Saturday 13 December 2014

Apologetic No More

Two thousand years of exile from its homeland left numerous effects on the Jewish people.  They  were forced to seek cover and shelter wherever they could, and wherever they would be tolerated.  Anti-Semitism resulted in numerous countries banning Jews from living there and, even in countries where Jews were tolerated, they were frequently banned from living in certain areas, undertaking certain professions and mixing in certain social circles.  This had the impact of creating great resilience and resourcefulness amongst our people, which has certainly contributed to our survival under great hardships.  It  also led to Jews going out of their way to seek acceptance as good upstanding citizens in countries where they have taken shelter over the years.  The attempts by Jews to be accepted as ordinary citizens of their host countries, has seen them become overly eager to be recognised as being as worthy of being accepted as their non-Jewish neighbours.  This, in turn, has given rise to the sense that Jews are somewhat apologetic.  They wish to show themselves to be more patriotic than their fellow compatriots, and also to maintain a low profile in order to avoid attracting unwanted attention or being given the label of "trouble-maker".  Jews who have raised their heads too afar above the parapet were often castigated by their fellow Jews for risking their continued welcome in one host country or another.

The most extreme manifestation of the apologetic Jew was seen during the tumultuous years of the 20th century, particularly in Eastern Europe.  Jews were shipped from pillar to post without any regard for their humanity.  This culminated in the biggest genocide known to mankind, the Shoa.  It was contended by many, that Jews went to the gas chambers like "sheep to the slaughter', an accusation that does great injustice to the massive resistance that was instigated by Jews over the years of the Shoa.  A picture that was widely distributed as representing the plight of the Jews at that time, has also contributed to the view of the apologetic Jew.  The picture, believed to be of young Tsvi Chaim Nussbaum in the Warsaw Ghetto, tells a thousand words.  This was the apologetic nature that many Jews such as Zeev Jabotinsky wished to try eradicate from the Jewish psyche.  Jabotinsky used the example of Joseph Trumpeldor as the new type of Jew for his people to aspire to emulate.

The new type of Jew was born in 1948 with the declaration of independence of the State of Israel, the Jewish state.  With the knowledge that Jews would never again be homeless, there was no longer the need to pander to the host countries in which Jews had lived in fear for so long.  The Jewish army not only defended the safety and security of the Jewish state against the odds, it also protected and defended the rights and existence of Jews wherever they were around the world.  Jewish confidence grew, and the need to be the weak and apologetic Jew was eradicated.

Despite 66 years having passed since this earth-shattering event in the Jewish world, and despite there being clear evidence that the Jewish state has truly given rise to a new type of Jew, we still find evidence of the apologetic Jew in our midst.  Our brave IDF soldiers, true examples to Jews and non-Jews around the world, are the epitome of the new type of Jew.  They volunteer to take on difficult and dangerous tasks to defend our state and our people, they are unafraid to go into battle when called upon to do so, they are as patriotic and proud as any Jew in history, while ensuring that they are humans at all times, even in the heat of battle.  They are everything that Jabotinsky dreamed of, and more.  And yet, this humanity has allowed the old, unpleasant apologetic characteristic to creep back into the psyche of our people.

Never before has an army been built with the strength and determination of the Israeli army.  This army is considered to be one of the strongest in the world, and perhaps even the strongest on a man-for-man basis.  And yet, one of the key characteristics that the army demonstrates, as part of the application of the Jewish values upon which it is built, is also regarded as a key weakness.  The Israeli army has always gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, almost at any price.  It is well documented that the Israeli army has called off important military strikes, and changed battle plans at the last minute, in order to avoid civilian casualties.  The enemy has responded accordingly - by fighting entire wars in civilian clothing using civilian neighbourhoods to fire missiles from, and using civilians as human shields.  All of this is done in the hope that Israel may be dissuaded from taking certain actions, due to its principle of avoiding civilian casualties.  And if civilians become involved in the battle despite Israel's attempts to avoid this, the Palestinians stand ready with their access to the international media and social networks, to advertise that Israel targets innocent civilians.  This has led Israel to adapt its way of engaging in battle, in order to be ready to justify every action that it takes and every attack that it launches.

Instead of using the obvious big picture that shows Palestinians using tactics to draw Israel into a battle involving civilians at every opportunity, Israel has become defensive and, dare I say it, somewhat apologetic.  We see movies from the battleground showing pilots calling off critical attacks at the last minute due to the entry of a civilian to the area.  We see Israel spending millions of dollars in developing defensive systems to shoot down missiles that are fired towards its own civilian population, instead of the easier and cheaper option of simply annihilating the location which is the source of the rocket fire.  And when there is a necessity to attack areas that are known to house civilians, Israel uses personal telephone calls and SMS messages to warn civilians to leave the area.  The fact that the Palestinian leadership forces civilians to remain in these areas despite Israel's warnings, never seems to be taken into serious consideration as a crime against civilians despite Israel having to endure huge criticism for its so-called targeting of civilians.  Instead of being recognised for is efforts to act in a humanitarian way, it seems as though these actions attract more criticism.  In turn, Israel has become increasingly defensive about the way in which it operates.  Instead of being proud of what we have achieved on the battlefield and the humanity that we show, Israel is constantly trying to disprove the accusations that are levelled against it and is always concerned about the prospect of having to defend its accusations at the International Criminal Court.  Entire teams of people are deployed to justify Israel's actions to the world in anticipation of the criticism after the fact.  This would seem to be a very defensive position to take, and perhaps even invites criticism.

Israel is a democracy that allows people to use their seats in the Knesset to plot subversive activities against the security of the state, and gives citizenship and social benefits to the families of people who have carried out terror activities against innocent citizens of the country.  It gives free access to religious sites, even to those who come to cause unrest and are open in their desire to eradicate the Jewish state and the Jews who live in it.  The original concept of the Jewish state was to have a democracy, and to allow others to be welcome to live in it in the way that Jews were denied during the period of exile.  Despite having achieved this and a great deal more, Israel is constantly being accused of being an apartheid state.  Israel is the most criticised country at the United Nations Human Rights Council, and is forced to answer to human rights accusations posed by countries that are not democracies, and that kill hundreds of people each year as part of their policy of capital punishment.  Israel finds itself treading carefully in the international community, almost apologetically, to avoid running the risk of being accused and singled out once again.

The unjustified attempts to make a scapegoat out of Israel are clearly fuelled by anti-Semitism.  The plight of the innocent Palestinians, who suffer due to the policies and actions of their own leadership and not because of Israel, has served to effectively make anti-Semitism politically and socially acceptable.  Left-wing groups around the world have united in support of the downtrodden Palestinians, something that is a worthy cause to support.  The Palestinian leadership, who is to blame for this situation, conveniently deflects the blame onto Israel.  This, in turn, provides an open season for those wishing to make anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic comments and actions politically acceptable and even correct.

I am concerned that Israel's over-sensitivity and apologetic response may well be further enabling those who seek to discredit and destroy her.  I often wonder whether it would not be better for Israel to take a tough, unapologetic stand that shows pride in all her actions, while requiring to be held to the same standards as all others within the international community.  Perhaps this would reduce the level of international attack that she is under.  After all, Israel has every right to feel proud of what she has achieved.  She has been at constant war and under constant attack for the 66 years of her existence.  And yet, she remains concerned about not harming the innocent civilians of her enemies.  This must surely be a first in international warfare.  Let us not forget the bombings carried out over Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to name but a few.  Where were the recriminations for those actions, and the actions at the International Criminal Court?  How would those who criticise Israel have responded to 66 years of constant warfare?  I doubt that any other nation on earth would have acted with the same humanity as Israel has, given the same circumstances.

I believe that the time has come for Israel to change its approach in the international community, and for her to be prepared to stand more firmly behind her actions and behaviours.  By being less apologetic, it is my view that the international community will also respond differently.  Being nervous of the international reaction and showing even the slightest doubt about the justification of the actions simply invites attack and criticism.  I hope that Israelis will continue to be very sensitive about all actions and responses to the threats to her security and existence, and will always behave with humanity.  But Israel, and those who live here, should be apologetic no more.


Adam said...

Oh Anthony you are so wrong! Israel and it's people have much to be apologetic about. The evilness of this people will forever be remembered in history, no matter how its being desperately covered up now. And you will be taken to task for your actions on the DAY by GOD!

Anthony Reich said...


Perhaps you would care to be more specific about the "evilness" of which you speak. I don't recall Israelis ever beheading people in public, or holding hostages in a coffee shop in the middle of city.

What are you referring to?


Adam said...

Beheading people and hostage takings is also an evil for which GOD will pass judgement and punish. The fact is that 99% of Muslims do not condone this. The evilness I'm talking about is how Israel is murdering, ethnic cleansing, decapitating , etc etc etc the people it is occupying. And children and the elderly as well, but that doesnt matter when Israel does it.Just because it is done with a "national army" the IDF, it is deemed acceptable by the people of Israel and a few other countries. Wake up and smell the roses: the IDF is a terrorist organisation which is legitimised because of America and it's excellent propaganda techniques. You will not accept this but I'm sure somewhere deep down in your peoples heart some of you know the truth. But I feel for your people as it's clear to see what happens to those that oppose Israels views.

Anthony Reich said...

I would be interested to know where you get your information from about Israel's evil behaviour?

Adam said...

Fortunately it is becoming common knowledge for all to see. Except for those who don't want to acknowledge it yet. The mass deception is coming to an end!

Anthony Reich said...

As you are unable to bring any specific examples or evidence of your accusations, I understand that your comments are being fueled by misinformation and a personal agenda. It will be interesting to observe which is the true deception.

Anonymous said...

aaron moskowitz said...

the beit hayehudi declared yesterday they dont accept same sex relationships
what about me and my wife shimon
dont we deserve the respect as human beings. Bennet says we cannot love each other, does he know intense love between two men can exist and does. We will be voting against him and his ilk and take the smile off his face.