Charles Gallo
Charles GalloCourtesy

I am writing at the request of a friend, a Rabbi, who seems to believe my voice may be heard. I’m not Jewish, but I have spent many years working with Jewish philanthropy on behalf of a Holocaust survivor, and over time, have met more and more people from the Jewish non-profit world, which has supplemented my experience with Jews at both a business and personal level.

I find them to be a terrific people – honorable, smart and serious about being Jews.

Gradually, I began following Rabbis [on YouTube], two of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I watched historical documentaries about Jewish history, particularly in the context of World History, and read many stories based on the Jewish Torah. I searched for how the Jewish people lived within the dichotomy of being fearsome warriors [a History Channel report indicated that in ancient times, the Jews had a sword that rivaled a Ninja sword and could cut a man from collar bone to hip] and simultaneously, being such a gentle, peace-loving, and law-abiding people.

The answer is, I believe, that in the process of choosing life, a value that they hold sacred, they do what is necessary to survive. While studying the history of the Jews, and the persecution that is part and parcel of that history, it is not difficult to see that to survive such persecution, they needed to unite repeatedly against a common foe.The foe that they cannot seem to conquer is antisemitism – a word created to soften the term “Jew-hatred.” How about we go back to calling it what it really is and stop playing word games?

Of course, my Rabbi friend asked to write about antisemitism. In this age of the internet, you need not exert yourself to find facts about the history of Jew-hatred a.k.a. “antisemitism.” The Anti-Defamation League has a well-written summary. Instead, I’m going to write about the current conflict and some of what I’ve found that many people don’t know, have forgotten or deliberately choose to ignore.

But first, I’ll present my biases: Hamas crossed the border, invading Israel where some of my friends live.

I have visited this region many times and experienced daily life there. In fact, three weeks prior to October 7th, I’d been planning a trip to Israel in January. For me, this is PERSONAL.

Yet in deference to my pro-Palestinian friends (and, yes, I have many pro-Palestinian friends) and to the outcry against Israel, I tried to be objective and have considered arguments and/or grievances against Israel.I believe that we must first look to history, as history has a magnificent way of unlocking how we arrive at any place in time. Should my facts be wrong, please contact me, with sources, so I may correct them.

  1. The land of Palestine does not exist. It was always Israel and retained its identity until about 400 CE, when a Roman emperor, as an insult to the Jews, renamed it. This insult stemmed from frequent Jewish uprisings against Rome to reclaim their land.

  1. "Palestinians" didn’t exist until the late 1800s (though some accounts say 1947, others 1964). The self-determination “movement” was beginning. Before that, they were simply Arabs. WW-I saw the English, French and Russians taking much longer than anticipated to win the war. Certain Arabs offered to help the English/French/Russian alliance win the war by a revolt against the Ottoman Empire which was allied with Germany.
  2. Simultaneously, England sought to interfere with Germany’s financing from Germany’s Jewish bankers. To accomplish this, the English and French promised the Jews a Jewish state.That duplicitous promise led to consequences that the world has ignored and allowed to fester. Of course, this recent history recounted here should not be construed as a complete history of Jew-hatred, which has continued for over two millennia.

Now, what about the present war being fought?

First, I was incredulous at how quickly the world forgot who started this war, as well as the world’s utter disregard of the nature of the attack, including the streaming of violence of the perpetrators on the internet and celebration of killing Jewish civilians. Second, there has been no mention of Hamas firing rockets into Israeli settlements targeting civilians and their families for more than 15 years. (The Israeli response was to build bomb shelters and a rocket defense system (the Iron Dome). Essentially analogous to the appeasement policy followed with Hitler.)

Other points not mentioned, include:

  • The water and utilities that Israel has been providing for free to Gaza, (even while Hamas was firing rockets into Israel).
  • The displaced Israelis from the affected towns in the Negev.

Third, Israel is criticized for violating International Law. Let’s look at some of these accusations:

  • Genocide: Aside from “details” (never provided by Palestinian Arab supporters) the population of Gaza has expanded and increased by 500% over the past 20 years. If Israel is guilty of genocide, they are not very good at it.
  • Ethnic cleansing: Palestinian Arabs living in Israel enjoy a standard of living higher than in neighboring Arab countries. The fact that Israel will expel Palestinian Arabs who support Hamas, is to me completely logical and reasonable.

The nature of any war is as follows:

  • There is violence
  • There is collateral damage
  • There are displaced civilians and refugees

Criticism of Israel seems to exercise a standard not applied to Russia in Crimea and the Ukraine; Saudi Arabia and Yemen; Venezuela and Ghana. So, the question is, why is it different now? It is clear that a double standard is being applied here.

It is time to admit a few things into our reality:

Palestinian Arab leadership has repeatedly rejected overtures of peace, even when Arafat was offered 95% of what said he wanted. The logical conclusion would be that peace is not an option sought by Palestinian Arab leadership. Jew-hatred is bred into the Palestinian Arabs at both the cultural and religious levels. This is a religious war, based on Jew-hatred, but founded on fundamentalist hatred of the “infidels.” It cannot be fought with “Western thought or philosophies.”

  1. Based on #2 and #3 above, a two-state solution cannot work.

The development of Israel – its cities, agriculture, social and political systems – has been as a Jewish nation. This transformation of this land by the Jewish people shows that they earned the land.

And, so the question remains, what to do with the Palestinian Arabs? With so much land in control of Arab nations, in theory, this should not be a problem, but it is doubtful that this is a viable solution. Other Arab nations don’t seem to want these Arabs [who call themselves Palestinians]. Iran, on the other hand, has supported both Hamas and Hezbollah, why not see whether they support the Palestinians as well, or if they only use them for terrorist purposes?

The underlying problem has two parts: (1) Jew-hatred that is systemic, not only among Palestinian Arabs, but world-wide, and, (2) the fact that other Arab nations do not want to take in the Palestinians, who are, after all, Arabs.

Until these underlying problems are resolved, the solution will remain violence, founded in the historical warring behavior of human beings, not just in the Middle East, but worldwide.

Israel cannot be faulted as it defends its right to exist, as a people, as a nation and as a religion.

Charles J. Gallo CPA,a native New Yorker, is a businessman and philanthropist, Founder of the accounting firm, Gallo & Battle, LLC. and has taught graduate courses at Long Island University (C.W. Post Campus) and Lehman College (CUNY). He has also spoken about business appraisal and accounting topics to business and civic organizations.