Sir, – Re “Int’l Elders to meet cross-section of Israeli and Palestinian societies” (August 25): Three weeks ago, the organizer of the Elders NGO contacted the Sderot Media Center about bringing a Sderot resident to Jerusalem to talk to the influential group.
Wouldn’t they, we asked, visit not only the worst Arab parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but also come to Sderot to meet with some of the countless families whose lives have been terrorized by the near-decade of rocket fire? The visit wouldn’t take them far out of their way, we explained, reminding them that it takes only 15 seconds for a Qassam rocket from Gaza to hit Sderot.
The Elders organizer, while insisting that the trip was structured “to show both sides of the conflict,” replied that they had no time to visit Sderot and refused a small donation to the Sderot resident who would lose a day’s work in order to travel to Jerusalem.
Soon afterwards, a scheduled group of European students from a prominent worldwide Jewish organization came to Sderot to see the human side of the conflict. Several of them scoffed at a “corny and stupid” video of kindergarten children running for their lives in the midst of an oncoming rocket attack; the reality of terrorists targeting innocent civilians was lost on them. The group also criticized our work for not supporting the suffering in the Gaza Strip by not opening a media center there.
Their organizer was as stunned as we were by these reactions, clearly a reflection on the environment with which these Jewish students – described as “intensive and militant” – interact. Even the cream of the crop of European Jewish youth have, it seems, been embraced by the tentacles of Arab propaganda.
For us, it was just another day of advocating for Sderot.
Sderot Media Center
Australian Parliamentarians’ recent visit to Sderot. (Photo: Roi Borobiski)