I've moved over here.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Israel is suffering from a crisis of faith. Whereas Zionism was once at the center of Israeli society, today is has been replaced in many quarters by apathy and cynicism. Israel is at a crossroads, perpetually fighting an enemy that will not tire or cease, unable to win but with too much at stake to concede defeat. Israel is besieged and surrounded by enemies on all front- Hamas in the south, Hizbullah in the north, proxies of Iran and Syria. Its detractors spend most of their energies coming up with new and innovative ways to kill Jews and delegitimize the Jewish state. Israel's response is one of confusion, resignation and despair.
Israel is a country that desperately seeks international acceptance and legitimacy. It is a country that is trying to flee from its heritage and its destiny with every ounce of its fiber. Nothing epitomizes this more than the insane and suicidal obsession with creating a Palestinian terror state in Judea and Samaria. In order to gain the love of a fickle world whose love for Jews has run out 60 years after Auschwitz, Israel is willing to surrender its biblical homeland to a people committed to its destruction and to create another Arab terror state on the ashes of the resettlement of half a million Jews.
Never was there an Arab nation or country in Judea and Samaria. The "Palestinians" never had a sovereign state or self-rule in these lands. However, it was in these lands where the Jewish nation was born and developed. There the Patriarchs roamed, the Kings of Israel fought and the Prophets rebuked the people. There the Maccabees began their struggle against the Greeks and it was there where Bar Kochba and Rabbi Akivah roused the nation to throw off the yoke of Roman tyranny. Thousands of years after the first Jew had pitched his tent in the hills of Hebron and Shechem, after the Jewish people had conquered and divided up the Land under Joshua, had seen the rise and fall of two independent kingdoms, two exiles and the destruction of two Temples, was the name 'Palestine' first uttered. After the Romans brutally suppressed the last Jewish revolt and carried the Jewish freedom fighters into captivity, they decided to rename the land 'Palestinae' in order to erase all Jewish ties to the Land.
The Palestinian nation is a lie and a fraud, swallowed whole by the world and those poor Israelis, devoid of roots and heritage. In 1967, following the defeat of 3 Arabs armies determined to throw the Jews into the sea, Israel liberated Judea and Samaria. Once again we were reunited with Hebron, where our Mothers and Fathers are buried, with Bethlehem, comforting Mother Rachel with the realization of the divine promise that "there will be a reward for your works... and your children will return from the lands of the enemy." Beit El, Shechem, Jericho- these lands where once again Jewish. The world literally shook with the earth-shattering cry: "The Temple Mount is in our hands!" And yet, incredibly, instead of annexing these lands that had been cut off from the reborn Jewish state 20 years earlier, Israel did nothing. And it still does nothing.
The reason for Israel's non-action is not because of international pressure, or for fear of the Arab reaction. Israel does not rightfully annex Judea and Samaria because of what that would mean: the return of the Jewish people to the lands of the Torah. Sadly, Israel desperately wants with all of its might to be Tel-Aviv and Herzliah, to be Dizengoff street and the beach. A return to Hebron would also mean a return to the lifestyle of those who are buried there. Judea and Samaria is too powerful a wake-up call to the secular assimilationists who rule and direct the state.
This brings us full circle. As long as Israel refuses to claim Judea and Samaria, it will continually to be faced with constant Arab attacks and harassment, with world legitimacy ever more elusive. That is the cause of all of our problems, and the reason why the new generation of secular Israelis is at a loss for direction. Judea and Samaria are destiny. They tell the Jewish people, a people who wants so badly to be normal and to be accepted, that they cannot be normal. It reminds them of their innate difference, of their mission purpose. For Israel was not created so that Jews can eat falafel and go to the beach. If that is the case, certainly there are better beaches elsewhere, ones which are not bought with bloody wars and constant terror attacks. Certainly, a million Israelis feel this way and have made their homes elsewhere- in New York, in Los Angeles, in Toronto, in Miami, etc.
If so, for why was the State of Israel founded? The State of Israel was founded only because the G-d of history, the G-d of Israel, promised the Patriarchs of the Jewish people that He would never abandon them or allow them to assimilate among the nations. It was founded because G-d took one people out of bondage in Egypt and brought them close to His service. It was founded because G-d chose the Jewish people, separating and elevating them above all of the nations and giving them a land where they could dwell, free of the influences and foreign cultures of the goyim. It is from this land where holiness and G-dliness shall spread. "For out of Zion will come Torah, and the word of G-d from Jerusalem".
It is this which so terrifies the assimilated sabra, cut off from Torah and its teachings. At the same time, without it, he is lost and has no sense of direction. Is Israel a Jewish state or a Western state? A Jewish state or a state of all its citizens? For this he has no answers, and the future is bleak. In short, Israel does not have an Arab problem, but a Jewish problem. A leader led by Jewish values would have no trouble taking control of what is rightfully his, and telling those who squat on his land and seek to kill him to please find their new homes elsewhere.
Almost 63 years since the rebirth of the Jewish people from the suffering of the exile, we can no longer waver and hide from destiny. The destiny of the Jewish people is knocking. Either we embrace it willingly, or we will be forced to do so.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Dedicated l'ilui nishmata shel Tamar Dina bat Smadar
על נהרות בבל שם ישבנו גם בכינו בזכרינו את ציון. על ערבים בתוכה תלינו כינורותינו כי שאלונו שובינו דיברי שיר ותוללינו שמחה. איך נשיר את שיר ה' על אדמת נכר
"By the river of Babylon - and Monsey, and Toronto, and Boca Raton, and London and Paris- we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. Upon willows we hung our harps because our captors asked of us words of song, and our tormentors joy. How shall we sing HaShem's song on foreign soil?" (Tehillim 137)
Whenever a Jew has finished eating a meal, he sits down and reminds himself that he is a stranger in a strange land. He reminds himself that he was exiled so long ago forcibly from his home. He thanks G-d for the "the desirable, good and spacious Land" that He gave his forefathers. Three times a day, he turns in longing and fervent prayer to Jerusalem and pleads with G-d that "his eyes should behold in mercy [G-d's] return to Zion".
The Jewish people were chosen by G-d to be a holy people living in a holy land. We were chosen in order to bring light, goodness and G-dliness into the world, as evident by Israel's incredible Sanctification of G-d's Name in Haiti. Unfortunately, many Jews do not understand the greatness or the loftiness of our role. They do not know the Jewish people's mission or task. Throughout the long and harsh years of exile, many have forgotten or do not know what it means to be Jewish. They believe that being Jewish is simply a matter of personal conscience comparable to being a Christian or a Buddhist. They do not realize that to be Jewish is to be part of a nation.
In G-d's infinite mercy, He returned sovereignty to the Jewish people over 60 years ago and has begun the process of our Redemption. In His eternal kindness, He has brought the masses of the Jewish people back home. Entire communities en masse have made aliyah and have returned to the Land of Israel. Eastern Europe, Yemen, Morocco, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Russia, practically all of the Jews of the Islamic world, have come back to Israel. The remaining Jews in many small and isolated communities are joining their brethren in Israel. As anti-semitism rises in France and the rest of Europe, many are beginning to come back.
And yet despite 62 years of Jewish independence, a free and prosperous Jewish state boasting one of the world's most flourishing and resilient economy, booming enterprises, a powerful army and plenty of opportunity, close to half of the world's Jews choose to live in exile. When the Jews were trapped and prevented by their gentile persecutors from making aliyah, they wrote songs of longing for Eretz Yisrael. In cellars and dark rooms, in secret, hiding in fear from Romans, Crusaders, the Inquisition, Nazis or Soviets, they declared with complete confidence and faith "Next Year in Jerusalem!". At every Jewish wedding, they crushed a glass (and continue to crush a glass) and pledged: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem..." Now, however, that the doors of aliyah are wide open and the Land is calling out, ready to take in her long-lost sons and daughters, only a trickle decide to return home.
The Jewish people's destiny is in the Land of Israel. Only in the Land of Israel can the People of Israel achieve their true potential, to live completely Jewish lives, free from interference or insecurity. Many of the Torah's commandments can only be performed there. It is only there where a Jew does not have to live in the unnatural role of minority, with all of the insecurities that accompany it. There he is free of self-consciousness, of the ever nagging "What will the goyim think?" It is there that the Jewish people can build a Jewish society based on Jewish values. It is there that Redemption is not just a dream but a living reality.
In this week's Parsha, G-d brings upon the Plague of Darkness upon the Egyptians. Rashi explains that in that generation there were wicked Jews who did not wish to leave Egypt and that they died during the Plague of Darkness. What is the reason that these Jews did not want to escape the torment and affliction of Egypt? The Midrash Tanchuma provides us the answer: they had Egyptian friends and enjoyed honour and fortune in Egypt. These Jews felt properly at home in the idolatrous and perverse Egyptian culture and did not wish to leave in order to receive G-d's Torah and to settle in the Land of Israel. In our own generation, we see the same phenomenon repeating itself. Many otherwise good Jews, many of whom stringently keep the Torah, are simply too comfortable in the lands of their dispersions. They have their synagogues, schools and communities in Toronto, New York or Los Angeles. They are content to stay in exile and have exchanged Miami for Jerusalem.
The Jewish people must open its eyes and remember that its home is in the Land of Israel. Only there can we fulfill the prophecy that "out of Zion shall come forth Torah, and the Word of G-d from Jerusalem". No matter how comfortable exile is, it is nonetheless a punishment and a curse. A Jew should never be content living as a minority in a strange country. He must remember the lament of the Jews being taken captive to Babylon: "How shall we sing HaShem's song on foreign soil?" May Hashem open the eyes of His people that they return to their own soil, speedily in our days.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Every American Jewish establishment leader is aware that the rate of intermarriage among American Jews is at 50%. Every second Jews that gets married opts to marry out of the tribe. They accept that assimilation is widespread and that the Jewish people is disappearing as a distinctive entity in the United States. Even as they frantically try to keep Jews Jewish, apathy and indifference remain and more Jews are lost. Despite billions of dollars spent on bringing Jewish teenagers to Israel for free on Birthright, most Jews are disconnected from Israel. Jewish organizations invest tons of money into new Holocaust Museums even as young Jews suffer from Holocaust fatigue and overload. Why is it that the brightest leaders and thinkers of the Jewish establishment cannot find a way to sustain the newest generation of Jews?
The simple reason is because these people who are completely alienated from Torah and Jewish values have nothing to offer young Jews. Their ideology is completely bankrupt, with not a shred of spirituality or meaning. Bagels and lox provide no answers for a Jew seeking truth. The "Judaism" that these Jewish establishment leaders are peddling is a mixture of Holocaust victim syndrome, lame Jewish jokes and cultural quirks, knishes and kugel, with some watered down Zionism, cemented by getting Jewish teens drunk on the beaches of Tel-Aviv.
The modern zeitgeist is one of bringing people closer, of breaking down walls and barriers. The new world is one without tribal identity or religious affiliation. In such a world, one need only be a good person. What reason does this "Judaism" give to young Jews for setting up false obstacles and differences between themselves and the rest of society? These youth are given no positive reason to be Jewish, and a myriad of reasons why they should simply be human beings. The "Judaism" that they are taught is emptiness and vanity, devoid of G-d and His commandments, empty of commitment and devotion, without any holiness or reverence. The establishment leaders emphasize the "Jewish" qualities which we share with the larger society: democracy, tolerance, pluralism, etc. Little do they realize that what these assimilation-bent Jews need is to know what makes us different than, not the same as, everyone else. If being Jewish is only about being a good person, why not marry a nice Catholic or Chinese or Greek girl?
The essence of Judaism is that G-d publicly revealed Himself before the entire nation of Israel at Mount Sinai and made an eternal covenant with us. He became our G-d and we became His nation. At Sinai, G-d gave us His plan for life, the Torah, which contains His commandments. These commandments have been the mainstay and foundation of Jewish life for thousands of years. When the situation seemed hopeless, when the desperate Jew in Spain or in Russia was ready to break, it was G-d's promise to Israel that gave him strength. Living in terrible conditions, in the ghettos of Europe or the mellahs of Morocco, the Jew clung fiercely to his G-d and to his faith, with complete trust in G-d's revelation at Sinai and believing fully in the coming of the Redemption.
When Jews keep the Torah, they can overcome Crusades and Inquisitions, pogroms and Auschwitz. When they stray from G-d's Torah, they are left without a basis and are lost. It is time for the Jewish leaders to admit that "cultural Judaism" is a dead end. We have tried to raise a generation on nostalgia, Holocaust guilt and Seinfeld and have found that this is a path to assimilation and spiritual destruction. Without a solid foundation in Judaism, forget about getting Jews excited about Israel. The Jewish pride and identity that these leaders so hope to instill in young Jews must have a basis in Jewish belief, values, ritual and practice.
A whole generation of Jews have been robbed of their heritage. Tragically, they are completely ignorant of the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and of the countless millions of Jews who have preceded them. It is time to return the core of Judaism to what it always was- the Torah and mitzvot. Otherwise, we march down the road to assimilation singing and dancing to the tunes of Fiddler on the Roof.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
As the years progressed, many Jews lost their connection to Judaism, yet the raw emotions aroused by the Holocaust stirred their hearts and feelings. For Israelis, surrounded by a sea of hostile nations determined on destroying the Jewish state, the specter of the Holocaust hovers in their minds. The State of Israel, according to many, is the insurance policy of the Jewish people in case of another Holocaust. For American Jews, the suffering and pain of their Europeans forebearers colours their identity. They are even on the look-out for signs of impending disaster, of anti-semitism, resolving never again to be caught off guard.
For many Jews, Judaism is synonymous with Holocaust. The Holocaust occupies a significant amount of curriculum in the Jewish schools. For those with little or no formal Jewish education, their first Jewish emotion is often a visit to the Holocaust museum. At every Jewish event that they attend, whether it be the occasional "temple" service, bar mitzvah or celebration, the Holocaust is mentioned and commemorated. A new (and frightening) practice has arisen where bar mitzvah boys are paired up with a child murdered in the Holocaust who did not have a chance to celebrate his bar mitzvah.
The transformation of Judaism into a cult of the Holocaust should repulse and shock every observant Jew. It is a recipe for disillusionment and assimilation, as Judaism becomes something negative, a burden of anti-semitism and tragedy. The Holocaust provides no reason for an unconnected Jew to remain Jewish, to marry a Jew and lead a Jewish life, besides possibly guilt. The Holocaust tells us nothing about Judaism, about the beauty and depth of it's spiritual teachings, or the profoundness of its moral legacy.
Similar to their American brethren, many Israelis believe that the State of Israel exists only because of the Holocaust. Every single foreign delegate is taken to Yad VaShem to bear witness to the destruction of the Jews of Europe, the subtle message being that this is Israel's alternative to fighting. It is in this climate that the dictator of Iran, as well as many educated and sophisticated Arabs, deny the Holocaust with impunity, believing that without the Holocaust, the whole edifice upon which Zionism stands will collapse.
The memory of the six million holy Jews murdered in the Holocaust must be perpetuated and remembered. However, it must be stressed over and over again that Yad VaShem is not Israel and Auschwitz is not Judaism. There was a Judaism long before 1939, and that persecution and oppression need not be an integral part of our identity. The Jewish state exists not because of the Holocaust, but in spite of it.
The heart of Judaism is, and must always be, the public revelation of the divine at Sinai, and the eternal covenant between the Jewish people and G-d. Judaism lives and dies on the fact that G-d revealed Himself before millions of people at Mount Sinai and gave the people of Israel His Torah. It is G-d's instructions manual for life, a guide to live a life of goodness, blessing and meaning. Every single Jew is bound by its commandments and dictates, and must follow its precepts and teachings. By living by the Torah's laws, a Jew reaches holiness and G-dliness. It is this belief that kept Jews strong despite centuries of terrible conditions. When their situation could be alleviated by baptism, conversion or assimilation, they clung tightly to their Torah and to their G-d. This is what prevented the Jew from disappearing among the nations, because His G-d spoke to him from the fire and bound him to Him in an everlasting contract.
Our right to the Land of Israel comes from Sinai and not from Wansee. The same G-d who proclaimed to the Children of Israel, "I am the L-rd, your G-d", promised them Land of Israel. By His word, the Jewish people entered the land and conquered it, by His word they were exiled after rebelling against His commandments, and by His word they are returning to reclaim their stolen heritage. By basing Israel's right to exist on the Holocaust, we provide an opportunity for Ahmadinejad to ask rhetorically why the Germans shouldn't compensate the Jews by giving them land for which to build a state. If Israel is simply meant to be a haven for persecuted Jews, there is no reason why the Arabs should suffer for the crimes of Europeans. Israel draws its legitimacy from Sinai and the modern state is simply a continuation of the kingdoms of David and Solomon, and the Hasmonean dynasty, resumed after a 2000 year hiatus.
The focus of the State of Israel cannot simply be defiance to Hitler and the Final Solution. We must always remember the Holocaust and fight to prevent it from ever occurring again, yet it cannot be the focal point of the Jewish state. To silence our haters and critics, we must embrace our deep roots in the Land, and re-affirm our commitment to the values of Sinai. Yad VaShem should not be the first and only stop for visiting diplomats, but one of many that showcase the complexity of Jewish history, the highs and lows of our people. Diplomats should be taken to Jerusalem, the rebuild capital of the Jewish nation, about which our ancestors wept as they were led into captivity, vowing, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its cunning!". They should be taken to Hebron, the home and burial place of our Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They should visit Masada, where the brave Judean warriors took their own lives rather than be taken as slaves by the Romans. They should see the synagogue and yeshivot of the Old City, to demonstrate how Judaism has come home to its birthplace.
The legacy of Sinai must prompt us to be a Light unto the Nations, to fight for freedom and human rights and dignity. The Holocaust and its horrors can only be understood through the traditional framework of Judaism. Alone, it provides us nothing of value about Judaism, and gives us no sense of direction or meaning. Only by embracing Sinai can we hope to build a society based on morals, ethics and the values of holiness. It is Sinai that will re-energize the apathetic masses, that will re-invigorate the disconnected Jewish youth. The Torah, and not the Nuremberg Laws, will stop the tide of assimilation and spiritual oblivion. It is what will give us the courage to fight for our land, and the strength not to bend and apologize in the face of the haters. It is Sinai which is the core of authentic Judaism.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
At the very inception of the Zionist movement, Herzl understood that Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel would take place with international support. One of the tenets of Zionism has always been that by creating a Jewish state, anti-semitism would disappear and that the Jews would take their rightful place among the family of nations. As such, public opinion has always played a very significant role in the Zionist project. From Ben-Gurion's policy of havlagah, restraint, in response to Arab attacks and provocations, to today's hasbarah efforts, Israel has always wanted to win the favour of the international community.
With the release of the biased and factually incorrect Goldstone report, which labels Israel an aggressor for responding to over 10 000 rockets fired from Gaza, and finds it guilt of "war crimes", Israelis have set upon presenting their case clearly to the world. We want people to understand the pain and suffering of the people living in Sderot, a city where practically the entire population suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, to know what its like to have 15 seconds to flee for your life to a shelter before a Grad missile lands on your house or workplace. Responding to international criticism over the IDF's actions in Gaza, Israelis appeared before the news cameras and asked the world what options they had, what other country would tolerate so many repeated attacks on its sovereignty and citizens and waiting so patiently. "What choice do we have? Would the United States allow Mexico to fire 10 000 rockets into California before it responded", they asked, pained by worldwide callousness. For the world, the issue was settled: the Jews were the initiators and firing missiles at civilian targets was a legitimate reaction to an Israel occupation of Gaza which has ended 3 years earlier. The international jury has decided that Israel had no right to defend itself and stood with the brave freedom fighters of Gaza who hid weapons in mosques and hospitals and used their own wives and children as human shields. We tried so hard to convey our story to the world, only to be slapped in the face with the UNHRC's farce of a report. And again, like a broken record, we try to explain ourselves to the world and to justify to them why our children deserve not to be blown up in their schools and playground.
I have had enough of apologies, explanations and justifications. It is time for Jews to stop being ashamed and to lift our heads up high. As if to absolve Israel for its crime of existing, Jewish apologists repeat like a catechism that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle-East and that Arabs in Israel enjoy more rights and freedoms than in any Arab country. To counter the malicious lies and slander spread against our brave soldiers, we say ad nauseum that Israel has the most moral army in the world, and then explain, as if it is a badge of virtue instead of a sign of utter insanity, how Israel endangers its own soldiers rather than harm enemy civilians.
Lovers of Israel would do well to listen to Jabotinsky's words, written in 1911 but still so true today. In his classic essay Instead of Excessive Apology, he explains that the Jewish world does not owe its enemies any moral diatribes or lectures about our own righteousness. "We constantly and very loudly apologize... Instead of turning our backs to the accusers, as there is nothing to apologize for, and nobody to apologize to, we swear again and again that it is not our fault... Isn't it long overdue to respond to all these and all future accusations, reproaches, suspicions, slanders and denunciations by simply folding our arms and loudly, clearly, coldly and calmly answer with the only argument that is understandable and accessible to this public: 'Go to Hell!'?... Do our neighbors blush for the Christians in Kishinyov who hammered nails into Jewish babies' eyes?" Not in the least,-- they walk with head raised high and look everybody in the face; they are absolutely right, and this is how it must be, as the persona of a people is royal, and not responsible and is not obliged to apologize... We do not have to account to anybody, we are not to sit for anybody's examination and nobody is old enough to call on us to answer. We came before them and will leave after them. We are what we are, we are good for ourselves, we will not change and we do not want to." How many times have the Arabs apologized for murdering and maiming Jews sitting in cafes and restaurants? Do they blush for the terrorists who shot 10 month old Shalhevet Pas, sitting outside her home in Hebron, or for shooting in cold blood 8 teenagers studying Torah in a Jerusalem yeshiva? I have yet to see one international condemnation of the daily incitement against Jews in the Arab media, or the hatred and anti-semitism taught in Palestinian schools.
Operation Cast Lead was the very definition of a just war. Since the Gaza Withdrawal, life in southern Israel had become virtually impossible. The Red Alert siren and having 15 seconds to run for cover had became a routine part of life in Sderot. Those who were silent while Kassams fell on homes, schools, synagogues and workplaces in Sderot have no right to express any opinion about Israel's response. The hypocrisy of demonstrators worldwide, outraged at Israeli "atrocities", knows no bounds. Israel has an obligation to protect its people - end of story. The responsibility for any innocent civilians killed lies solely with the people who used their houses of worship as weapons storage and admit without any shame to using women and children as human shields. As was said time and time again, if you go to sleep with rockets in your house, don't expect to wake up in the morning.
I refuse to explain and to justify Israel's right to exist any more. Israel exists by right, like any other country in the world. Only Israel is constantly questioned and delegitimized. Instead of appearing before the world to present our story and to convince them of our justness, we must answer the only way that the world will understand. "Dear world, Go to Hell!"
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Master of propaganda, the "Palestinians", an artificial entity with no historical veracity, have convinced most of the world that the State of Israel is illegally occupying their country, known as "Palestine". They have used the language of international justice to point their desire to annihilate the Jewish state as a human rights crusade. It has come to the point where even the President of the United States refers to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as "illegal". It is necessary for every support of Israel, and decent human being, to set the record straight about Jewish resettlement in the Land of Israel.
Jewish resettlement in the Land of Israel, including Gaza, Judea and Samaria, exist as of right and are completely in accordance with international law. In fact, it is the repeated attempts to prevent Jewish resettlement that is in violation of international law. The Mandate for Palestine, set out by the League of Nations and later enshrined in the United Nations, set out the right for Jews to settle in the entire Land of Israel. The legally binding document was conferred on April 24, 1920 at the San Remo Conference, and its terms outlined in the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10, 1920. The Mandate’s terms were finalized and unanimously approved on July 24, 1922, by the Council of the League of Nations, which was comprised at that time of 51 countries,4 and became operational on September 29, 1923. The Mandate clearly distinguishes between political rights for Jews and civil and religious rights for non-Jews. Article 2 of the “Mandate for Palestine” explicitly states that the Mandatory should: “... be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.” At no time in the Mandate document are the Arabs referred as a people, or given the right for a country within the boundaries of Palestine set aside for a Jewish National Home.
The claim that Israel is some sort of Holocaust consolation prize to assuage the guilt of Europeans completely disappears when one considers that this document was internationally ratified 30 years before World War Two and explicitly states that Jewish settlement exists by right and not sufferance. The preamble to the text states: "Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." In other words, the soon to be established Jewish state derives its legitimacy from the fact that the two previous Jewish commonwealths existed in the Land of Israel, and that it is the birthplace of the Jewish people. Surrendering any inch of this land to a foreign power is a betrayal of the ancient Jewish ties to the land, and to terms set forth by the Mandator document.
The document, valid until this very day according to international law, sets out that "The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes." The document does not take into account the existence of any "Palestinian Arab" people and does not distinguish in any way between central Israel, the Galilee, Negev, Judea, Samaria or Gaza. The policy of denying Jews the right to settle in Judea and Samaria simply by virtue of their being Jewish is a blatantly anti-semitic policy, one completely illegal. As Yehuda Z. Blum, Israeli ambassador to the UN, explained: “A corollary of the inalienable right of the Jewish people to its Land is the right to live in any part of Eretz Yisrael, including Judea and Samaria which are an integral part of Eretz Yisrael. Jews are not foreigners anywhere in the Land of Israel. Anyone who asserts that it is illegal for a Jew to live in Judea and Samaria just because he is a Jew, is in fact advocating a concept that is disturbingly reminiscent of the ‘Judenrein’ policies of Nazi Germany banning Jews from certain spheres of life for no other reason than that they were Jews. The Jewish villages in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza district are there as of right and are there to stay."
Zionism has become a very dirty word recently. Jews must stand up and say that Zionism, supporting the right to Jewish self-determination in the entire Land of Israel, and its practical applications such as resettlement and rebuilding, is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Anyone who opposes Zionism is an anti-semite because he denies Jews the right of self-determination which is accorded to all other peoples. Whenever somebody ignorantly repeats the slander about "illegal settlements" or "outposts", he must be reminded that international law demands that the trustee of the Mandate for Palestine, in the modern world, the State of Israel, encourage "close settlement by Jews on the land" and makes no mention of any other group with political rights in Israel. There is an illegal occupation in Palestine- but it is certainly not a Jewish one.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
By now, the conclusions of the Goldstone report should come as no surprise to anyone. Goldstone found that "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity," during Operation Cast Lead. The report is quite damning in its portrayal of the Israeli army as a murderous, genocidal force in Gaza. Here is yet another example of anti-Israel bigotry masquerading in the guise of human rights. Supporters of Israel must realize that this report is no simply a denunciation of specific Israeli actions but rather a denial of Israel's right to self-defense.
The conclusions of the report were a foregone conclusion. According to Israelis who testified before the commission, the situation was hopeless. Their testimonies were largely ignored. Noam Bedin, a resident of Sderot and the manager of the rocket-ridden city's communications office, recounts, "when I stood up and started to testify before the judges, Justice Goldstone fell asleep in front of me. It was an embarrassing moment but I continued talking, realizing that I should not have high hopes," he added. Bedin said the testimony had felt pointless. "One of the judges on the committee had already expressed the very clear opinion that Israel was committing war crimes against the Palestinians," he said. Dr. Mirela Siderer, a resident of Ashkelon, was injured by a Grad missile fired at her by Hamas. She claims that her testimony was completely left out by the commission. In it, she had explained that she was a doctor who often treated Palestinian patients.
Much of the "facts" in report are based on unsubstantiated claims by anti-Israel NGOs. The 575-page Goldstone report is primarily based on NGO statements, publications, and submissions (70 references each for B’Tselem and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and more than 30 for Al-Haq and Human Rights Watch). In its analysis of NGO submissions and testimony, NGO Monitor found numerous false and unsubstantiated allegations. Nevertheless, the Goldstone committee simply copied the NGO biases, flawed methodology, and false claims, rendering the entire report invalid.
Israel's actions in Gaza were certainly legal, and in fact were its moral obligation. The hypocritical marches and protests that follow only demonstrate how the world rejects Israel's right to fight back. In early November, Israel discovered that Hamas had dug a tunnel into Israel and was preparing to kidnap more soldiers. As a result, the IDF carried out an operation which eliminated seven Hamas terrorists. Hamas never respected the ceasefire from the very beginning. When the Hamas-imposed six-month deadline expired in December, Israel hoped an agreement could be reached to extend the cease-fire. Instead, Hamas began firing what would be hundreds of rockets into Israel. The sophisticated rockets smuggled in from Iran had put 1-in-every-8 Israelis in mortal danger, forcing hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the south to have 15 seconds to run to their lives to take shelter before the rocket hit. The Goldstone commission was based on a false premise of equating perpetrators of terror with its victims. During Operation Cast Lead, Israel, a sovereign democratic state, was responding to hundreds of attacks on its citizens and their homes by a terrorist organization.
The world is ready to accept any libelous claim when it comes to Israel. Recently, Sweden's leading newspaper published an article claiming that Israeli soldiers intentionally killed Arab children in order to harvest their organs, a modern reincarnation of the medieval blood libel. This was despite the fact that the writer of the article, Donald Bostrom, acknowledged that "he has no idea whether the accusations are true." Of course, when it comes to slandering Israel, truth need never get in the way. Similarly, the Goldstone report, based on the biased claims of Palestinian sources and NGOs, is short on facts but full of rhetoric.
Article 51 of the United Nations Charter reserves to every nation the right to engage in self-defense against armed attacks. The only nation to whom that doesn't apply, it seems, is to Israel. The world cannot abide by the idea of Jews defending themselves. In 1967, Israel lost the brief amount of goodwill the world afforded to Jews after the Holocaust, precisely because this was the first time in 2000 years when Jews were no longer the victims. This hideous report is only the beginning of a new wave of anti-Israel sentiment, one which exonerates terrorism and its perpetrators and blames the victims. Israel can look to no support in the international community. Maybe this report is actually good, as it lays bare something that all supports of Israel have known all along: the world does not believe that Jews have a right to exist and to fight back to protect their existence.
On the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShana, this teaches us a very important lesson. We have no one to rely on except our Father in Heaven. Israel believed that its withdrawal from Gaza would bring in its wake international support and sympathy. Instead, it brought rockets upon our heads and even more intense hatred against Israel. With a new anti-Israel administration in Washington, Israel's list of friends is growing increasingly shorter. As Rosh HaShana approaches, Israel must rely on itself and turn to G-d for strength to defeat its enemies and fulfill its destiny.
Shanah Tova. May 5770 be a year of blessing, goodness, prosperity, success and the Complete and Final Redemption. May all of Am Yisrael be inscribed in the Book of Life.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
In July 1922, the League of Nations entrusted Great Britain with the Mandate for Palestine. Recognizing "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine," Great Britain was charged with supporting the establishment of a Jewish national homeland in the Land of Israel. Shortly thereafter, the British severed four-fifths of Mandatory Palestine from the Jewish people in order to create a new Arab entity, Transjordan. The Arabs now had one state in eastern Palestine, and the remaining fifth on the west bank of the Jordan would be divided among Arabs and Jews. If the goal of the Arabs had been to have a state, four-fifths of Palestine would have sufficed.
Following WWII, seeking a solution for the refugees of Hitler's Final Solution, the UN established a Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP). The Commission recommended the division of Palestine, with the Jewish majority areas becoming part of a Jewish state, while Arab majority areas would be part of an Arab state. On November 29, 1947, the UN adopted this partition plan, giving Jews a tiny, disconnected piece of land, severed from the holy city of Jerusalem. Despite being unsatisfied with the dimensions of this new state, Jews worldwide rejoiced in the knowledge that for the first time in 2000 years, there would be an independent Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The Arabs, on the other hand, rejected any notion of compromise. The chairman of the Arab Higher Committee said the Arabs would "fight for every inch of their country." Two days later, the holy men of Al-Azhar University in Cairo called on the Muslim world to proclaim a jihad (holy war) against the Jews. Jamal Husseini, the Arab Higher Committee's spokesman, had told the UN prior to the partition vote the Arabs would drench "the soil of our beloved country with the last drop of our blood . . . ." Following the UN vote, the Arabs called a general strike and rioting followed. Immediately after the declaration of the State of Israel, one million Arab soldiers from 5 Arab armies invaded, their intentions quite clear. Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, made clear that this was not a conflict about the territory or land: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades." If the Arabs had wanted a "Palestinian" state in 1948, they would have accepted Partition. Instead, they went to war and were defeated.
From 1948 to 1967, Judea, Samaria and Gaza were under illegal Jordanian and Egyptian control. This would have been a perfect time for the "Palestinians" to fight for their independence, yet not such thing happened, especially since there wasn't even a concept of a "Palestinian" people before the 1960s! Right before the Six Days War, the Arab rhetoric against Israel reached a fever pitch, and again, the aim of the Arab armies was not the creation of a "Palestinian" state. As Nasser told the United Arab Republic National Assembly March 26, 1964: "Israel and the imperialism around us, which confront us, are two separate things. There have been attempts to separate them, in order to break up the problems and present them in an imaginary light as if the problem of Israel is the problem of the refugees, by the solution of which the problem of Palestine will also be solved and no residue of the problem will remain. The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel as it is in the present and in what she represents."
In 2000, at the Camp David Accords, Ehud Barak made the most generous offer any Israeli prime minister ever made to Yasser Arafat. He offered to withdraw from 90 percent of the West Bank and 100 percent of the Gaza Strip. In addition, he agreed to dismantle 63 isolated settlements. In exchange for the 5 percent annexation of the West Bank, Israel would increase the size of the Gaza territory by roughly a third. Israel would also agree to the division of Jerusalem, with east Jerusalem becoming the capital of Palestine, and allow the Palestinians sovereignty over the Temple Mount and Muslim holy sites. At the time, Prince Bandar ibn Sultan, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia, who was present when this offer was made said: “If Arafat does not accept what is available now, it won’t be a tragedy, it will be a crime.” Arafat rejected this most generous offer, presented no counter proposal and instead went home to stir up the Oslo War, popularly known as the Second Intifada. As always, the Arabs presented their goal quite explicitly. "We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. . . . We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem,” Arafat explained. What about peace? “Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations.”
In 2005, Israel decided to completely evacuate its soldiers and citizens from the Gaza Strip. This would give the Palestinians a chance to build a viable society there, on the road to a Palestinian state. Israel presented the Palestinians with the state-of-the-art greenhouses that had made Gush Katif such a successful agricultural enterprise. The Palestinians, instead, destroyed them, as well as desecrated synagogues left behind by the Jewish residents. Rather than work for peace, Hamas, a terrorist organization which aims to destroy Israel, was elected. They used the former Jewish towns as rocket launch sites, using them as bases to attack southern Israeli towns like Sderot and Ashkelon. If the Palestinians had truly wanted a state, they had a golden opportunity to demonstrate this after 2005, when "Israeli occupation" could no longer serve as an excuse in Gaza.
After ending his term as prime minister, Ehud Olmert offered details of his secret "final deal" proposal to Abbas. Olmert claimed to have offered "to make concessions more painful than those offered by Ehud Barak at Camp David.” Olmert offered the eviction of thousands of Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, as well as the redivision of Jerusalem. "There was one point when I put things on the table and offered Abbas something that had never been offered and dealt with the crux of the problem, with the most sensitive issues that touch the most exposed nerves and historical obstacles," Olmert said during conference in Herzliya. "I told him – 'let's sign.' It was half a year ago and I'm still waiting," he said. Of course, no deal was reached.
Much has been written about the supposed Saudi peace proposal of 2002. This plan is "quid, but no quo", to quote Thomas. Israel must surrender Judea and Samaria, expel half a million Jewish residents, and return to its indefensible pre-67 "Auschwitz borders". Israel must redivide Jerusalem, removing hundreds of thousands of Jewish residents from their homes. Israel must also surrender the Golan Heights, liberated from illegal Syrian occupation in a defensive war. Israel must also allow itself to be flooded with millions of Arab refugees who fled during the War of Independence and the Six Day War, making Jews a minority in their own country and effectively marking the end of Israel as a Jewish state. All of these painful compromises all for the Arabs recognizing the simple fact that the State of Israel has existed for 61 years. Of course, there is no reason for most of these Arab states not to be at peace with Israel now, since Israel does not hold the territory of any of them, nor does it pose any threat to them.
The goal of the Arabs has never been "a Palestinian" state. As Arafat explained, it is a Trojan-horse plan to make Israel withdraw to indefensible borders and weaken it, as a first stage to its elimination. This is the main difference between the "extremist" Hamas and the "moderate" Fatah: Fatah still believes in a two-state solution as a means to destroy Israel. Article 12 of the Fatah Charter makes it abundantly clear that they have no interest in compromise with Israel: "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence." The Hamas Charter also negates compromise: "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it... The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! "
Again and again, the Arabs have announced their intentions. A Palestinian state would not change the generations of Arabs raised on a steady diet of hate, the demonization of Jews and anti-semitism displayed in the Islamic media. It would not change the insatiable Arab desire to destroy the State of Israel, but only encourage it, interpreting compromise as weakness. Israel has made the mistake of believing the Arab lies before- let us hope that we learn from history.
Posted by Avi at 1:01 PM
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Kol Dodi Dofek-
The Voice of My Beloved knocks
He knocks and He says:
Return to Me, wayward children!
Return to Me, please.
Do not abandon Me,
Look to My Torah
And remember my goodness.
He pleads and He begs, saying:
If you but open for Me a little
I will open for you a lot.
Will I not pour out my storehouses of blessing for you
If you but return?
I remember the kindness of your youth, He says,
How you followed Me into the wilderness, into a land unsown.
It is a time for comfort, a time for salvation.
Please, My silly, foolish people
Please come back.
My Beloved knocks, and He calls, and He screams,
He tries to awaken me with trials and tribulations,
He tries to arouse me with signs and wonders.
The Glorious Redemption is near!
It is in your hands!
You need only open for Me.
I have not abandoned You,
Though you may have abandoned Me.
I have not replaced My covenant,
Nor broken My promise.
The grass may wither and the flowers may fade
But My word stands forever.
My children, open your eyes and see
All I have done, have I not done for your sake?
I was with you in fire and water,
Through dark and despair.
I held your hand as the tormentors led you.
Do not fear My stubborn sons!
For there is still a hope after you,
And sons shall return to their borders,
If you but open for Me,
If you but let Me in.
Wake up, He desperately cries out,
Take up a signpost and return to your towns.
Put on your vestment of righteousness,
And your crown of glory.
My people, I hide Myself from you in a moment of anger,
And in eternal mercy I will take you back.
My Beloved knocks,
And howls bitterly,
Yet I close my eyes,
Stop my eyes,
I refuse to hear.
May 5770 be the year when we finally hear the Voice of our Beloved knocking.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
One of the most important claims for Israel's defenders, both American Jews and Israelis, is Israel's willingness to compromise for peace. "Israel's greatest desire is peace, and is willing to sacrifice for it", they proudly proclaim, in contrast to the 6 decades of Arab rejectionism. Another essential point cited by supporters of Israel is that Israel is "the only democracy in the Middle-East", after which they go on to list the number of ways in which Israel is similar to the United States.
Israel is certainly the only country in the Middle-East with free elections, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Despite any problems with Israeli democracy, it is infinitely better than Saudi or Iranian theocracy, Egyptian or Syrian dictatorship or the host of other thuggish regimes that rule the Middle-East. However, if this is the cardinal argument in favor of Israel, then Israel advocates are faced with a terrible dilemma: Israel's Jewish and Zionist character are inherently opposed to true, liberal Western-style democracy. Israel is, by definition, a Jewish state, which means that Jews must be the majority of the population. Israel's people, culture, religion, language, holidays and character are thoroughly Jewish. Even if an Arab has equality before the law and the right to vote, he is automatically culturally alienated from a state which belongs to another people. No Arab can sing Hatikvah with pride, beaming as he recites the words "the soul of a Jew yearns". Neither can he identify with a flag which is designed to resemble the Jewish prayer shawl and that features the Star of David, symbol of the Jewish people. He cannot celebrate Yom HaAztmaut, Israel's Independence Day, as this is the day of his defeat at the hands of the Jews. All lovers of Israel must realize that Israel, as long as it is a Jewish state, can never be a perfect democracy in the sense of Canada or the United States. This is not meant to criticize or deligitimize Israel- it is simply the stating of a fact.
Similarly, Israel can never have a complete separation of Synagogue and State, as is in the United States. Whatever role religion should play in the public sphere, most Israelis agree that it is important for Judaism to play a role in the Jewish State. For the concept of a Jewish state to have any significance, Israel must have some sort of Jewish character.
Here we see the fundamental flaws of liberal Israel advocacy. Israel will never be a perfect democracy, nor will it ever be thoroughly American or Western, if it is to be Jewish. In the same vein, Israelis and American Jews present peace as the most important of Israeli goals, as if Israel without peace is useless. Israel's obsessive compulsion to pursue a reckless policy of appeasement and surrender in the name of "peace" is tauted as proof of Israel's supreme righteousness. From Jewish children in Hebrew schools and summer camps, brainwashed by "peace", to liberal American Jews and Leftist Israelis still enamored by Rabin and Oslo, we are constantly reminded that "Israel is all about peace".
Since the earliest beginnings of Jewish re-settlement in Israel, there has been constant conflict with the Arabs. In the 90 years since the Arab pogroms in the 1920s, the bloodshed has been without respite. Despite the initiatives of various US presidencies, the two sides seem too distant and irreconcilable for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The Jews and Arabs have far too many differences in terms of culture, collective past and their respective views for the future for any peace agreement in the near future. This being said, is Israel then to be considered a complete failure?
Peace is an important goal for Israel, but it is not the most important goal. The quest for peace does not give Israel its right to exist, nor does its democratic government or Western leanings make it the morally superior party. After all, one could easily establish a democratic, Western regime on the stolen lands of another nation, as was the case in Canada, the United or India, for example. After appropriating native land, it is only natural for this country to seek peace with the conquered.
What gives Israel the moral upper-hand in the conflict is the fact that the Land of Israel belongs indisputably to the Jewish people. It was in the Land of Israel that the Jewish people arose, built two Commonwealths, and fought courageously before being carried away by first the Babylonians and then the Romans. It was the Land of Israel in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sojourned, in which David fought and Solomon built, in which Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied and called the wayward Jews to repent. It was the Land that, upon remembering its glory, the exiled Jews sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept. It is the Land upon whose agricultural cycle the Jewish calendar and holidays revolve. It is the Land which our Sages taught that the entire Torah rests. Jewish settlement and presence in Israel predates that of the British in Britain, the French in France, or the Romans in Rome. When the Greeks were only beginning to ponder the great philosophical questions, the Jews had already left Egypt, conquered the Land, established Jerusalem as their capital, built the Temple there, split into two kingdoms, been exiled by the Babylonians for 50 years, and returned to rebuild under Ezra and Nehemia.
Even after the vast majorities of Jews were carried into captivity by the Romans, the Land was never bereft of a Jewish presence. The center of Jewish life spread to the Galilee and then to the Golan, and during the ages, pious Jews settled in the holy cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and Tiberias. For the great masses who could not ascend and return home, Israel remained the focal point of their intense longing and desire. Every single year, at the end of every Passover Seder and Yom Kippur fast, every Jew would declare: Next Year in Jerusalem! At every Jewish wedding, a cup is broken and a vow is made: If I forget thee, O Jerusalem... Three times a day, every day, observant Jews turn towards the East and beseech G-d, "may our eyes behold Your return to Zion in mercy". A Jew cannot even eat a cookie without thanking G-d "for the good and spacious land which You gave our ancestors as an inheritance".
To all those who charge Israel with the most vile of crimes, with "occupation, "ethnic cleansing", "theft of land", our answer most not be of saying that Israel wants peace, or that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle-East. The fact that Israel is the United State's greatest ally is irrelevant to this accusation. Our answer must be that of Simon the Maccabee, which he wrote to the Seleucid king Antiochus: "We have neither taken foreign land nor seized foreign property, but only the inheritance of our fathers, which at one time had been unjustly taken by our enemies. Now that we have the opportunity, we are firmly holding the inheritance of our fathers." There is no "Palestinian people", nor was there ever, nor will there ever be. Any student of history is aware of this fact. The relationship of the Jews and their Land is one of love, longing, tearful separation and joyous return. With this we shall answer the haters of Zion.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
1012, Jews expelled from Mainz. 1290, Jews expelled from England. 1306, Jews expelled from France. 1483, Jews expelled from Warsaw, Sicily, Lithuania and Portugal. 1492, all Jews expelled from Spain. 1510, Jews expelled from Brandenburg, Germany. 1569, Pope orders all Jews out of the Papal States. 1593, Jews expelled from Italy and Bavaria. 1941, Jewish refugees expelled from the German Reich to Poland. 1956, Jews expelled from Egypt.
Both Church doctrine and Islamic teachings adopted the theology of the Wandering Jew, that the continuous expulsions of Jews was proof of their debased status and rejection by G-d. Jews were regularly forced out of their homes in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East at the whims of kings, clergymen and rulers. The partial list of expulsions above shows the regularity with which Jews were uprooted and were forced to seek new host countries. This 2000 year period of exile forever came to a close on one historic night in May 1948 when David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the re-establishment of the State of Israel and the promise of immediate citizenship to any Jew who desired.
Never again were Jews to be left without a refuge or a place of safety. As Hitler's dark forces grew, the world began to close its doors to Jewish immigration, leaving the Jews of Europe doomed to the Nazi inferno. "None was too many" was the infamous response of a Canadian official when asked how many Jewish refugees his country would let in. Then suddenly, this homelessness came to an end with the earth-shattering words: "we... hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, to be known as the State of Israel". Finally, the exile had ended. When the Jews of the Arab world were forced out of their homes, they found a country waiting for them with open arms. The Jews of Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, etc. were not condemned to wander or to languish in camps but became full citizens in their own country, the Jewish state.
Incredibly, the very same countries that threw Jews out of their homes, prompting many to make their way to Israel and fight for their right to their own state there, are now leading the way in preparing for the expulsion of Jews from there. Leaving the lands of Europe behind, Jews came to Israel and now the European countries are demanding that Jews leave their rightful homes in Judea and Samaria. 70 years after the cry was 'Jews to Palestine!', the grandchildren of those who screamed this now yell 'Jews out of Palestine!'.
To be able to accomplish this, a clever propaganda campaign was unleashed against the Jews of Judea and Samaria. They were not residents returning home after a long absence, but rather colonists usurping a foreign land. They were not residents but "settlers". In a perversion of history, the lands of the Bible, the historical Jewish homeland, were re-branded as Arab land and to be permanently judenrein. Jew living in Monsey, Toronto or London lived in communities but Jews in Bet El, Ariel or Maale Adumin were in "settlements". Jews building homes on the site of the tents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, on the battlegrounds of King David, or the towns visiting by Isaiah and Jeremiah were "illegal", "outposts". Land that was inhabited by Jews as recently as 1948 and from which they were driven by advancing Arab armies was deemed to be part of the fictional country that never existed, "Palestine".
History has shown that there is no place for Jews anywhere besides the land of their forefathers. The anti-semitic nations of the world, descendants of their wicked ancestors who chased Jews from England, Spain and Eastern Europe, now conspire to uproot Jews from Gush Etzion, Modiin Illit and Hebron. The Islamic world, which stretches from Indonesia to Morocco, must find room for the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and certainly not the tiny State of Israel. It is high time for the world to understand that the Jews of Israel are not leaving, not now, nor ever.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Perusing my local bookstore, I found the shelves replete with anti-Israel books. Besides trashing Israel and its supporters, the basic idea of these books was that the concept of a Jewish state is illegitimate and that Zionism has no place in the modern world. Some even had the chutzpah to suggest that a Jewish state is against Jewish values!
Sadly, it is becoming increasingly commonplace among pseudo-intellectuals and supposedly liberal thinkers to question to right of the State of Israel to exist. Consider the recent conference at Toronto's York University, "Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace", which, packed with anti-Israel speakers, based itself on the premise that Israel must be dismantled as a Jewish state and reconstituted as a bi-national one. In university campuses across the United States, Israel's Jewish character is constantly debated, condemned and defamed, returning us to the infamous 'Zionism = Racism' UN resolution.
Israel is the only country that 61 years after its founding, has its rights right to exist questioned. Similarly, Jews are the only people whose right to statehood and sovereignty is a matter for debate. The incredible irony is that of all the countries in the Western world, Israel is the only one that has the same people living in the same territory, speaking the same language, practicing the same faith, as it did 3000 years ago. No other country can boast anything similar. Long before Spain was Spanish and while Rome was still a collection of villages along the Tiber, Israel was Jewish and Jerusalem its capital and spiritual center. Jewish statehood and self-rule in the Land of Israel is completely natural, something that cannot be said about the other countries in the region. The modern map of the Middle-East was carved up by British and French imperialists after WWI, creating artificial countries such as Jordan (originally 'Transjordan'), Saudi Arabia, or Iraq. No Jordanian people appears in the annals of human history, having been invented when the British first carved up the Land of Israel in 1921. Iraq is simply the result of the British combining three distinct Ottoman provinces and forcing three separate ethnic and religious groups into an unwanted union.
Rather than combatting this dangerous historical revisionism, the Israeli government pursues policies that encourage, validate and exacerbate these beliefs. By dismantling outposts and evicting Jewish families from their hilltop homes in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli government sends the message that Jews are merely interlopers, with no real reason to be in Israel. As a result of Arab and Iranian propaganda, reinforced by President Obama's naivete, millions of Arabs and Muslims believe Israel to simply be the result of European guilt over the Holocaust and that it was simply luck that had the Jews set up a state in Israel rather than Uganda of Upstate New York. The Israeli government is unfortunately too blind to see that the key to peace is more, not less, Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and a recommitment to a Jewish presence there. This would force the Arab rejection of Jewish historical rights and peoplehood, which is the heart of the conflict, to end.
Our right to Maoz Esther and Alon Shvut is the exact same as our right to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. It is time for Israel's leaders to realize that in the eyes of even the "moderate" Arabs, both are illegitimate and that the only proper place for Israel in the Middle-East is in the sea. To combat the anti-Zionist zeitgeist sweeping the United States and Europe, Israel must unequivocally assert that the Land of Israel belongs exclusively to the Jewish people, by right of history, politics, conquest and divine bequeathal. Israel has no need to be ashamed of its Jewish characters. In a world of 22 Arab states, 57 Islamic states and several that define themselves as "Islamic republics", it is the height of hypocrisy to claim that a Jewish state is somehow racist. The charges of racism and apartheid have no grounding in fact but are a tool of Leftist and Islamic propaganda to defame and demonize Israel.
Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. There is no reason for its existence except as the homeland of the Jewish people. Zionism is the natural expression of two thousand years of Jewish longing to return home, to rebuild their country from which they were forcibly removed by Roman centurions and legionnaires. Israel has no need to apologize for this but must stand firm and proud at its incredible accomplishments. The point of Zionism was never really to end anti-Semitism but to be able to tell anti-Semites to bugger off. Israel must tune out the voices of hate and condemnation that echo from the farce that is the UN, from the despots and tyrants of the Islamic and Third-Worlds, from the Loony Left and Extreme Right. The Jewish people have come home, and nothing will change that.