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Letter: An Open Letter to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy Urging Support for Israel

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Editor’s Note: The following open letter to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy has been submitted to We-Ha.com for publication as a letter to the editor.

Dear Sen. Chris Murphy,

On Monday, Oct. 9, you stood with me and our community on the steps of West Hartford Town Hall and proclaimed to the world that you would always stand with Israel, that your commitment to Israel was unshakeable, and that you were “going to stand in support of making sure Israel has everything it needs, every article of defense material to hunt down these brutal terrorists.” You declared your support for Israel’s inalienable right to self-defense and acknowledged that the campaign against the evil Hamas regime would neither be simple nor short.

However, unlike the unwavering support for Israel shown by President Biden and the Democratic leadership in the Senate, your tune has changed in recent weeks. Your comments on CNN’s State of the Union this past Sunday are a betrayal of those commitments.

Of course, every innocent life lost is precious; Jewish tradition preaches that every life loss is an entire world destroyed. It is for this reason the Israeli Defense Forces work so hard, so diligently, and are so committed to limiting civilian casualties even as the IDF does battle with Hamas terrorists who purposefully embed themselves within civilian populations, hospitals, schools, and UN facilities.

You mentioned a strategic calculus. And, of course, there can be differences of opinions between allies about the best long-term strategy for conducting this campaign. However, I am most disturbed by your moral arithmetic. You seem to blame Israel for the suffering of the Palestinians of Gaza and question whether Israel is conducting its operations in accordance with the laws of armed conflict.

These implications are legally baseless and morally bankrupt. Neither international law nor any moral code allows terrorists to render themselves immune beause they are craven enough to use their own people to guard their terrorist bases. Proportionality does not mean that we judge based on the number of dead; rather, it means that armies must make choices by weighing the military value of their target against potential civilian causalities. The horror here is that Hamas has made sure that all of its strategic targets are embedded in the civilian population. In any moral universe, Israel must consider the deaths of those civilians in their decision-making- and we know that the IDF does. It is Hamas and its partners that are ultimately responsible for the suffering and deaths. If Hamas surrendered, turned over its arms, and returned the captives, the war would be over.

Worse, your insinuations that Israel is breaking international law are already being touted as a massive victory for pro-Hamas sympathizers and emboldens those who wish to delegitimize Israel and call for another genocide of Jews.

Perhaps most surprising is that you are now in favor of conditioning aid to Israel when you voted against the Taylor Force Act – a bill to prevent US tax dollars from going to support payment to Palestinian terrorists for murdering civilians! Are you working to ensure aid into Gaza does not go to the Hamas terror regime?

As a voter and your constituent, I hope you will do better; Israel deserves better, America deserves better, we deserve better!

Rabbi Tuvia Brander
West Hartford

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  • First, anti-Israel is not anti-Jewish.

    Second, Israel’s interests and America’s interests are not the same. Sometimes they align; sometimes they don’t. No need to insinuate that a Senator putting America’s interests first is somehow incorrect.

    Third, your argument ignores the foundations of the modern state of Israel in which the native Palestinians were pushed aside despite being the overwhelming majority.
    Weizmann and Ben-Gurion’s plan from the start was to expand to all of Palestine through land purchases and immigration.
    Go back further to claims that God gave the land to the Israelites; they just had to annihilate the existing inhabitants (even their animals).

  • In general support of Rabbi Tuvia Brander’s open letter to Senator Chris Murphy the following is my Jewish experience:

    For the first 12 years of my life I lived in a Jewish neighborhood. All of my intimate friends were Jewish namely: Morton Kahan, Fred Dressler, Dave Sasportas, Howard Hochman, Harvey Glassman, Nancy Shapiro Berman, Marilyn Kravitz Slovitt and others too numerous to mention. When the grammar school bell rang at 3:00 pm all the Catholic boys went to Catechism class. The Jewish boys went to Hebrew School. Here I was sitting on a bench with my classmates. I also had a paid job (75 cents) for putting out the lights in the synagogue on certain holidays. Today Morton Kahan is practicing outstanding medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. We constantly stay in touch. My Jewish experience continues when I was studying in The Cradle of Intellectual America in Boston. In my opinion, as a group Jewish people understand prejudice because they have been discriminated against for centuries. Jews should be admired for their accomplishments in the face of brutal discrimination.

    Antisemitism has persisted for centuries. But, today it is delivered online spreading hate worldwide. It is a false conspiracy theory that Jews control the banks, the media and the government. Antisemitism comes from white supremacist, white national groups and some blacks like Kanye West posting on social media. A current wave of antisemitism was the eleven worshippers killed in an attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prejudice can be contagious that leads to discrimination. We cannot let this continue because it is a threat to democracy. It is the duty of all people to speak out and make it clear that antisemitism is unacceptable. This duty also applies to city, state and the Federal Government because it is their duty to protect its citizens.

    Even today the worldwide hate towards the Jewish faith continues evidenced by the Israel-Hamas War and the increase of hate crimes in the United States.


    James A. Johnson


    • Dude missed the entire point of Robert’s first statement. Being opposed to Israel’s actions isn’t the same as being antisemitic.

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