With the dramatic growth of the Islamic population in Europe, it is no surprise that European-bred antisemitism has rocketed to new heights reminiscent of the 1930s. What most people fail to recognize is that the chauvinistic phenomenon is not limited to Muslims. It is promoted by leftist politicians who seek votes among the rapidly swelling Muslim minority as well as devout Christians looking for a scape goat when rationalizing their own failures. In Poland, for example, not only a majority of Poles believe that there is a Jewish conspiracy to control the banking system and the world media, but a notable number accept as true the anti-Semitic propaganda claiming that Israel treats the Palestinians just as Hitler treated the Jews of Europe, that Jews were responsible for the death of Christ, and they use Christian blood for ritual purposes.
The fact is that present and past antisemitism is one more reason why a Jewish state, a religion and an ethnicity-centered state is befitting the 21th century, even though every western style democracy — and Israel belongs in this group — rejects the notion of a Christian state, an Aryan state or a white state.
Jews, unlike Catholics, are bound by their ethnicity and heritage over and above their religion. They have been rejected, discriminated against, robbed, demonized, raped and massacred. Too many in the old and the modern world have placed Jews at the top of the “most-hated” list. The world forced Jews into ghettos, death camps, and other unspeakable horrors in which the only logical way out was — and still is — to create their own Jewish state where they could be free to be Jewish without the fear of persecution. Israel, the Jewish state, is the only nation where the head of state is Jewish; the government is Jewish, the Supreme Court is mostly Jewish, the military chief of staff is Jewish and nobody blames it on a Jewish conspiracy.
If Israel is not categorized as a Jewish state, this would render Arab claims to a Muslim Palestine that extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River as being totally justified. As such, Jewish immigrants to Israel would be rightfully regarded as the new Crusaders, the Palestinian right of return would be unequivocal and Helen Thomas would most certainly be deemed a prophet.
Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza see Jews as foreign invaders who do not belong there. Had it been up to the Arabs, Jews would have been forbidden from settling in all of Palestine – including Israel proper. They protest when Jews build homes in Jerusalem, the ancient Jewish capital — with the claim that “it’s Palestinian land.” They define their dream of a future state not as being a Muslim or a Christian state, rather they characterize it as a non-Jewish state in which only Jews will be prohibited from residing. Over and over they reinforce the notion that the world is divided into two types of human beings, Jews and non-Jews.
It’s true that more than 20% of Israeli citizens are not Jewish. But that number, albeit not a small one, is nonetheless marginal. The state of Israel assumes a definitive Jewish character. The government is run by Jews as is the military. The social atmosphere, the media, the national holidays, and the democratic institutions are all immersed in Jewish tradition, values, and moral fiber.
Israel was a Jewish state since the times of Joshua. The Roman Empire destroyed it, renamed it, killed millions and enslaved the rest of its Jewish residents. The empire tried and failed to wipe the Jewish state off the map. It took 2,000 years for Jews to return and reclaim their ancestors’ land, and no one can wipe the Jewish state off the map simply by denying the reality of what Israel is all about.
Jews have a home. The only place in the world where they are not deemed foreigners, a minority, or special.
Nonetheless, character, demographic statistics and historical rights are all moot points: The real motive behind Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence on Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is that such acknowledgment is the sole element that has a chance of generating an end to the conflict. As long as the Palestinians regard Israel as another Palestinian state, one that happens to have Jewish residents, their dream of a Greater Palestine will not be extinguished and the volcano will remain active – ready to erupt at the first opportunity.
Following Eduard Snowden’s revelations regarding scope and methodology of the NSA domestic and international spying the discussion evolved around the proper red lines, limits, oversight and constraints that must, should or should not be imposed on those responsible for keeping us safe and free.
There is no question that the NSA’s and potentially other world intelligence agencies’ data mining of phone call records, email, records of web surfing, credit card and other financial transactions comprise a massive invasion of privacy. It is also true that unadvertised benefits of these spying measures hinder terror attacks on innocent civilians by unearthing criminal and terrorist plots before they have a chance to transpire.
When traveling by air, people subject themselves to burdensome security screening but very few, if any, complain about the obvious invasion of privacy. Normally, people are unhappy about the long lines and the extra time they have to spend in the airport before boarding their flight, but in the post 9/11 era almost everyone accepts the spent time as a welcome inconvenience. Why are most travelers willing to trade off privacy for extra security in this case?
Israel is a security-conscious country. Terrorism comprises a high probability threat. Most people in the Jewish state have either witnessed the consequences of a terror attack or know at least one person who had fallen victim to it. The Israeli internal security agency, Shabak, has been very successful in breaking off murderous plots before they come to pass. Shabak has been effective because of its sophisticated diversified methods of snooping, spying, nosing around and undercover work. Shabak’s massive breach of privacy takes little push back from most Israelis, bar those who seek ways for harming the Jewish state. Why do we see such a statistical difference between Israel and the U.S. when it comes to the question of security versus privacy?
The answer to the question of where the proper balance is depends on whom you ask; it hinges upon the particular responder’s perceived proximity to risk associated with either criminal and terror activities on the one hand and private or less than kosher dealings on the other hand.
People let airport security invade a piece of their privacy because they are the ones whose life may be at risk without it. It’s close and personal.
Most Israelis understand that freedom without security is a fake freedom. Security guaranties freedom of movement. It is a prerequisite for enjoying a meal at a restaurant with no fear of getting blown up, It guards against the possibility that a shopping experience would end up in a trip to the morgue. Terrorism risk in Israel is close and personal. The sense that ‘’next time it could be me’’ is real. That is why security takes such a high priority and privacy concerns move way down the priority list.
The U.S. has experienced devastating terror with massive casualties on 9/11. But the US is a big country. New York is as far from Nebraska, Iowa or Arizona as Israel is from Romania or Italy. What happens in a faraway place inside the US may not carry the same anxiety as if it took place in one’s backyard. It may draw sympathy, anger, a burst of patriotism, calls for revenge, even criticism of security authorities. But it may not produce the same feelings of vulnerability as it would in Israel. It’s not as personal in the U.S. as it is in a small country where everyone knows of almost everyone.
I always find it interesting that rich and famous people whose closest relatives fall victim to a particular disease tend to found a non-profit charity with the objective of eliminating and eradicating that particular illness. I also experience thought-provoking brainwaves when I hear a conservative gay-bashing politician eating back his hate-filled arguments once he learns that his son or daughter has come out of the closet.
When an issue becomes personal, people tend to amend their position accordingly by elevating its priority and change their attitude in support of their own agenda. They do so even when their newer stance is 180 degrees clear of where they were when the matter was less personal and more academic.
So next time, when you kvetch about the NSA’s data mining activity and their invasion of your privacy don’t be selfish and do not remove yourself from the scene of the crime. Imagine that these spying activities have just foiled a terrorist conspiracy to detonate a car bomb next to your bedroom window while you were dreaming about living peacefully in your free country. Envision being right there, right where the bomb could have gone off; imagine being victimized by a terror activity.
If you still believe that the NSA has been overstepping its charter then it is obvious. You must have failed the “imagining” exercise I have suggested above.
Unesco’s recent cancellation of a Jewish exhibit entitled "People, Book, Land - The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel", following Arab pressure, is the latest confirmation that the road to peace between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews is filled with land mines, some of which are so deep, it may take more than a generation to scoop them out - if at all.
The core of the conflict is Muslims’ persistent efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State by denying Jewish historical existence in Israel, including Judea and Samaria, by rejecting well established facts, and by fighting any archeological attempt to unearth historical evidence linking Jewish life to the holy land.
Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State is merely a derivative of their fabricated history, designed to establish their rights to the land while denying Israel’s right to exist at the same time.
Muslims propensity to rewrite history began with the prophet Muhammad. The Quran makes the claim that the biblical Abraham, the first patriarch ancestor of the Jewish people and the originator of the Jewish religion, was a Muslim, irrespective of the fact that he lived some 2600 years before Muhammad conceived of the Islamic religion.
The biblical account of how God tested Abraham, commanding him to have his and his wife Sara’s only son, Isaac, sacrificed, before stopping him at the most critical moment, was revised in the Quran. This time, Abraham was about to sacrifice Ismail, the alleged ancestor of all Arabs, his son from Hajar, Sara’s servant, who was never mentioned by name in the Quran, leading the reader to infer that the nameless mother was Abraham’s wife.
The Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha, commemorates this altered biblical tale. What’s more, The Muslim version of the story, once again, alters the biblical account to correspond to an Islamic agenda. It claims that Ismail and his mother were able to quench their thirst at the well of Zamzam, near Mecca (rather than near Beer Sheba), nearly 1000 miles of desert away from their starting point at Beer Sheba (a town in Israel).
Muslims and PA leaders over and again label Moses and Jesus as Palestinian Muslims who practiced and preached Islam some 2000 and 600 years, respectively, before Islam came into being.
Altered biblical accounts conceived to fit an Islamic framework are not a major cause of concern because most non-Muslims are either unaware of them, refrain from challenging religious texts, or ignore and dismiss them due to their absurdity. Still, these Islamic falsehoods offer key characterizations of a culture filled with made-up historical fabrications intended to serve the purpose of the story-tellers.
Fabrications, but Muslim believers and their children are brain-washed to deny any Jewish roots to “the land of the biblical Muslim ancestors”.
This denial of truth, this revision of history, is meant to take a more believable direction when Palestinian Arabs claim (over and over on PA TV) to be descendants of the Biblical Canaanites, notwithstanding the fact that Arabs first arrived in Israel with the Muslim invasion in 637 C.E. and the Canaanites had long dispersed and disappeared by then. The “Canaanite- Palestinians,” they claim, “have been in Palestine for the past 10,000 years.”
And in the same breath, they add, “Jews have no historical rights in the region,” and in schoolbooks: “Zionism is an imperialist colonial implant conspired by the Europeans to get rid of their Jews and steal the “natural resources” of the Middle East.”
Israeli Arabs are among those whose creativity pertaining to historical misrepresentations does not fall behind their brothers in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In his latest statement, Arab Israeli MK, Ibrahim Sarsour (Ra’am Ta’al), has claimed that there was proof in the Quran that there is no Jewish connection to Judea, Samaria and Temple Mount.
He added that the Quran “proves without a doubt” that Abraham was a “Muslim” and that Isaac and Jacob were “hanifs” (the Islamic term for pre-Quranic figures who “submitted” to Allah.)
PM Benjamin Netanyahu conditioned peace with the Palestinian Arabs on their recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. But this condition may only be satisfied once the Arabs accept real history as the truth rather than their falsified Islamic adaptation.
I find it difficult to believe that Muslim Palestinian Arabs will reject their invented culture and history. I find it difficult to believe that Muslims can accept the fact that Israel was a Jewish state with a rich Jewish history and culture even before the Islamic invasion of the Promised Land. I find it difficult to believe that the Palestinian Arabs will acknowledge the fact that Israel is a Jewish state, and will always be a Jewish state.
If the Arab states find an exhibition, entitled "People, Book, Land - The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel" deeply disturbing, they are telling the world that in their view: “Jews do not belong in Palestine; they never did, and they never will.”