Albion is not Perfidious against us / Zvi Gill

Israel should do more to be reflected properly in the world mirror

Israel is not an isolated country any more although it is surrounded by enemies in the north and to a certain extent in the center. Presently it is not only America that is backing us since independence, but European countries as well. The fact that they are critical of some issues of our policy, regarding the dispute with the Palestinians and the issue of the occupied territories, does not mean that they turned against us.

This applies to Her Majesties' Government in London regarding the possible ruling by a local court to detain the head of our opposition in parliament MP Tzipi Livni who served as foreign minister at the time of the Gaza Operation. Well, we ourselves have sometimes violated domestic and international laws.

Initiating the "twister" against England we got carried away, with the gracious help of the Media. We should not forget that Britain gave us the Balfour declaration, was the bastion against Hitler and his hoards, and gave birth to the voice of the people- the Parliament. And yes, Britain who ruled Palestine as a mandatory power taught us a lesson or two on Public Administration, and did not after all rule by sheer brutality as the French did in North Africa.

Even Menachem Begin the major militant anti- British leader of the underground movement- Etzel – during the British Rule in Palestine- did not hide his admiration to the british form of government and its strict adherence to the law. Suddenly this England becomes an adversary.

Were it not a serious matter it would have sounded joke that (according to Niva Lanir Haaretz 24.12.2009 ) the –M.P-Kneset member, Ms Tirosh, suggested a boycott against British goods. True, the British Government should have acted more swiftly not only disputing this outrageous act but doing all it can to avoid the misuse of its legal system against leaders of a friendly state. However British foreign secretary David Milligan admitted the British Government itself was astonished by the act and will do its utmost to solve the issue and prevent its reoccurrence. And yet the atmosphere was tense .In a later development the British Attorney general Baroness Patricia J .Scotland came over ( 4.1.2010) in order to solve the issue.

Usually our protests are of a nature that I would call "A chuck full of protests". Why has not Britain objected to the Goldstone Committee findings? Why has the government ruled that the products of west bank settlements be marked? etc. While the protest against the Livni issue was justified, the "over kill" was wrong. Were domestic issues, such as trying to usurp the "kadima" party leader Ms Livni, behind the Prime Minister respond to the act of the British Court against her?

Who is "perfidious"? British Albion"?


Albion was the name the Greeks called the British islands during the 5th century BCE. The French turned it into a hideous image namely "treacherous England", as if their imperial behavior was altruistic. Some of its stereotypes are not baseless at least in recent times.

Marcus Turner a journalist and researcher tried to look into some of the typical prejudices against Britain and found most of them without foundation. However in the political sphere Britain did betray one of its closest allies before and during world war 2- Poland. Listening to a BBC series on the history of the war as it truly was unveiled Sir Winston Churchill, the British leader, was quoted as promising General Andres the commander of the Polish forces that fought with allies as saying: Don't worry General. We entered the war because of you and we shall never forsake you." Yet Poland was betrayed, although in fact the Russians were the ones which were there already.

The big blunder according to Termer was Czechoslovakia. President Roosevelt Believing Stalin's promise that the Soviet Union won't impose communism on Prague, President Roosevelt and the Allied forces did not reach Czechoslovakia, first. This, Termer considered a treachery.

If indeed we have our reservations regarding our relations with Europe in general and Britain in particular, and indeed some of them are not baseless, then we recognize our "contribution" to the situation. For example, our position in the aftermath of the Gaza Operation, an Operation which in my eyes was fully justified and successful, but failed miserably in the field of information and persuasion. These have always been a vital part of any political and military campaign. The self congratulation of the IDF spokesman that the media was strictly limited in covering the campaign inside Gaza is a Pyrrhic Victory (The phrase is named after King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War. After the latter battle, Plutarch relates in a report by Dionysius :).
If the fighting would have been televised it could be proved that the Hamas was using schools, community centers, Mosques, and hospitals as a sites for shelling that would have certainly played a positive role in world public opinion.
The same should be said about the official boycott against the Goldstone Committee .The members of the this international appointed body could have seen the results of 7 years of harassment and destruction. They could have learned the results:causing the population to seek asylum in other towns, people killed and wounded, factories and stores shut down and other horrendous results. These appalling acts of terror were committed on the international border after Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip.
There were some voices criticizing this policy but not strong enough to change it. Now, as usual in Israeli politics- shooting first and asking questions next- there are undertones even in official political circles that we should have cooperated with the committee. .But the blunder was done and as I have pointed out in the past there is a sort of "mutual latent game" between us and the Palestinians. Each one benefits from the follies of the other. We did not initiate a concrete positive step to move ahead. The Palestinians would have been fools not to jump on the caravan of the "goldstone Committee". And they are not stupid.
So when we are crying - HAMAS- WOLF – people are skeptical. After all, the fact remains that we are sittings on Arab lands and not they on ours. True, the Arabs behave as in the famous saying of Aba Even "not missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity", but that is a clever sting. This is a situation hard to explain abroad, and we are bad propagandists. The Hamas in Gaza and Hisbulla in Lebanon are doing a much better job then we are. As we see it now in Pakistan and Afghanistan- where NATO forces are involved- and we have seen it in Serbia, one can not fight a war with Laser beams pinpointing to fighting men alone.
I am a humanist, how otherwise could it be as I am a holocaust survivor, but as a citizen of this Jewish country I can not and will apologize for defending myself within the borders of my state. But I have to state that position clearly' so that every body- here and abroad are' at least willing to listen to my argumentation... Thus, whether this reasoning is accepted or not; fully or partly, we should have cooperated with the Goldstone body.
In principle the very fact that that International Judicial bodies do exist is a rewarding manifestation .Imagine how that would have affected Jewish minorities in various countries suffering from discrimination, prejudice and violation of basic rights, if there were no International institutes of justice Jews could turn to.
Today, fortunately we a have a Jewish state and as a State we can voice our misgivings against the rulings of international bodies. But this should be done through a dialogue and friendly persuasion. Otherwise People won't understand us. They do not understand our policy, if there is one. We are considered an open, developed and democratic society and what we should do mainly is look into the mirror and triy to see how we are reflected abroad. It would be advised, however, that others do the same.
If what we are doing is wrong objectively we should mend our ways. If it is right we should explain it. After all the definition of HASBARA- EXPLANATION- is a unique one that only we use it- linguistically but not practically.
* Zvi Gill is an author and journalist. Has assumed senior positions in broadcasting- both radio and television .He lectures in Mass Communication .Has initiated and coordinates the project of "The contribution of the Holocaust survivors to the establishment of the State of Israel and its development".

========================================================================* Zvi Gill is an author and journalist. Has assumed senior positions in broadcasting- both radio and television .He lectures in Mass Communication .Has initiated and coordinates the project of "The contribution of the Holocaust survivors to the establishment of the State of Israel and its development".



Very interseting and frank to give a proper pesrpective of israel and the international scene

Arthur. K

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters (without spaces) shown in the image.