Sunday, June 25, 2006

Support Us Even When We Don't Bleed

Last week's incidents where IDF attempts to assasinate terrorists resulted in civilian deaths caused a number of reactions. The anti-Israel press had a field day of course. Those in charge of international public relations complained that it was hard to make a dent in the negative pr. And even pro-Israel bloggers, reacting to the incidents, groaned that they couldn't stand the headlines and kvetched about how uncomfortable they made them.

The unspoken but natural continuation of these complaints is the thought, just under the surface that "it would be so much easier if there were pictures of dead Jews to offset the ones of Arabs..."

The fact that G-d has been performing miracles lately for the people of Sderot, Ashkelon, and the western Negev and keeping the kassams from hitting human targets, seems to be met with frustration instead of profound gratitude and a fervent prayer that things will continue this way.

The fact that the IDF uses its intelligence and skills to kill terrorists before they attack is cheered - but seemingly only if their operation is conducted with 100% precision, and that the Jewish lives thus saved are null and void if civilians are mistakenly killed in the process.

This attitude makes me angry on many different levels, and points to a skewed perception that affects how people relate to Israel and to our very right to exist in this part of the world.

The history of the state of Israel is tied too closely to the Holocaust. It is as if the right of the Jews to live in Israel was established when the concentration camps were liberated, and that we "paid" for this priviledge with six million dead. It ignores the ancient history of the promise of G-d to the Jews that this land is ours, and it ignores the modern history of thousands of proud and idealistic Jews who worked hard to create a thriving country. We didn't "pay" for Israel with our dead, we paid for it the old-fashioned way - with cold hard cash. It started with Jews who gave charity to the Keren Kayemet in order to pay for land, and it continued with those who built cities and made the desert bloom, and it continues to this day. Believing that the Holocaust was the justification for the State of Israel sets up a sort of macabre installment plan, where Israel is only supported as long as we produce dead Jews.

This fundamental flaw in attitude is shared by too many Jews, both in the Diaspora and in Israel, and it colors how people react to current events such as those of last week.

It causes many, when confronted with the injustice of the one-sided portrayal of the anti-Israel media, to "forget" what is cropped out of the picture. In the case of Sderot, this is the hundreds of kassams that were launched against the civilians in this city. After all, this thinking continues, noone was killed there recently. Without a body, Israel seemingly loses its right to defend itself.

Anti-Semites will hate us no matter what we do. Those who know very little about the Middle East conflict, and depend solely on short sound bytes from the media, automatically reduce complex issues to "whoever is the underdog is right", as if whoever has the highest number of dead wins.

Those who educate themselves about the issues, and those who profess to be pro-Israel and have a stake in what happens here owe it to us to have the maturity to see the bigger picture, and to reject the simplistic assumption that the only time one can comfortably support Israel is when she bleeds.

We here in Israel have the right to be happy and safe. We have the right to a strong army which defends us properly, even if it means that sometimes civilians on the other side are hurt. In short, we don't have to be victims. A family in Sderot doesn't have to grieve in order for you not to feel guilty.


Blogger Dave said...

Excellently argued post.

11:07 AM, June 25, 2006  
Blogger Regina said...

Yes, well said, westbankmama. So many people think they "know" what goes on in Israel, and they have never even set foot there... that's why I enjoy coming to your blog. You make sense, as it were, and fill in all the blanks for me. Thanks for that...

4:11 PM, June 25, 2006  
Blogger MSandt said...

The point you're making about the Holocaust is a good one. Even some of the pro-Palestinian people here often argue that Israel's right to exist can be justified by what happened during the Reich. Holocaust or no Holocaust, it should be noted that the Jews legally bought the land and made it flourish.

7:51 PM, June 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A family in Sderot doesn't have to grieve in order for you not to feel guilty."

Extraordinarily well said!

9:08 AM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger tafka PP said...

You are very right that it is a struggle to maintain a sense of our national legitimacy. The left suffer from this a great deal.

I agree that we do have all those rights that you say, with our without perceived justification. I would add, just so long as we don't impinge upon the rights of others in order to excercise them.

2:33 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

Good post.

5:35 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

dave - thank you very much.

regina - I am glad you feel that way. It is part of the reason why I blog.

mikko - welcome to my blog.

zahava - ahh, zahava of "back off, he's mine girls" fame? Thank you!

tafka - you are of course right - but then again, in the real world, sometimes you have to impinge on other's rights in order to maintain your own.

jack - thank you also.

7:01 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Wow!! I mean, just wow! Great post!!

8:25 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Batya said...

That's been one of my themes for a while.
Stop the "pity me" garbage and grow up!
great post

9:25 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

olah chadasha and batya - thanks a lot!

8:30 AM, June 27, 2006  
Blogger tafka PP said...

WBM- maybe your "real world" is different to mine?

2:12 PM, June 27, 2006  
Blogger Felix Drost said...

Not so recently the Anglons and Saxons settled in the British islands where mostly Celts lived who had arrived earlier. More recently, the Anglosaxons pushed further west and occupied Northern Ireland in a war which was a colonial, anti Catholic and probably also a racist anti Celtic one. To this day, the settlers proudly march through the streets waving orange banners and sticking it to the local Catholic population (Celts).

Now imagine that the IRA would demand that all Anglosaxons leave. And not just leave Northern Ireland, but leave the whole of the British Islands. Imagine the old Sinn Fein would win the elections in Ireland and state that "unless the Anglosaxons don't end their illegal occupation and leave to where they came from the IRA's firing of rockets at Liverpool is legitimate resistance to the occupation". How long would the UK sit there and take that? How would the press report on such absurd demands?

The whole question of whether Anglosaxons deserve to live in Northern Ireland is absurd, they live there and nobody asking them to leave is taken seriously. It is pointless to ask people to leave unless, like after 1948 when 800.000 Jews were expelled from their homes in Arab and Muslem lands in response to the failed invasion of the state of Israel, one has the military, political and racially motivated power to actually make people leave.

I live in Europe myself, I am increasingly worried by the lack of historical awareness in most of the Western press, Israel is a small country and there are too few voices pointing out that when the Russians removed a Muslem government in power in Checnyha approximately 200.000 unarmed civillians paid the ultimate price. So you can introduce a body count and tell about the hundreds of thousands of people who have died, and who continue to die by the hundreds every night in Sudan. Why don't they all, each and every one of them get the full attention in the press they deserve? But it's my guess most who read this already know why their lives never really counted.

5:14 PM, July 01, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

jeroen - welcome to my blog. Your comment is very interesting

10:15 PM, July 01, 2006  
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