Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Alone In Their Sights

Last August, on the occasion of poor Gilad Shalit's 24th birthday, I drew attention to an unconnected piece that Brian Keenan, an Irishman seized in 1986 by Islamic Jihad in Lebanon, happened to have written that very week in a London newspaper regarding his own ordeal.  I wondered whether the kidnapped Israeli soldier found himself in a similar hellish situation.

For Keenan had recalled:
'I was blindfolded and kept in the dark for a large period of my four and a half years’ incarceration in Beirut. I would wake up not knowing whether it was day or night. The darkness was palpable. You could touch it with your fingers. I wondered in that blackness: how do they know I’m alive. How do I know? .... Your self-awareness is swallowed up in the black incubus all around you. You may hear moaning or screaming or swearing, but you are gone. You question your own existence. You have no point of reference without being able to see another’s face.
I had no contact with the outside world.  The only sound I heard was the call to prayer.  If someone is communicating with you, the confinement seems less.  At least for a while.  Once the reality hits - that liberation might not come - strange things happen inside the body, brain, and mind.  When you are trapped, or in captivity, "mind time" is totally different from ordinary time.  It is out of time.  It has no structure.  That is the struggle.  Strategies to "kill time", which I often tried, are absurd and don't work.'
So I was surprised and disconcerted to read, in journalist Kevin Myers's article on Friday in the Irish Independent, that during a discussion on the Middle East at a recent book festival in the Emerald Isle Mr Keenan had joined the rest of the panel (all except Myers) in putting the boot into Israel.

Wrote Myers, an English-born Irish Catholic critical of left-liberal excesses:
"Not merely was I the only pro-Israeli person in the panel of four, but the chairwoman of the session, [journalist and broadcaster] Olivia O'Leary, also felt obliged to throw in her three-ha'pence worth.
Israeli settlers on the West Bank were on stolen land, she sniffed. Palestinians in their refugee camps had title deeds to the ancient properties. The UN had repeatedly condemned Israel. Brian Keenan, who was held hostage by Arab terrorists for four years, then detailed Israeli human-rights abuses, to loud cheers.
Israel - and its sole defender on the panel ... were then roundly attacked by members of the audience. But what was most striking about the audience's contributions was the raw emotion: they seemed to loathe Israel."
In the latest flotilla is the Motor Vessel Saoirse ("Freedom"), from Ireland:

Ponders Mr Myers, with good reason:
'What is it about Israel that prompts such a widespread departure from common sense, reason and moral reality? As another insane flotilla prepares to butt across the Mediterranean bringing "aid" to the "beleaguered" people of Gaza, in its midst travelling the MV Saoirse, does it never occur to all the hysterical anti-Israeli activists in Ireland that this is like worrying about the steaks being burnt on the barbecue, as a forest fire sweeps towards your back garden?....
But how can anyone possibly think that Gaza is the primary centre of injustice in the Middle East? According to Mathilde Redmatn, deputy director of the International Red Cross in Gaza, there is in fact no humanitarian crisis there at all. But by God, there is one in Syria, where possibly thousands have died in the past month.
However, I notice that none of the Irish do-gooders are sending an aid-ship to Latakia. Why? Is it because they know that the Syrians do not deal with dissenting vessels by lads with truncheons abseiling down from helicopters, but with belt-fed machine guns, right from the start?
What about a humanitarian ship to Libya? Surely no-one on the MV Saoirse could possible maintain that life under Gaddafi qualified it as a civilised state. Not merely did it murder opponents by the bucketload at home and abroad, it kept the IRA campaign going for 20 years, and it also - a minor point, this, I know - brought down the Pan Am flight at Lockerbie. Yet no Irish boat to Libya. Only the other way round.
And then there's Iraq. Throughout the decades of Saddam Hussein, whose regime caused the deaths of well over a million people, there wasn't a breath of liberal protest against him. Gassing the Kurds? Not a whimper. Invading Kuwait? Not one single angry placard-bearing European liberal outside an Iraqi embassy.
Destroying the drainage systems of the Marsh Arabs? Silence. Manipulating UN oil-for-food programme so that thousands died? Nothing.
Next, Saudi Arabia, whose revolting practices cannot be called medieval without doing a grave injustice to the Middle Ages. It is led by savages who have studiously turned their backs on knowledge - even as they sip their Krug and their Bollinger in their €100m apartments in Belgravia. They behead and behand, they torture and they mutilate, and they have spent billions on their foul madrasahs teaching young Muslims right across the world to hate us kaffirs. But what demonstrations are there outside Saudi embassies? What flotillas to defend the human rights of the millions of immigrant serfs, who toil without any rights in Saudi homes and in the oil industry?
There isn't a single Arab country, not one, with the constitutional protection that Israel confers on all its citizens, regardless of religion or ethnicity or sexual orientation....
The last 'aid flotilla' to Gaza carried a large number of Islamists who wanted to provoke: and aided by some quite astounding Israeli stupidity, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
Now another convoy is under way, and again with an utterly disingenuous plan to bring "assistance" to the "beleaguered Gazans", some of who, funnily enough, can now cross into Egypt any time they like, and buy their explosives and their Kalashnikovs in the local arms-bazaar.
And as for human-rights abuses: why, nothing that Israel has done in the 63 years of its existence can possibly compare with the mass-murders of Fatah members by Hamas firing-squads over the past five years.
The colossal western intellectual dissonance between evidence and perception on the subject of Israel at this point in history can perhaps only be explained by anthropologists.
This dissonance is perhaps at its most acute in Ireland, where no empirical proof seems capable of changing people's minds. Israel, just about the only country in the entire region where Arabs are not rising up against their rulers, is also the only country that the Irish chattering classes unite in condemning. Rather pathetic, really.' 
Sadly and disturbingly, I doubt whether the IDF's Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Leibovich will succeed in convincing such fanatics of the error of their ways:

1 comment:

  1. This is good too:


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