Monday, October 17, 2011
Israel Matzav: Concern in Israel over #OWS (Occupy Wall Street) anti-Semitism
Concern in Israel over #OWS (Occupy Wall Street) anti-SemitismThere's increasing concern in Israel over the anti-Semitismat Occupy Wall Street (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper called the anti-Semitic outbursts "hard to watch," and an Israeli commenter said, "It's just like pre-World War II Nazi Germany. You think blood libels can't happen in America?"Every time I report on this story, I get some nasty anti-Semitic tweets back. Ironically, some of them come from Arabs whose silence on Bashar Assad's Syria is deafening.
It has been pointed out by many media commentators that the openly anti-Semitic remain but a small portion of those participating in the Occupy Wall St. movement. However, others have noted that Nazi anti-Semitism started out as a fringe phenomenon in Germany before eventually defining that nation's domestic agenda in the 1940s.
More than the few Occupy Wall St. anti-Semites themselves, it is the lack of a clear and firm repudiation of their hateful rhetoric by the mainstream American media and political leaders that has a growing number of Israelis and Jews on edge.
posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 7:38 AM
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Posted: 6:48 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011
The claim of Israel's isolation, echoed by Democratic and Republican leaders alike, is gaining status as fact.
"Israel finds itself increasingly isolated, beleaguered, and besieged," John Heilemann wrote in New York magazine. The Economist reported that "Israel's isolation has been underlined by the deterioration of its relations with Turkey and Egypt." New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of "isolating his country," while Thomas Friedman described Israel as "adrift at sea alone."
But is Israel really more isolated now than in the past?
Isolation, of course, is not automatically symptomatic of bad policies. Britain was isolated fighting the Nazis at the start of World War II. Union forces were isolated early in the Civil War, as was the Continental Army at Valley Forge. "It is better to be alone than in bad company," wrote the young George Washington. That maxim is especially apt for the Middle East today, where one of the least-isolated states, backed by both Iran and Iraq and effectively immune to United Nations sanctions, is Syria.
Israel, in fact, is much less isolated than at many times in its history. Before the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel faced a belligerent Egypt and Jordan and a hostile Soviet bloc, Greece, India and China - all without strategic ties with the U.S. Today, Israel has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan; excellent relations with the nations of Eastern Europe as well as Greece, India and China; and an unbreakable alliance with America. Many democracies, including Canada, Italy and the Czech Republic, stand with us. Egypt and Germany mediated the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for five years.
Israel is not responsible for the upheavals in the Arab world or for the lack of freedom that triggered them. Israelis did not elect Turkey's Islamic-minded government or urge Syria's army to fire on its citizens. Conversely, no change in Israeli policies can alter the historic processes transforming the region. Still, some commentators claim that, by refusing to freeze settlement construction on the West Bank and insisting on defensible borders and security guarantees, Israel isolates itself.
The settlements are not the core of the conflict. Arabs attacked Israel for 50 years before the first settlements were built. Mr. Netanyahu froze new construction in the settlements for an unprecedented 10 months, and still the Palestinians refused to negotiate. Settlements are not the reason that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a unity pact with Hamas in May, or why, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly last month, Mr. Abbas denied the Jews' 4,000-year connection to our homeland.
As for borders and security, Israel's position reflects the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. After uprooting all our settlements, we received not peace but thousands of Hamas rockets fired at our civilians. In Lebanon, a U.N. peace force watched while Hezbollah amassed an arsenal of 50,000 missiles. Israel's need for defensible borders and for a long-term Israeli army presence to prevent arms smuggling into any Palestinian state is, for us, a life-and-death issue.
Moreover, in a rapidly changing Middle East, we need assurances of our ability to defend ourselves if the Palestinians who support peace are overthrown by those who oppose it.
Despite repeated Palestinian efforts to isolate us, Israel is not alone. And we have a great many friends, especially in the United States, who we know would not want to imply that Israel stands alone in a dangerous region. Prime Minister Netanyahu remains committed to resuming peace talks with the Palestinians anywhere, any time, without preconditions, while insisting on the security arrangements vital to Israel's survival. Meanwhile, we will continue to stretch out our hand for peace to all Middle Eastern peoples. To paraphrase one of George Washington's contemporaries - if that be isolation, make the most of it.
Michael Oren is Israel's ambassador to the United States. He wrote this for The Washington Post.
Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel
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