Monday 30 November 2015

Double Entendre

Two weeks have now passed since the terror attacks were carried out in Paris.  They outraged people in Israel, as they did people in France and around the world.  Somehow, however, the people in Israel understand these attacks a little better and a little more intimately than many others around the world can do.  The personal experience that Israelis have of dealing with attacks of this type on their doorstep serves, not only to allow Israelis to have much greater empathy with the people of Paris, it also serves to bring focus to the real cause of international terror activities.

Parisians are wondering why France and Paris were chosen for the attacks.  The people of Brussels are wondering why their city has been in lock-down for days while the security services try to defuse a cell of terrorists who had plans to bring death and destruction in their neighbourhoods.  The people of Hanover in Germany are wondering why it was their city and their football stadium that was chosen for an attack that would have been carried out, had the security services not intervened and cancelled the game at the last minute.  What purpose do these attacks serve?  What objectives do the terrorists hope to achieve by carrying them out?  Some of the left-wing French press has been quoted as saying that they cannot understand what purpose the attacks in Paris had.  They claim that they could have understood if the attacks had been carried out against Israel, and against the Jews.  After all, they deserve to be the targets of such attacks!  So why should the rest of the world have to suffer as well?  The fact that one of the perpetrators of the attacks in Paris is quoted as saying that further attacks were planned against Jews and Jewish targets (again), has not served to help this rhetoric.  Perhaps Paris would be a better and safer city without the Jews?

Many Israelis have this notion that the rest of the world may feel a little more empathy and understanding towards the Jewish state, if they are subjected to the same terror and violence that Israel has been forced to endure for many years.  It is hoped that the international community may now be more inclined to support Israel's efforts in fighting the onslaught of terror, rather than continuing to preach to Israel about human rights violations committed while the Jewish state is forced to fight a constant struggle for survival.  Perhaps, if they experience terrorists shooting innocent civilians in restaurants or blowing up buses, Israel and Israelis will be viewed in a different light.  Maybe then they will understand what our young soldiers and innocent civilians are forced to confront on a daily basis in the fight against terrorists. Maybe our army may be given a little more credit and leverage to fight this battle.

Alas, this is not the situation at all.  Instead of being understood better, more blame is being laid at Israel’s doorstep for the terror attacks being committed elsewhere around the world.  There is the belief that, if the Palestinian issue was resolved, peace would break out in the world and there would be no further terror attacks committed.   There are those who believe that the terror wave that the world is experiencing now, is all caused by the lack of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  What is more, the blame for the lack of peace is largely being placed on Israel.  The argument follows that, if Israel was more “reasonable” in dealing with the Palestinians, the problem of world terror would magically be eradicated.

Try as we might, it is tough to convince believers of this argument that it is fatally flawed.  How can we persuade them that Israel is not the source of world terror, but rather its key target?  The fact that terrorism in its current form arose only at the time of the establishment of the Jewish state convinces them that Israel is the source of the problem rather than the victim.  It is difficult for them to comprehend that it is precisely because of the establishment of Israel, that terrorism arose to try to eradicate her.  For some reason, these people also cannot see that radical Islam promotes terrorism around the world today to eradicate the “infidels”, whether or not Israel exists.  In reality, Israel is the greatest terror target, but not the only one.  All non-Muslims and all inhabitants of the free world are targets, and are at constant risk of attack.  How did the world reach a situation where the greatest victim of international terror, is the one being blamed as the cause of it?
Hatred against the Jews is certainly not a new concept.  There can be little doubt that the current view that Israel is the cause of much of the international terror being experienced, is based upon age-old anti-Semitism.  This has recently undergone a face-lift in the form of anti-Israel sentiment.  It is politically acceptable to be anti-Israel, and this provides a seemingly justifiable outlet for the anti-Semitic feelings that are otherwise much less acceptable.  When some of the world’s most influential leaders criticise Israel for disproportionate responses to attempts to annihilate her and her people, and when Israeli leaders are being accused of human rights atrocities by the most recognised international organisations in the world in their response to terrorism, it comes as no surprise that those with anti-Semitic sentiments are spurred on in their views.  When fighter planes from numerous countries have free reign to drop their bombs on targets in Syria and elsewhere despite “collateral damage”, while each bomb that Israel drops on Gaza is examined with a microscope, the anti-Jewish and the anti-Israel lobby is empowered.

There can be no doubt that criticism of Israel’s fight against Islamic terror is misplaced, wholly unjustified and smacks of ulterior motives.  Any country that fights a war will undoubtedly make mistakes – this is part and parcel of the territory.  This applies even more so to a country that has been forced to fight 68 years of wars.  This does not mean, however, that Israel warrants the hatred and boycotts that have been aimed against her.  Instead, those who are truly concerned about international atrocities and human rights violations should seek more carefully as to who is the real cause of these.  It is not Israel, nor her people.   Instead, Israel seeks only the right to live in peace to protect and to promote the best interests of her citizens and Jews around the world.  She has no desire or intention to harm others, especially not those who give her the respect and the right to take her fair place amongst the family of nations. 

The fact that terror attacks are taking place around the world may have enraged Israelis, but it has not shocked them.  Those Israelis who had hoped that the Paris attacks may change the world’s views of Israel’s terror-fighting activities, should not feel surprised or disappointed.  If views in the international community were not changed by the 9/11 attacks in the USA or by those in Madrid, London, Paris and elsewhere, it seems that there is nothing that can change these views.  Israel’s critics would be better off joining Israel’s efforts in the fights against international terrorism inspired by Islamic fundamentalism, as it is here to stay.  It requires a bold and coordinated response, as failure to respond in this way will surely result in death and destruction around the world.

In spite of ongoing international opposition, Israel will not be frightened off from the fight against terrorism and attempts to destroy her.  She will support those in Paris, Hanover, Brussels and elsewhere in their attempts to secure their citizens in the common fight, whether they choose to understand and acknowledge the link, or not.  The greatest irony will come when those using international terror as a pretext to display their blatant anti-Semitism, will find themselves forced to join with Israel and the Jews in a fight for their own survival in their lands.

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