A Response to 8 Lies about Israel / Ben Dror Yemini

Every generation witnesses new efforts striving to deny us (Jews ) freedom, whether Jewish freedom in the Diaspora or in Israel. Nowadays, a strange coalition has emerged, of Islamists, skinheads and liberal academics, galvanized by the enlightened Chomsky and the benighted Ahmadinejad.

The fight against Israel's freedom is creeping to the mainstream. The threat, posturing as liberal, is more dangerous than the dark threat. It penetrated even the Daily Kos, a Democratic Party stronghold. Ahmadinejad can draw upon this site as a resource for justifications to wipe out the Zionist Entity. It is so important, in fact, that Israel's Foreign Office invited one of its editors to visit Israel.

In one of the Kos's more recent articles, a point-by-point indictment against Israel was presented. Here is my response to the some of more temperate criticism which is worth rebutting. I did not bother with the more virulent type.

1. Israeli Occupation

Israel is the cause of one of the longest occupations, controlling the life of over 2 million Palestinians.

Not quite. There are longer occupations, such as China in Tibet and Russia in Chechnya. But more importantly it is imperative to restore the correct chronology of events. War was declared upon Israel in response to which Israel waged a defensive war. The occupation was thrust upon Israel. It is a result, not a cause. Israel has already divested itself of most of this occupation: through mutual agreement with the Palestinians in the Oslo Accords and more recently through its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

2. Nuclear Israel

Israel is the only country in the region that has internationally unsupervised nuclear weapons

It is unclear what justification exists for Britain or France to possess nuclear weapons. Neither of them is under any threat of obliteration. Such a threat, however, does loom over Israel. On the day that some regional leaders will suspect that Israel has no nuclear capabilities, Israel will "be wiped off the map of the world".

Devotees of such leaders extol the virtues of annihilating the Jews. Israel is permitted to give credence to these openly declarative statements, especially considering the fact that Muslims have massacred more than 10 million Muslims since Israel was established. This is the justification for Israel's nuclear defensive capabilities.

3. Gaza is a Concentration Camp, overseen by Israel

Nonsense and lies. Tens of millions human beings in Africa live under much worse conditions, subjected to famine, disease, and wars. Israel quit Gaza. In response, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah continued to lob Qassams at Israel.

Israel is no longer in Gaza, nor does it want to control Gaza. Israel continues to provide fuel, electric power and humanitarian assistance to Gazans. Yet Gaza retaliates by sending Qassams into Israel. These missiles are not motivated by a desire for peace or to put an end to the occupation, which no longer exists. The declared purpose is the liquidation of the state of Israel. How exactly would American Democrats react to such consistent attacks targeting kindergartens and hospitals by an organization boasting of a racist or anti-Semitic platform, explicitly declaring its desire to annihilate the United States?

4. Israel practices Apartheid in the west Bank.

When a tidal wave of suicide terrorists threatens a civilian population, Israel has to resort to disagreeable measures. Not all means are justified but it is highly doubtful that any other democratic country would employ any less severe measures.

5. Israel does not accept the rights of refugees, by refusing to accept the right of return of two million Palestinians.

Utter nonsense. Over 40 million people have undergone the experience of population exchange, mostly as a result of wars. There is not one historical precedent that acknowledges a right of return. It is a Palestinian invention. As Palestinians themselves keep admitting, this is their trump card for the destruction of Israel.

True, 650,000 Arabs left or were forced to leave, the Jewish state, after they had declared a war of annihilation upon the newly-born State it. 850,000 Jews left or were forced to leave Arab countries and arrived in Israel, following that same attempted war of annihilation. Of all the refugees at large in the world, only the Palestinians were perpetuated as such. A special UN agency was created, just for them (UNRWA). Only they have been kept on, like an ever- bleeding wound, because Arab countries denied them rights.

6. Israel is founded upon a racist ideology

Israel maintains a regime grounded in the failed Zionist ideology, which is based on racist nationalism that gives rights to only one ethnic or religious group.

Israel is indeed a nation-state, like the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary and many others. Zionism started as a Jewish liberation movement. It is part and parcel of the natural right for self-determination. It is no different from any other right of self-determination, be it Albanian, Romanian or Slovenian.

This charge in and of itself, when it is tossed at Jews and none other but Jews, is inherently racist. The implicit and explicit premise of such an accusation is that Palestinians have national rights but Jews do not. The negation of such rights was the staple of antisemites. It is a tragedy of historical magnitude that "progressive forces" today have come to own this negation of Jewish rights.

As for discrimination: Israel has a large Arab minority. Minorities like this one can be found any place in Europe. Israeli Arabs enjoy a condition of freedom that is much better than Muslims enjoy in neighbouring countries. As a minority they are in a much better position than any other minority in Europe. This is fact, not opinion.

The social discrimination is largely due to the Arab minority's choice to discriminate against their women. Those who have a preference for oppressing members of their society cannot complain when they cannot live according to first world standards. In this respect the Arab minority is no different from the ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Israel. They, like the Haredim, prefer to live by a patriarchal scheme.

A breakthrough will occur when the forces of progress in the world will cease to coddle Muslims as if they were simple-minded children who should be allowed to maintain their inner structures of oppression. The forces of darkness and the sad condition of Muslims continue as long as Israel, and other factors, are blamed.

7. Palestinians are the victims of violence

Israelis claim they suffer from terrorism, but Palestinians are the victims, in a 13:1 ratio.

Lies and demagoguery. Upwards of 1,500 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks, originating from the occupied territories. About 6,000 Palestinians were killed during the 40 years of occupation, most of whom were terrorists. This is the smallest death toll in histories of conflicts around the world. Much less than the 20,000 Syrians murdered by Assad in 1982, much less than the 10,000 Palestinians killed in 1971 during Black September in Jordan, much less than the number of Kurds killed by Turkey, much less than the 8,000 killed in Srebrenitza at the heart of Europe. Never mind Algeria, Sudan, Afghanistan or Iraq where Muslims have massacred and are still killing, masses of other Muslims.

8. Israel invaded Lebanon twice.

Twice Israel invaded Lebanon and continues to infringe upon Lebanon's aerial space.

Just like that Israel invaded Lebanon, for no reason whatsoever? Lebanon turned into a launching base for hostile assaults against Israel. First it was the Fatah that had turned Lebanon into a protectorate. Now it is Hezbollah, an Iranian terrorist organization which openly declares its goal of destroying Israel, that amasses enough weapons to threaten a country the size of California, and then attacks Israel even though there is no Israeli presence nor Israeli provocation in Lebanon.

Antisemites are not distracted by facts

It is possible and permissible to criticize Israel but key facts must be acknowledged, for example, that Israel recognizes the right of Palestinians for self-determination and statehood. The Arabs, and Palestinians, however, have unfailingly rejected every proposal. They said no to the Peel commission, no to the UN partition plan, no to Barrack's proposals at Camp David, no to Clinton's bridging proposals that offered them a state and a solution for the refugee problem.

Israel even supports the Saudi peace plan, with one caveat: that Palestinian Right of return will take place within the context of a Palestinian state and not for the purpose of liquidating Israel. Whoever supports RoR perpetuates the conflict in general and Palestinian suffering in particular.

These facts have not distracted those who fell into the anti-Israel obsession, just as facts have never dented the will of those who caught the antisemitic bug. But there are those who are open to facts, and those who might be disabused of their antisemitic obsessions. It is therefore worthwhile to re-iterate this simple fact: That the people of Israel is also deserving of independence and freedom, As deserving as any other group that demands self-determination. As deserving as Palestinian claims for self-determination, but alongside Israel, not in place of Israel.

personal permission to publish

note:The article was published in 2008 but it is still valid.

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