The Administration, the media, and spokespersons of all kinds are increasingly careful not to offend any minority, ethnic community or lifestyle groups. But there is high season and ever-increasing volume and stridency in the "bashing" of Israel in the print and broadcast media.
What are the facts?
Israel is a very small country, less than half the size of San Bernardino County, California. Its Jewish population is approximately 3.5 million, just about the population of Iowa. Compare that to the 22 Arab states, armed to the teeth, and virtually all of them in a state of war with Israel. They have over 140 million inhabitants and a land area larger than that of the United States. From its founding, Israel had to fight every day for its very survival.
Israel is constantly being hectored and admonished by sanctimonious advisors, who lament Israel's "abuse" of its Arab population. South Africa's Bishop Tutu made the false analogy between the condition of the blacks in South Africa and the status of Arabs in Israel. That is totally unfair. The blacks in South Africa are disenfranchised and politically impotent. The Arabs in Israel have the vote, have every civil right, are members of the Knesset (parliament), and are even members of Israel's diplomatic service. Nelson Mandela physically embraced that arch-terrorist Yassir Arafat and made the gratuitous statement that Zionism is a "unique form of colonialism." What a colossal lie! Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people whose purpose has been for 2,000 years to restore Zion, the ancient land of Israel, to their people. One must marvel at the love affair of the South African black leadership with the Arabs. It is the Arabs who, even today, keep black slaves; it is the Arabs who continue to engage in genocide against blacks in such countries as Chad, the Sudan and Mauritania; it is the Arabs who for years have fueled apartheid by selling millions of barrels of oil to South Africa: It is the Arabs who by their extortionist pricing of oil have brought ruin and famine to many countries of black Africa.
Ex-president Carter, in his recent swing through the Middle East, visited Syria, but did not have one word of unfavorable comment about that aggressor country and its regime. How strange! It is a country whose record of executions, torture, imprisonment, and utter abuse of even the most fundamental human rights is almost unsurpassed. President Carter did not talk about any of that. He talked about "human rights violations" by the Israelis against the stone throwers and Molotov cocktail hurlers in the administered territories. He did not mention that it is only because of Israel's abiding respect for human rights that the "intifada" has been allowed to go on for so long. Any of the Arab rulers would have known how to handle such an uprising "efficiently" had it occurred in their own country.
Disconcertingly, our own Administration is beginning noticeably to "tilt" to the Arab cause. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Western concepts of law, decency and human rights prevail. It is the only country that has free elections, a free press, unrestricted right of movement of its citizens and, of course, unlimited right of dissent. Besides, Israel is the staunchest ally of the United States not just in the Middle East, but in the entire world. It is a priceless defensive asset of our country where, in contrast to NATO or Japan/Korea, not a single American soldier needs to be stationed. How strange that our Administration would be so grimly fixed on imposing a PLO state on Israel and that it questions the legitimacy of Israel's possession of Jerusalem. And how strange that the Administration would constantly wish to strong-arm Israel, oblivious to Israel's constant struggle for survival in a sea of implacable hostility, but at the same time remaining silent about the Arab tyrannies in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and all the others.
Why is so much Israel bashing going on? Why do such obviously decent people as our President, Secretary of State, former president Carter and so many columnists, commentators, pundits, television personalities and "liberals" of all stripes identify with the tyrannical Arab regimes, with governments that have terror, kidnapping, torture, attacks on innocent civilians and assaults on commercial aircraft as their official policy? And why do they oppose and criticize Israel, a country that started from scratch, little more than 40 years so, and which, despite being under constant attack, has built a prosperous nation and a thriving society that surely could be a model for all developing countries? Could the sad answer be that it is a reincarnation of good old-fashioned anti-Semitism, which for almost twenty centuries has been the curse of Western society? No longer tolerated in its cruder manifestations, it now seems to be acceptably sublimated in the bashing of the state of Israel which, deep down inside, so many do not really wish to survive.
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Gerardo Joffe, President