An Open Letter to Netanyahu: I Want to Volunteer for the IDF
Dear Mr. Netanyahu,
I'm an American citizen and over 60, so I am pretty much useless (though I still play a decent game of tennis), but I want to volunteer for the IDF.
I understand you're having some trouble on your southern border that seems to be creeping north with sirens wailing in Tel Aviv and, unlike a number of my fellow Jews in this country, I would do anything to help.
I am perfectly clear that your cause is just and the time is now. In fact, unlike an even larger number of my fellow citizens -- and quite probably our president -- I am perfectly clear that your cause is also ours. You are fighting for freedom and democracy against the most reactionary forces in the world today: those that oppose the rights of women and gays, religious freedom, the separation of church and state, freedom of expression and assembly, etc., etc., and wish to impose theocratic totalitarianism.
You would think everybody would be on your side. But no. Forces of "progressivism" like the New York Times are -- even today, while Israel has endured 275 and counting missiles aimed at civilians -- questioning your judgment.
It's hard to say why they do this. Perhaps their management -- themselves Jewish -- are embarrassed by their heritage. They were the same folks, you no doubt recall as the son of a historian, who took a "moderate approach" when reporting on the Holocaust.
But I suspect it is more than that. After all, their vision of Israel is not unlike that of much of our elite media. The Europeans, for the most part, are even worse.
So that leaves your support to us here in the great unwashed, the non-elite public who may not have read Marcuse or Chomsky, and see the justice of your cause through simple common sense.
Many of us are too old or have too few skills to volunteer. I apologize for that. It's the best I/we can do. In my case, my Hebrew isn't very good, having not kept it up, I blush to say, since my Bar Mitzvah.
So if you pass on my application, I understand. You have better things to do right now. And plenty of reserve troops who are much better trained than I.
But I want to say this -- I urge my fellow Americans of all races and religions to join with me and stand with Israel now, no matter what our government does.
As one Jewish sage famously asked, "If not now, when?" Or, in the more complete words of Hillel: "If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”
I am not the first to say that that seems to sum it up. If you really think Western civilization is worth saving, you will do this. Because the stakes are nothing less than that. If you think the Judeo-Christian tradition can survive the fall of Israel, you are, to be blunt, birdbrained.
All the best,
Roger L. Simon