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IF YOU bump into anyone today who’s Jewish, do yourself a favour. Reach out, shake their hand and say “I’m sorry.”
When they look at you with a puzzled expression and say “but you didn’t do anything”, you can reply “I know. But I should have.”
You can add: “I should have done lots of things that I didn’t do. I should have stood in silence at the Sydney Olympics for a few minutes to remember the Israeli Olympic athletes butchered by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich games 45 years ago this month, but I didn’t.
Mosab Hassan Yousef said the Palestinian Authority is “the greatest enemy of the Palestinian people”.
“I should have been outraged at the slayings of Jews during the intifadas, but I was told it was their own fault.
“I should have wept tears of grief for Malki Roth, the young Aussie girl blown to bits along with 14 others in a pizza parlour, but it didn’t seem relevant. I should have been incensed when the murderess who organised that bombing was feted as an Arab TV celebrity.
“I should have been less critical of Israel’s settlements and more cynical about the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to agree to any peace proposals, but I condemned the first and merely shrugged at the second.
“I should have spoken out against the BDS campaign against Jewish businesses, but I figured it had nothing to do with me, so who gives a toss?
“I should have been more aware that what Israel has been going through for the past five decades is largely driven by the same fanatical passions and twisted religious fervour that now threatens shopping malls and rock concerts across the Western world, but I never joined the dots.”
Several things happened this month which shine a different light on how we in the West should view the Israel-Palestine “conflict”, and more importantly, how we should respond.
The other day, Norway’s Minister for Migration and Integration, Sylvi Listhaug – one of that country’s most popular politicians – linked terror in Europe to what Israel endures.
Speaking to an Israeli media outlet, she said: “We are experiencing now the fear that you have experienced for decades. Many people now understand the situation you live in. We see what is happening in Sweden, in Britain and in France.”
Ms Listhaug added that Europeans “need to understand the situation in Israel better”. This may sound like common sense, but it is completely at odds with the one-sided approach most European politicians and other nations instinctively take against Israel.
Indeed, last Monday at the United Nations, the usual motley crew of failed states lined up to play their favourite UN sport, accusing Israel of all the sins under the sun: ethnic cleansing, stealing land, stealing money, racism, human rights violations, mass colonisation, war crimes and so on.
But then, the most extraordinary thing happened.
Mosab Hassan Yousef, a young ex-Hamas Palestinian from Ramallah, spoke up on behalf of UN Watch and brought the entire joint to a stunned silence.
He said: “I address my words to the Palestinian Authority ... I ask: where does your legitimacy come from? The Palestinian people did not elect you, and they did not appoint you to represent them ... Your accountability is not to your own people.
“You kidnap Palestinian students from campus and torture them in your jails. You torture your political rivals.
“The suffering of the Palestinian people is the outcome of your selfish political interests. You are the greatest enemy of the Palestinian people.
“If Israel did not exist, you would have no one to blame ... You fan the flames of conflict to maintain your abusive power. You use (the UN) to mislead the international community, and to mislead Palestinian society, to believe that Israel is responsible for the problems you create.”
The Palestinian delegation sat in stunned, furious silence. Around the massive auditorium, you could’ve heard a pin drop. The truth can have that impact.
The West needs to stop pretending there is moral equivalency in the Israel-Palestine conflict. We must demand that the Palestinian Authority cease all terror, hold elections, and negotiate peace.
Also last week, Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders played a rock concert in Tel Aviv, defying the sinister BDS campaign led by former Pink Floyd man Roger Waters for musicians to boycott Israel.
Waving a gigantic Israeli flag, Hynde declared it was “the best audience in the world”. And then she sang her hit I’ll Stand By You. The crowd went nuts.
Australians could do with standing by their Jewish and Israeli friends a bit more, too.