A humanitarian solution for
Judea, Samaria and Gaza
Last week we held the third talk in our series on “Setting the Record Straight”. The guest speaker was Dr. Martin Sherman, well-known columnist for The Jerusalem Post, lecturer, policy adviser and political and strategic analyst. His subject was “Rethinking Palestine – what would Sherlock Holmes have said?” 90 people filled the hall at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
As the title of Martin Sherman’s talk suggests, it is a highly controversial subject. Rethinking Palestine, according to Martin Sherman, entails scrapping the two-state solution because, in his opinion, it has clearly proved to be a dangerous non-solution and indeed a recipe for catastrophe, both for Israel and the Arabs of Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank).
Martin Sherman quoted Major-General (reserves) Giora Eiland, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, who in 2009 had cautioned that, “The maximum that any government of Israel will be ready to offer the Palestinians … is much less than the minimum that any Palestinian leader can accept.”
Interestingly, 14 years before that, in his last speech to the Knesset before he was assassinated in 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that Palestine should be an entity which is less than a state, which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority.” He added, “The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.” He also said, “We have committed ourselves before the Knesset, not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth.” These are sentiments that today, in his Labor Party, would probably be met with angry calls of “right wing extremist!” How perceptions have changed!
To illustrate even further the shift in perceptions, Rabin’s associate in seeking peace, Shimon Peres, known to be even more willing to make concessions to the Arabs and still to this day urging the relinquishment of more territory, had concurred that the 1967 lines “constituted almost compulsive temptation to attack Israel from all directions …” and warned that “without a border which affords security, a country is doomed to destruction in war.”
Clearly, the desire to reach a peace agreement has been so strong in Israel, that it has brought about a willingness to concede more and more territory, but at the same time, a resolve has emerged on the other side of the political divide to prevent these concessions by holding on to as much territory as possible.
Martin Sherman says that two imperatives dictate the survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews: The demographic imperative and the geographic imperative. Geographically, the two-State Solution poses critical security dangers for Israel, because of the longer borders that would result from the various pockets of Jewish and Arab population concentrations and the proximity of Israel’s main urban and commercial centers, power stations, military headquarters, highways and airport to an entity that, despite the proposals for demilitarization, will undoubtedly be armed to the teeth and in all likelihood be summarily taken over by Hamas or a more virulent form of extremism.
On the other hand, the One-State Solution, proposed by right-wing groups posits serious and obvious demographic risks that will generate even more inter-communal turbulence and instability than now, and dangerously erode the Jewish proportion voting for the Knesset – heralding the possible end of Israel as a Jewish state.
To offset both these predicaments, Martin Sherman suggests something which at the outset would upset many people – funded relocation. Many people immediately make the accusation of: “Ethnic cleansing!” Or “Transfer!”
Martin Sherman builds up his premise in a neat modular form, comprising three humane components. Firstly, he says, “End the discriminatory treatment of the Palestinian refugees by abolishing the UN’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), or bringing it into line with international practice for all other refugees on the face of the globe. Every refugee on earth is under the auspices of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – except for the Palestinians. For them a separate institution exists – UNRWA. Strange, but true!
If the universally accepted UNHCR criteria for refugees were applied to the Palestinian case, the number of “refugees” would shrink from close to 5 million to fewer than 200,000. That’s because refugee status, according to the UNHCR lasts only one generation, and a concerted effort is made to integrate the refugees under its care, into other host countries, where they are expected to eventually receive citizenship. Under UNRWA, once a refugee – always a refugee until … return to their original homes. i.e. Israel!
The second humane component in Sherman’s paradigm is to end discrimination against Palestinians in the surrounding Arab countries and abolish the prohibition they face of acquiring citizenship of these countries in which they have been resident for generations. In most of the Arab countries refugees from the wars with Israel endure grave discrimination, with severe restrictions imposed on their freedom of movement, employment and property ownership.
The third component that Sherman proposes is to provide generous relocation financing directly to the Palestinian breadwinners resident across the 1967 Green Line, so as to enable them to build a better future for themselves and their families in foreign countries of their choice.
Countering the claim that this would arouse great opposition by local Arab leadership and the rest of the Arab world, Sherman says the procedure would not require the agreement of any official Arab organizations or states in order to effect implementation. Since the envisaged compensation would be large enough to allow recipients to comply with immigration criteria in numerous countries – not necessarily Arab or Muslim – and since they would be coming as adequately funded private individuals, quite a few countries would be happy to accept them. All that it requires is for the individual family heads to accept help on an individual and private basis.
Countering the charge of “ethnic cleansing” or “transfer” Sherman claims that the number of international migrants today is approaching a quarter of a billion, and is growing rapidly. Although this is partially a byproduct of wars, political conflicts and natural disasters, it is predominantly motivated by economics. Why should Palestinians be uninterested such motivations and why would it be morally wrong to offer them a better life for themselves, while helping to lessen the turmoil in the region?
There is compelling evidence that a desire to seek a better life elsewhere is widespread among the Palestinians, even without the availability of generous relocation grants. Numerous opinion polls vouch for this. The sense of national pride that obviously prevails in Palestine society, would probably be marginalized if a generously funded exit to other lands was made possible.
As for the overall cost, according to Sherman, it is easy to show that the price of the proposed plan would be comparable to any alternative under discussion, involving the establishment of a new independent Palestine, developing its infrastructure, and presumably absorbing a large portion of a relocated Palestinian “diaspora” within its constricted frontiers.
It should also be remembered that for the prospective host nations, the plan has a distinct economic advantages. The Palestinian immigrants would not arrive as destitute refugees, but as relatively wealthy immigrants in terms of average world GDP per capita. Their absorption would bring significant capital inflows to the host economies – typically around a billion dollars for every 10,000 families given citizenship. Clearly it would be a long-term process.
In his talk, Sherman also discussed the issue of Palestinian nationhood, claiming that they are the only group whose manifest raison d’etre is the not primarily the establishment of their own political independence but rather the denial of that of others (Israel). The fact that Palestinians have shown they are capable of cohesive action against another collective does not prove they are a nation. Virtually their entire collective effort has been directed at an attempt to annul the expression of Jewish sovereignty rather than assert their own.
For over two decades after the Oslo Accords – despite more massive financial aid per capita and global political support than any other people, they have produced nothing but a deeply divided entity, crippled by corruption and cronyism and bedeviled by wars against their neighboring Jewish state and among themselves. The result is a dysfunctional polity unable to conduct even the semblance of timely elections, and a puny economy, comprising a minuscule private sector and a bloated public one, totally unsustainable without massive infusions of foreign funds.
Sherman says that In every meaningful aspect, the Palestinians claim to statehood has failed the test of history, as has the two-state endeavor.
Accordingly, the time has come for new, imaginative initiatives to defuse one of the world’s most volatile problems, one for which remedies hitherto attempted have proved sadly inappropriate.
Martin Sherman has a doctorate in political science and international relations and was a lecturer for 20 years at Tel Aviv University. He was a ministerial adviser in Yitzhak Shamir’s government and is the founder and head of the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies. He has written books and numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of subjects.
The aim of this series of talks, called “Setting the Record Straight,” is to present the public with the information to understand more clearly the serious challenges that Israel faces, so as to counter the misinformation, ignorance and bias.
To see the video recording of the talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpCEBjkkoC0
Our thanks to Dr. Les Glassman for recording it.
They’ve been getting a raw
deal for a very long time
By RALPH DOBRIN
A while ago I met a man from east Jerusalem who said his family hailed from Syria. Always keen to meet my adversaries and chat with them about our differences, I relished the opportunity to spar with a representative of one of the most hostile of Israel’s many implacable enemies. But when I referred to the conflict between Israel and Syria, the man reacted petulantly and blurted out: “My family might be from Syria, but we are not F***** Syrians. We are ASSYRIANS!” And then George (his name gives away his Christian affiliation) told me how his family had had to flee the massacres of the Assyrians during the First World War.
A few days ago, I found myself repeatedly sharing a thread on Facebook with a man called Chico Nooij – a very ardent supporter of Israel. He also posted a comment about the Assyrians. I am adding it at the end of this mail and I highly recommend you read it.
But first, I ask you to indulge me a few words about the Assyrians, which I have based on drastically condensed material from Wikipedia and from Ninevah On Line. (The name evokes a very ancient connection.)
The Assyrians (about four million) are the indigenous Aramaic-speaking descendants of the ancient Assyrian people, one of the earliest civilizations emerging in the Middle East, and have a history spanning over 6750 years. Assyrians are neither Arab or Kurdish, their religion is not Islam. The Assyrians are Christian, with their own unique language, culture and heritage. Although the Assyrian empire ended in 612 B.C., history is replete with recorded details of the continuous presence of the Assyrian people till the present time.
Assyria, situated in what was Northern Mesopotamia and the surrounding regions was partitioned after World War I by the victorious Allies, and is currently under occupation by Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Iranians.
Assyrians are a stateless nation and continue to be religiously and ethnically persecuted in the Middle East due to Islamic fundamentalism, Arabization and Kurdification policies, leading to land expropriations and forced emigration to the West.
So that’s a very brief background. Here is a section (slightly modified) of what Chico had posted on Facebook. As an ordinary human being and an Israeli, I was deeply moved by Chico’s words. This is what he wrote:
“Few people know that while the great, ancient Assyrian empire is gone, the nation is still alive. They have maintained themselves on the ruins of their ancient fatherland, and live in scattered communities throughout the northern part of the Middle East. But surviving wasn’t easy. And it’s becoming more and more difficult.
At the beginning of the 20th century, two-thirds of the Assyrian nation was massacred by the Ottoman Empire, but they recovered and rebuilt their nationhood. During the second half of last century, genocides and attempts at forced assimilation had forced about a million Assyrians to go into exile in North America and Europe. Here, Assyrians are slowly integrating and losing their own identity.
Those of their brethren that decided to remain in Assyria are losing their few remaining villages (due to Kurdish land appropriations) as well as their identity (as a result of Arabic forced assimilation). And many of them are being slaughtered by the rebel factions during the ongoing Syrian civil war.
The Assyrians need a homeland where they will be able to gain citizenship without any procedures, so that they can finally freely practice Christianity and speak their ancient tongue. Only an Assyrian state in northern Iraq can save Assyrian civilization from extinction. It must happen soon, though.
If we can strengthen the friendship between Jews and Assyrians, we can create a strong Assyrian lobby in Israel, so that Israel will support their restoration to the subcontinent. Similarly, a strong pro-Israel lobby would emerge in the Assyrian State. This would ensure a mutual commitment to each other’s national security.
Such an alliance would greatly weaken the Arab world’s fighting capability. The Sunni bloc would be forced to fight a two front war if it wishes to invade either of the two states. And Iran will have yet another powerful opponent to its west.
Assyria will be hated by the whole Muslim world. They will have to stand by the one country that faces the same problems. For the first time in its history, Israel would have a true partner. And so nearby, too!”
In this post Chico is calling Israel and the Jews of the world to support Assyrian independence. I don’t think matters whether people are Jewish or not, there should be universal support in order to fix a wrong wrought by self-serving colonial power struggles after the First World War. There are other nations yearning for independence such as the Kurds, constantly contending with vicious Turkish, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian actions and the world ignores their plight as well, while the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in the midst of generations of trying to weaken and snuff out Israel’s existence, continue to gain massive world support. Things should be seen in perspective. Chico is trying to get the world to focus on his nation’s long-lasting predicament and the horrible injustices inflicted against it. There are a lot of websites on the subject. For starters you can click on Assyria-Israel Alliance in Facebook.
18th July 2013
At this time the European Union is getting ready to pass official guidelines for member states to follow, that are intended to significantly restrict Israeli institutions from taking part in various EU programs and being eligible for EU grants, prizes and financial instruments if they have interests and activities beyond the Green Line. This move indicates that for the EU the territorial dispute between Israel and the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza has been conclusively judged in favor of Israel’s adversaries. Arabs from the region and the rest of the Arab world, have largely refused to accept Israel’s sovereignty anywhere in the region. Neither has there been a cessation in their efforts to weaken, truncate and eventually terminate the Jewish state’s existence – to paraphrase many Arab leaders up to the present day.
We present here a review based on an article by Boaz Bismuth, who is a regular columnist and desk editor at the Israeli daily “Israel Hayom” which is the country’s most widely read newspaper in Hebrew. From 2004 to 2008, Mr Bismuth served as Israel’s ambassador to Mauritania. He is also a regular contributor to radio and television programs, and a senior fellow at the Bar Ilan Center for International Communications. In this modified article, we present some of the questions that relate to European scruples in connection with Israel.
Europe wants new Berlin Wallin the middle of Jerusalem
Syria is disintegrating, Egypt is collapsing, Iran is on on the brink of becoming a nuclear power, but it seems that Israeli settlements are preventing Europeans from sleeping well at night.
It is somewhat perplexing to see former great empires conspiring together today like some beacon of morality. When they have no ability to influence, they choose the second option, which is to get in the way. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s initiative was joined this week by Europe’s obstructive initiative.
The Europeans’ inferiority complex is what caused a small group of clerks in Brussels to formulate a complex legal document, which determines that future agreements with Israel will not apply beyond the 1967 lines.
The report was compiled in the European Commission’s Middle East department headed by Christian Berger, an Austrian diplomat who for the past few years was the EU envoy in the Palestinian territories. That is also, presumably, where he learned to be objective!
The report goes much farther than the 2012 declaration by EU foreign ministers upon which it is based. The EU ministers at the time took a very abstract position, which Berger is translating into practical, operative, and legal terms. It is no surprise that several European capitals yesterday could not understand what all the fuss in Jerusalem was about.
On Monday, the EU’s foreign ministers are expected to meet again. The Czech Republic, Holland, Germany, Bulgaria and Romania are likely to question whether this was a smart move considering US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s current push in the region. In contrast, countries like Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Austria and Spain are expected to welcome the policy.
Christian Berger decided to solve “the occupation problem.” We can suggest to him that on Monday he also take a swing at solving Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus; Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara; the Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan that is occupied by Armenia; Russia, which is occupying South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia; the Kurile Islands off Japan; as well as all of what was once East Prussia.
We also have not forgotten Russia’s military occupation in portions of the Finnish Karelia province. And China occupies Tibet while Indonesia occupies West Papua, and Pakistan and India are locked in an bitter clash over Kashmir.
And there are other interesting territorial disputes such as: the Falkland Islands, held by Britain and disputed by Argentina; British control of Gibraltar, which the Spanish regard as theirs; and also Morocco’s frustration at Spain, which controls two cities on Moroccan soil, Ceuta and Melia, as if Morocco was still part of Spain. And hasn’t the time come for the international community to relate seriously to the plight of the Kurdish people – over 30 million spread over adjacent territories in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey, often treated with great brutality by their occupiers who refuse to countenance the idea of independence for this large nation.
Meanwhile, in a world teeming with rogues (witness the unbridled mayhem and butchery taking place throughout the much of the Arab and Muslim countries) it is Israel alone that repeatedly faces sanctions and worse. The EU’s intentions at the moment represent a new low in obtuseness, cynicism and hypocrisy.
That’s it – no more weddings
Last night I went to a wedding. Everyone seemed extremely happy. Or rather the bride and groom and all their young friends seemed to be pretty thrilled most of the time. It was a very lavish affair in one of those chintzy places that have sprung up in the last 25 years here in Jerusalem, in buildings that had been meant to be factories, before China and other Asian countries began to take over global industry and commerce.
Lots of lights, special effects, a boisterous DJ, lots and lots and lots of food and a large dance floor. And once again, after enduring a score of such events in the last few years, I vowed never again! For quite a few reasons. Firstly, while my wife Hazel and I like … or rather love to dance, the disco style or whatever it’s called nowadays becomes boring after three minutes of jumping up and down to the same beat, rhythm and stamping out the same steps. For anyone who dances salsa, samba, rumba, waltz, foxtrot, tango, rock and roll, pasodoble, etc, what they have at secular-style weddings is plain silly, boring and frustrating. Maybe it’s okay for the younger generation. But why do they completely ignore the generations of their parents and grandparents who loved those old dances – which are still in fashion in quite a few places abroad. It smacks of boorish disregard for the people whom, one would assume, had a big part in bringing them this far.
As far as the food was concerned, well Hazel and I normally don’t touch any of the stuff that was served. We don’t eat meat and they kindly provided fish. But it was very heavily spiced and not at all our usual fare. Salads and other offerings were doused and drowned in mayonnaise. Vegetables were ruined – at least for us – either by unduly long cooking and crudely done spicing. So we nibbled on a bit of sliced cucumber and tasted that perversion — chopped liver. Oh, I must acknowledge that sushi was served, but the rice was white and we normally don’t touch the stuff. One thing that was good was the bottled water, which we enjoyed.
But even that pleasure was somewhat diminished by the vast number of women clad in tight mini skirts which don’t even look appealing on those younger ones with appropriate attributes. But too many of the mini-clad females were obese with dyed hair, massively ungainly thighs and girths more in keeping with sumo wrestlers than females stomping to that disco.
All in all, these affairs are not for me. Maybe I’m just a stick-in-the-mud, old-fashioned, getting-on-in-years prude. So what? The point is, please, unless you’re going to have a quiet family wedding or a wedding for religious folks, where they still have dignified ceremonies and celebrations, for goodness sake, don’t put us on your invitation list. I don’t want to have anything to do with this ugly, ostentatious, unduly wasteful vulgarity.
Of course we wish the young couples well and acknowledge that at least they have gotten married and hopefully will raise a happy wholesome family in Israel. At least for that we are gratified.
Flaunting sexual tendencies
is an affront
By RALPH DOBRIN
Why do they call homosexuality “gay?” By doing so, yet another wonderful word in the English language has been mangled. Homosexuality is anything but gay or a source of pride. While the attitude (including in the less repressive countries) towards homosexuality used to be very unfair and cruel, it is a positive development that homosexuals are no longer hounded. But, now the pendulum has swung the other way and normative society is being assailed by garish parades in our cities, all-to-frequent homosexual situations in our movies and literature, influencing our young people to experiment with their sexuality that can lead them away from traditional coupling and marriage, and thus weakening the chances for a wholesome future for society in general.
Also, if people of the same gender want to live together in emotional and physical intimacy – that should be their concern alone. But don’t call it marriage!!! Marriage is too serious a concept, encompassing a huge number of cherished values. For many people marriage is regarded as one of the most hallowed things in life. People who want to cohabit, whether heterosexually or homo-sexually, can still retain rights, justifiably accruing from separation after a long-lasting, shared relationship, or death, simply by making up a legal document to that effect.
But officially-sanctioned same sex marriage should be opposed as vigorously as possible by all decent-minded people everywhere. And politicians appearing at events organized to promote homosexual rights, or promoting same-gender marriage, should be told that their cynical support of homosexuality will not bring them any political dividends, but only the support of homosexuals. One can only hope that they are not becoming the majority.
A historian talks about Israel
and its neighbors
Andrew Roberts is a prominent British historian and hugely prolific writer and lecturer. A founding member of the “Friends of Israel Initiative,” he gave the following speech at the British House of Commons on July 19th, 2010. It soberly sums up the Israel-Arab conflict and Israel’s uncomfortable status among the nations.
I would like to speak to you today as an historian, because it seems to me that the State of Israel has packed more history into her 62 years on the planet than many other nations have in six hundred. There are many surprising things about this tiny, feisty, brave nation the size of Wales , but the most astonishing is that she has survived at all. The very day after the UN declared Israel a country in 1948, five Arab countries attacked, and she has been struggling for her right to life ever since. And that is what we are here for today, to reiterate Israel ‘s right to self-defense, inherent in all legitimate countries.
From Morocco to Afghanistan, from the Caspian Sea to Aden, the 5.25 million square miles of territory belonging to members of the Arab League is home to over 330 million people, whereas Israel covers only
eight thousand square miles, and is home to seven million citizens, one-fifth of whom are Arabs. The Jews of the Holy Land are thus surrounded by hostile states 650 times their size in territory and sixty times their population, yet their last, best hope of ending two millennia of international persecution, the State of Israel has somehow survived. When during the Second World War, the island of Malta came through three terrible years of bombardment and destruction, it was rightly awarded the George Medal for bravery; today Israel should be awarded a similar decoration for defending democracy, tolerance and Western values against a murderous onslaught that has lasted twenty times as long.
Jerusalem is the site of the Temple of Solomon and Herod. The stones of a palace erected by King David himself are even now being unearthed just outside the walls of Jerusalem . Everything that makes a nation
state legitimate– bloodshed, soil tilled, two millennia of continuous residence, international agreements ,argues for Israel ‘s right to exist, yet that is still denied by the Arab League. For many of their governments, which are rich enough to have economically solved the Palestinian refugee problem decades ago, it is useful to have Israel as a scapegoat to divert attention from the tyranny, failure and corruption of their own regimes.
The tragic truth is that it suits Arab states very well to have the Palestinians endure permanent refugee status, and whenever Israel puts forward workable solutions they have been stymied by those whose interests put the destruction of Israel before the genuine well being of the Palestinians. Both King Abdullah I of Jordan and Anwar Sadat of Egypt were assassinated when they attempted to come to some kind of accommodation with a country that most sane people now accept is not going away.
“We owe to the Jews,” wrote Winston Churchill in 1920, “a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all wisdom and learning put together. The Jewish contribution to finance, science, the arts,
academia, commerce and industry, literature, philanthropy and politics has been astonishing relative to their tiny numbers. Although they make up less than half of one percent of the world population, between 1901 and 1950 Jews won 14% of all the Nobel Prizes awarded for Literature and Science, and between 1951 and 2000 Jews won 32% of the Nobel Prizes for Medicine, 32% for Physics, 39% for Economics and 29% for Science. This, despite so many of their greatest intellects dying in the gas chambers.
Civilization owes Judaism a debt it can never repay, and support for the right of a Jewish homeland to exist is the bare minimum we can provide. Yet we tend to treat Israel like a leper on the international scene, merely for defending herself, and threatening her with academic boycotts if she builds a separation wall that has so far reduced suicide bombings by 95% over three years.
It is a disgrace that no senior member of the Royal Family has ever undertaken an official visit to Israel , as though the country is still in quarantine after more than six decades. Her Majesty the Queen has been on the throne for 57 years and in that time has undertaken 250 official visits to 129 countries, yet has not yet set foot in Israel . She has visited 14 Arab countries, so it cannot have been that she wasn’t in the region. Although Prince Philip’s mother, Princess Alice, is buried on the Mount of Olives because of her status as Righteous Among Gentiles, the Foreign Office ordained that his visit to his mother’s grave in 1994 had to be in a private capacity only. Royal visits are one of the ways legitimacy is conferred on nations, and the Coalition Government should end the Foreign Office’s de- facto boycott. After the Holocaust, the Jewish people recognized that they must have their own state, a homeland where they could forever be safe from a repetition of such horrors. Putting their trust in Western Civilization was never again going to be enough. Since then, Israel has had to fight no fewer than five major wars for her very existence.
She has been on the front line in the War against Terror and has been fighting the West’s battles for it, decades before 9/11 or 7/7 ever happened. Radical Islam is never going to accept the concept of an Israeli State, so the struggle is likely to continue for another sixty years, but the Jews know that that is less dangerous than entrusting their security to anyone else.
Very often in Britain , especially when faced with the overwhelmingly anti-Israeli bias that is endemic in our liberal media and the BBC, we fail to ask ourselves what we would have done placed in their position? The population of the United Kingdom of 63 million is nine times that of Israel . In July 2006, to take one example at random, Hezbollah crossed the border of Lebanon into Israel and killed eight patrolmen and kidnapped two others, and that summer fired four thousand Katyusha rockets into Israel which killed a further
Now, if we multiply those numbers by nine to get the British equivalent, just imagine what we would do if a terrorist organization based as close as Calais were to fire thirty-six thousand rockets into Sussex and Kent, killing 87 British civilians, after killing seventy-two British servicemen in an ambush and capturing eighteen.
There is absolutely no lengths to which our Government would not go to protect British subjects under those circumstances, and quite right too. Why should Israel be expected to behave any differently?
In the course of researching my latest book on the Second World War, I recently visited Auschwitz-Birkenau. Walking along a line of huts and the railway siding where their forebears had been worked and starved and beaten and frozen and gassed to death, were a group of Jewish schoolchildren, one of whom was carrying over his shoulder the Israeli flag, a blue star of David on white background. It was a profoundly moving sight, for it was the sovereign independence represented by that flag which guarantees that the obscenity of genocide which killed six million people in Auschwitz and camps like it — will never again befall the Jewish people, to whom the rest of civilization owes so much.
I said at the start that I was speaking to you as an historian, and so I say: No people in History have needed the right to self-defense and legitimacy more than the Jews of Israel, and that is what we in the Friends of Israel Initiative demand here today.