Sunday, August 21, 2016

Open Letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of
the Islamic Republic of Iran

by Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker

Global Politician, May 20, 2006; reprinted: September 30, 2008

Mr. President, for once I find myself in complete agreement with you, which is a great surprise, given our different backgrounds and views on religion, politics, and life. But when I read your recent statement that Israel's Jews should return home, I found myself absolutely amazed that we are in such total agreement: Israel's Jews should return home. Absolutely; every last one of them should go home!                                                          

Wait a minute! I just realized something: they are home. Jews have returned to their ancient ancestral homeland. This people began its history there in the land of Israel over three thousand years ago, before the Philistines, the Persians, the Arabs or the Moslems came to that land, After an hiatus of many hundreds of years, they have returned home due to the reception we Jews received in the lands of our dispersion by nice people just like you.                                                                                                                       

Israel, or Palestine as you like to call it, is a small piece of real estate. One could fit the State of Israel into Iran nearly 80 times. It is the home of the Jews, a word taken from the name of the country back in the early and middle first millennium B.C.E.: Judah or Judea, (Yehudah in Hebrew and Aramaic). In fact, it is an ancient Persian coin from the late fifth century B.C.E. that bears the inscription "Yehud" that testifies independently to the name of the region and its inhabitants.                                                                 

It seems that the land of Israel, like the land of Persia or Iran, has known many foreign invasions over its long history. Just as the Persians have experienced the addition of foreign invaders into its national collective identity (Turks, Kurds, and Arabs being only the most numerous and best known groups), so has the land of Israel and the Jewish people experienced invasions and an admixture into its national collective identity. Jews come in every hue and racial sub-group today, and there are many examples of all these groups living together in the land of Israel.                         

As many Moslem and Christian Arab Palestinians now also occupy large sections of the land, Israel has chosen to support the concept of a two-state solution to the conflicting claims for the land. If and when the Palestinians develop a responsible leadership that is willing to work for the establishment of two states, one Palestinian and one Jewish, in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, they will find that the State of Israel is most willing to cooperate. But if not, if Hamas and Jihad Islami—whom you finance and support militarily [as well as Hezbollah]—refuse to accept such an offer, let one thing be very clear to you and to them: Israel is a Jewish state and will remain so, and the Jewish people are home and have no intention whatsoever to move for the next three to four thousand years.                                       

Since you seem uncomfortable with that situation of having a Jewish nation in your particular neighborhood, maybe we can find a new exclusive location for you, one preferably with bars around it, just to keep all your "friends" away so that you can have suitable privacy. I'm sure that many of your victims would like to send you elsewhere, but enlightened states do not practice capital punishment.    

Professor Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker is the Chairman and founder of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East, a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching the public about the dangers poised by radical Islamic fundamentalism, and the need to build genuine democratic institutions in the region as an antidote to the venom of such radical fundamentalism.      

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