Quote of the day from Barry Shaw, The View from Israel.
(Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative)
The Chief Rabbi’s stirring words at this week’s “Closer to Israel” rally in London’s Trafalgar Square.
In July 1938 leaders of 32 nations gathered in the French spa town of Evian knowing that something terrible was going to happen to the Jews,Knowing that unless they did something a tragedy would unfold that would exceed all the twenty centuries of anti-Semitism put together.
And one by one, without exception, the nations of the world closed their doors. At that moment the Jewish people knew that on all the vast surface of this planet there was not one square inch they could call home in the sense given by Robert Frost as the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in.
Today because of Israel the Jewish people has a home.
And when the war was over and one third of our people had been murdered, the Jewish people could have sat and wept and raged at the darkest night humanity has ever known.
But it didn’t.
It looked forward not back.
It chose life not death.
And when 65 years ago David Ben-Gurion stood and proclaimed the state it was as if the whole Jewish people had said lo amut ki ehyah, I will not die, I will live.
Because of Israel the Jewish people lives.
From the day the state was proclaimed until now, Israel has not had one day without the fear of war, or terror, or missiles, or worse. And throughout it all Israel has stood firm and brave and strong.
Because of Israel the Jewish people walks tall.
After the Holocaust the nations of the world said Never again. But anti-Semitism has returned to virtually every country in the Middle East, and even, unbelievably to Europe, from Greece in the south to Norway and Sweden in the north, from France and Spain in the west to Hungary in the east.
Whatever happened to Never again?Today it looks more like ever again.
But one thing has changed.
Because of Israel the Jewish people has a place where it can defend itself.And if Israel is criticized by people who should know better,Then we would still rather have Israel and the criticism of the world than be homeless and defenseless and have the sympathy of the world.
But the truth is that Israel is a blessing not just to us as Jews.
Today in a radicalised Middle East, Israel is the only country where Christians can live openly as Christians without fear. Is that an apartheid state?
Israel is where a British Muslim MP said he would choose to raise his family if forced to leave Britain, because there his children would feel “the warm embrace of freedom and liberty.” Is that an apartheid state?
Israel is where Jews and Muslims work together in its hospitals to treat all people of all faiths alike.
It is where universities teach students of every race, religion and ethnicity.
Where a Christian Arab was the presiding judge at the trial of the former President Moshe Katzav.
Where a former commodore of the Saudi Arabian navy said in The Times last October that Palestinians enjoy greater political and social rights than their Arab brothers elsewhere in the Middle East.
Is that an apartheid state?
Israel is a blessing not just to its citizens but to the world.
Because while its enemies have been holding whole populations captive to the pursuit of arms and missiles and terror, Israel has been …
Developing agriculture to grow food where no food was ever grown before.
Developing medicine to heal sicknesses that were not healed before.
Developing technology to create human possibilities that did not exist before.
As I go around Israel I see a country that has taken every curse thrown against it and turned it into a blessing.
by leading the fight against terror,
by becoming world experts in treating post-traumatic stress disorder,
by bringing disaster relief wherever it’s needed.
I see a country and a people that have shown the world what it is to choose life.
In Israel the language of the Bible speaks again
In Israel Jewish history lives again
In Israel the Jewish people has come home again.
So let us say loud and clear
We are close to Israel.We love Israel.We are proud of Israel.And may G-d bless Israel and all its citizens of every faith.With hope, with life, with peace.
Today’s fantasy of a better world, courtesy of Thomas Friedman:
With these iron-fisted leaders being toppled — and true, multisectarian democracies with effective governments yet to emerge in their place — Israel is potentially facing decades of unstable or no governments surrounding it. Only Jordan offers Israel a normal border. In the hinterlands beyond, Israel is looking at dysfunctional states that are either imploding (like Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Libya) or exploding (like Syria).
But here’s what’s worse: These iron-fisted leaders not only suppressed various political forces in their societies but also badly ignored their schools, environments, women’s empowerment and population explosions. Today, all these bills are coming due just when their governments are least able to handle them.
Therefore, the overarching theme for Israeli strategy in the coming years must be “resiliency” — how to maintain a relatively secure environment and thriving economy in a collapsing region.
So far, so good.
But then his 1990s-think takes over:
In my view, that makes resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more important than ever for three reasons: 1) to reverse the trend of international delegitimization closing in on Israel; 2) to disconnect Israel as much as possible from the regional conflicts around it; and 3) to offer a model.
There is no successful model of democratic governance in the Arab world at present — the Islamists are all failing. But Israel, if it partnered with the current moderate Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, has a chance to create a modern, economically thriving, democratic, secular state where Christians and Muslims would live side by side — next to Jews. That would be a hugely valuable example, especially at a time when the Arab world lacks anything like it. And the world for the most part would not begrudge Israel keeping its forces on the Jordan River — as will be necessary given the instability beyond — if it ceded most of the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
Together, Israelis and Palestinians actually have the power to model what a decent, postauthoritarian, multireligious Arab state could look like. Nothing would address both people’s long-term strategic needs better.
Let’s take these one at a time:
1) The delegitimization movement Friedman refers to is not interested in a peace agreement. They want the destruction of Israel. Their basic demands include the insistence that Israel be forced to accept millions of Arab faux-“refugees” and end the Jewish state. They already regard the PA as a sell-out for not restarting the intifada. This is a variation of the “if/then” fallacy that has been fashionable for decades, but is still around thanks to so-called “experts” like Friedman. In this case the fallacy is that the Israel-haters would be weakened by Israeli concessions, but in fact it is the opposite.
2) Friedman thinks that an Israel whose border is in constant threat of being taken over by Islamists would “disconnect” it from the regional conflicts around it? It would ensure that Israel is surrounded by them! Friedman’s bizarre assumption that a Palestinian Arab state would be inoculated from the chaos surrounding it has no basis in reality. Like so many other pseudo-experts on the region, Friedman cannot distinguish between his wishful thinking and the cold reality - in this case, that “Palestine” would be a peaceful, democratic, secular state, inoculated from the Islamist Spring.
Oh, and don’t forget Friedman’s other “if-then” fallacy here - that the world would allow Israel to keep the Jordan Valley as a buffer if only it would offer the Palestinian Arabs a state. Wasn’t that already offered and rejected? The result was nothing less than a six year-long war on Israeli civilians. Again, Friedman is stuck in the 1990s.
3) It takes an amazing amount of willful blindness to ignore Gaza’s Hamastan, to ignore the fact that there haven’t been elections for so long, to ignore the daily incitement in the PA media, to ignore the fact that the PA’s last two prime ministers that the West loved so much were not elected and have no support from the people, and to ignore the daily vitriol between Hamas and Fatah. Friedman’s eyes can shut tightly enough to allow an occasional “Sure, there are problems…” right before ignoring them.
The PA has now been around for nearly two decades. Every real accomplishment it has made so far wasn’t from its own initiative but from Western pressure. On its own, it would devolve back into a fragmented, corrupt dictatorship that it never truly escaped.
Besides that -the Islamists are winning. To them, democracy and freedom and human rights are not an end but a means. They are not remotely willing to give their political opponents the rights that they insist for themselves.
The hatred that Arabs have for Israel has nothing to do with “Palestine.” Tom - Instead of relying on your Western-educated translators when you parachute into Egypt to pretend to do reporting, read their freaking newspapers in Arabic itself. Even the most liberal, secular Lebanese Christians despise Israel. The wealthy Arabs of Dubai, who don’t really give a damn about Palestinians, all agree they hate Israel. Antisemitism - not anti-Zionism, but antisemitism - has been steadily increasing in Arabic media, especially in Egypt and the “new, improved” Iraq.
Their hate is not logical - it is pathological. And it is as much a part of Palestinian Arab society as it is in the fabric of the rest of the Arab world.
To even imagine that any Israeli actions could result in Israel being accepted by the Arabs is a breathtakingly stupid idea.
Luckily, usually Israel is smart enough not to make concessions based on what is literally a fantasy based on ignorance and dreams from deluded Pulitzer-winning “experts.”
The fourth Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism started today in Jerusalem. I am keenly interested in seeing what the conference will say about Arab and Muslim antisemitism.
There are some sessions and a working group at the GFCA on that topic. Here is their mission statement:
Arab and Muslim Antisemitism is growing and having a major impact on the Palestinian Authority, in Arab-Muslim countries and in the West. As a result of large-scale immigration that is changing the makeup of Europe, and through the widespread dissemination of hate messages by satellite TV and internet, Arab-Muslim Antisemitism is having an effect beyond the Middle East. Arab communities outside the Middle East are echoing the hate speech of radical Islam .
The hate messages of this Antisemitism are many and varied. Some of them are based on various classical sources from Islam that depict Jews as cursed by Allah, descendants of monkeys and pigs and destined for genocide. According to this Islamic-based Antisemitism, Jews at best are protected and must submit to Muslims, and at worst must all be killed to bring the “hour” of resurrection. Hating, fighting and killing Jews can be perceived as worship of Allah.
Other Arab – Muslim Antisemitism focuses on demonizing Jews because of so-called Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Jews all over the world are included in the collective blame for Israel’s behavior. This often includes the attribution of demonic and evil acts to Israel, just as Jews were accused throughout history of poisoning wells and using blood for Matzah. Often the same people will quote both the Islamic-based and nationalistic-based hate speech.
Alongside the Muslims who are screaming, “Kill the Jews,” however, is a small but increasingly vocal number of Muslims who are rejecting this hate speech. Muslims who themselves were brought up on the hate messages and were themselves disseminating them in the past have now rejected the hate speech and are rallying and speaking on behalf of Israel and Jews. These are the voices from the inside that must be tapped to seek the way to confront the current wave of Arab-Muslim Antisemitism ….
The goal is that the working group will produce a paper that defines the nature of Muslim-Arab Antisemitism, describes its means of transmission and creates a concrete plan to combat it, including combating the means of transmission.
I’m not sure that finding sympathetic Muslims to try to change things from the inside is the most effective way to combat this problem. I feel strongly that Muslim antisemitism needs to be exposed and condemned explicitly by Western nation-states, human rights organizations and the media. The only way to change the behavior is to shame the people who are engaged in it, and when they know that their hate makes them look bad to the West, they are embarrassed and at least make token attempts to soften the hate.
This is not in itself a solution, but it is a hugely important first step. Not only that, but it is a realistic step that the people attending the conference can implement, by using their connections with influential people.
I sincerely hope that the topic of the Khaybar antisemitic mini-series is addressed and condemned.
Here is the video message by PM Benjamin Netanyahu to the delegates of the GFCA where he speaks more about antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism: