May 24, 2010
Sunday’s Editorial in the Jerusalem Post focused on the deterioration in the Gaza strip and the many signs that the Islamic radicalism is taking over. Hamas is an offshoot of the Moslem Brotherhood. Later, on Sunday night, these same extremists set alight a UN summer school for Gaza kids, emphasising their insistence that dancing, music, fun is not permitted.
This illustrates the UN’s (UNRWA) blindness in supporting the World’s longest-running refugee saga, instead of, as in all other countries and conflicts, working to solve it.
Australia today has expelled an Israeli diplomat as a result of the ongoing investigations surrounding the Israeli assassination of a known terrorist in Dubai recently, and its falsification of passports. Naughty, naughty. More investigations on this subject could result in the closure of half the embassies on this planet. The terrorist himself was found with 5 passports in his belongings.
But my subject today concentrates on the ever-worsening problem of Israel’s image abroad.
Debate. Watched a good film recently: “The Great Debaters”, with Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. It’s a drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championships.
By coincidence, there’s an organisation in Israel called Debate Ltd. This was set up by 2 guys who, in 2001, representing a school in Israel, won the (international) Oxford Union Debating Competition. Debate Ltd. basically teaches Israelis how to debate when they are abroad. They are given knowledge, background and a skill at handling what is becoming a major ‘wall of blind criticism’.
In an article on this subject I read recently, it’s interesting that the first example they mentioned was the reference to the security fence as a wall, disrupting the daily lives of some Palestinians. (It certainly does disrupt their lives, but it is NOT a wall – less than 10% is so constructed to prevent bullets. The rest is a fence, which will remain in place as long as it prevents terrorist/suicide bombers from entering Israel, which is certainly has).
I shall never be a debater in that sense of the word. I do not have the time, the patience, to gather the kind of knowledge that ‘Debate Ltd. requires. I am basically writing what to me is so obvious and what is obviously not obvious to so many others, and I’m writing because I feel the attitude towards Israel is unfair, morally wrong.
Blindness. Some of you will have heard of Elvis Costello. Few will know or are interested in the fact that he just called off a visit to Israel, for ‘the usual reasons’. He felt that by coming to Israel, he will have made a political statement which he wants to avoid, Well, by not coming, he’s made a much more political statement.
David Horowitz is the internationally-respected editor of the Jerusalem Post. He felt it necessary to write his own ‘Letter to Elvis’. I could not find it on the net to copy/paste, so I have scanned it herewith. To read it, you have to print it and ‘stick it together’. I know that few of you will bother with that. So I’ll try a précis…
He missed a chance to see for himself.
He could have appeared to both Israelis and Palestinians. Leonard Cohen offered to just that, but the Palestinians threatened violence if he appeared in Israel, so he cancelled their show.
I quote: “We, here in Israel, as you ought to know, have been battered and bloodied through more than 62 years of relentless Arab attempts at our elimination. We, here in Israel, have been subjected to a series of conventional wars, then years of ruthless terrorism and most recently to missile warfare against our civilians. We, here in Israel, are now facing the threat of destruction by a nuclear Iran. We, here in Israel, are forced uniquely among the nations to defend our very sovereign legitimacy”. And then he continues to clearly show that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is as fair and decent as can be under the circumstances.
“We hope and pray and we press for normal relations with a Palestinian leadership that cannot bear to publicly acknowledge our historic right to live alongside them. This leadership denies and ridicules our millennia of heritage here, and, even today, incites and indoctrinates its youngest children against us”.
It’s a good article, for it summarises most of what needs to be said to ‘ the outsiders’, what I call ‘the naturally ignorant’.
And now? Diana Krall, the terrific Canadian jazz artiste, is scheduled to visit Israel soon. She is not only working with the same agency as Elvis, she is his wife. Will she be a good wife, or a good person? Or perhaps both, and bring her husband with her.
[She DID visit, August 4th – a day after performing in Beirut. A fly on the wall reported on some very interesting conversations…]