Israel defender wants answers

To the Editor:

Re the Women of the Wall leader who was arrested at the Wall: Please tell me how a non-Jew like myself, who throughout his life has committed himself to the defense of Jews in Israel and outside; who carries out hasbara on a very regular basis; who forcibly tells Israel’s critics that Israel is a genuine democracy; who proclaims Israel as a tolerant state in religious matters; who argues that Israeli rights for gay men and women are evidence of democracy and not a case of "pinkwashing," as is so often claimed — how does someone like me find a way to defend this country when it arrests (not for the first time) a Jewish woman for praying at Judaism’s holiest site, strips her naked, drags her across a floor and treats her on the same level as a prostitute?

So often I say that Israel is not Iran, Israel is not the West Bank or Gaza, Israel is not Egypt, Israel is not Syria. But when Israeli police, acting on higher orders, demean themselves by acting like the security force of some tin-pan tyranny, what am I to say to anti-Israel activists who may use this as a weapon in their ceaseless campaign against the Jewish state? Do Israelis not care about their image in the world? Are my efforts to publicize the rights, the freedoms, the religious tolerance of Israel just useless flappings in the wind?

I demand answers. I have put in the work over many years. Now I want someone from the Israeli side to show me why this can’t be fixed in hours. The laws governing marriage are medieval enough, but if Israel wants to declare itself to be the most progressive country in the world, it must try a lot harder.

Dr. Denis MacEoin
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

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