Saturday, May 15th | 4 Sivan 5781

March 29, 2013 12:51 am

Jerusalem: Of Irving Moskowitz or Qatar?

avatar by Ronn Torossian

The Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

If a Jew purchased a home legally in Moscow, Tokyo, Los Angeles or Paris it wouldn’t make headline news accusing the buyers of blocking peace, would it? When African-Americans sought to “integrate” white schools in the ’60’s, they were heroes – not inflaming racial tensions, right?

In Jerusalem, which is a Jewish city and always has been a Jewish city, no Jew should be accused of “thwarting Middle East peace” as a result of a legal real estate purchase. Yet, a Florida newspaper recently ran an attack article on Dr. Irving Moskowitz, a Jew who invests in Jerusalem real estate, this week and it reeks.  If democracy and civil rights matter, why can’t Jews live and buy real estate wherever they want?

Cherna Moskowitz (Irving’s wife) has said in the past that telling Jews where they can live is “.. a continuation of a 2,000-year-old habit of Jews being told where they can and cannot live. This spanned from the ghettos of medieval Europe, to severe zoning restrictions in czarist Russia and finally to the edicts of Nazism where we were eventually told that we could not live at all.”  Frankly telling Jews where they can and can’t live is racism.

Glossing over the fact that Arabs in Jerusalem are likely to be killed if they sell land to Jews (and not mentioning that Arabs can live anywhere they choose in Israel), reporter Terrence McCoy apparently believes that the main obstruction to Middle East peace is Jewish home building.  That simply isn’t true – it is because Israel’s neighbors do not recognize Israel’s right to exist.

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As I made clear to McCoy when he called me for comment on the Moskowitz family; it is a sickening double standard. I told him that Dr. Irving Moskowitz is a Jewish hero who has worked legally to help change the face of Jerusalem.

As Moskowitz has said: “If the peace process is incapable of digesting the presence of 50 Jewish families 860 yards from the Western Wall and barely a mile from the King David Hotel, then its fragility is indeed beyond repair.” “That would be defined as racism anywhere outside the Middle East.”

The article credits the Moskowitz family with donating millions to Jerusalem – and for this they should be celebrated, not condemned.  The article noted that Hitler was idolized where Moskowitz grew up, he lost 120 relatives in the Holocaust and has noted his motivations for helping Israel and the Jewish people are simple: “What could be more natural for a person with [my] upbringing, than to want to help his people in Israel who are being surrounded by people that want to destroy the country?”

Moskowitz made his money legally and is generous in giving it away.  Is that not a beautiful American success story? Why is it that Jews are condemned for helping Israel and their nation?  If one wants to write about  the Moskowitz family, mention the millions they give away to hospitals, poor people and so many other causes.

Interestingly, the article neglected to mention that the Arab League approved a Qatari proposal to set up a $1 billion fund for Jerusalem. “The summit … calls for setting up a fund to support Jerusalem to the value of $1 billion to finance projects and programs that would maintain the Arab and Islamic character of the city and reinforce the steadfastness of its people,” the draft resolution said.

It is one thing to love Jerusalem and to want it to remain the eternal capital of Israel – it’s another thing to work for it.  Thanks are due to Cherna and Irving Moskowitz for their intense devotion to Jerusalem and the Jewish people. As Irving Moskowitz says: “After 2,000 years of sacrifice for the dream of returning to Jerusalem, we cannot allow it to be taken away.”

Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and author of PR Book “For Immediate Release.”

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