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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Celebrate Israel at 60 May 8, 2008

By Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks

Read the article here.

Happy 60th birthday, Israel: well done for surviving

By Melanie Philips

Melanie Phillips says that the prosperity and growing cultural confidence of Israel is a fitting riposte to the Western intelligentsia, American meddling and the daily propaganda assault that ignores the Islamization of the Palestinians

What would Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion have said if, on the day that he declared the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, he had known that six decades thence Israel would be encircled by its enemies, hopelessly outnumbered and fighting for its existence? He would surely have said: so what’s new?

Next week, on 8 May, Israel celebrates the 60th anniversary of that declaration. With every decade that it clocks up, people ask the same question: will Israel still be there for the next one? It is indeed astonishing that it has not only survived but is flourishing. Its situation as a permanently embattled nation is unique. On the day after Ben-Gurion declared its independence, six Arab armies invaded and tried to wipe it out. With the current exception of Egypt and Jordan, the Arab and Muslim world has been trying ever since.

Israel is the only country whose creation was approved by the UN; yet it is the only country whose legitimacy is called into question. It is the only country which the world requires to compromise with its Palestinian Arab attackers and accede to their demands, even while they are firing rockets at its schools and houses and blowing up its citizens. It is the only country which continues to provide electricity and basic services to those attackers and routinely treats thousands of Palestinians in its own hospitals, even those who have Israeli blood on their hands. And yet it is the only country which, in the court of public opinion, is condemned for behaving ‘disproportionately’ when it uses targeted military means to defend itself, and is accused of causing the very ‘Nazi’ or ‘apartheid’ atrocities of which it itself is the victim.

At present, the situation looks particularly ominous. Israel is menaced on several fronts by Iran which, racing to develop a nuclear weapon, is threatening a new genocide of the Jews while denying the last one. In Lebanon Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iranian-sponsored army Hezbollah, which is once again armed with thousands of rockets, says the next attack on Israel is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 Iranian-backed Hamas, which is pledged to wipe out Israel and every Jew, has built a well-trained standing army of at least 20,000 men and a huge arsenal of weapons smuggled in from Egypt, and relentlessly attacks Israel with rockets and bombs.

It is widely expected that, once Independence Day is over and President Bush has returned home from his celebratory visit, Israel will finally mount a major incursion into Gaza to deal with Hamas. If it does, Western opinion, which largely ignores Israeli victimization, can be guaranteed to cry ‘atrocity’ once again. And just as before, Hamas will deliberately place women and children in the line of fire to maximize civilian casualties in order further to inflame that opinion.

For Israel finds itself trapped by a pincer movement of military and psychological attack from not only the Arab and Muslim world but also the West. And Britain, whose intelligentsia has swallowed wholesale Arab and Muslim lies, is the Western leader of those baying for Israel’s head. Thanks to the poison spread by the British media, the universities, NGOs and the churches, Israel has been systematically demonized and delegitimized.

Few are aware, for example, how both Hamas and Hezbollah deliberately position both terrorists and weaponry in densely populated civilian areas, using women and children as human shields. While British headlines scream at Israel for causing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, few are aware that Hamas has been stealing fuel supplies intended for Gaza’s population and blowing up the crossing points to provoke Israel into closing them, to escalate the conflict and inflame the world. Even fewer are aware that many of the most inflammatory images from the region are fabricated, since both Hamas and Hezbollah routinely stage ‘atrocities’ or artificially exaggerate incidents using doctored footage — courtesy of British journalists who are threatened with murder or kidnap if they fail to toe the line.

More fundamentally, the obsessional demonization of Israel is based on a false set of beliefs taken straight from Arab propaganda — that as a result of Holocaust guilt, Israel was created when a load of European Jews with no claim to the land were dumped on Palestine, driving out its rightful Arab Muslim inhabitants.

Ben-Gurion would today be surprised to find, for example, that Israel is regarded as illegally occupying the West Bank (and until 2005, Gaza). Along with modern Israel, this was part of the territory of Palestine within which in 1922 the League of Nations gave Britain the task of re-establishing the Jewish national home because of the unique claim by the Jews — the only people for whom it had ever been their nation state, hundreds of years before the Arabs invaded it. In other words, far from being ‘Palestinian land’, the Jews are entitled to claim it under international law, which also gives it the right to hold on to it in self-defense. Yet ‘progressive’ opinion not only denies both law and history but demands (as do the Palestinians) the ethnic cleansing of every last Jewish settler from a putative Palestinian state (just as half Israel’s population was created by Jews driven out of their ancient homes in Arab lands). So much for anti-racism.

The denial and inversion of such facts has singled out Israel for vilification applied to no other country. Scapegoated for crimes of which it is in fact the victim, Israel has become the Jew of the Western world. This is a victory for the Arabs in the new type of war in which they are engaged. Asymmetric warfare, whose principal battlefield is the mind, uses ostensibly powerless people (the Palestinians) who are in fact backed by powerful state actors (Iran). Such an inversion of strong and weak and the systematic use of deception are vital to the principal strategic goal of asymmetric warfare: to confuse and demoralize its victims and suborn world opinion to its cause. Even Israel itself has weakened under this. For it has an intelligentsia which is no longer confident of the nation’s right to its own Jewish identity. This has created a dangerous vacuum. In Israeli universities, revisionist historians have told corrosive lies about their country’s history, portraying it as having been born in sin. In the schools, children have not been taught Jewish history and parrot Arab disinformation instead.

Continue reading page 4, 5, and 6.

Sha'alu Shalom Yerushalayim, Yish'layu ohavayich.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, May they prosper those that love you.