Posts filed under ‘Jewish survival’
The importance of correct
By RALPH DOBRIN
Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon,” available through Amazon
With all the recent talk about an upgrade for the status of “Palestine,” it should be remembered that until 1948 anyone – Jewish or Arab – living west of the Jordan River was called a “Palestinian.” Israel’s Zionist newspaper was called The Palestine Post (today The Jerusalem Post); The electric company set up to provide electricity for Jewish settlers was called the “Palestine Electric Company”; the philharmonic orchestra in Tel Aviv was called the “Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra”; Bank Leumi, founded at the turn of the century, had the word “Palestine” as part of its name. During the British Mandate period, passports and other identification documents specified Jews as Palestinians.
Following the end of the British Mandate in 1948, the term “Palestinian” was seldom used to describe people involved in current events. The term began to be used more frequently in 1964 when the PLO was formed. But in the Six-Day War in 1967, “Palestine” and “Palestinian” suddenly became household words all over the world. Israel had repulsed the Jordanian army from Judea and Samaria – territory Jordan had annexed from what should have been an independent Arab part of Palestine following the United Nations Partition vote in November 29th 1947. (Actually an Arab part of Palestine had been created 25 years earlier with the creation of Transjordan, later to become the Kingdom of Jordan, on 77% of Mandate Palestine.)
It should also be remembered what the Six-Day War was all about and why Israel repulsed the Jordanian forces from its eastern borders. An attempt had been made to destroy Israel – together with Egypt and Syria. Funny how most people seem to have forgotten that!
Another thing that most people seem to have forgotten is that the 1967 attempt to destroy Israel (widely and openly proclaimed by Arab leaders prior to the outbreak of the war) was the second time that the Arab nations would try to invade Israel with the aim of snuffing it out. The first time was in 1947-1949. Yet another thing that most people either don’t know, or have chosen to forget or disregard is that the people who spearheaded that attack on the nascent Jewish state were the Jews’ fellow-Palestinians. So many things that people have forgotten or choose to disregard!
It is important to understand that “Palestine” and “Palestinian” have became politically-loaded terms implying that the Jews of Israel had stolen the local Arabs’ land. What the Jews had done, in fact, was prevent the Arabs from usurping Israel and God only knows what they would have done to the local Jews had they prevailed. The terms “Palestine” and “Palestinian” serve the cause of Israel’s adversaries and also distort history through sloppy terminology.
So what should these people be called? Depending on the context they can be called “local Arabs,” “West Bank Arabs,” “Gazans” (in the case of Israel’s hapless southern neighbors), or “Palestinian Arabs.” Calling them “Palestinians” keeps giving them more and more leverage in their quest to destroy Israel.
Furthermore, calling them by any of these names need not impede the peace process – if peace with Israel is what these folks really, really want.
It’s Adar! Be Happy!
By DOUGLAS GREENER
According to Jewish tradition, “When the month of Adar arrives, happiness increases.”
Oh sure. It’s the dead of winter; our enemies are polishing their resolutions and sharpening their knives; the Iranians are building nukes; the Arab Spring is withering under Islamic ice. What’s there to be happy about?
Here are seven good reasons. Sometimes you just have to look at things from a different angle.
Our striving for social justice is bound by economic reality. I hate to say it, but our good neighbors the Greeks give us proof every day that an unbridled welfare state will eventually collapse in chaos if it can’t pay its bills. For years, the Greek government maintained a wonderful system of “social justice” for all Greeks — on borrowed money. Similar scenarios may be taking place for Portugal, Spain, Italy and even France, where they seem to believe that retiring at age 62 is in the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Our own government may need spurs from time to time, but they seem committed to increasing social benefits at a pace that will not destroy our highly-praised economy.
Our neighbors are not getting their act together. I know, my mother also told me that nice guys don’t take pleasure in other’s misfortunes. Sorry, mom. I would rather our neighbors grind each other up than turn their attention to us. Liberals all over cheered the “Arab Spring.” They’re still cheering, but they have to be shutting their eyes and stopping up their ears. In Libya, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, all beacons of a better future a year ago, their societies have reverted to what they do best: repression, violence, economic failure, and radical Islamism waiting around the bend. The Arab League, composed of countries the same or worse, is impotent as ever. In “The Kite Runner,” the hero’s father, an outspoken Afghan skeptic, tells his son that, “Israel [is] an island of ‘real men’ in a sea of Arabs too busy getting fat off their oil to care for their own.” There might have been a time when we began to doubt this, but it seems to be sounding true once again.
Isolation? In your dreams! Despite the torrent of warnings that Israel’s policies of self-defense and self-interest are causing us to be isolated in the international community, the opposite is true. Where it really matters, Israel’s standing and trade are growing. The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement celebrates when an Israeli lecturer is interrupted, a supermarket chain stops selling Israeli hummus or a European workers’ union sells its Israeli stocks. But at the same time, Israel is signing multi-million dollar business and defense deals with China, India, Russia, and other countries which count in the real world. As our relations with Turkey plummeted, those with Greece and Cyprus improved beyond anybody’s wildest dreams. Israel sits on more UN agencies than ever before, and the Security Council just condemned attacks against Israeli diplomats. And from out of nowhere, Canada has arisen as a strong supporter of Israel, constant as the North Star. Israel’s medical and security experience is sought after and our entrepreneurship is dissected and copied.
The Jerusalem Light Rail line is off and running. Although its speed and frequency still have to be improved, the Light Rail is a beautiful, new way to get around Jerusalem. (Full disclosure: I live exactly at one end of the line, so the Light Rail was made for people like me.) At first I thought it would just be a bus ride on rails, but it’s a whole different experience. The medium is the message. You get on the Light Rail and you’re in a world clean, quiet and smooth. People speak to each other more, including Jews ands Arabs, something I never see on the bus.
Some three decades after the Israeli wine revolution began, it’s now time for beer. You can’t keep up with the new boutique breweries opening all over Israel. Most of the beer they’re making is pretty great. Even if you’re one of those who “don’t like beer,” the new Israeli beers can change your mind. And as the beers get better, we’re drinking more of them. Researchers will tell you that beer is about as healthy as wine — and, if you ask me, it tastes better.
We have a former president in jail. This should make us happy? The Egyptians also have an ex-president in jail, but he’s there because a violent revolution with hundreds killed, kicked him out of power. Ours was convicted in a court of law by due process. There’s no reason for us to feel shame or guilt over this; only satisfaction that the system worked — at least in this case.
It’s been a miserable, wet winter. Funny thing: these are the kinds of winters that Jews actually pray for! Without them, we’d be living in a desert, so count your blessings. What did Al Jolson used to sing?
Though winter showers may flood your car,
They bring the flowers that bloom in Adar!
I’m not sure this is going to bring a month’s worth of happiness, but it’s a good start.
the Man who had to
Author: Yehuda Shulewitz
Completed and co-edited by Malka Hillel-Shulewitz
Published by Penina Press. 495 pages
I can’t imagine that there’s another town like Jerusalem when it comes to the number of published authors per capita. I personally know a few dozen people who’ve written books and had them published. Novels, non-fiction, poetry, volumes of short stories;.books in English, Hebrew and German. My wife’s boss has had a few books published in Hebrew and German. Her cousin is having a novel published. A neighbor’s published book in Hebrew graces my bookshelf. Even my electrician has had a novel published and it’s pretty good. Every time we are invited to a social gathering I find myself engaging in a discussion with someone about their latest published or soon-to-be published novel or treatise on philosophy or science. There must be something in the air here … or the people!
And now it emerges that the husband of my wife’s former boss, who is also a personal friend, has also had a book published posthumously. Yehuda Shulewitz had been the editor of the Bank of Israel Publications Department in English for 27 years before going back to university and earning an advanced degree in Jewish history, which also focused on the Herodian period. Anyone who has read the Wars of the Jews by Josephus can attest to the fact that it’s very, very hard going indeed. There are so many characters, intrigues, twists, wavering loyalties covering a broad canvas encompassing the Land of Israel and neighboring regions all the way to Rome. Shulewitz wrote a novel about King Herod. It takes unusual grit to tackle such as vast, complex subject.
But Yehuda Shulewitz was the type of guy who would savor a challenge. As a young man during Israel’s War of Independence, needing to get to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, which at that time had been under siege for months, he simply packed a backpack and walked most of the way, through mountains, hills, wadis and plains, skirting past Arab encampments and patrols.
Subsequently, he served in Israel’s nascent army in Galilee, where coincidentally, this book begins. Galilee has vistas that can readily infuse long-lasting impressions – impressions it seems, that found their way into this book many decades later. After Shulewitz’ advanced studies he began to put together this novel, which is about one of the most controversial figures of the ancient world. However, Shulewitz felt that he had to do a lot more studying – of the subject itself. A thorough man, he also made a study of fiction writing – which is not quite the same as writing economic treatises.
In his last years Shulewitz took ill. He tried to complete the book, but died before he could finish it. His wife, Malka Hillel-Shulewitz, a writer and editor in her own right, had seen the enormous effort that her husband had put into the novel, and she wasn’t prepared to let it all go to waste. She spent a year going over what her husband had written, studying the subject, editing and writing the novel’s concluding pages.
“Herod the Man who had to be King” was published recently by Penina Press. As a writer and editor on fiscal matters in his earlier job, which had demanded totally impartial, coldly objective, humorless factuality molded in maximum brevity, Yehuda Shulewitz needed to make a switch in his writing mode. As a novelist he needed to construct scenes, characters and events that come to life in the readers’ minds; scenes that evoke smells and sounds, and create characters with very human traits that come alive in the events that have the reader eagerly turning pages. Shulewitz’ scholarship, writing skills and a self-critical nature, laced with empathy and humor have made this an eminently readable book, especially for anyone who has tried to understand the Herodian Period and couldn’t penetrate within any depth because of its enormous complexity. It is also marvelous reading for the history buff, curious about the personalities involved.
Available through Amazon and bookstores, including Steimatzky’s and Pomerantz.
GLOBAL SURVIVAL AND
THE ISRAEL FACTOR
I give talks on dealing with the serious challenges facing humanity and how to ensure a better future for everyone.
If we examine the root source of most man-made problems in the world, we will find that falsehood in its various forms plays a significant part. Throughout history inept leaders, scoundrels and tyrants have used half-truths, lies and other forms of deception to gain and keep power and wreak misery and devastation all around them. And it has usually been the gullibility and indifference of the general population that allowed this to happen.
Accordingly, it follows that we can prevent and solve most man-made problems by calling for complete truthfulness in all human discourse, while being alert to any form of falsehood and categorically condemning and rejecting all who concoct or spread it.
While most people will seldom knowingly tell an outright lie, untruthfulness in its various forms frequently touches our lives without us even realizing it. We are often subjected to half-truth, selective omission and confidently-proclaimed – but false – rumors and assumptions by political leaders, the media and even our friends, while many of us unwittingly lay these and other forms of falsehood on others. Also, most people indulge from time to time in wishful thinking, denial and other forms of cognitive dissonance that cloud our perspectives and befuddle our thinking. All this leads to flawed reasoning and unfortunate consequences for all.
But it is the Arab-Israel conflict, which so patently shows how falsehood can lead to conflict in the first place, perpetuate it and prevent its resolution. It follows, therefore that the only way to even begin to resolve this tragic conflict is through an approach based on truthfulness by all parties involved. Any approach that lacks this essential factor will ensure a continuation of the conflict – as has been so abundantly shown by the events of the past and the present.
However, the Israel-Arab conflict has ramifications far beyond the region. The understanding and practice of truthfulness on a global scale is the only way that humanity will have any chance of coping adequately with all the other serious existential challenges that humanity must contend with, such as climate change, pollution, demographic problems and Jihadic expansionism – to mention just a few of the crucial issues.
And that’s what my talk is all about.
A few words about myself: I have lived in Israel for over 50 years, worked as a printer, writer, editor and publisher. I am author of the book “How to Avoid Armageddon,” published by Old Line Publishing.
To give an idea on my style and deliver you can watch a short introductory video. Click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVX53jHtibY
I will be happy to address any audience anywhere and talk about the most important thing for all people at this crucial time — the fostering of truthfulness among more and more people.
Ralph (Rafi) Dobrin, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Qualifying advocacy and
support with a caveat
The following article by Merten Harney is a powerful caveat … about a common caveat. Slightly amended, the article appearing on the website of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors (August 25, 2011), deals with the common tendency among many people who write in support of Israel in its stand against demonic odds, to nevertheless mention that Israel is far from perfect – supposedly to display objectivity. In this article one of Israel’s greatest and most powerful advocates, Alan Dershowitz is used as an example. We reckon that a comprehensive thinker like Mr Dershowitz will see this article in a positive light.
Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors was started by Doris Wise Montrose a few years ago, with the aim of promoting the promotion of Western democratic values, so as to combat the dual threats of complacency in the West vis a vis political Islam. Doris Wise Montrose says that a safe and secure Israel, prospering as a Jewish State, is a prerequisite to long-term global peace, adding that the Nazi Holocaust imposes upon all people of good will a moral and political imperative to prevent the next one. Merten Harney’s (slightly amended) article, which we present here, puts things very much in perspective – something sorely lacking with many people who focus on Israel.
Enough already Alan
By MERTEN HARNEY
Alan Dershowitz has just penned a very good editorial titled “Should Israel Welcome Glenn Beck’s Support?” He comes down in favor of Beck’s mission to Israel and his unwavering support for her. Israel needs allies and friends more than ever and if Beck, with millions watching him, can deliver his message of “Count me a Jew” we should be ever thankful.
Further on in his article however, Dershowitz makes a glaring … admission. In his praise for Israel, he slips in the caveat, “just as I feel free to criticize the Israeli government when I think it is wrong.” Dershowitz, like so many others who stand with Israel, just can’t seem to help entwining his praise with a critique.
But, why is this the case? It is an obvious thought, but completely misplaced in this setting. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, the only nation in that area of the world where women are granted equal rights with men, where Christians and Jews are granted equal rights with Muslims, where gays need not fear for their lives. Is Israel perfect? Of course not – no nation is perfect. It is so obvious a point that by bringing up Israel’s imperfections – which are considerably less than those of most nations, one weakens the very point they are trying to make in Israel’s defense.
I would beg Alan Dershowitz, and others, to stop this ridiculous pandering that plays into the hands of those who want to destroy Israel. Does it make one feel good to admit that they find fault with loved ones? “I love my daughter, but I won’t shy away from exposing her faults …” That is what this caveat means. Israel’s worst faults are better than most countries best qualities. That is a fact. Israel on a bad day is better than almost any other country on their best day. Again, this is a fact. So, why the self-flagellation? Instead of fortifying Israel, it calls attention to Israel’s true enemies and it seems there are more and more each day. Such wavering from Israel’s defenders only serves to legitimize these zealots and their hate-filled diatribes.
If we love and support Israel, we must say so. We should declare it without caveats. Don’t hedge your bets and don’t apologize for your support of Israel. Don’t throw Israel’s suicidal enemies a bone, they don’t need it. Israel needs people to stand up and say, “I support Israel; Israel is a great nation; the Jewish people have given the world a great gift.” And save your “buts” and admonitions for those that truly deserve them.
A Zionist success and
Gil Troy is professor of history at McGill University and a frequent contributor to The Jerusalem Post, well-known for his incisive, clearly written perspectives. He is the author of Why I Am A Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today, and The Reagan Revolution. Here are excerpts from an article that appeared in The Jerusalem Post on August 16th, 2011. It needs to be read by everyone who cares about Israel.
Israel’s social protests reflect two great failures for modern Zionism – and one extraordinary success. The success was demonstrated Sunday night when Professor Manuel Trajtenberg of Tel Aviv University (heading a government-appointed committee to find solutions to the current demands of the demonstrators) visited a Tel Aviv tent city. As a regular reader of the western media, I know what should have happened. Reading how the New York Times columnists Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen, among others, eagerly linked the “Israeli summer” with “the Arab Spring” and the European riots, I expected the belligerent Israelis to pummel the professor, mobbing him, maybe robbing him too, British style, if they did not kill him.
Instead, the professor and the protesters exchanged views peacefully. “I can only help you do it,” Trajentberg said, acknowledging the protesters’ power.
The journalistic rush to globalize all these protests overlooked the Israeli exception. Israeli crowds, while passionate, have been peaceful. This civility is a Zionist achievement.
Israel’s Zionist founders were utopian; they dreamed of social perfection. Nevertheless, Israel’s creation resulted from pragmatism balancing out utopianism.
The bad news for modern Zionism is that these protests took place at all. The Zionist founders, be they capitalists like Theodor Herzl and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, or socialists like A.D. Gordon and Ber Borochov, shared a commitment to the dignity of all individuals. Today’s widening gap between rich and poor would have dismayed them. Today’s social pathologies would have shocked them. And today’s political paralysis, material excess and cultural passivity would have appalled them.
The early Zionists were can-do idealists, committed to building a better world, not just retreating into consumption cocoons or wallowing in self-pity.
This, therefore, is the devastating news for Zionism – that so few of the social protesters or media commentators see either the Zionist movement or Zionist ideology as helpful in achieving the social change the protesters demand. Just as Diaspora Zionists must learn that Zionism is about more than defending Israel when it’s attacked, Israeli Zionists must learn that Zionism is about perfecting the state, not just establishing it. Alas now, Zionism risks irrelevance in Israel, its great achievement.
Of course, in many ways this is a 21st century socio-economic conundrum, far beyond 19th century Zionist theorizing. All western democracies struggle with what Americans call the work force’s Walmartization.
Since the 1830s, the American democratic miracle, which culminated in the post-World War II creation of the first mass middle-class civilization, relied on thriving factories and corporations paying respectable wages. This social pyramid brought cultural and political stability too. Modern hi-tech economies use part-time workers and cheap labor, resulting in economic and political instability. At the same time, consumerism and libertine selfishness have undermined cultural values and collective commitment.
In the 20th century, socialism and communism failed even more spectacularly than did untrammeled capitalism, usually yielding flaccid economies and burdensome bureaucracies. Sometimes, totalitarian dictatorships resulted.
The cautionary tales must be remembered as we seek a more equitable distribution, a more humane capitalism.
Zionism can help by offering a collectivist counterweight rooted in nationalism and individual dignity rather than socialism or welfare statism. Israel can lead the world in pioneering new social solutions rooted in an enduring love of freedom, appreciation of markets and a sense of collective responsibility.
Thanks to Zionism, Israel already has its share of humane capitalists. Reading author Saul Singer’s latest writings, it becomes clear that the co-author of Start-Up Nation wants Israel to be a Values Nation, believing that the same ingenuity that made Israel a hi-tech center can make it a model society. Listening to developer David Azrieli, it emerges that this master builder invested in Israel when others would not because he believed in Israelis’ potential, and his entrepreneurial Zionism is about normalizing the country economically without sacrificing core values.
Watching the hi-tech guru Yossi Vardi pour resources and love into the Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv for children of migrant workers, it appears that there are many ways for those who have succeeded to re-invest in the community.
Traditional Zionism may not have the recipe for the 21st century that capitalist democracies need, but a Zionist sensibility can shape the Third-Way approach Professor Trajtenberg wants to help the protesters find. Zionism is about a sense of responsibility for one another. Zionism is about seeking social justice. Zionism is about instilling meaning, idealism and ethics into individual lives and the collective national enterprise. Zionism is about trying to perfect the Jewish state, not just establish it. Zionism is about bringing the best of Jewish values and the best of Western ideas into the altneuland, the old new land. And Zionism is about pioneering creative, cutting-edge solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
The ultimate immorality
By RALPH DOBRIN
Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”
Available through Amazon
In 1948 hundreds of thousands of Arabs who had been living in Palestine fled their homes and became refugees – and that’s the truth. During six days in June 1967 Israel attacked Jordan, Syria and Egypt and enlarged its territory considerably. This too, is 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. All these statements are all easily verifiable and every rational person – no matter who and no matter where – with a little basic knowledge of the past or the means to check it out can accept that these statements are true.
Behind these truths are many other truths about the Israel-Arab conflict – that are just as easily verified as the above-mentioned ones, but which most people either don’t know or choose to ignore.
For instance, Palestine used to be a much larger country – almost six times as large as present-day Israel within the “green line.” Another fact is that in 1922, the League of Nations confirmed a resolution to set up a Jewish national home in Palestine, based on the famous Balfour Declaration. A few weeks earlier, Britain, which had a mandate from the League of Nations to facilitate this resolution, cut off 77% of Palestine in order to establish a purely Arab state, Trans-Jordan, which was to become the Kingdom of Jordan. Then, in 1947 the rest of what remained of Palestine, was to be further partitioned in accordance with United Nations Resolution 181, which would enable the establishment of yet another Arab state in Palestine, and that long-awaited promised homeland for the Jewish people would be set up on about one-eighth of what had originally been Palestine.
But there was a serious snag. The Arab nations categorically rejected Jewish sovereignty on any part of Palestine, and launched a war with the loudly declared aim of destroying the nascent Jewish state. However, the Jews did what any other nation would have done – they defended themselves, and despite general predictions of defeat and destruction, the Jewish forces more than held their own and eventually repulsed most of the Arab armies, with the exception of the Jordanian Army, which took over the Eastern Part of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. There is no problem verifying these claims in any dependable history book of the Middle East, whether Jewish, Arab (written in those times) or by any other neutral source.
But once the war was over, Jordan did not pull its forces out of Arab Palestinian territory. Instead, it actually prevented the establishment of an independent Arab state of Palestine by unilaterally annexing its territory, in a move that was not internationally recognized. This is something that most people today either don’t know or choose to ignore.
So, how did Israel get to occupy the West Bank? Again, what many people either don’t know or choose to ignore, is that in June 1967, all the neighboring countries suddenly massed their armies along Israel’s borders, making it absolutely clear that they were about to invade Israel and put an end to the Jewish entity once and for all. Interestingly, there was absolutely no Jewish presence in the West Bank then.
Vastly outnumbered and outgunned and with its central border a mere nine miles from the sea, Israel once again faced annihilation. Israel tried diplomacy, turning to the United Nations and countries with good contacts in the Arab world. But the U.N. responded to the crisis by summarily pulling out its peace-keeping forces from the Egyptian-Israel border, while Israel’s friends in the family of nations – predominantly France (at that time), and the USA, had suddenly forgotten or even abrogated signed commitments and diplomatic agreements with the seriously threatened state.
So, what was Israel to do? It could not allow itself to be invaded, because it would have literally been swept into the sea by the vastly superior Arab forces poised on its long, indefensible borders. Consequently, Israel launched a blitz-krieg – in the south pre-emptively (although Egypt’s closure of the Straits of Tiran represented an act of war), and against Jordan and Syria after they had first launched massive bombardments.
By repulsing the enemy armies, Israel gained an area almost three times its size. Interestingly, when Israel’s very existence had been gravely threatened, apart from warning Israel not to attack, few countries and the United Nations itself, seemed unduly perturbed. But now, after the Arab armies had been vanquished and Israel’s armed forces had taken over territories from which Israel’s destruction was to have been launched, the international community promptly reacted with great indignation. Dozens of non-Arab and non-Islamic states broke off diplomatic relations with Israel. There was a demand for Israel to immediately withdraw from these territories.
Strange, this sudden concern by the nations of the world, for the territorial integrity of Arab countries that had been about to destroy a fellow-state. Many of these nations had time and again forcibly taken territory from neighboring peoples. And anyway, throughout history, in war, it has always been the winning side that kept the territory upon which battles had been fought, or at least decided what to do with the territory. But not in Israel’s case. Even though, unlike most wars, this one had not been caused by some mundane disagreement on borders or shipping or commercial rights. This had been a war brought on by the Arabs’ repeated, unequivocal declarations and actions to destroy a neighboring country.
Over the years since then, there have been more wars between Israel and the neighboring Arab countries and militia armies; there have been thousands of terrorist attacks against Jewish civilians; Israel has built Jewish towns and settlements in the West Bank; Jordan relinquished its right to the West Bank; there have been peace treaties – sans much friendliness – with Egypt and Jordan. There have also been peace negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs, which have progressively led to ever-more hostility on the part of the Arabs, no matter how many concessions Israel makes to Arab demands.
Yet the focus of international attention on Israel has never been more intense. Neither has the onus on it for Arab-Israel conflict. Many of the accusations leveled against Israel are easily refuted by historical record and by current events, yet selective omission of vital facts lead to the felonious perceptions of Israel. For instance the claim that Israel is expansionist and wants to conquer and keep Arab lands, is easily countered by asking why, if Israel were really expansionist, has it returned over 90% of the lands it conquered in its many wars of defense? Tellingly, it has ceded 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 really expansionist, why did its armed forces withdraw from a large part of Judea and Samaria in the framework of the Oslo Peace Accords? But here too, the army has needed to return from time to time to the vacated areas in order to cope with the intense terrorist activity. We have seen exactly the same pattern regarding Gaza, where in 2005, Israel dismantled all its settlements and withdrew all its armed forces – only to face an immediate intense escalation of missile attacks, which was checked after Israel’s Gaza invasion in 2009. Therefore, claiming that Israel is expansionist is yet another gross misrepresentation of the facts and ignores the part played by Israel’s adversaries in exacerbating this conflict.
The present hullabaloo about Gaza and the repeated headline-catching attempts of activists from Europe and America trying to break Israel’s blockade with “aid ships” presents a classic example of a totally one-sided approach against Israel, giving support to one of the most wantonly warlike and brutal regimes on earth. These activists completely ignore the endless rocket attacks launched against Israel’s towns and villages from Gaza; they deny Israel any right to defend itself (which is the only reason for the blockade), while making unfounded assertions about international law; they claim a humanitarian crisis when none exists and turn a blind eye to the fact that Israel facilitates daily supplies of food and other commodities to a regime bent upon its own destruction – surely a unique situation in the annals of history.
The truth 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 media bias, international sanctions, boycotts and censure every time it tries to defend itself.
There are a number of pragmatic reasons for this peculiar situation. There’s oil, which the Arab countries have in greater supply than anyone else, and which therefore gives them enormous wealth and global political influence. Then there’s the United Nations, which has a very large number of Arab, Muslim and Third World member states, which automatically form a strong anti-Israel bloc. There are also the terrible images of devastation of Arab towns presented in the media whenever the conflict escalates, and that seldom offer much objective commentary on what prompted Israel to launch these bombings in the first place. Furthermore, judging by the far harsher singling out of beleaguered Israel for condemnation in comparison with the truly repressive, belligerent countries such as Sudan, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Indonesia, Myanmar, China and others, anti-Semitism is probably yet another factor. Although, in today’s world where overt racism in the media and in all government capacities is unacceptable, anti-Semitism has taken on an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel twist.
Israel’s vulnerability is seriously aggravated by the enormous stockpiles of hundreds of thousands of rockets of all sizes in all the neighboring countries, in addition to Iran’s nuclear weapons programs. Furthermore, the regime changes throughout the Arab world might very well lead to even more fundamentalistic Islamic influence and fury, heralding a situation in which Israel will find its back to the wall with very little chance of defending itself.
And yet, despite this precarious situation, the pressure on Israel to unconditionally relinquish even more territory to its foes, has never been greater. Clearly, it is not morality and justice that the nations are concerned about in this uniquely uneven conflict. It’s regular oil supplies at stable prices, global power struggles, international politics and old fashioned racial antipathy. It’s a gigantic degree of hypocrisy. In other words, it’s mainly lies, half-truths, cynical selective omission of vital factors and blinkered vision that form the basis of international acquiescence to the generations-long Arab and Islamic gang-up against Israel. In short, it’s plain dishonesty and immorality – on a monumental scale.
That is what people everywhere should realize when they take sides in this mortal conflict.
Ralph Dobrin is the author of “How to Avoid Armageddon,” published by Old Line Publishing and available through Amazon.