The Jerusalem Post (in its Grapevine column) covered the launch of “The Bloody Price of Freedom” by Honorary B’nai B’rith President Richard D. Heideman in Jerusalem. B’nai B’rith World Center Director Alan Schneider delivered opening remarks and CEO Dan Mariaschin moderated a panel discussion with distinguished guests about the book and the range of threats facing Israel and global Jewry.
Although it was originally planned for six months ago and then for three months ago, the Israel launch of The Bloody Price of Freedom, by distinguished Washington-based lawyer Richard D. Heideman, finally took place at the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem last Sunday, in the presence of a live audience of close to 50 relatives, friends and acquaintances. The event was jointly organized by Gefen Publishing and the B’nai B’rith World Center, Jerusalem.
While COVID-19 restrictions had interfered with previous plans to hold an Israel launch, nothing could keep Heideman and his wife, Phyllis, away from a family celebration. Above all else, they were in Israel to join in celebrating the bar mitzvah of their grandson Eytam, whose mother, Elana, the second of their three daughters, has lived in Israel for almost 17 years and is the executive director of the Israel Forever Foundation.
Before Heideman himself rose to speak, there was a panel discussion on how antisemitism is linked to terrorist organizations. The moderator was Daniel S. Mariaschin, CEO of B’nai B’rith International, with Irit Kohn, a former president of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence, and Yifa Segal, founder and director of the International Legal Forum, as panelists.
What emerged from the discussion is that Israel is doing a poor job in combating defamation and attempts at demonization and delegitimization. Relating mainly to what’s happening in America, especially attacks on Jewish university and college students, there was consensus among the panelists that, for the most part, the Jewish students can’t fight back, because unlike the Palestinians, who are all well versed in their narrative, the Jewish students are ignorant of Jewish history in general and the history of the State of Israel in particular. There is also ignorance in Washington and Europe. When activists on behalf of Israel mention that there was an Arab boycott long before the establishment of the State of Israel, few people know what that person is talking about.
In clear, concise language when he spoke and also when he elaborated on his remarks in the book, Heideman drew the connection between the Nazi manifesto of 1920; the Nuremberg Laws, which disenfranchised and dehumanized the Jews and certain others in the German population; Kristallnacht, which was the burning not only of books, but of people as it moved into the Shoah; the pushing of people into gas chambers and crematoria, and working others to death; the founding of the Arab League in 1945; followed by boycotts and blacklisting of companies and nations that did business with anyone connected with the Zionist enterprise; anti-Israel votes in the United Nations; terrorist attacks and sponsors of terrorism; the recent Amnesty International report and what is happening in the world today.
“It’s not coincidence,” said Heideman, as he drew verbal links in a century-old chain of Jews and later the State of Israel being tainted as apartheid, criminal and racist. “Silence is not an option,” said Heideman, as he reiterated his belief in the profound link between antisemitism, terrorism and the demonization of Israel.
This is a time when all Jews, regardless of their religious affiliations or political ideologies, must unite, he insisted, concluding with a warning about Iran: “When someone says they want to kill you, you darn well better listen.”