Evil Council

Armon Hanatziv, in the days of the British Mandate

Armon Hanatziv, in the days of the British Mandate

[The British High Commissioner] grabbed the most fantastic place in the world … built a palace there, and every morning when he wakes up and opens his eyes … can see from the palace windows the loftiest and most holy view in the world, as if it were his.

 – Yehuda Haezrahi, City of Stone and Sky, quoted by Nadav Shragai

After the First World War, the British became the last in a line of foreign powers ruling over Judea, including Jerusalem. Like any conqueror, the British built monumental palaces for its administrators. From 1920 to 1927, the High Commissioner’s residence and offices were located in the Augusta Victoria Church and hospital compound on the Mount of Olives. A beautiful place, but after it was damaged in an earthquake, the Empire decided to build a new and even more glorious seat of power at a spot with an even better view, the Hill of Evil Council (not “Counsel”) – so called by the Byzantine Christians because it was said to be where Temple priests met to discuss betraying Jesus.

The grand building was constructed between 1928 and 1933, and its first resident was High Commissioner Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope, who seems to have been one of the better ones. It is a stunningly beautiful building (the UN renovated it in 2012) in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. I can’t imagine how much the property is worth (maybe Donald Trump could). In Hebrew, it’s called armon hanatizv (the commissioner’s palace), and that also became the name of the neighborhood around it.

In 1948 when Britain was forced to retreat from Palestine by yet another indigenous revolt in its rapidly fragmenting Empire, it transferred control of the property to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which gave it to the UN. It was part of the Demilitarized Zone which existed until 1967, when it came under Israeli control. The UN demanded it back, and after an abortive struggle, Israel knuckled under. Nadav Shragai explains the historical details and legal issues here.

The UN has since made modifications to the building, appropriated land adjoining the main structure and put up additional buildings, all – needless to say – without obtaining permits from the municipal authorities. The UN did not purchase the site, and never paid rent or municipal taxes on it. The most recent official reason for the UN presence there was to house the observers responsible for monitoring the truce in effect after 1967. This has long since become irrelevant; as Shragai notes “Israel has peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt, and in Syria everyone is fighting everyone.”

The UN is an organization that is hostile to the state of Israel, as is shown by the continual flow of anti-Israel resolutions from its various agencies. The cost of any improvements that it has made are a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of back rent Israel would be owed, if anyone chose to try to compute it.

Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev is the most recent Israeli official that has called for the property to be returned to Israel (in this she joins Levi Eshkol, various literary figures and numerous government officials over the years since 1948). The UN and some in the Israeli Foreign Ministry claim that the UN is protected by diplomatic immunity and that we can’t make them leave.

I think this controversy encapsulates the attitude of the Christian and Muslim world toward Jerusalem, and indeed the land of Israel. They have never accepted the possession of the Holy City and the Holy Land by its true owners, its Jewish indigenous inhabitants, and have tried continuously in one way or another to take it away from them.

Time and again the government of Israel takes a pragmatic attitude and allows the UN, the Islamic wakf, the US Department of State and others to symbolically deprecate Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem, our capital city.

Here is an opportunity to take a stand for sovereignty and against the corrupt and anti-Jewish UN. Despite the absolute aptness of placing the UN on the Hill of Evil Council, the site does not belong to them. If they need a headquarters in our country, they should be required to rent office space like anyone else.

I know a presently unoccupied spot in Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station that they can get cheap.

Posted in Israeli Politics, The UN | 2 Comments

Concentrate on the signal, ignore the noise

The latest UNESCO resolution on “Occupied Palestine” is both nothing and something.

It is nothing because it changes nothing. It cannot render “null and void” Israel’s possession of Jerusalem or its status as our capital city (echoing Hamas’ new document of principles, p.11). It cannot make ma’arat hamachpela or kever rachel  “Palestinian” sites. And it cannot make UNESCO something rather than the nothing it has become, because its passage of a series of similar resolutions shows that it is a creature of anti-Israel politics rather than an organization to promote international cooperation.

On the other hand, the resolution adds to the massive accumulation of documents, maps, slogans, manifestos and resolutions in UN agencies, churches, and universities – none of which in themselves change anything – that declare that we, the Jewish people in their sovereign state, are nothing. A historian of the 30th century might come upon this pile of documents and believe that there is a country called “Palestine” that is “occupied,” although there would be a far smaller collection of sources testifying to the existence of a state called “Israel.” They might wonder how nothing can occupy something.

Although millions of Arabs, other Muslims, Europeans, Ha’aretz writers, and other enemies of Israel have been so far unable to dislodge the tenacious grip of the Jewish people from their land by force or the combination of force and guile called “diplomacy,” they have been able to produce thousands of tons of paper attesting to the proposition that we don’t exist, and to the extent that we do, we oughtn’t to.

When it comes to mass production of “content,” we can’t compete. There is a UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, as well as a Division for Palestinian Rights which maintains the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine. And that’s just the UN. Think about the thousands of journalists and academics around the world who at this very moment are writing articles and publishing papers that explain how everything from Palestinian honor killings to American police shooting black people is Israel’s fault.

News coverage from world media is abysmal. Nobody expects good treatment from Al Jazeera, owned by our friend the Emir of Qatar; and of course the New York Times is terrible, possibly thanks to its historic discomfort with the fact of its Jewish ownership. Reuters and AP are also very problematic. I could go on, but then I’d have to mention my favorite, America’s National Public Radio.

Don’t forget the NGOs, both the international ones like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, and the Israeli ones like B’tselem, Breaking the Silence, ad infinitum. All of them get much of their money – millions of dollars annually – from entities hostile to Israel, and the funders get what they pay for: countless reports and testimonies accusing Israel of war crimes and oppression of Palestinian Arabs.

What can we do? There are just a few million of us, and there are more than a billion of them. How can we possibly keep up with and counteract the flow of words, memes, columns, Facebook posts, movies and TV programs, and every other imaginable expression of the simple idea that motivates them: Jews out!

Perhaps we don’t need to. All human understanding requires discrimination. We receive a flood of data through our senses, some of it relevant to our survival, some of it interesting in some way, and some of it worthless. Our job is to pick out the important stuff, the “signal,” and reject the “noise.” If we can’t do that, we flail around, unable to take the actions necessary for our survival. What applies to individuals also applies to states. I’ve been saying for years that we have to fight harder to win the information war, but maybe I’ve been wrong all along. Maybe the object of the campaign against us is to upset us, to distract us – to hide the signal in a plethora of noise. If that is true, then the less we play this game, the less damage it will do.

Here are some ideas:

Let’s start by kicking the UN out of Jerusalem, as Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev suggested yesterday. The UN has been squatting in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood since 1967, engaging in illegal construction and anti-Israel activities. This is a perfect time to teach the UN who is actually sovereign in Jerusalem (hint: it isn’t them and it isn’t the non-state of “Palestine”). The less we have to do with the UN, the less noise they introduce into our channel.

Then we can continue by modifying the NGO Transparency Law to give it some real teeth. An NGO that violates the law is fined a measly $7,500, a drop in the bucket for an organization like Breaking the Silence with an annual income (2015) of $1.3 million. Personally, I would like to see all foreign funding of political organizations banned, period. If an Israeli NGO can’t survive on Israeli contributions, then maybe it doesn’t need to survive. Shut down their noise output!

Israel worries too much about all these words on all this paper. There is a serious lack of housing in and around Jerusalem. That’s the signal. We should ignore the noise and build some more. The UN will condemn Israel, the NGOs will have fits, the NY Times will write a critical editorial, but what else will be new? We could even use some of that land the UN is squatting on.

Israel must control the land area of Judea and Samaria and its airspace for simple geographic reasons. Any “solution” needs to be one that recognizes this. Another signal. Why do we waste time and energy and make dangerous concessions like freeing prisoners for the sake of an agreement to give up control of this land? Why do we let the noise obscure the signal?

Some decades ago I believed that we were headed toward world government. Like it did in Blackhawk Comics, the UN would police the world, and international forces would crush evildoers before they got started. Nations would wither away (well, maybe not the USA!), and the great systems of capitalism and communism would evolve toward each other, ultimately to reconcile. Nationalism, being irrational, would also die out (it didn’t occur to me to wonder about the Zionism I strongly supported), to be replaced with peaceful coexistence.

In hindsight, it’s obvious that this vision ignores basic facts about human nature which (thank goodness) prevented it from coming to pass. Today the Soviet Union is gone and the US is struggling to survive, perhaps as divided as it was prior to the Civil War. The international institutions that were to have given rise to the utopian world government are dying. The EU is on its last legs and the UN has passed from marginal usefulness to almost total parasitism, a parasite that its hosts can’t bring themselves to kill. The Blackhawk Squadron will not take off again to save the world.

The world is changing, getting less rational, more dangerous and more fragmented. Nobody will give artificial respiration to weak nations in a world dominated by Putins, Xi Jinpings and (maybe) Trumps. Israel won’t be protected by international organizations or laws, even if they were not subverted politically and turned against us. And it can’t depend on the US, which has its own problems that will only  get worse.

What will matter in the future, and already matter today, are facts on the ground and the ability to deter aggression. This is the real “signal.” The posturing of international diplomacy is just part of the noise that is intended to obscure it.

Posted in 'Peace' Process, Europe and Israel, Jew Hatred, Media, The UN | 1 Comment

Historical/cultural appropriation and reality inversion

Imitation may really be the sincerest form of flattery. We Zionists, therefore, should be flattered that our deadly enemies have claimed our history and our land for themselves.

The enemies of the Jewish state and the Jewish people have been trying to reverse history and re-disperse the Jewish people. They employ increasingly sophisticated means, including war, terrorism, and lately a combination of these with a carefully planned and executed diplomatic and cognitive assault aimed at Israel’s supporters and Israelis themselves.

The cognitive part of the attack on our state and people is intended to delegitimize our claim to be the indigenous people of the land of Israel, and to replace us with a fictitious people, the “Palestinians,” who actually are a group of heterogeneous Arabs who have little common history prior to the 20th century.

Nevertheless, the story is that Jews are actually Europeans (this doesn’t account for the half of Israelis whose ancestors did not live in Europe, but nobody cares), and that the Arab inhabitants of the land of Israel have been here for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Jewish history and provenance in the land of Israel are denied, and “Palestinians” are falsely cast as victims of oppression, expulsion and genocide thus appropriating the historical experience of the Jewish people.

Denial of Jewish provenance is pervasive. Yasser Arafat said that there was no Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, and his successor Mahmoud Abbas joined him, despite massive archaeological and historical evidence for the existence of both the first and second Temples. UNESCO, prompted by Arab members, passed a resolution in 2016 referring to the Temple Mount only as “Al Aqsa Mosque/Haram al Sharif,” thus attempting to erase Jewish connections to the site. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed to be “the proud son of the Canaanites who were there 5,500 years before Joshua bin Nun burned down the town of Jericho,” but he is actually descended from Hashemites who lived in Arabia before coming to Israel “many decades ago, but not centuries nor millennia.” Erekat is actually an old-timer among Palestinian Arabs, because many (if not most) of them are descended from migrants who came to Israel in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Jewish history, the story of a people dispossessed from its land treated cruelly in exile, and triumphally reestablishing sovereignty in its historic homeland, seems to the Palestinian Arabs to be a powerful and appealing narrative, so they appropriate it and fit it to their purposes.

Palestinian “history” is a compressed version of Jewish history, with its expulsions and massacres. The nakba, the establishment of the Jewish state which resulted in some 650,000 Arabs fleeing their homes, is presented as a deliberate mass expulsion, an ethnic cleansing at gunpoint. According to historian Benny Morris, probably the most respected authority on the subject, only a small number of Arabs were actually evacuated at gunpoint, and most fled the violence of war or the collapse of Arab society after community leaders left. There was no “master plan” as Palestinian supporters often allege, to ethnically cleanse the land of Arabs. Needless to say, accusations of “genocide” need not be dignified by a response; Arab populations have multiplied several times in Israel after 1948 and in Judea/Samaria/Gaza after 1967.

The process also includes the inversion of reality, in which the Jews are accused of doing to the Palestinians what the Palestinians have done, or wish to do, to them. Israel is accused of ethnic cleansing, targeting children and noncombatants, committing terrorism, establishing an apartheid regime, and racism. But in fact it is the PLO, Hamas and Hezbollah who deliberately target civilians and children, and who are proud to announce that when ‘Palestine’ is declared, no Jews will live in it. Israeli self-defense is called “terrorism,” and Hamas and PLO media report the arrests of actual terrorists as “kidnappings.” Palestinian terrorists, who – like the biblical Amalek – always choose the softest of targets, refer to their exploits as military operations, even when the objective is a school bus.

More than just misrepresenting history and current events, our enemies engage in systematic cultural theft. “Jesus was a Palestinian,” they say, a literally absurd statement – could he have been a Muslim, seven centuries before Mohammad, was he not a Jew, were the inhabitants of Judea the ancestors of the Arabs that call themselves “Palestinians” and not of today’s Jews? All of these things are nonsensical, but yet the proposition resonates.

Another kind of reality inversion is “moral equivalency,” in which the actions of both sides are considered comparable, and the death of a suicide bomber is supposed to be as tragic as those of her victims.

Today is Israel’s memorial day for the victims of war and terrorism, and last night saw a particularly offensive manifestation of moral equivalency, in which the Palestinian narrative was internalized by traumatized Jewish survivors of Arab violence. An organization of “former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants” called “Combatants for Peace” held an “Alternative Memorial Day” observance:

The Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony, which has been held on the eve of Memorial Day for the last eleven consecutive years, comes to remind us that war is not an act of fate but one of human choice. This ceremony is the largest annual event held by the Combatants for Peace movement. On this particularly difficult day we call upon both sides to acknowledge the pain and the aspirations of those living on the other side of the fence and for each of us to strive to prevent the next war. Perhaps during next year’s Memorial Day, additional losses will not have to reckoned with. At the ceremony, Israeli and Palestinian bereaved families speak about their personal pain.

Combatants for Peace receives significant funding from Germany, Switzerland and Belgium, among other foreign sources. According to NGO Monitor, “Combatants for Peace activities reflect a strong affiliation with the Palestinian agenda and narrative, placing most of the blame for the conflict on ‘the occupation’.”

While I don’t doubt that the Palestinian mother whose child was shot to death while trying to stab a random Jew or while throwing a firebomb feels a pain that is similar to that of the Jewish mother of a child that was stabbed or burned in such an attack, the idea that both the victim and the perpetrator deserve to be honored on memorial day is obscene. Apparently some Jewish Israelis felt it was obscene enough to try to disrupt the events; and while I oppose disruption of peaceful speech no matter how stupid and offensive, I can certainly see their point.

The accumulated weight of UNESCO decisions, Arab propaganda, and yes – the subversive actions of (mostly) well-meaning Israelis – weakens the state both from within and without. The Palestinian narrative seems unbelievable to those of us who have even a slight acquaintance with Jewish history, but many people believe it, even in supposedly advanced countries.

It’s ironic that the same people that accuse us of cultural appropriation of falafel are the greatest historical/cultural thieves of all.

Posted in Information war, Israel and Palestinian Arabs, The UN | 1 Comment

Supersessionism, new and old

Dr. Richard Landes has written a great deal about honor-shame cultures, like the Arab culture. In an honor-shame culture, what’s important is not how you see yourself, but how others see you. Loss of honor in such a culture is disastrous and can lead to suicide or murder – as in the case of so-called “honor killings” carried out to recover the honor of a family after a perceived act of sexual delinquency.

Modern Westerners are usually less concerned with honor and shame. Especially in America, it is laudable, even heroic, to do the right thing no matter what others think. This would make no sense in an honor-shame culture.

In the West, the operative concepts are usually morality and guilt, which are independent of what others think. Landes explains the difference:

…for guilt, it’s the awareness of the deed and its meaning, for shame, it’s whether others know. In some countries in the world, it’s not a question of whether you’re corrupt or not (everyone is, everyone knows), but just if you get caught. How many teenagers apologize for getting caught? Some adulterers have no sense of wrongdoing, as long as no one else knows. On some level everyone is subject to these concerns.

While honor-shame cultures have moral codes, however, their vulnerability to the fear of shame can readily lead to a jettisoning of any moral concerns. After all, the limbic dread of shame – its disastrous psychological and practical impact on them – kicks in in times of humiliation and fear.

Guilt is expiated by compensating the victim of an evil act and vowing to never commit the offense again (in Jewish terminology, doing tshuvah). Shame only requires that the awareness of the crime in the public consciousness be cancelled out.

But the honor-shame dynamic still does exist to some extent in the West, and Landes finds it in the European obsession with Israel. In traditional Christian supersessionim, the Church replaces the Jews as God’s people.  Landes refers to a different “supersessionist narrative,” in which the Israelis replace the Nazis and the “Palestinians” become the Jews:

When Europeans (or Christians) adopt the Palestinian replacement narrative, when the universalization of the Holocaust leads to silence about its prime victim, the driver of the megadeath industry, when academics and politicians engage in “holocaust abuse” by replacing the (old) Jewish victim, with the (new) Palestinian one, and denouncing Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians, they reveal that they are driven not by Holocaust guilt, but Holocaust shame, and the result is the exact opposite of what one might/should expect. Instead of making sure they don’t participate in another genocide against the same people their foreathers had so grievously treated only a couple of generations ago – Nie Weider! [sic] – they adopt the narrative of those who would “finish the job.”

Young Europeans especially feel shame rather than guilt. After all, they weren’t even born when their grandfathers committed the crimes that they are constantly pressed to remember and atone for. They aren’t guilty of anything. But still, who wants to be known as a descendant of mass murderers or part of the nation that committed the greatest genocide in history?

This new supersessionist narrative works by canceling shame. If the Jews are Nazis, Israel’s crimes replace and supersede those of the Nazis and their collaborators in the public consciousness. Europeans and especially Germans have struggled with their feelings since the war, and here is a way to finally lift the burden!

Landes’ discussion is thought-provoking. And it occurred to me that it explains something that has been puzzling me about the behavior of Germany today for some time.

Since the war, Germany has had what is called a “special relationship” with Israel. Germany has paid reparations to the state of Israel and to Holocaust survivors there and gives Israel aid in the form of large discounts on purchases of military items like submarines. There is close security cooperation. Germany has often voted against anti-Israel initiatives in the UN, and for several years, it even gave Israel the maximum number of points in the Eurovision contest, regardless of the quality of our entry. There are extensive contacts in the areas of trade, science, education and culture. Israel and Germany have numerous sister cities.

And yet, the German government both by itself and through the EU is by far the largest donor to Israeli NGOs that support BDS, anti-Zionism, anti-Israel lawfare and even terrorism. The activity of foreign-funded anti-state NGOs in Israel is on a massive scale involving millions of Euros a year, and constitutes a form of cognitive warfare against the Jewish state. Just yesterday, PM Netanyahu canceled a meeting with the German foreign minister after he met with representatives of two particularly subversive NGOs, B’tselem and Breaking the Silence. German money, as Tuvia Tenenbom wrote in his book “Catch the Jew” is everywhere in Israel, even funding pro-Palestinian movies.

How can we explain this seeming contradiction? Do they want to support us or to help our enemies kill us? Landes’ analysis suggests an answer. If he’s right and the Germans today are primarily motivated by shame, then it makes sense that they would do as much as possible in public to counteract the perception that they are the heirs of the murderous Nazis. On the other hand, their shame drives them to work privately at the same time to transfer the responsibility to Israel, to make the Jewish state into the new Third Reich. And as a matter of fact, German funding for anti-state NGOs in Israel is highly non-transparent. While Germany is a public friend of Israel, in private it helps our enemies drive their knives into our collective back.

In a way, we’re stuck. We don’t want the world to forget the horrors of the Holocaust, but the more we remind them, the more ashamed, and thus angry, they become. My own view is that we should stop trying to get sympathy for what was done to us 70-odd years ago, and concentrate on gaining respect for forcefully defending ourselves today.

Posted in Europe and Israel, Jew Hatred | 1 Comment

Leaving the shadow of the Diaspora

Today at 10 AM I went up to the roof of my apartment building to listen to the siren commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. At times like this I usually think about my great aunts and uncles who were murdered by the Nazis, most of them in a very personal way, hunted down and shot – because like me, my wife, my children and grandchildren, they were Jews.

But today I had something else on my mind. The Holocaust was a large scale industrial pogrom, but it wasn’t the first or last pogrom. The humiliation, oppression, and ultimate murder of the Jews of Europe in the first half of the 20th century is very present to the descendants of those who survived it, but Jews were victimized almost everywhere and in almost any era: in Europe, in the Middle East (until the Muslims finally succeeded in getting rid of them), in Africa. While there were few if any “pogroms” in North America, there have been anti-Jewish riots and lynchings.

Jewish history for the past 2000 years or so has been a story of Jews moving around in search of a place where they could live in relative safety and make a living for themselves. Sometimes, when conditions were good for more than a short time, we read about a “golden age,” like Spain around 900-1000 CE or the USA from the end of WWII to the present. At some other not-so-golden times and places Jews were stripped of their possessions, expelled from communities and even whole countries, forcibly converted or murdered. Almost everywhere there were legal or social strictures placed on Jews that disadvantaged them relative to the Christian or Muslim majorities in whose midst they lived.

Like any cohesive social group, the Jewish people changed and evolved culturally as a result of their experience. Strategies for survival were developed, and ones that worked were reinforced. “Jewish” ways of coping with adverse social and political situations came into being. These strategies were based on being a despised minority that was relatively powerless compared to the majority and to the ruling regime.

One strategy that did not work was direct violent resistance to the oppressors. The non-Jewish majority was far more numerous and the regime had a monopoly on weapons. When violent resistance did occur, like the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, it was more a last-ditch response to an impossible situation, a desire to go down fighting, not a strategy that was expected to extricate the Jews from their predicament.

Another, more practical strategy was to make alliances – with important elements in the regime if possible, or with other oppressed minorities. There were tactical approaches, like paying ransom to release captives or bribing officials, that often were successful in the short run. But there were problems: rulers change unpredictably; and often the powerful classes and other minorities alike shared the disdain for Jews that characterized the masses. Where there were wealthy Jews, they were often seen as a resource that could be squeezed for money when needed. Ultimately, there is never enough money to pay off a blackmailer.

Some conceived Zionism as a way to break out of this permanent insecurity. A state with a Jewish majority and a Jewish government wouldn’t have pogroms, they saw. The police and the army would be on our side. There wouldn’t be discriminatory laws against Jews. We wouldn’t need to obsequiously crawl to some prince or emir that hates us and pretend to love him in return in order to stay alive.

Once there was a sovereign Jewish state, the best tactics to ensure survival would change. We still need allies, but there are better ways to release captives held by our enemies than paying ransom. A sovereign state can have an army to defend it; it would no longer be necessary to beg or buy sufferance from those who hate us.

Unfortunately, despite the success of the Zionist movement in establishing a sovereign Jewish state, there are Jews in Israel who haven’t gotten the message. They have remained wedded to attitudes, strategies and tactics that are appropriate for a diasporic minority but not helpful, even dangerous, when adopted by a state that wants to preserve sovereignty.

Politician Naftali Bennett used the slogan “don’t apologize” in his last campaign. He released a remarkably funny – but effective – video in which a “nebbish” (played by Bennett in a false beard) apologizes for things that are not his fault. Watch it here:

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Exaggerated? Not much. A sovereign state does not need to apologize for defending itself, or for building homes for its people in land which belongs to it, according to its reasonable interpretation of international law.

Despite the fact that he is often called “hard-line” or “right-wing,” PM Netanyahu is still sometimes afflicted with diasporic thinking. He is not embarrassed to say that he is trying to reach an agreement with the Trump Administration about building in Judea and Samaria. Now while the US may be unhappy with Israel’s policy in this area, as a sovereign state there is only one position for Israel to take: how we build on our land is our business and nobody else’s.

And there is the way Israeli negotiating positions toward the PLO/PA have shifted more and more toward the Palestinians since Oslo, despite the fact that our “partners” have made no significant concessions during the last two decades, and have indeed hardened their positions in many areas. Instead of using our considerable strength to pressure our enemies – a possibility that did not exist in the Diaspora – we prefer to try to buy their good will. But all we get in return for our generosity and restraint is contempt.

Consider our relations with Hamas in Gaza. While they build rockets and dig tunnels to attack us, we supply electricity to run the machinery that helps them do it. There have even been suggestions from the IDF and government ministers that Israel should help Hamas build a seaport and an airport, in return for a promise of peace.

It is often said that one of the most important lessons of the Holocaust is that when your enemies threaten to kill you, you should take them seriously. The PLO and Hamas certainly fit this description, and yet we have consistently tried to solve the problem they pose by offering to buy their tolerance.

In a few days we’ll mark 69 years since the founding of the State of Israel. We’ve made an incredible amount of progress demographically, economically, militarily, scientifically and socially. But we haven’t seemed to be able to get out from under the shadow of our prior Diaspora existence. Maybe we should try to do that in time for our 70th anniversary!

Posted in Israeli Politics, Zionism | 2 Comments