Jewish Unity Event in Support of Israel” service at the West Side Institutional Synagogue on Sunday night. Speakers urged attendees to unquestioningly support the military policies of the Israeli government and to “speak out in defense” of the military campaign. One rabbi talked of how Israel in the old days had “exterminated 31 nations” as a result of God’s favor. He implored people to pray for divine favor this time around. He also stressed how “alone” Israel is at this time and that “we are all alone together.” Perhaps he had not heard that the House of Representatives had voted 410-8 in favor of a resolution endorsing Israeli military action. (This service occurred the day after the front page New York Times story detailing how the US government was rushing more bombs to resupply the Israeli air force, regardless that U.S. law prohibits the use of U.S.-supplied weaponry against noncombatants). I did not hear a word of concern or remorse for the Christian or Muslim civilians killed in Lebanon by Israeli bombs and missiles. (I don’t know if the Arabs or the Americans who attended the candlelight vigil for Lebanon at Union Square the night before expressed concern for the Israeli civilians killed by Hezollah rockets). The flier passed out at the service urged attendees to “get the facts” by reading From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters and The Case for Israel by Alan Dershowitz – two books whose credibility has long since been shredded by Norman Finkelstein.