I attended Lt. Col. Philbin’s talk last night [Sept. 17 at PHDS] and I thought, wow, here is a real-life Righteous Gentile in our midst! He was down to earth, humorous, and straight forward. He told us that his impression of Israel before he went was that it was a war zone. But once he got there, he found a safe, friendly environment and a stable, patriotic society, with much to admire and even emulate. He felt that the best way to dispel the negative stereotypes would be to encourage as many people as possible to visit. He was thankful to the ADL for sponsoring the program, as the itinerary included frank, open discussions with both Israelis and Palestinians.
As for the claim that this program encourages the militarization of the RI State Police, he laughed at the notion. He said the weapons, education and tactics were virtually identical to those in the United States.
Russell D. Raskin