Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hasbara Goldstoned


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!"

An Interview with Richard Goldstone

War Crimes!!!!

The world is upside down. B'Tselem defending Israel? Goldstone omitting testimony of a Grad rocket victim?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Evil Settler Speaks

Watch this amazing video of a 94 year old evil Israeli occupying settler, born in Gaza, expelled by the Turks 90 years ago, visiting the Gush Katif museum.

Next Year in Gaza!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Setting the Record Straight on International Law


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

Israel On Trial

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

Does Everybody Really Want Peace?

 Image: A Palestinian man making the traditional Middle-Eastern symbol for peace.

Cal Thomas writes that the failure to understand that the Arabs are more interested in destroying the Jewish state than building a Palestinian one has "been the fundamental flaw in American foreign policy for decades". The American government simply does not understand that the goal of the so-called Palestinians is not to create a 23rd Arab state but rather the elimination of the Jewish state, and the massacre of its people. For those who would dispute this honest assessment of the conflict, a look at the history that is all too often ignored, denied and revised, is in order.

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.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kol Dodi Dofek

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 yells
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

How to Answer the Haters

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.