Responding to Trauma in Israel
Terrorism, war, natural disasters, tragedy and bereavement cause pain and loss that have a profound effect on us all. We have all seen shattered lives, devastated communities and the unbearable, searing pain of hundreds and thousands of trauma victims crying out for help. In 2001, the UJA-Federation of New York initiated the establishment of the Israel Trauma Coalition .Turning distress and despair into hope, bringing lasting care and healing by building a system of Trauma programs and Resiliency Centers in different locations in Israel. This professional and personal connection between the UJA-Federation of New York is not only a fine example of a strong bi-national alliance, but has been the impetus for a revolution in the provision of trauma services both nationally and internationally.
On July 18th of this year, I posted an article entitled “The New York Federation boycotts Judea and Samaria”. It has since come to my attention that the original article was based on incorrect and incomplete information that I received from open sources and from professionals in the field of trauma care. I wish to reaffirm that the Israel Trauma Coalition was established and remains a non-political NGO that has worked with individuals, families, communities, emergency teams and municipalities throughout Israel including Judea and Samaria providing assistance without reservation or discrimination.
I accept full responsibility for the mistakes and unintentional misrepresentation that arose as a result of my article. I personally regret any damage my article may have caused. On a personal note, I hope that this retraction rectifies the situation strengthening our collective ability to meet the challenges awaiting the State of Israel.
Much has been said about the European's latest decision of boycotting Jews. What most of us don't know is that the decision to boycott affects much larger regions beyond just Judea and Samaria and includes in addition the following areas: the Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, the whole Ramat HaGolan, the whole Jordan Valley, and parts of the Dead Sea. The fact that all of these areas have been awarded Israeli sovereignty and are considered an integral part of Israel means nothing to the Europeans. It's been less than 70 years since the last time the Europeans forced Jews to be publicly labeled so that they can be differentiated from the rest of humanity, and it seems as if they have no qualms or regrets doing it again, sound familiar?
Sadly, the European Union's decision to bind the 28 European Union member nations to label Jewish goods and services, and even academic research proposals from institutions and factories that have their offices or manufacturing facilities in Judea and Samaria is relatively recent yet no different than the "Gentleman's Agreement" that has been voluntarily adopted and implemented by the New York Federation for many years. The New York Federation does not cross the green line (known by many as the 1967 borders) unless of course it's to assist Palestinian Arabs, meaning that Jews who can benefit from the many programs that are funded and provided by the New York Federation for the citizens of Israel are effectively barred if they reside in Judea and Samaria.
Jews living beyond the green line have been voluntarily boycotted by the New York Federation despite the fact that there is no legal prohibition to support organizations or communities located in these areas not only according to Israeli law but also in accordance to American tax law. Any American dollar donated is fully tax deductible to the extent provided by law. This has not stopped the New York Federation from voluntarily boycotting 700,000 Jews along with the Europeans and the many enemies of Israel who have been behind the boycott movements throughout the world.
The most blatant example of this voluntary boycott by the New York Federation has to do with the victims of terror. The community of Itamar, located adjacent to the City of Shechem in Judea and Samaria has had no less than 22 of its residents murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorist, they have the highest terror murder rate of any community in Judea and Samaria, in Israel and probably in the world. The Fogel family massacre being the latest tragedy that this community has endured. They obviously would be the ideal community to be inundated with trauma interventions at all levels, community, family, individual, and children but essentially they have been untouched and boycotted by the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), an organization that was wholly established by the New York Federation, funded entirely by Federation donations, and operated according to Federation guidelines. The local Regional Council has helped with their limited resources, the very opposite of all other communities within the green line that have received generous trauma assistance by the New York Federation.
Judea and Samaria as a whole is the home of over 100 terror orphans. The New York Federation has invested ten's of millions of dollars in trauma resiliency programs and trauma treatment programs in Israel, and not one cent of direct funding has crossed the green line to assist these very special children. Despite the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria being on the front lines on the "War on Terror", the New York Federation would prefer to use funding to give exposure to those that support Boycott movements and the dismantling of the State of Israel rather than fund programs such as therapeutic horseback riding and music and art therapy for these very special children who have experienced and in many cases have witnessed the deaths of their parents and siblings. If New York Federation funded agencies can so blatantly boycott children who have lost their parents and siblings to terror, why should we be so surprised when the Europeans adopt a similar policy of boycotting Jews.
Israel should and must respond to those that boycott Jews. As for the Europeans, Israel should expel the EU from the so-called peace process. Israel should declare that the European Union and all its member states will no longer be considered honest brokers, and no Israeli official will meet with them on any issue related to the peace process. Furthermore, any European state wishing to be included in the peace process must sign a statement that the territories of east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights are in dispute and their fate will be determined through direct negotiations. It must also commit to disregarding the EU directive regarding those same territories. The Europeans should also be reminded that Israel is an important trade partner with Europe, and is its third largest trade partner in the region and that a retaliatory trade war and boycott would hurt the already failing European economy.
As for the New York Federation, their hypocrisy and misguided budgetary priorities must be exposed for what it is, and they must be held publicly accountable to those that support and donate to the Federation system. Implementing guidelines that are racist and discriminatory in nature are in violation of the law in America as well as in Israel. Israel must make it clear that as long as NGO's such as the New York Federation continue their voluntary policy of boycotting Jewish communities and organizations in Judea and Samaria, they risk legal action that could culminate in curtailment of their activities in Israel, restrict their access to Israeli government officials, and have their entry into the Knesset forbidden.
All it takes is a firm conviction on our part.