Thursday, October 12, 2023

Israel, That Pesky Little Country



(This article was published in Digital Journal in 2011. Sadly, it is still true today. The title was borrowed from a dismissive UK official's comment at a dinner-table talk.) 

If a green-eyed Martian landed at the United Nation building, he would report back to Mars about the wonderful countries populating Planet Earth. Specifically, his account might describe the block of fifty-six Muslim nations entrusted in making this planet a peaceful habitat for all humans: Lebanon is on the Security Council, Libya on the Human Rights Council, Sudan on the Commission of Human Rights, Egypt and Pakistan on Economic and Social Council, Tunisia and Indonesia on Population Council, and Iran appointed to the Commission on the Status of Women.
            But then, he would report about that little pesky country that causes so much trouble. Although humans on Planet Earth are grouped into hundreds of countries, half of all the United Nation’s resolutions have been condemning that pesky Israel, yet she would not be humbled. Among all its neighbors, she is the only one that permits her citizens to sue their government, her press is free to criticize her, and women are equal under the law. In fact, she is the only country where “honor killing”—the neighbors’ family values—is outlawed.

            Anti-Israel winds have been blowing and gathering force around the globe to the point that it is politically correct to spread misinformation and outright lies. From the academia, to polite society, Liberal circles and the press, it is politically correct to demonize Israel and to apply a multitude of double standards when setting her apart from either civilized nations or her supposed victims, the Palestinians. It is politically correct to replace facts with hate-filled narrative.
            How do you know when criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism? Nathan Sharansky offers the simple 3D test: Double Standards, Demonization, Delegitimization.   

            Double standard: Over 30 hot spots of human misery can be found around the globe. Yet those with bleeding hearts for human suffering focus on one that is very low on this list while ignoring the heinous trafficking of children in Southeast Asia, the mass rape of women in Africa, the murders of civilians under military regimes in South America, and the targeted persecution, expulsion and killing of Christians in Muslim countries.
            Most important, they also ignore the root causes of the Palestinians’ suffering:

  • The Arab League nations refused to accept the partition plan of 1947 and instead declared a war on the nascent Israeli state, creating the Arab refugee problem.
  • After World War II, over ten million European refugees and 750,000 Jews from Arab countries have been settled. Arab nations have steadfastly refused to help or absorb Palestinian refugees, then also numbering 750,000.  
  • Today, Lebanon still denies Palestinians any basic rights, from owning real estate to holding over fifty types of jobs, including profession such as doctors and lawyers. Children of Palestinian refugees are denied public education.
  • Egypt expels them from its midst.  
  • King Hussein of Jordan, whose constituency’s majority is Palestinian, massacred 10,000 of them in Black September—by far more killed than Israel has ever been accountable for, which was in response to attacks on her citizens.
  • For decades, more Palestinians kill one another each year than in any Israeli military action. Their Fatah and the Hamas are arch enemies, and their disputes are being resolved weekly with blood shed.
  • Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were entitled to Israeli citizenship if they married an Israeli citizen, or reunited with their families inside the country. (Israel had to halt this practice when it was proven that many suicide bombers gained an Israeli ID card under the auspice of family reunification.) Not so in Arab countries; most impose severe travel restrictions on Palestinians—often denying them entry under any circumstances.
  • Billions of Euros donated by European countries for Palestinian territories’ development show up either as mansions right in the heart of Gaza or in Swiss banks of the Palestinian elite.
  • The Palestinian Authority has full and exclusive rule over the populated areas of the West Bank, including security. Israeli military is not present inside Palestinian towns.
  • In a Democratic election supervised by former US president Jimmy Carter, citizens of Gaza elected Hamas, a group listed in US-terror list, that now brutally suppresses them.
  • Hamas uses civilians as "human shields,” placing women and children in harm's way—especially in those areas from which they launch rockets into Israel—thus deliberately creating civilian Palestinian casualties.   

Focusing on Israel’s “oppression” as the cause for the suffering of the Palestinians rather than on the Arab countries that actually created the refugee problem and have exploited it ever since—along with the brutal rule of the Palestinians’ own elected ruling party—is nothing more than demagoguery, bigotry and cynicism. Israel merely controls its own borders.  She has only blocked Palestinians’ free entrance since 2001 rise of the intifada violence and subsequent thousands of terror acts against her population. Even today, each year over 180,000 Palestinians are treated in Israeli hospitals. Israel has never blocked the supply of electricity, water, phone services or the movement of food and medical supply trucks into Gaza.
            The moment that the shower of thousands of Hamas rocket attacks upon Israeli towns ceases, Israel will reopen the borders and will share her knowledge and progress with the Palestinians—as she did before.  Prior to the 2001 intifada, the International Monetary Fund reported that per capita income in Gaza and the West Bank was the highest in the Arab world because Palestinian workers were employed in Israel and enjoyed minimum legal pay and other benefits guaranteed by law.
            It is important to note that the Palestinians’ misery is not total and complete. There is no humanitarian crisis as anti-Israel propaganda claims. Photographs shown in the media omit Gaza’s new shopping mall, modern office buildings, markets filled with produce, neighborhoods of villas, and beaches crowded with vacationing families.  

            Demonization: From cartoons to U.N. resolutions, it is the ultimate anti-Semitism to continually compare Israel to Nazism. Zionism means the right of Jewish people for their homeland in the land of Zion. It is anti-Semitism to disparage the word or to use the name Zionist to mean evil.

·         No Israeli military campaign has ever deliberately targeted civilians.

·         Israeli soldiers do not rape Palestinian women.

·         In Haiti after the earthquake, Israel was the first country to set up operating rooms whose goals was not the harvesting of organs.

·         Israel cannot send sharks to the beaches of Egypt as the Egyptian government claimed.

·         Israel is the only country in modern times that has never bombed enemy capitols in retaliation for bombs dropped upon her own civilians.

·         It is demonization to compare Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz.

·         Israel constitutes less than 1 per cent of the land mass of the Middle East, and it is demonization to position her as the cause of all the region’s myriad problems.

·         It is demonization to call Israel an “apartheid” country.

o   Israel has an Arab population of one million (twenty per cent of the population) that are full citizens and do not live as Palestinians under the Palestinian Authority.

o   As citizens of the State of Israel, they are the only Arabs in the Middle East living in democracy with representation in the parliament.

o   Due to medical care and social benefits, these Israeli-Arabs’ life expectancy is the highest and infant mortality the lowest in the Arab world.

o   Arabic is one of two official languages of Israel.

o   Arabs serve in the Knesset, representing their people, are professors in Israel’s universities, and work in the professional fields, especially as doctors and pharmacists.

            Perpetuating lies about the Israel is nothing more than demonizing a democratic country that has shown respect to its citizens of all nationalities and reverence for their religious institutions.

  •             With such double standard and demonizing, the route to delegitimization of Israel is short:
                In November 2010, the UN's cultural body, UNESCO, recognized two ancient Jewish sites, Rachel’s Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—as “Palestinian,” thus severing Jewish history from its people. This farce is a delegitimization of not just Israel as a state, but more so of the Jews and their history. A nation which negotiates away her cradle of history is giving away her future.
                Yet, there are people who consider themselves fair-minded while willing to erase a nation’s history and replace it with myths.
                When the Ottoman Empire came to an end in 1918, forty countries were formed in its collapse. Only one of them, Israel— mandated by The League of Nations as a “homeland for the Jews” and since then truncated to a fraction of its originally mandated size—is being put again into question. On the other hand, Palestinian nationalism was not even a contender in 1918—or any time before 1967. Now, those who call themselves Palestinians—a name that used to indicate the Jews in the land—claim to have lived there all along.  

      Is it really so?
In 1867, Mark Twain described the land he visited as "…dismal scenery …It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land… Palestine is desolate and unlovely…."

  • Muhammad never set foot in Jerusalem or in the Land of Israel.
  • Jerusalem was never a capital of any Arab entity.
  • Jerusalem was not mentioned in the 1964 PLO's Covenant.
  • The “liberation of Palestine” only became a cause after the 1967 war, during which Israel displaced Amman's rule in the West Bank and Cairo's in Gaza.
  • Arabs never established a Palestinian state or advocated one prior to the Six-Day War in 1967.  

And Jerusalem?

The 1900 census listed the city’s population at 46,500; 28,200 Jews, 8,760 Christians, 8,600 Muslims. Muslims were never a majority in Jerusalem, and Jerusalem was never a Muslim holy site. Demanding it as a capital is a late 20th century invention designed to both delegitimize Israel and to anchor Palestinian claim to all of Israel.  
            And finally, the argument of occupation: Israel, so goes popular anti-Israel fallacy, should withdraw from land it occupies illegally. Leaving aside the issue of wars launched by the Arab countries which they lost, thus losing the land to Israel, their “illegal” assertion quotes a distorted U.N. resolution 242.  
       Passed in 1967,  UN Resolution 242 calls for Israel to return "territories" captured during its defensive war of 1967. The words "all" and "the" were proposed by those who advocated a complete return, but the U.S. and Great Britain, which opposed that view, prevailed. More importantly, even partial return of captured territories is conditioned in resolution 242 on "termination of all claims of belligerency" and "acknowledgment of the sovereignty… of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."  
            Resolution 242 does not mention the rights of non-states, such as the Palestinian Authority, Hamas or Hezbollah, the latter two of which do not accept the conditions of the resolution. It is unequivocally wrong for the Security Council retroactively to rewrite Resolution 242, which is the foundation for a two-state solution—Israel and Palestine—forty-four years after it was enacted.
            Being pro-Palestinian does not mean to be anti-Israel. Israel has never objected to the creation of a Palestinian state. It agreed to it in 1947, 56, 73, 93 and in every talk in between and since. Being pro-Palestinian means supporting a free, democratic Palestinian state that does not teach its children to hate and would never use its most vulnerable citizens as human shields.   
            However, rather of accepting the two-state solution, the Palestinian charter that called for the destruction of Israel was never reversed, even after the agreed-upon 1993 Oslo Accord. Instead, several Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas, are forging conceptual and tactical bonds with al-Qaeda.  
            What government around the globe is expected to passively render its population vulnerable to mass-slaughter? Would we, in the United States, sit quietly by as rockets rained down upon American cities from terrorist sanctuaries outside our southern borders?  
            International law is not a suicide pact. Yet that is what the calls for boycott and divestiture are, which makes them anti-Semitic to the core. Interestingly, self-servingly, the people and institutions demanding to punish Israel for defending herself by boycotting her products do not divest themselves from their own computers, cell phones or voice mail that run on Israeli chips. They would not give up on using banking systems that run on Israeli communication technologies, nor do they stop treating their families to medical care for cancer, Alzheimer, or multiple sclerosis due to research done by Israeli scientists and doctors.
            After learning the facts, the green-eyed Martian will report to Mars that as a democracy, Israel thrives on criticism. She has the tools and institutions that permit and support critique and incorporate the lessons into her life—she has one of the strongest supreme court in the world with an impeccable record of remedying social, political, economic and even military ills.

            Criticism of Israel should be comparable, contextual, constructive. It should also give credence to the Israel’s extraordinary progress these past 63 years, (now 75 years) starting from ground zero, being inundated by wars and the subject of scorn by a world tolerant of the murder of Jews—and ready to blame them for their own demise.

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Talia Carner's updated note: A year ago, in September 2022, I travelled to the area around Gaza, and looked over Gaza City. It is not the "open jail" or "concentration camp" that is pushed by propaganda. Here is a photo of city filled with high rises, office buildings, residential neighborhood, and lots of villas. (It is spread far to the right and left of this photo.) It is not as crowded as some other cities, especially in the Arab world, where some cities (like half of Amman in Jordan) don't even have running water.

Gaza City along the Mediterenean

Author Talia Carner’s next novel, THE BOY WITH THE STAR TATTOO will be published by HarperCollins in February 2024.

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The above article was culled from various sources, among them:
Myths and Facts:
Middle East Forum:
The Israel Project:
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
Jewish Virtual Library- Modern History:
Honest Reporting:
World Jewish Congress:
Canadian Institute for Jewish Research: 
Zionist Organization of America: 
Stand With Us:
Anti-Defamation League:
American Jewish Committee:
Middle East and Terrorism:

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