I arrived in Israel in August 2005 to begin medical school at Tel Aviv University, coinciding with Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza. It was a tense period with strong opposition to the withdrawal. Gaza could have been paradise to start a new and independent life for the Gazan citizens, but instead it came under Hamas control and ultimately led to the October 7th terrorist attack.
While the Jewish Alliance has done a great job supporting Israel, I disagreed with aspects of a recently published interview. It is critical that we educate ourselves about the anti-Israel narrative. One of the growing dangers emerging from the crisis in Israel is rampant misinformation. “Until Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are free of Israel’s occupation and siege, Israel will not be secure,” was quoted by Ruth Ben-Artzi (December 2023). It is crucial to highlight that, as of 2005, Israel withdrew entirely from Gaza. There’s no Jewish presence, and no occupation. The Palestinians were given resources to build a self-sufficient state, but it turned into a terror enclave.
I am deeply concerned about global calls for an intifada and rising antisemitism. I am currently president of the Northeast region of the Magen David Adom (MDA) board and I have been closely following the events in Israel and I have been briefed by MDA personnel involved in the conflict. As a consulting college psychiatrist, I’ve witnessed the detrimental impact on the mental health of Jewish students. While differing opinions are valid, promoting the recent interview seems inappropriate for a Jewish organization. Our primary focus should be on unity and bringing the hostages home while keeping Israel safe. The state of Israel is at an existential crossroads, demanding our collective attention. As members of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, we must unite to address these challenges head-on.
I urge our community to consider the broader picture and the potential consequences of internal divisions. Let us prioritize solidarity and save nuanced debates for a time when our unity is not under immediate threat.
Alex Cutler, MD