Friday, October 05, 2007

Bender Bends It Yet Again

I found this trash in the International Herald Tribune's letters section:-

Jews opposed to settlements

Regarding the news article "Saudi asks Israel to halt work on security barrier" (Sept. 28 ): Friends of Israel, especially Jews around the world, should welcome the call by Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, for Israel to halt all settlement activity.

[Left out of the archived version: The vast settlement project, widely recognized as violating international law, is only the most visible manifestation of Israel's four-decade long rule over Palestinian territory, an occupation that has included torture, political assassination, home demolitions and economic strangulation.]

Many Jews, like myself, have long argued that the occupation is inimical to Israel's own security, as well as violating Jewish ethics that mandate justice and mercy. The Saudi Initiative, which offers Israel full diplomatic recognition and regional integration, may be one of the final chances for Israel to achieve a lasting peace.

Jacob Bender, New York

A few years ago, he was in Germany:-

The Muslim opposition to terrorism found by the Pew Global Attitudes Project ("Muslim doubts on extremism," July 15) is indeed a welcome development. However, the bad news is that the Pew survey also found "near-universal antipathy in the Muslim countries toward Jews." This should be deeply troubling to all people believing in a betterment of interfaith relations, but especially to Jews, and Muslims themselves.

This hostility is all the more tragic when we remember that for the better part of a millennium, Jews were an integral part of the Islamic world, finding refuge in Muslim countries and contributing to the brilliance of Islamic civilization. Ironic as it may seem today, for hundreds of years Arabic was, in fact, also the language of Jewish people.

As an American Jew, I believe the improvement of Muslim-Jewish relations rests upon two foundations: a recognition by Muslims that anti-Jewish bigotry violates Islamic values and principles, and a recognition by Jews that as long as Israel continues its brutal occupation of the Palestinians, no improvement in relations between "the children of Abraham" will be possible.

Jacob Bender, Stuttgart, Germany

Jacob, you should know is a trustee of The Friends of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information and is a video producer, photographer, Jewish educator, and husband to Katharina and father to Dalia Rosa. He is currently working on Reason and Revelation, a documentary film about the lives of three medieval philosophers: Averroes the Muslim, Moses Maimonides the Jew, and Thomas Aquinas the Christian.

Bender is an interfaith activist, media producer and Jewish educator. During the many years he lived in Israel, he produced media projects for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem and the Israel Ministry of Education. In the United States, he has directed dozens of media projects for Jewish institutions and organizations including the American Jewish Committee, Hebrew Union College, Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University and the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education.

A former drama director of the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education, he has taught at synagogues and temples and delivered more than 200 public talks on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Holocaust, and other topics in Jewish history. He has led delegations to meet with numerous Israeli political leaders, as well as King Hussein of Jordan, since deceased. Bender holds a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish History from UCLA and studied at NYU’s Graduate Film School. He can be reached at

He is involved in “Abraham’s Bridge,” a Jewish-Muslim dialogue with Saeed Khan. It's an hour-long production - a dialogue about historical and contemporary Jewish-Muslim relations that aims to bridge the antagonism dividing the two communities. Using projected visuals, Khan and Bender review the religious and intellectual cross-fertilization between Jewish and Muslim civilization, which has lasted hundreds of years. They also explore parallels between Islamic and Jewish beliefs and practices; patterns of Jewish and Muslim immigration to America; nonviolent paths to Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation; and strategies for contemporary cooperation. They believe the dialogue will provide proof that the numerous religious traditions can yet be a source of hope, inspiration, and mutual respect in today’s troubled times.

I've dealt with him previously.

I sent the IHT this letter. Will let you know if it gets published:-

No one knows how many are the "many Jews" for whom Jacob Bender claims to speak in his opposition (letter, Oct. 3) to the Jewish communities established in the disputed territories Israel controls since 1967. I write as one of over 400,000 Jews in these areas, including Jerusalem's eastern neighborhoods.

We need recall that no Jew lived in a "settlement" nor was there any "occupation" during the years 1948-1967 in these areas of Judea and Samaria but Arab fedayeen terror existed and peace was the furthest goal of any Arab entity. The PLO was founded in 1964, three years before the war. Any further retreat through disengagement will result in many of Israel's towns facing the security threat of Qassam rockets and, at Ben-Gurion Airport, even worse.

The term "illegality" can not be applied to places, like my home of Shiloh, for it was here that the Jewish people created its culture, history and religion and became a nation, where our kings, priests and prophets walked, deliberated and acted. Bender is misrepresenting Judaism and the Jewish people.



No, it wasn't published.

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