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A Week of Insults
Last uploaded : Wednesday 23rd Jan 2002 at 12:11
Contributed by : The Editor


News This weekend on BBC News, Abdel Bari Atwan of Al Quds newspaper was discussing the destruction by Israel of the Palestinian Radio building, reminding viewers that the structure had been built with ‘money from British taxpayers’ and that Israel had no authority to destroy European property. (That’s an interesting theory: if money from an investor in Cameroon contributed to the construction of the Channel Four building in Horseferry Road, does that mean Cameroon has compensation rights if the British Army is compelled to destroy it if it is believed to be promoting a rebellion?) Responding to a question from the BBC anchorwoman, ‘What gives the Palestinians the authority to send someone to massacre guests at a bat mitzvah?’ Mr Bari Atwan replied, ‘The Israelis do! They assassinate our citizens.’

Now we are hearing that a group of Belgian MPs is demanding that Shimon Peres MK be tried for war crimes for the Cana attack in April, 1996 during Operation Grapes of Wrath.

I would like to invite visitors to this site to provide me with accurate examples of Israel deliberately and with out provocation attacking Arabs. I was in Israel in April, 1996 and had been visiting the beleaguered residents of Northern Israel, who were constantly under attack from Hezbollah. In a month, 500 Katyusha rockets had been launched into Israel; thousands of residents of the area had to be evacuated to the western coastal cities, disrupting their work and school schedules. Children were traumatised and those who chose to stay put in the North had to spend their study time in bomb shelters. When Israel responded to these assaults on its citizenry, what seemed to be a tragedy occurred at Cana. It was believed by many that Hezbollah had deliberately filled the camp with women and children, knowing that Israel would target the camp, known for some time as an enclave of terrorists to which the United Nations had turned a blind eye.

Lest we forget that despite the gargantuan efforts of Peres, Rabin and the Oslo team during the 1990s, Hamas continued to launch cruel attacks on Israeli citizens. Rabin chose not to retaliate, determined that the triumph of Oslo would result in a New Middle East in which Jews and Arabs would live in peace and share technological, agricultural and economic expertise. At that time I was a convert to the peace Movement and was willing to be ‘in denial’ as wave after wave of Hamas terror devastated Israel in the first months of the Peres regime after the Rabin assassination. Indeed, I was furious that Arafat had been prevented from attending Rabin’s funeral, having long ago accepted him as a partner in what he called ‘the peace of the brave,’ not the architect of the death of Leon Klinghoffer. In March 1996 I made two new friends in Tel Aviv and a week later they had been blown up by Hamas.

Is this what Mr Bari Atwan thinks is the way forward? Are we to put Peres on trial and not put Arafat on trial for the Munich Olympic massacre, the Achille Lauro atrocity and the Entebbe incident, not to mention 750 Israelis killed by terror since the advent of Oslo?

Where is the Arab equivalent of The Weizmann Institute? Where is the Palestinian equivalent of ORT (the Jewish relief agency that pours millions each year into helping non-Jew across the Third World)? When are Israel’s neighbours going to behave the way Jews behave around the world – 99% non-violent, caring, generous and willing to live amongst non-Jews just fifty years since non-Jewish Europe tried to annihilate them from the earth? When Mohamed al Fayed decides to honour the ‘Boycott Israeli Goods’ campaign, is he also reflecting on the fact that in his native Egypt the President is there forever and locks up anyone who disagrees with him? (If anyone can name me an Egyptian wine to match the luscious flavour of the latest Yarden I will be happy to buy some.)

Now, this past week, the British magazine ‘The New Statesman’ has added insult to injury by portraying a Star of David crushing a Union Jack on its cover, with the title ‘A Kosher Conspiracy?’ reference is made to a handful of rich Jews whom the magazine claims has been engaging in a conspiracy to nobble the British government. If the Jews of Britain are so all-powerful why has Britain not been at the forefront of the Middle East peace process and regional development since 1948? If the Zionist lobby is so powerful why is it that every major British newspaper save The Telegraph engages in massive, completely over-the-top vitrol against Israel every day of the calendar year? And if this Zionist bloc is so awesome why is it that the only major voice defending Jewish identity is a non-Jew, Lord Black?

‘The New Statesman’ offers several articles that condemn the activities of a few proud Jews who will stand up for their people as vehemently as will any Muslim, Hindu or other ethnic group. Why is this a ‘conspiracy?’ The magazine’s tone is reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Mein Kampf. By referring to Poju Zlabudowicz, whose support for BICOM, the polite PR group offering information about Israel to the public and media, is modest, as ‘Mr Moneybags’ is a slur that would have resulted in the suspension of a journalist in North America. This would be the equivalent of referring to a prominent black person as a ‘Mr Bojangles.’

Last week I attended a conference at the London Inter-Faith Centre. One of the Anglican speakers, Dr Margaret Brearley, said that the anti-Semitic rhetoric unique to Britain comes from a lack of education not just about Jewish history, but about the long and disgraceful history of Britain’s treatment of its Jews. With considerable dismay she pointed out that a populace that does not know that it instigated the very first Blood Libel, the very first genocide and the very first Expulsion against Jews in European history cannot be expected to be temperate – or knowledgeable -- in its present rhetoric
against Jewish aspirations.

In the same week Ha’aretz published a news item in which, for the first time, Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, makes a public acknowledgement of ‘the new anti-Semitism.’ Dr Sacks, not known for rocking the boat, is quoted as saying that Muslims are the archetypal anti-Semites of the new millennium. He goes on to observe that Britain is suffering from a plague of ‘two-track anti-Semitism’ characterised by ‘uninhibited disparagement of Jews’ that has become rampant. Lord Janner is quoted as saying that this wave of anti-Jewish feeling is fuelled by the anti-Israel media who have taken ‘the Arab propaganda line onboard.’ Ha’aretz also notes the alarming rise in attacks on Jewish individuals and institutions in France, where for the first time since the Nazi occupation Jews are cursed on the street.

I would like to propose an unconventional view of things, in light of ‘The New Statesman,’ which, incidentally, I consider a watershed in Christian-Jewish relations. (In other words, it has set us back about fifty years.)

The non-Jewish world has not yet earned the right to condemn Israel. Jews were passive for centuries and paid the price, to the point of near-extinction in 1945. Non-Jews don’t like ‘tough Jews.’ For 2,000 years, according to Dr Margaret Brearley, Christian Europe has been responsible for a relentless and concerted campaign to rid the world of Jews. That we have been given a tiny strip of land the size of Rhode Island or Wales, and have been under siege for fifty-three years from hostile neighbours also intent on our extinction entitles is to defend ourselves. Even the most Left-wing Israelis are now conceding that if Israel were to return to pre-1967 borders, and if all Palestinians who migrated to other lands in 1948 were to return, the leadership of the Palestinians would not be satisfied and would still wish to drive out the Jews. Five years ago I would have howled in despair at such a vision, but the events of the past eighteen months have convinced me that my people must defend themselves and must, regrettably, put a distance between ourselves and the bile-spitting non-Jewish world.

Frankly, I don’t care if Deborah Orr is irked that people accuse her of being an anti-Semite because she is constantly criticising Israel. I am sick of hearing Polly Toynbee, Robert Fisk and other gentiles lambasting my people. Lest they forget that Christian Europe tried to exterminate us a short while ago, and that the Arab nations were more than happy to assist Hitler in any way they could to facilitate the genocide of the Jews in the Middle East and Africa. Adolf Eichmann had meticulously-compiled plans to exterminate the Jews of every nation on earth after the Wannsee Conference. No Christian country was willing to take Jewish refugees from Nazi-overrun countries. Does this vile fact not instil shame in the hearts of the endless legion of British journalists who revel in their lengthy reports on ‘the Zionist conspiracy?’

I did not revel in the sight of Palestinian children being shot, nor do I have a happy heart at the sight of houses being bulldozed in the West Bank. But my Jewish psyche says that once again my people are under siege and that despite our studious, passive and sober past, we have to defend ourselves, and Israel must protect its citizens.

On a small. grass-roots scale, one can support Israel by defying the obscene ‘Boycott Israeli goods’ campaign and buy Israeli goods wherever you may find them.

And finally, may I remind non-Jewish world that the Golan Heights were a wasteland for decades and now, through the hard toil and tears of its Jewish residents, produces prize-winning wines and even boasts a beautiful dolls’ house museum! Likewise, may I remind the non-Jewish world that millions of children around the world – including millions of Muslims --have been immunised for polio because of the genius of two Jews, Drs Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin. Jewish generosity knows no bounds, as can be evidenced by the extraordinary work of ORT around the underdeveloped world, and the despicable tone of ‘The New Statesman’ is a slur against the millions of Jewish people around the world who give, without prejudice, to aid the less fortunate and to bring them out of poverty.

Israel will continue to defend itself. The United States, the country everyone loves to hate at the moment, will continue to support Israel. If booth nations fail and are annihilated, as Osama predicts, the journalists of ‘the New Statesman’ will have a rude awakening in a world without democracy – a world in which one word out of place would be rewarded with summary beheading – or worse.

One final word to the non-Jewish world on the avalanche of European criticism of American treatment of the prisoners in Cuba (the ones who didn’t manage to blow up 150 airliners, nuclear power plans, hospitals or schools with shoe-bombs) : a Biblical saying 'Let him who is without sin amongst you cast the first stone.'


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