Archive for May, 2009
Trying to destroy a nation
By RALPH DOBRIN
All over the world there are a lot of people who are very angry with Israel – and that’s the truth. In 1948 hundreds of thousands of Arabs who had been living in Palestine became refugees – and that’s also the truth. Another truth is that Israel launched an intense military attack into the Gaza Strip on December 27, 2008, which lasted for about three weeks. I think that every rational person – no matter who and no matter where – can accept that these statements are true; they are all easily verifiable and the wording as such does not reflect any bias. They reflect The Truth.
But what exactly is The Truth? One doesn’t need to be a great thinker to know what is meant by the truth on a day-to-day level. After culling various dictionaries in order to get a concise definition, I think most people could agree that the truth about something requires exact conformity to fact or actuality. To this I would add that any notion or belief, no matter how strongly felt, doesn’t necessarily represent The Truth.
Now, apart from measurable items and certain things that have happened to me personally, I can’t really be sure that I have the absolute truth about very much. My life is based mainly on assumptions, most of which seem to work pretty well for me. For instance, I assume on the basis of what I’ve heard and read, that eating fresh fruit and vegetables is beneficial to our health; so is cutting down on meat and refined products. Also pollution and global warming are said to be real threats to our future. So, even though I don’t have the academic training to verify these claims myself, my common sense acknowledges that I should eat accordingly and also conserve electricity and water and gasolene usage for my transportation. In doing this I think that I am abiding by a growing consensus all over the world.
But let’s take a subject that doesn’t have a complete consensus – like the Holocaust. How can I be sure that the conventional view about the Nazi genocide of Jews in Europe does indeed reflect The Truth? After all, I wasn’t in Europe during those terrible years. And maybe controversial historian David Irving, or Bishop Williamson or President Ahmedinijad have actually got it right when they declare that the Holocaust is really a hoax. But as a Jew my immediate reaction is that these prominent people are very wrong. On the other hand, if I take into consideration the tendency for bias that most of us have as a result of years of mental conditioning, I should consider that as a Jew I might actually have a distorted view of the events of the thirties and forties of the last century. Let’s face it, more and more people throughout the world agree that the claim of Holocaust is a lie. Can they be right? Let’s see if we can check it out as honestly and objectively as possible.
Firstly, the Holocaust was thoroughly documented by the typically orderly German government itself. After the Nazi defeat, millions of documents were found by the Allied forces, recording the transports to labor and death camps, as well as the daily numbers of Jews killed and where these killings took place. The Nazis had also produced films on the killings.Furthermore, overwhelming evidence was given by survivors and liberating soldiers on the death camps, gas chambers and mass killings.
Also, Post-World War II Germany has fully accepted that during the Nazi regime, about six million of Jewish civilians throughout Europe were murdered. If the Holocaust deniers were indeed right, would Germany as an official, free and independent state be willing to admit to such an inordinately heinous legacy?
There are many issues in life that one can’t prove in accordance with absolute, scientifically conducted criteria. Often, the best that the individual can do about certain vital issues, is to conclude without a reasonable doubt – in the same way that is accepted in a court of law. And if I also consider the countless other readily accessible data regarding the Nazi period, it is clear that David Irving, Bishop Williams and the President of Iran, together with all the other Holocaust deniers are in fact engaging in falsehood.
But the lie of Holocaust denial is taken one step further. Israel is accused of doing to the Arabs what the Nazis had done to the Jews. And again, let’s not jump to immediate conclusions – let’s consider that maybe this is indeed The Truth. After all, huge crowds of people often take part in massive protest demonstrations against Israel, not only in Arab and Islamic countries but in Europe and the whole American continent. So, there must be something to justify their indignation against the Jewish state.
One of the accusations against Israel is that it is an aggressor nation. On the face of it this seems to be a valid statement. After all, Israel has often acted aggressively against Arab countries. This is the Truth and I would be lying if I said otherwise.
But what should be asked is: does it make sense for Israel, with a population of a mere six million Jews to take on the whole Arab world, now hovering at the 300 million mark, thus making it about fifty times more populous than Israel – and possessing a large part of the world’s oil reserves. There are other factors in the Israel-Arab conflict which clearly put Israel at a ridiculously impossible disadvantage. So, are the Jews of Israel crazy to be fighting Arabs, which includes enraging a large part of the rest of the billion-strong Muslim world?
No, the Jews are not crazy. Neither are they deluded about any superhuman abilities or convinced that the Messiah will appear and save them. Furthermore, they are not intrinsically an aggressive nation. But they are forced to defend themselves against the continuing Arab quest to uproot Jewish sovereignty from the sliver of land that constitutes a tiny fraction of the original Palestine. For over 90 years Arabs have attacked Jews in their ancient homeland. At first the Jews were quite helpless against the assaults and the killings. But they quickly learned how to defend themselves. Since Israel’s Declaration of Statehood, neighboring Arab states have twice launched full-scale invasions against Israel and once (in 1967) were arrayed on Israel’s vulnerable borders for yet another invasion which was pre-empted by Israel in order to prevent the annihilation that the Arabs had promised over and over again. Apart from the invasions, there has been hardly a single day when an Arab country or terrorist organization wasn’t bombarding Israeli towns and villages with rockets or sending terrorist squads to cause mayhem, or engaged in the planning and preparation of a future onslaught.
This is a very brief background to why Israel has needed to act aggressively from time to time. (Incidentally from the outset, Arab aggression against Israel has always led to more and more misery of Arabs. The Arab refugee problem was totally unnecessary and would never have happened had they not launched a war of annihilation against the Jews in the first place. This is a Truth that very few people mention.)
Anyone who ignores Arab aggression against Israel in this conflict is in fact engaging in selective omission. That’s the same as falsehood. That’s being a party to lies. And there are plenty more false accusations that are constantly directed at Israel by the Arabs, their fellow-Muslims, and shamefully, by a large percentage of people in Europe and the Americas.
An accusation echoed frequently at anti-Israel demonstrations around the world and in almost every international forum, is that Israel is an apartheid state. Well, if Israel were really an apartheid state, then the Arabs in Israel (20% of the population) would not be free to visit restaurants, cinemas, beaches, nor vote in national elections. A dozen highly vituperative Arab representatives are members in Israel’s Knesset. If Israel is really an apartheid state, then how can the number of Arab students at Israel’s universities reflect the ratio of the general population? How can there be Arab lecturers and professors teaching Jewish students? How can there be any Arab patients in Israel’s hospitals, and Arab doctors as well as Arab heads of departments? So, accusing Israel of being an apartheid state is yet another of the multitude of crude lies intended to depict Israel as a pariah state and isolate it even more, thus advancing its planned destruction.
Another common accusation is that Israel is expansionist and wants to conquer Arab lands! But if Israel is expansionist, then why did it cede the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, not once but on three separate occasions – each time after Sinai had previously been used as a staging point by Egypt for invasions against Israel? Similarly, if Israel were expansionist, why did its armed forces withdraw from a large part of Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank) in the framework of the Oslo Peace Accords? Here too, the army has needed to return from time to time to the ceded areas in order to cope with the intense terrorist activity. We have seen exactly the same pattern regarding Lebanon. Clearly, claiming that Israel is expansionist is yet another crude fabrication.
TERRIBLE IMAGES OF GAZA
But let’s face it – the recent war in Gaza, seen on TV screens around the world, showed without a shadow of doubt that Israel launched countless airstrikes on Gaza, together with large tank and infantry incursions. The colossal devastation was upsetting and infuriating to any decent, caring person, no matter who and no matter where. Cameras do not lie. But they don’t tell the whole story. For that one needs unbiased newspaper, radio and TV journalists, presenting honest background commentary.
However, the terrible scenes on TV screens around the world, showing what Israel wrought on Gaza, seldom if ever related to the preceding eight years of constant rocket attacks coming from the Gaza Strip against Israel’s southern towns and villages. It’s hard for someone not living in Israel, especially not close to the border with Gaza, to appreciate the horrors of daily barrages of rocket fire on ordinary civilians. This was the grim reality faced by Israel’s southern citizens. The situation was totally unacceptable and any other sovereign state would have retaliated far more promptly. But few media outlets related seriously to these long-lasting attacks on Israeli citizens. Terrorist squads from Gaza would attack Israeli towns and villages on a daily basis. But it was only when Israel retaliated, that the media focussed on the conflict, spurring decent, concerned folks of the Western World to voice their understandable indignation against Israel. Few demonstrators fully realized (or wanted to be informed) that Israel’s invasion into Gaza was launched because nothing else had stopped the rockets (not even the complete withdrawal of every Jewish presence from the Gaza Strip in 2006).
Also, largely ignored by most of the international media was the Hamas tactic of forcing their own people to be human shields, using homes, mosques and schools as firing positions, as was the fact that Gaza had been rendered virtually unassailable by any means, because of the enormous amount of booby trapping and tunnels within and under private homes. Only concerted armed incursion and air strikes could halt the terror against Israel. Failure to relate to all these factors meant that only part of the Israel-Gaza war was told. It was indeed an exercise in selective omission and as part of the overall conflict, a large part of a large part of humanity is constantly being duped.
The reality is that Israel, one of the smaller nations in the world is trying desperately to prevent yet another genocide on its people, while being hamstrung by international sanctions, boycotts and censure every time it tries to defend itself. Also, unlike any other nation facing constant military aggression, Israel is invariably restricted in its scope to defend itself by it’s supposed friends when it needs to prevent military aggression or retaliate.
What can one conclude about a world in which people who are being constantly attacked and threatened with annihilation are paradoxically the ones who are branded as the aggressors and prevented from defending themselves adequately? How can one define a world in which readily exposed lies are accepted as the truth, and thus further the aims of genocide? A word that sums up the whole tragic situation is Immorality!
Like any other country, Israel is far from having a perfect society and not everything done by its citizens, leaders or its defence forces is above reproach. Like any other country, Israel is most certainly open to criticism. But there is a difference between valid criticism and condemnation based on lies, half-truths and selective omission. No other country in the world faces continuous condemnation in the various forums of the United Nations as well as by the international media, universities, trade unions and some of the mainline churches.
The caring, honest person should ask himself or herself a question regarding Israel: am I being duped by falsehood or am I indeed spreading lies. Can it be that I have been corrupted by self-righteous snares of political correctness or influenced by sloppy, biased journalism or possibly it’s anti-Semitism that’s influenced my perception. Or most dismayingly, if my ancestry is Hebraic, could it be that Jewish self-hate has warped my attitude?
It is important, not only for Israelis, but for every person who cares about the future, to realize that the charters of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the terror armies of Hamas, Hizbollah and El Khaida, make it abundantly clear that the existence of the the State of Israel will continue to be vehemently and violently opposed. Iran, now poised to acquire military nuclear capability is a moving force within this unholy alliance, which is condoned or supported by a large part of the rest of the Arab and Muslim world.
Finally, this mortal conflict doesn’t just concern Israel and the Arabs and Muslims of the world. Those charters make it clear that Israel is just the beginning of the latter-day jihadic conquest of the infidel nations by Islam. What happens now will have a crucial bearing on the future of humanity as a whole. A major tool in this jihad is the spread of lies, half-truths and selective omission. For all this falsehood to be effective, it needs patsies. Conversely, in order to ensure a sane, wholesome world people need to stop being patsies and reject and oppose the falsehood. As an honest, honorable person, I’m sure you are making the right choice.
For more on the subject of truth: http://www.israelandtruth.org/truth_1.htm
By RALPH DOBRIN
No other country needs friends as badly as Israel – a country that has been constantly threatened with attack and destruction from the very day of its revival as an independent modern state. Facing the ongoing wrath of hundreds of millions of people around the globe who happen to possess most of the world’s oil reserves, Israel is the only nation threatened declaratively with nuclear annihilation.
Despite all this, Israel is condemned in United Nations and other international forums more often than all the other countries combined. Much of the world’s media adds to this condemnation. Also the staff and students at many universities as well as trade unions all over the world stridently call for sanctions agains Israel. Maliciously, the hostility is based largely on lies and hypocrisy.
Nevertheless, there are people of all nationalities and religions around the world who oppose the roguish ganging-up against Israel. There are also a few countries that sometimes risk the wrath of Israel’s many enemies, when they cast votes against proposals in the United Nations plenum or Security Council that are patently unjustifiable and tendentious.
But actually, apart from a few very tiny states, such as the Marshall Islands and Micronesia, there isn’t a country in the world that Israel can say without reservation: “These people are real friends.” Not even the USA, which on countless occasions has come to Israel’s aid, can be considered a constantly dependable and true friend. Throughout Israel’s modern history, the USA has frequently stopped Israel from winning a battle or a war decisively against her enemies. Also, the USA and most of the countries that are not overtly hostile to Israel, have usually studiously refrained from condemning Arab aggression against Israel.
And maybe it’s understandable. After all, friendship between nations cannot be like friendship between individuals. While many of the principles apply, international amity is far more complex. Nations must be careful not to jeopardize their own international commercial and political interests. So perhaps the USA is being as friendly as she can be towards Israel. After all, the USA does provide Israel with $4 billion dollars in aid every year. (It provides billions of dollars to other countries as well – including Israel’s enemies.) But the USA provides foreign aid because of its own national interests – in the context of global politics, international trade, oil supplies and defence strategy.
ISRAEL IS A TOUGH PLACE TO LIVE IN
Jewish independence in the Land of Israel after almost 2000 years of exile and persecution might possibly conjure up a stirring and romantic image for people sympathetic to Jewish history. But actually life in Israel presents a harsher reality for the individual trying to contend with high taxation, mandatory military conscription and reserve duty and ongoing military threats. Also the population of over seven million is not the most polite or considerate in the world. Society is enormously heterogeneous, with people originating from a vast array of countries, with different backgrounds, cultures and mentalities. Religious observance and belief, together with political differences cause ever more fragmentation. And all this hubbub is concentrated in a tiny area, about the size of Wales or New Jersey, with scant natural resources, apart from some salt and potash.
One can be tempted to ask oneself: “Why on earth am I living in this crazy place.” After all the religious Jew can practise his faith in Brooklyn or Golders Green or any number of pleasant cities on three continents where vibrant synagogue and yeshiva activities exist together with kosher facilities. On the other hand, the Jew who has no interest in religious observance can readily find alternate domicile and with more of the benefits of modern life, but without the hassles one so often faces in Israel. So why should a Jew live in Israel with all its problems? Why shouldn’t he look for a place to spend his life in the most convenient way possible and offer his family the best chance for personal happiness and comfort, free from undue external threats?
In truth that’s precisely what half the Jews in the world are doing – including hundreds of thousands of people who were born in Israel. Nevertheless, Israel continues to grow and flourish in every way. For many people the bugbears don’t outweigh the gut-feeling that “This is my Land” or “this is where I belong,” and that “no one can call me a Dirty Jew here.” For others, living in the Land of Israel is actually a religious duty. Then there is the incredible realization that we are fulfilling a two-millennia dream of sovereignty in our ancient homeland, and that my grandparents wouldn’t have ended up in places like Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz if the State of Israel had existed in their time.
These are the factors that generated the idealism that came to be called Zionism and that sustained a spirit which transformed deserts and malaria-infested swamps into lush farmland and bustling cities. It was this spirit that enabled the State of Israel to be established and fight against impossible odds. But this spirit began to wane about two generations ago. Nowadays many people have lost faith in themselves and in their leadership. There is an egocentrism that parallels the self-absorption found throughout the Western World, and actually weakens the resolve needed to face the challenges of life in Israel that include standing up against a large part of humanity that seeks our destruction or abets that quest.
THE UNITY VITAMIN
And yet, there is still one factor that keeps pushing Israel to grow and develop, and that strengthens the resolve of its people. It is precisely that factor that seeks Israel’s destruction. Paradoxically it is Arab hostility that provides the vitamin enabling the Jews of Israel to stick together and put aside our differences. For about a hundred years the Arabs have tried to stymie our efforts to rebuild ourselves as a nation in our ancient homeland. From the outset Arabs were more prone to assert themselves physically, readily attacking Jews and waging fully-fledged pogroms that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Jews.
So naturally Jews began to organize defence groups. From being a traditionally docile – even cringing – people the Jews here were to go on to learn how to strengthen themselves as a society in a very effective manner. At every step that the Arabs opposed the Jews, it led to more Jewish growth, development and communal strength. In 1936 the Arabs organized a general strike that lasted three years. One of the things they did was to close down Jaffa Port. The Jews responded by building Tel Aviv Port. Meanwhile they organized themselves into effective fighting groups that would enable them to prevent annihilation in the future.
In 1947 the United Nations voted to partition what was left of Palestine. (77% of the region had already been lopped off 25 years earlier to create an Arab state in Palestine – the Kingdom of Jordan.) But the Partition Plan was met by categorical Arab rejection. Instead of sharing what was left of Palestine with the Jews (who were to be accorded with three tiny slivers of land), the Arabs launched a full scale war with the declared promise of killing or banishing all the Jews. But they failed and again the Jews benefited from Arab hostility. Instead of acquiring only 15,000 square kilometers of dismembered territory in accordance with the Partition Plan, the pan-Arab invasion paradoxically resulted in Israel getting 21,000 square kilometers of continuous territory that included Western Jerusalem. The region mooted for Arab independence that remained in Arab hands – Judea and Samaria, aka as the West Bank – was annexed by the Kingdom of Jordan.
Arab hostility continued, mainly in the form of state instigated terrorist attacks from Egypt and Jordan and intermittent artillery barrages on Israel’s northern farming communities by the Syrians. Therefore, Israel had to continue developing an effective defence system. In 1967 it was evident just how effective when all the neighboring countries, together with more remote countries prepared to launch yet another massive invasion on Israel with the stated aim of obliterating the Jewish State. But again Israel benefitted. Their victory in the Six Day War meant that no longer would Arab Legion tanks and infantrymen be able to position themselves a mere ten or fifteen miles from Tel Aviv and Netanya. And the eastern part of Jerusalem – that had had tough Arab Legionnaires perched on the Old City Walls, aiming their rifles at the Jews of western Jerusalem – now became part of Israel. So did many of the places most precious and holy to the Jewish people. Furthermore Israel’s entire territory expanded three-fold. The Sinai Peninsula was subsequently relinquished as part of the peace process with Egypt.
But the threats and attacks against Israel continue, now manifested mainly by Hizbollah, Hamas and Iran. Ultimately, this hostility benefits Israel because it helps blur internal differences among the Israelis themselves and acts as a powerful unifying influence. People from all parts of the population are brought together when they serve in the army. When Israeli citizens are hurt or killed in terror attacks, the whole country – irrespective of socio-economic status, or religious or political affiliation – shares the dismay.
One must bear in mind, however, that the Israel-Arab conflict has nevertheless divided Israeli society politically. Since the British Mandate days, there has always been a heated polemic among the Jews on how to deal with Arab demands for Jewish capitulation and how to retaliate to their aggression. How far can one compromise? To what extent should Israel withdraw from Judea and Samaria, if at all? When is retaliation justified and to what extent? What is the best way to achieve a secure, binding peace? The issues are as emotionally-charged and divisive as religious differences and generate bitter mutual acrimony.
But as always, whenever Arab aggression becomes untenable, like when the Hizbollah or Hamas terrorist armies continually bombard peaceful Israeli towns and villages with hundreds of rockets and mortars, the vast majority of level-headed Israelis, irrespective of religious or political conviction, stand together as one united nation.
For Israelis hit by these attacks, it is often a terrible personal tragedy. But for the nation, ironically, it is really a blessing because it is precisely Arab hostility that helps unite and build us up as a nation. Israel, with its deeply heterogeneous society, has needed a few generations to become an adequately unified, integrated nation. Without this hostility, it is likely that the many sharp differences within Israeli society would have rent it asunder.
With enemies like these, who needs friends?
See also: www.israelandtruth.org