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November 24, 2015 7:52 am

How to Honor Terror Victim Ezra Schwartz

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow / JNS.org

Email a copy of "How to Honor Terror Victim Ezra Schwartz" to a friend
Ezra Schwartz, the American-Jewish teen killed in a Palestinian terror attack in Gush Etzion on Thursday. Photo: Facebook.

Ezra Schwartz, the American-Jewish teen killed in a Palestinian terror attack in Gush Etzion on Thursday. Photo: Facebook.

JNS.org – memorial ceremony was held at Ben Gurion Airport just before the body of 18 year-old Ezra Schwartz was flown to the United States for burial last Saturday night. William Grant, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, was in attendance. Yet if the ceremony had taken place at the site of the attack in which Ezra was murdered, US diplomats would have boycotted the event.

That’s because the attack took place in Gush Etzion, and believe it or not, the policy of the US government is to boycott the funerals of American victims of Arab terror if the funerals take place beyond the pre-1967 armistice line.

On top of all the pain that an American family suffers when a loved one is cruelly torn from this world by Palestinian terrorists, our own government adds to their pain and suffering with this pointless insult.

This incredibly insensitive policy first came to public attention in May 2001, after a Long Island woman, Sarah Blaustein, was murdered by Arab terrorists. The funeral was held in Efrat, a large Israeli city that is all of 13 miles south of Jerusalem. But that is past the 1967 line, which for no logical reason is treated as if it is sacrosanct, when in fact it is nothing more than an old and irrelevant armistice line. And so Martin Indyk, who was the US ambassador to Israel at the time, boycotted Sarah’s funeral.

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The presence of an American diplomat at such a funeral is only symbolic. But in this world, symbols are important.

When American representatives stand shoulder to shoulder with the families of terror victims, it sends a message to the terrorists that America has Israel’s back.

But when the US government boycotts a terror victim’s funeral because it is in disputed territory, then the US is saying that the territory really belongs to the Palestinians, and, in effect, that the victims had no business being there in the first place. It drives a wedge between America and Israel. It gives the terrorists encouragement.

American Jews need to press the Obama administration to take specific, concrete steps to demonstrate American solidarity with the American victims of Palestinian terror. Ending the boycott of victims’ funerals is just one small step. Here are some others:

Court-awarded compensation for terror victims’ families should be deducted from the annual U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority.

American officials should refuse to visit any Palestinian city in which streets or parks are named after killers of Americans.

US training of Palestinian policemen should be made conditional on the Palestinian Authority firing all police officers who have been involved in attacks on Americans (there are more than a few).

Ezra Schwartz was the 138th American citizens to be murdered by Palestinian terrorists since the 1960s. How many more will die before the US government takes even these minimal steps for justice?

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Elsie Kahan

    I am ashamed to say that I live in a country were the president condones this Im glad I never voted for this man but saw right through him from day one. Thank goodness his term will soon be over and maybe our country will get back to the way it once was Freedom and justice for all as a legal immigrant coming to this country I’m sorry to say I don’t recognize the terrible things that are happening in the world today and hope that they will changes soon with a new leader.

  • Simone Miller

    I hope we can change this callous policy when Bernie Sanders is elected.

  • rulierose

    no, American Jews do NOT need to “press the Obama administration to take specific, concrete steps to demonstrate American solidarity with American victims of Palestinian terror.” American Jews need to dump the Democrats and start voting Republican.

    • Jennifer Mayer

      George W. Bush was president when Sarah Blaustein was murdered, and as Mr. Flatow writes, President Bush’s appointed ambassador, Martin Indyk, did not attend her funeral. Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter. No president of any party has changed this State Department policy of not venturing over the Green Line (despite the US Consulate in Jerusalem always being located over the Green Line), and despite promises made, no president has moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Regarding Israel, the two parties are essentially the same.

  • Larry Andrews

    The only way that the United States government is going to support Israel and the Jewish people is if certain Republican presidential candidates (i.e. Senator Ted Cruz)get elected. Support those candidates who support Israel. It’s that simple!

  • Sadness, mourning & condolences are unfortunately a large part of our Jewish history . Throughout the ages, if there was a Jew in the vicinity, there was always plenty of people nearby who were ready, willing and able to kill them. This has always been our plight, and will remain so. History has proven that this is our manifest destiny. The panoply of articles in Algemeiner repeatedly point out this fact, and seems to exist to remind us how much us, as Jews are reviled. The articles are well thought out and written. They often make the point of how unfairly we are treated, including the unfair policies and actions of the US government, President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and the rest of the world. In my way of thinking, it’s time to stop the childhood thinking that fairness can exist. Stating that we need to pressure the US government to change its policy towards Israel will be as ineffective as trying to get the kids who dislike you in the school yard to include you, if they see you as ugly and different. It is shown daily, the children who suicide because they are bullied. The Black Lives Matter movement will not change those with the capacity and willingness to hate! Prime Minister Netanyahu saw how ineffective making eloquent speeches against Iran’s nuclear program was. Watching him attempting proudly to convince Congress that Israel is worth protecting because of what it has contributed to the world, such as technology, medical advances, and even the cherry tomato was as sad an ineffective as the Jews at Auschwitz begging at the death selections to let them live, because they had skills that were useful to the Nazis. If you were a cobbler, the Nazis might let you live a while to repair Nazi boots, but we know all too well what the eventual fate of those cobblers was! It’s a fantasy that you can convince others to like you, accept you, be fair to you, and not kill you, if that is their inclination. Sad that we must convince the world to even just accept and ” tolerate” Jews and Israel by desperate means such as making people realize we invented the cherry tomato! We have learned that Black Lives Matter, matters most to black lives. As they say, ” haters gonna hate!”. Our answer lies in the solidarity and self-protection of Israel and Jews throughout the world. Jewish Lives Matter, but mostly to Jews!

  • Shlomo Haft

    Thank you Stephen for bringing this ludicrous US policy to light.

    Would US officials boycott the funeral of a Palestinian American if G-d forbid they were murdered in Tel Aviv? Would they say they shouldn’t have been there because that’s a “recognized” part of the State of Israel?

    Unfortunately this is just another example of the Jewish State being treated differently than the rest of the world.

    After the Paris terror attacks I dont remember hearing the US government asking the French to “act with restraint”.

  • Dante

    This is appalling.

  • Evelyn Haies

    Jews were in Gaza before the Declaration of Independence. Yisroel ben Moshe of Najara chief rabbi of Gaza wrote Kol Ribon about 1700. Arafat was from Egypt. Those
    Who are ignoring Israel’s history are letting American history be rewritten. When angels are killed, those who side with murderers support the satanic cult that attacked twin Buddhas, Twin Towers. Crime without punishment decivilizes.

  • Gail Weiss

    Thank you, Mr. Flatow, for informing us of our government’s dreadful policy of not supporting the families of American Jews who hold memorial services for their loved ones in areas that are not in pre-1967 borders. This policy is abhorrent, and should be ended. These areas have been part of Israel for more than 48 years.

    Unfortunately, our State Department’s treatment of Jews has never been admirable. Immigration to the U.S. from Eastern European countries (mainly Jews) was basically ended in 1926. From 1938 – 1945, when Jews were desperate to leave Europe, and those who couldn’t were murdered by the Nazis, our government looked the other way. We refused to save the lives of millions of men, women, and children who would have made significant contributions to the culture and well being of the United States.

    So here we have a situation where a young American teenager was murdered by Palestinians, and it took the State Department and our President days to acknowledge his death. I remember when your own daughter was murdered, and I can only imagine the pain you are living with each day. I hope you weren’t treated with this much insensitivity.

  • Nancy B

    Thank-you very much for this article. I am truly shocked to learn of our State Department’s/US government’s mean spirited, duplicitous and pointless rule concerning American citizens who have been murdered by terrorist Palestinians and their refusal to pay proper respect attending their funeral *only* if their death occurred in a place that isn’t beyond the pre-1967 armistice line. I am infuriated to know that the leadership of my country functions with such callous and petty disregard for their citizens (in this case,loved ones of the deceased, who are clearly victims of the terrorist(s) as well.

    Thanks so much for your excellent suggestions for exceptionally important points that I intend to include in my letters to the members of Congress who represent me and to Obama, himself. Very very disturbing.

    • Cynthia Gottlieb

      I agree 100% and could have not said this more eloquently.

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