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Since the 1980s several high level European politicians have made radical anti-Semitic declarations which accorded with Arab and Muslim positions. In a public statement in 1982, Greek Socialist Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou compared Israelis to Nazis. But no mainstream European leader went as far as Christian Democrat Giulio Andreotti, many times the Prime Minister and then the President of Italy, who declared in Geneva, during an inter-parliamentary conference in 1984,his support for a Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi motion, which equated Zionism with racism, supported the boycotting of Israel, and defended the right of the “armed struggle for the liberation of Palestine [that is terrorism]. Italy was then the only Western country to vote with the Soviet Bloc for this motion. Later, such occurrences became even more frequent.
In April 2002, Franco Cavalli spoke at a demonstration of the Swiss-Palestinian Society in Bern. He was then the parliamentary leader of the Social Democratic Party (SP), which is part of the Swiss government coalition. He claimed that Israel, “very purposefully massacres an entire people” and undertakes the “systematic extermination of the Palestinians.” Was he ignorant of the comparatively higher number of Palestinians massacred by the Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, and their own infighting, or did his anti-Semitism drive him to ignore the numbers? Or could he not explain why the Israelis were so inadequate and impotent at “annihilating” the Palestinians, that they are stronger and more numerous than ever before. Senior members of the Greek Socialist Party routinely used Holocaust rhetoric to describe Israeli military actions against Arabs, even when they are defensive in nature. In March, Parliamentary Speaker in Athens, Apostolos Kaklamanis, referred to the “genocide”of the Palestinians, forgetting that no one people can undergo so many genocides and still survive. Jenny Tonge, a Liberal Democrat MP in the U.K. declared at a meeting of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in 2004 that she might consider becoming a “suicide bomber” if she lived in the Palestinian territories. But in contrast to the other cases, which remained undisputed, her party distanced itself from her statement, explaining that it did not condone terrorism.
Raising the very question of Israel’s legitimacy, or even “recognizing its right to exist,” in itself carries a connotation of suspicion, uncertainty, hesitation, temporariness, and remonstration, as if it were under probation, like a criminal on parole, who has to prove constantly that he deserves his freedom. If Israel concedes, withdraws, shrinks back to its “natural size” (as the Egyptians would have it), obeys, effaces itself, admits “guilt” or plies to, in short behaves like a dhimmi of old, then it is considered by the nations of the world as peaceful, reasonable, moderate, and conciliatory. But when she stands up to her enemies, demands that her rights, territory, heritage, security, people, way of life, and sovereignty be safeguarded and respected, then the world is amazed at her arrogance, self-assertion, aggression, selfishness, spirit of rebellion, fanaticism, extremism, and disregard of others. When diplomats and world leaders admit Israel’s right to exist (thank you), this is often taken as a special favor to her and some Jews are happy at the daily confirmation of that favor, which they never take as a matter of natural right. The dhimmi spirit that they perpetuate dictates to them a grateful mode of behavior towards anyone who condescends to affirm what otherwise would have been considered a matter of course. Perhaps that is the reason why sixty years after Independence Jews continue to express in their national anthem the “hope” of attaining freedom in their land. They cannot believe they already have it.
Consider this: a major or minor world leader tells Israel that she has the right to exist, but she ought to evacuate territory, allow Palestinian refugees to go back to their previous homes, give up her defences, (fences) and depend on international guarantees. This means that her right to exist is conditional on her meeting certain expectations even if they run contrary to her interests or to her very chances of survival in a hostile environment. Thus, not only is Israel, of all nations, required to take steps towards her own demise, as a prerequisite to her conditional recognition by others, if she does not comply, her admission into the family of nations may be rescinded. Can anyone tell the British that they would be recognized provided they return the Falklands to their owners, or the Americans, the Canadians, and the Australians that they can be recognized only if they restored rights to the dispossessed natives that they had conquered, or that the Japanese, Syrians, Iraqis, and Sudanese will be accepted only when they recognize their minorities and stop persecuting them, or Iran, China, and Egypt—only if they accepted democracy or stopped threatening their neighbors? Unthinkable?
Not in the case of Israel, even though it cannot be reproached for any of those violations or improprieties. Take for example the question of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel and the Jewish people for the past 3,000 years. In December, 1995, the General Assembly of the UN adopted a resolution, with an overwhelming majority, as in previous years, denying the validity of the Israeli laws, which confirmed united Jerusalem as the capital of modern Israel once again. That resolution also condemned the “Judaization” of Jerusalem as if someone could blame the Chinese for the Sinification of Beijing or the French for the Francification of Paris, or Saudi Arabia for the Islamization of Mecca. When the Arabs dominated East Jerusalem, which they never made their capital, not only did they effect a full Arabization of the city, but they did that to the detriment of Jewish sites such as Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, the Jewish Quarter, and no one complained (except Israelis, but they are not counted). But as soon as the Jews restored their sites to their sovereignty, without so much as touching the Aqsa compound, which the Muslims had knowingly constructed upon the holiest site of the Jews, outcries about “Judaization” began, which was heralded as “threatening world peace.” So, when the UN declares that the Israeli measures were “null and void,” one wonders whether the restored Jewish Quarter, which had been destroyed by the Arabs, should have remained in ruins, or demolished again after it was repaired, or that the reparations of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives, which had been demolished by the Jordanians and its tombstones used to pave a road, should revert to its state of profanation in order to qualify for the terms of that resolution.
In October 1996 the European community demanded that Israel should rescind all those measures of restoration and construction and return things to their “original state.” Original since when? If the splendor of Jerusalem is returned to its Davidic and Solomonic origins, then al-Aqsa Mosque should be removed to allow for the original Temple to re-emerge. Or perhaps they meant that the latrines that the Jordanians had constructed on the sites of the synagogues that they destroyed in the Old Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem should be reinstituted on the ruins of those now reconstructed sites? The occasion for those European demands was the reopening of an ancient tunnel, dating back 2,400 years in history, to the times of the Jewish Hasmonean Dynasty, before there was any idea of Europe, of Christianity, Islam, Arabs, or Palestinians. And because the Muslim Palestinians who had usurped the holy Jewish Temple Mount, now claim that the tunnel endangered their holy sites, themselves built on the ruins of the ancient Jewish Temple, the Europeans moved to make Israel close it again. And all that, under the Palestinian threat of violence if Israel would not conform. Which one of those new European nations would have acquiesced in a situation where its right to relate to its ancient heritage was called into question?
Jerusalem is but an example. At stake is the self-appointed right of Western countries to determine the standards of behavior to which Israel is held and their presumption to act as supreme arbiters of that conduct. Exactly like the Jews in their midst, treated with suspicion and guilty till proven innocent, so is the Jewish state. It is in this sense that the Jewish state has become the Jew among states. For decades, most nations took the right to call Israel “the Jewish State,” or the “Tel Aviv Government,” lending to it the same legitimacy as the “Vichy Government” ; they made their representations and sent their representatives to that non-existing address; the international media also dispatched their reports from Tel Aviv, while the pictures they showed often originated from Jerusalem, the seat of the government of Israel. All that in order to avoid recognition of Jerusalem, the ancient capital of Israel, which had predated their own respective capitals, as the reconstituted center of modern Israel. So widespread has been that fiction that many people ended up believing that it was Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, that was the capital of Israel. What other country in the world would have been submitted to such treatment, or accepted the systematic negation of its legitimacy, of which the choice of a capital city is part?
This inordinately critical view of the Jews in history has somehow carried over and rubbed off on Israel as well, and directly aided the Arabs and Muslims in their rejection of Israel, lock, stock, and barrel. The intense scrutiny and obsessive coverage of Israel’s every fault and detail sends to Tel Aviv (but more to Jerusalem) regiments of reporters and correspondents, more than to any other world capital save Washington, DC. And all those journalists have to justify their presence in Jerusalem (under the Tel Aviv disguise) and they hunger for news to feed their avid media audiences. Thus, the most absurd of gossip can become reported news, and the most insignificant events can become “history.”
In reports about the Intifadah, for example, articles were written about the special wood used to manufacture police truncheons to maintain order, and the workshops where they were made. Similarly, we have seen that the tedious and repetitive detail that is of no interest elsewhere finds its way into international media news. The nature of the “Jewish” truncheon, which caused suffering to the Palestinians and also tarnished the Jewish reputation, was only a symptom. No one has ever checked the truncheons used by the British police in Northern Ireland or by the French police in quelling street riots in the Parisian slums. But a Jewish truncheon deserves special scrutiny. Palestinian children and adolescents can throw Molotov cocktails at Israeli police, occasionally killing, wounding, or maiming them, but those are “only kids” standing up courageously against their oppressors; repressed by police wielding those redoubtable Jewish truncheons, for Jews have to submit to special standards of conduct, unlike all others.
A Palestinian spokesman made the remark: “We are so lucky that our enemies are the Israelis. If they were Singhalese, who would care to mention us?” The late Father Marcel Dubois, Head of the Dominican Order in Jerusalem, made a similar comment: “Had the occupied territories been under Margaret Thatcher’s responsibility, the Intifadah would have lasted three days only and no one would have talked about it any more.” Both statements were corroborated by a former member of the foreign press corps in Jerusalem Thomas Friedman, of the NewYork Times, who repeated the same observation in almost the same words: “the great luck of the Palestinians is that they are in a state of conflict with Israeli Jews.”
Tears welled in my eyes as I read the latter paragraphs of this article. Every bit written here is true especially the part-guilty till proven innocent applies only to Israel in the eyes of the world. I agree too with paul2"s comments here; when facing big bullies one need not simply to defend, but to fight back or be killed anyway! Count the hundreds of rockets being fired on a daily basis, scarring the Israeli kids and population emotionally, if not physically for life. When children are indoctrinated with hatred, and used as shields, or scapegoats, they are given high honour by the families and their countrymen who willingly placed them in such situations, whereas the innocent party, Israel, gets slammed with accusations of massacre of innocent "poor" children. Most of the world has knowledge of this great acting but chose to be blind and deaf to the pleas of a small country\"s right to survive; who in all her afflictions, would not retaliate, but continue to show compassion and mercy to try to seek peace solutions at all odds against her own destruction??? Wake up, O Israel, your G-D of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is on your side! HE will put your enemies to flight! Be strong and take courage.
Posted by ester on 2009-03-23 09:51:09 GMT
The "Encounter" program on the ABC at 7 am this morning went further than express anti-Semitism - not in Europe but Australia. Especially chosen speakers all with pro-Palestian and anti-Zionist leanings, accused Israel and Zionism in particular, of ethnic cleansing. A guest speaker, Gabriel Pitterberg stated that the Israeli-Arab conflict is not about two nations wanting the same piece of land - but about "settlers" exterminating the rightful (Palestinian)indigenous people. Yet another speaker (John Dawkins) stated that Jews who have known "victimisation" (he must surely mean extermination by another fascist regime) promulgate victimisation of others and that the "victim narrative" comes from Joshua in the Bible implying that Zionist (cling to the literal and not the allegorical interpretation). Dawkins further stated that Zionism is the root of all evil in the Middle East. The recent conflict in Gaza exemplified the Zionist ideal of being able to plunder any other nation for themselves and became the culmination of "hatred for Palestinians". There was no alternative narrative to such outrageous, unfounded statements. This is the style of inaccurate, sensationalised, anti-Semitic and Jew hating dialogue/news/reports being bandied around in the majority of daily papers, documentaries, television programs and educational institutions. Where is the justice and democracy in all of this? Israel and its people need support against the terrorist threat locally, and islamisation globally; not condemnation by others.
Posted by Carol on 2009-03-22 03:45:27 GMT
Instead of complaining, Israel should retaliate by downgrading its embassies to countries who refuse to go move their embassies to Jerusalem and by kicking out journalists who are biassed or unprofessional. It should also give public dressing downs of representatives of countries who engage in antisemitism and double standards. Being nice and principled only earns disrespect and violence from the Arabs.
by paul2 on 2009-03-20 12:26:12 GMT