Guest column: An interview with an American rabbi

Published 1:23 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2024

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By Brenda Beadenkopf

Guest Columnist, Niles resident

I recently sought to find the background and history of the words “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,” as my young relative had defended the phrase after taking part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration in DC. She insisted it means a peaceful coexistence between Palestinians and Jews from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. She was told that it came from peace talks in 1960 and spoken hopefully by both sides. I explained it means complete genocide of the Jews, to shove them from the Jordan River into the Mediterranean. Agreement was not reached on this. So, to consult an expert, I called a local American rabbi – who spoke on the condition of anonymity – to get a historical and personal perspective on the matter.

The rabbi’s answer:

“The origin is not important, but who is saying it and what is the intent. On October 7th, 1,200 Israelis were killed and 240 taken hostage. Hamas kidnapped babies and old women, including an 85 year old survivor of the Holocaust named Yaffa Adar. Apparently, Hamas believes that Hitler didn’t do a good enough job of eliminating the Jews. You may want to read the Hamas charter which paints a picture of a world Judenrein [completely ‘cleansed’ of Jews]. Bear in mind that Jihadism glorifies death and so they cannot stand religions that believe in the sanctity of life. 300,000 pro-Israel assembled last month in Washington DC. Peaceful and full of love.  

“While the origin of the ‘river to the sea’ chant may have begun with peace, non-oppression and co-existence, the bottom line is that it is the very phrase constantly being used by pro-Hamas murderers who have vowed to make Israel Judenrein. As in Hitler’s Germany. 

“October 7 was Simchat Torah, one of holiest days in Jewish religion, and many of the victims were praying. This should not come as a surprise, as the very same vile tactic was used exactly 50 years prior when Israel was attacked on Yom Kipur, which is the holiest day of the year. There is footage of the shouts of Allahu Akbar [Victory for Allah] and clear pictures of the charred and decapitated bodies of babies in their cribs. The Jihadist butchers were giddy with ecstasy, as they had never so enjoyed such a feast of death. That’s exactly what the phrase: ‘From the River to the Sea’ means. Your young relative is being taken for a ride. 

“By the way, Hamas and friends savor the attention that liberals are giving them, but as soon as they dislike you, you are their next ‘infidel.’  And while it feels good for peace activists to root for the underdog on the ivory towers of elitist college campuses, when they experience Jihadism for themselves, they are always in for an extremely unpleasant surprise. The problem is that they rarely have the courage to explore the truth, so they rely on the sacred opinions of CNN and BBC. But any person who has visited both societies sees the crystal-clear truth. 

“After they beheaded and burned babies on October 7, Hamas returned to hiding under Gazan hospitals and blamed Israel for peripheral deaths as a result of highly targeted strikes (which by the way, were prefaced by warnings to evacuate all civilians…) There is footage of arsenals discovered in NICU’s and anyone with eyes sees that the terribly tragic deaths of so many Palestinian civilians is 100 percent Hamas’ responsibility.

“Currently, many Christians see eye to eye with Jews on major issues, especially when it comes to identifying evil. This friendship is priceless, as we are in a time when we feel secluded and abandoned. The UN is a hotbed for anti semitism, yet seekers of truth take Israel’s cause and speak the truth. 

“I have eleven nephews fighting in the Israeli Army. They were reservists who were called up, and some are in Gaza risking their lives to destroy the murderous tunnels of the Hamas killers. 

“So there you have it, “From the River to the Sea” may have peaceful origins, but it is currently the tagline for the genocide of all Jews.

“On a different note, please convey to your young relative that I will gladly sponsor her trip to Israel on the condition that she does the following two things: 1) Enter Nablus, Hebron or Gaza dressed as a Jew….and then 2) enter Jewish Jerusalem dressed as a Muslim. She should await the results (actually she won’t have to wait very long), and she’ll see which culture is peace loving. 

“Kindly leave my name and email address out of any correspondence, as I fear for my safety.”

I thank my American rabbi for his candidness and clarity on this hideous cancer calling for the destruction of the Jews that I think has shocked many of us. Let’s remember what history has taught us when we hear people shouting, “Death to the Jews!” Those in the past who sought to destroy the Jews were on the wrong side of history.