March 21, 2007

How Arabs have repaid us in spades

The failure of all Israel’s peace initiatives from Oslo to Gaza – along with all the Jewish lives lost or shattered in the wake of these concessions can be blamed on one central fallacy.

That is the expectation that, given the right conditions, the Arabs can become good neighbours, civilised people just like us – committed to peaceful coexistence in the interest of promoting education, welfare and employment as free people.

It is based on this expectation that the Americans and Europeans have lavished huge grants on Arafat and Abbas. And what the world has given in cash, Israel has given in land and trust – by withdrawing from Lebanon and Gaza, and closing checkpoints all over the country even as bomb belts were still being intercepted. Perhaps the most dangerous concession has been to give up the Philadelphi corridor by which control of arms smuggling into newly liberated Gaza has been entrusted to Egypt in what was supposed to be a demilitarised Sinai.

But the undeniable truth is that the Arabs are not like us and never will be like us. The unchanged living standards of the average Gazan family prove beyond doubt that virtually all the financial aid has been siphoned off in fraud or diverted to terror organisations. The concessions of Oslo were repaid with the indiscriminate bombing of our civilians in a merciless intifada. Instead of building homes and schools in liberated South Lebanon, the Arabs built bunkers and missile silos. And in Gaza they replaced our lush farmlands with Kassam missile sites and turned our irrigation channels into new smuggling tunnels through which they captured Gilad Shalit.

Wishful thinking American Jewish philanthropists stomped-up $14,000,000 to save the Katif greenhouses and keep the 3,500 Arab employees in their productive jobs. But Hamas had other plans and the greenhouses were quickly destroyed and looted.

It utterly sickens me to think how quickly that money was raised – and wasted – by American Jews and what miracles could have been performed in the poorest suburbs of Israel with those fourteen million dollars.

So what prompts me to pen these lines today?

As usual, it’s a news report.

This time it’s a statement by Avigdor Lieberman, the ultra-right winger who wants Arabs moved to the other side of the fence etc etc.

It would be hard to think of a more unlikely member of Olmert’s supposedly left-of-center coalition. But this was never about principles or beliefs. It had more to do with personal needs; Olmert needed to stay in power at all costs and Lieberman clearly loves the limelight and perks of office.

Lieberman has been irritated since the appointment of Ghaleb Majadle as the very first Arab minister to serve in the government of Israel. He was put in charge of Science, Culture, and Sports. (However barmy this may seem, one must not forget Kadima’s appointment of another Arab to the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs committee!).

Anyway, today’s news story is about Lieberman protesting that Majadle will not sing the Hatikva. Apparently he does stand up for it but does not sing it. Perhaps he can’t pronounce the words. Perhaps he might even choke on them. Be that as it may, it just seemed to me like some sort of black comedy.

Here is a nation which has paid an incredible price in death and misery on the totally bankrupt notion that Arabs can someday be like us. And someone like Lieberman – whose right wing beliefs must have discredited that notion a thousand times over – expects our first Arab minister to sing the Hatikva like a kibbutznik !

Whether it is in concessions, humanitarian aid or just by filling up our fuel tanks every week, the undeniable truth is that whatever we and the rest of the world have given to the Arabs they have always repaid in spades.

Spades to bury our dead.

In Israel, New York, Washington, Madrid, London, Bali, Buenos Aires, Nairobi, Aden … the list goes on.

March 18, 2007

Antwerp's Passover Plot

A family friend from Belgium stopped by over Purim and I asked him where he would be going for Pesach. For the past several years he has taken the whole family to Israel. I was therefore very surprised when he answered: “Turkey”.

The surprise turned to shock when he told me that a large number of Antwerp families were going to Turkey for Pesach this year. After he left, the surprise that turned to shock, then turned to little less than revulsion at the thought of Jewish kids sitting around a Seder table in the Moslem capital of Europe.

It's bad enough to see Israelis travelling to Egypt for Pesach. But these are mainly secular folk for whom it’s more of a holiday than a holyday. Here we are talking about strictly orthodox families who – for what I must assume is a small saving on a hotel package – are prepared to trade the purity of their eternal capital Jerusalem for the squalor of a Muslim casbah.

What on earth has become of our people who, for 2,000 years have yearned for Jerusalem only to pass it up for a caterer’s discount in Ankara.

I often think of my father gazing out the window of his freezing barrack in Auschwitz and how he and thousands of other inmates must have dreamed and yearned for the warmth and security of Eretz Yisrael.

What if someone told him that 60 years later, Eretz Yisrael would be an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. That it would have the most powerful economy and army in the Middle East, with world-class kosher hotels to cater for all tastes on the three annual festivals. And that it would cost just a few hundred dollars a ticket to fly there any day of the week.

His face would have beamed in wonderment that the struggle in Europe and the slaughter of 6 million of his people would not, after all, have been for nothing.

So what do you think he would say to the Antwerp families today, many of whose grandparents were survivors of the Shoah ?

I wish them a lot of luck when they open the door for Elijah.

It may well be Mohammed that walks in.

And it will serve them right.


FOOTNOTE:

It’s always possible that Turkey represents a refreshing change for Antwerp’s Jews when you consider what is happening in Belgium. This piece in the Washington Times is a real eye-opener.

March 14, 2007

Mike's the Man !

My hero of the day is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who was too busy to meet London's visiting mayor, Ken Livingstone.

Not since Rudy Giuliani returned Saudi Prince Alaweed's $10 million donation to the Twin Tower victims' fund have I enjoyed a New York news story quite as much.

March 09, 2007

Depleting the Uranium Libel


When it comes to bashing Israel, one of the media's biggest zealots is Robert Fiske of the UK's Independent newspaper. A perfect match if there ever was one.


Fiske brought blood libels into the 21st century by writing this piece accusing Israel of using depleted uranium shells in its Lebanon war last summer.

A UN investigation has now debunked this falsehood as you can read here.

When might we expect Fiske and/or the Independent to publish a retraction ... an apology ... or even to report these findings?

Don't hold your breath!
It will take longer to deplete uranium.




March 03, 2007

Happy Purim to All

Haman's wife Zeresh to her husband:
"If Mordechai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him, but will undoubtedly fall before him"

March 01, 2007

Student of Genocide


Here's a great one for the album.

This is Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir with Iran's Ahmadinejad.
Al-Bashir has presided over the genocide of hundreds of thousands in Darfur and the displacement of 2 million in a programme of ethnic cleansing carried out amid rape and torture by his Islamic Janaweed militia.

Ahmadinejad is obviously keen to learn.



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