This past week the Jewish community of New Mexico was honored with a visit by the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency, Ron Dermer. Ambassador Dermer spoke to our community in the most passionate and intelligent terms about modern day Israel. Everyone in attendance was truly awed by his cogent and heartfelt talk in which he shared much more than a canned speech. He spoke from the heart and shared in a very candid manner, the tachlis, the essence, right now, regarding Israel.
This is especially poignant in our time when there are many competing narratives about Israel, the Palestinians, the Israeli
government’s positions on a variety of domestic issues and international relations. Sadly, some segments of the American Jewish community are no longer talking with each other. In addition, the BDS movement, which is nothing but a veil for antisemitism, has misled some members of the Jewish community to become witting and unwitting supporters.
In this environment of fracture, Ambassador Dermer gave a compelling call for unity, and a return to the basic, historical love of Israel that has been a mainstay of Jewish consciousness from time immemorial. His message felt transcendent and timeless.
Ambassador Dermer made an especially profound point: While Zionism is the belief in the right of the Jewish people to express their sovereignty in their ancestral land, being “pro-Israel” is a unique and essential attitude. Namely, when we hear accusations against Israel, if we are pro-Israel, we will not simply assume such claims are true; but, rather, we will believe in the best of Israel, and question the voracity of anti-Israel claims and not simply assume guilt. He honestly asserted that we who support Israel, must at least give Israel the benefit of the doubt. He did not claim Israel is perfect, but realistically pointed out that Israel is a work-in-progress democracy. And reminded us that Israel deserves our loyalty and generous moral support and that we must be steadfast in nurturing Israel as the only Jewish state in the world.
This was a proud and memorable moment in the history of our New Mexico Jewish community. If you would like to see Ambassador Dermer’s speech, click here, and enjoy it as we did.
And stay tuned for updates about the Jewish Federation of New Mexico’s growing engagement with Israel and our multifaceted
mission to Israel now being planned for December 2020! Am Yisrael Chai!
Rob Lennick Executive Director
The Jewish Federation of New Mexico