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Richard Forer: Transformed by Truth

By Paul Balles

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, April 27, 2011

"In many Jewish circles today it has become more important to believe in Israel than to believe in God." --

Richard Forer
Richard Forer joined AIPAC for the same reason that most Jews joined this Israel lobby.  He refers to what he calls “the primal fear of many Jews around the world--the fear of another holocaust.”
He felt strong support for Israel at the time of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and the capture of Israeli Gilad Shalit.  However some of his friends disagreed.
Retelling a story of his discussion with a friend, Forer raises every single argument and justification ever offered for the occupation of Palestine.
As a result, Forer decided to study the history, “something I'd never really done. What I found astounded me and blew all of my beliefs apart.”
He found out that everything he, as a Jewish American, had grown up believing was false.
He discovered that the propaganda about Israel wanting peace was not true. What Israel really wanted was more land. "That's always been their primary objective; peace is secondary to that."
He learned that Israel's pre-emptive attacks on Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967 were based on a falsehood that they would have attacked Israel.
Forer discovered that stories put out by Bill Clinton and Dennis Ross after the 2000 Camp David summit were also lies about how Yasser Arafat "would not go along with a very fair and generous offer made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak."
The entire history of Israel and the Palestinians put out by Israel is deceitful according to Forer.
Growing up, "I identified more as a Jew than as an American...I felt that Israel was the one place where Jews could go if ever they were persecuted again."
In his book, Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion, Forer tells of how he changed his thinking about Israel as a benign and democratic state to a tribe of people dominated by fear.
“If Jews looked at the history and not at the fictions, their fear would crumble,” says Forer.
"They would realize that the Palestinians were not only human but that the Jews have dehumanized the Palestinians through their indoctrination."
Forer's transformation took place at the time of the second Lebanese war. The typical response to his transformation was to call him a self-hating Jew.
Forer makes the important point, after his visit to the West Bank, that the Palestinians and Arabs are not angry at Jews but at the Zionist ideology and the government of Israel that oppresses them.
"Every single person I met (in the West Bank) said it's not about Jews or Muslims, it's about human beings, it's a human rights issue."
Interestingly, Forer notes that the government of Israel does not represent the Jewish people. "That's just an excuse they make.
Most of the Jewish people in Israel are apathetic.  They don't know what's going on.”
They don't even know that the Separation Wall is built mostly in Palestinian territory.
"They just live in denial. If the Israelis were honest, they'd say if the Palestinians would just lie down and do what we tell them to do, then we'll have peace and maybe we'll give them 8 to 10 percent of Palestine."
In his book, Forer debunks all of the arguments that people make to defend Israel against criticism.
He talks about Hebron, the only Palestinian community with a Jewish presence.  He writes about the Separation Wall and about settlements and the seizure of land by Israelis.
Virtually any argument that he heard before his transformation Forer goes into and shows what the truth really is.




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