One Week In: ‘Better a Bad Press, Than a Good Eulogy’
On September 23, 2011, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United Nations General Assembly, outlining the threats facing Israel. Among them: Iran’s drive to acquire a nuclear weapon, the Palestinian obsession with launching a terror war against the Jewish State (with the stated goals of wiping out the country and its people), and the international community’s unrelenting criticism of Israel’s every move. Perhaps the most important message came toward the second half of the Prime Minister’s roughly forty-minute speech.
Echoing the words of Israel’s fourth Prime Minister, the late Golda Meir, Mr. Netanyahu declared that Israel must adhere to a new dogma: “Better a bad press, than a good eulogy.” Essentially, Israel must withstand the pressure and tactics of its enemies, detractors and, in some cases, its friends, in favor of protecting and growing the Jewish State of Israel. No statement should be pondered more by Israel’s leadership today, as a full week has passed since Palestinian terrorists abducted three Jewish teenagers: Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel.
Israel’s response to this attack has already taken a toll on the Hamas network. Israel’s defense and intelligence forces have arrested close to 300 members of the terror group, while strategically destroying the organization’s infrastructure. And while Israel’s adversaries have already found creative ways to attack her defensive operation, the Jewish State must continue to push forward. Israel must, once and for all, make its enemies and the rest of the world understand that it will no longer be the globe’s punching bag. It will protect its people and its sovereignty, just as any other independent nation would.
By pressuring Israel to make dangerous concessions to the Palestinians, and publicly criticizing Israel’s actions at every turn, world powers have continued to accept Palestinian actions, directly and indirectly encouraging violence against Israel. While Palestinian Authority television runs children’s programs that declare that Jews are conspiring with the Devil and that the Jew is a “foreigner” in the Land of Israel, the world remains silent. While PA President Mahmoud Abbas regularly honors terrorists and the families of suicide bombers in the streets of Ramallah, the world does not issue a single word of condemnation. When President Abbas’ faction decides to reconcile with Hamas, forming a unity government with a group that continues firing rockets into Israeli territory and who, by all accounts, is responsible for last Thursday night’s attack, the world, including the Obama Administration, declares that it will work with the new government. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Arabs have continued their war on Israel.
As if we needed any more proof of the world’s ambivalence toward Israel’s security, President Obama has yet to personally issue a response to the recent terror attack. Yes, a week after three boys are taken from their families, the leader of Israel’s “closest ally” cannot speak to the horror facing Israeli society.
The United Nations Secretary General even had the chutzpa, or nerve, to publish a statement, five days after the fact, in which he used virtually the same number of words to condemn an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, an act of self defense, as he did to censure the kidnappers, who continue to break international law. He also went on to question Hamas’ role in the kidnapping.
So, as Palestinians actively celebrate last week’s kidnappings in the streets, handing out candies to their children, and even coining a new kidnapping salute, which has gone viral across Palestinian society, Israel must take action once and for all. It must dismantle Hamas, and cut off all assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
As Israel continues to be the target of the world’s wrath, she must ignore the criticism and the pressure, and instead focus on the safety of her citizens and the future of Israel as a Jewish State. It is time for a strong response.
Isi Stein is a business professional who serves on the Florida Regional Board of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). Follow Isi on twitter at Isi_S18.