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April 22, 2016 7:18 am

When Will Anyone Stand Up for Israel?

avatar by Judith Bergman

Email a copy of "When Will Anyone Stand Up for Israel?" to a friend
The Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikipedia.

The Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikipedia.

Over the past week, Israel found itself at the center of more action than most countries see in a decade:

On Thursday, UNESCO adopted a resolution that completely ignores Jewish ties to the Western Wall and to the Temple Mount, changing the name of the Western Wall to “al-Buraq Plaza” and referring to the Temple Mount solely as Haram al-Sharif‎. This is yet another battle in the cognitive war being waged against Israel by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, aided and abetted by pretty much the rest of the world in the form of the United Nations.

On Sunday, Syria issued an overt threat, saying it would use all available means to recapture the Golan. The threat came in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holding his weekly cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights. While the threat was ridiculous, given that Syria is a failed state, both the U.S. and the European Union found it to be a good opportunity to weigh in on behalf of Syria, each stating that they do not consider the Golan a part of Israel. Asking Israel to hand over the Golan, in effect, to the Islamic State group, while the West tries to defend itself from them, is the height of hypocrisy.

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On Monday, a terrorist attack aboard a bus in Jerusalem wounded 21 people.

Meanwhile, in the background, there is the constant threat of Iran developing nuclear weapons to snuff out the very existence of Israel and the constant fear of Hamas terror tunnels coming in from Gaza.

This is just an excerpt from the events spanning one week in the life of Israel. I have not even mentioned the heated public debate over an IDF soldier facing manslaughter charges for shooting an immobilized terrorist in Hebron last month or the scrutiny that Israel comes under at every turn.

Most countries would collapse under such intense pressure, and fast. Not only does Israel not allow itself to collapse, it pushes ahead and miraculously even thrives in the process, dealing with all the issues as best it can. Why? Because failure is not an option — it never was, and it never will be.

People who criticize Israel, for whatever reason, especially those who like to compare it to other countries in the West, are usually completely oblivious to, or alternately deliberately ignore, the sheer magnitude of the issues that Israel deals with on a daily basis. Issues that other nations cannot even imagine (although the increasing prevalence of terrorist attacks on European soil is slowly starting to drive home some truths). Israel is not surrounded by the likes of Holland and Luxembourg or Mexico and Canada, but everyone acts as if it were — as if Israel were not situated in the center of a war zone.

Practically no one, even Israelis themselves at times, takes the enormous existential pressure for physical survival and the no less existential pressure to stand up to demonization into account. However, it is vital to squarely, in clear and open language, acknowledge this pressure, because it is a crucial part of what Israel is.

It would be far-fetched and incredibly naive to think that Israel’s detractors will suddenly turn around and anchor their criticism in Israel’s reality and not on the distortions in their own minds. However, those who claim to criticize Israel out of friendly concern, like many liberal American Jews do, ought to practice the ideals of fairness and social justice to which they claim to adhere and anchor that “friendly concern” in the realities of the region and the realities of the issues facing Israel, at all levels. I am less than certain that they are able to do that.

At any rate, it hardly ever happens today. While liberal American Jews want Israel to be ethically flawless — one wonders for whose sake — they pounce on Israel at every given opportunity, ignoring that Israel is not New York or Miami and that the existential circumstances of Israelis differ immensely from those of Jews living in North America. One wonders, in fact, whether liberal American Jews even realize what an existential challenge to one’s physical existence means? How would they even know, given their own life circumstances?

At the very minimum, those who engage in discourse about Israel, especially the critical kind, should be expected to meet the same requirements as those who in engage in any other kind of discourse: fairness, an understanding of the facts and circumstances and some humility in the face of one’s own ignorance. Few people who live outside Israel truly understand the country on a deep level. Yet everyone in the world who has ever read a headline about us claims to be an expert. That is the problem.

Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst living in Israel. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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  • Christine Gomez

    Dear Judith Bergman

    There are many who stand up for Israel but unfortunately the Jews are not prepared to engage with us to help ease the situation.

    I am Christine Gomez from Sri Lanka and have written to Rabbi Tuly Weisz many times regarding my understanding on the situation of Israel but did not receive any response even though he has received my mail.

    I was in Israel last week but was unable to get through to him.

    Please understand the situation in Israel does not involve Arabs and Jews only. It is a very complex issue and I am willing to help both Jews and Arabs in this needy hour. You will be surprised I am heavily persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian denominations because I am standing side by side with both Israel and Arab nations.

    I hope you will get back to me on chrys.smgomez@gmail.com

    May the Holy Spirit enlighten you with the truth.

    Christine Gomez

  • Carol

    One comment to all …. Artists! What came first, chicken or the egg? Have not to this day gootten response from anyone. They always pick on us because of their bully mentality. The brain chemistry is out of whack, and that includes self-hating Jews.

  • Perry Mason

    A recently published book, ‘The Nuclear Option’ by David Goldenstein, is the first I have read that presents a coherent argument in support of Israel. It refutes the Palestinian claim to the West Bank, the Church’s BDS campaign, the UN’s two-state plan, and many other anti-Israel initiatives.
    Every Jew in the world should read this book. It is the first book to tell the truth about who was responsible for six million Jews dying in the Holocaust, the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, the creation of the state of Israel, and the decisions by inept Israeli leaders that has led to Israel’s present predicament.

  • Robert Davis

    This maybe a good question but the reply seems so easy it’s hardlyt Worth asking: when jews will stop caring for what others think of them as all people of this planet do. As to liberal jews thay are so DUMB to ask froml jews to be …perfect “ethycally” or otherwise that it makes everyone know they are horrible cringing cowards who deserve being persecuted. I would almost agree with the opponents just as cowards as those liberal jews! When 2 cowards fight each other what happens? whatever happens it’s totally DISGUSTING, something like vomit!

  • “…fairness. an understanding of the facts and circumstances and some humility in the face of one’s own ignorance.”

    The balance in the discourse is largely missing, the facts and circumstances are widely open to interpretation and are, and humility in light of one’s ignorance is ignored. Anti-Semitism is mixed with anti-Zionism and anti-Israel. Anti- Semitism of the stereotypical Rothschild conspiracies, ‘blood libel,’ Holocaust denial is blended with Zionist expansionism into the West Bank, disproportionate wars in Gaza and a lazy/ opportunistic media that tends toward toward the sensational and extravagant.

    However with the spread of jihadism into South-east Asia, the turmoil that is ISIS in Syria-Iraq and the Islamist ‘terror’ in Eupopean capitals Israel will be increasingly seen as a credible democracy, western orientated and viable ally.

  • stevenl

    It is about ethical conduct!

  • Dr. Bruce Gardner

    It is important, in assessing Israel and her enemies, not to forget two things. First, that the West has become the home of moral cowardice because it is willing to sell anything and anyone to avoid trouble. Obama has been, by any standards, a weak and incompetent world leader, willing to believe in any fantasy that establishes a narrative of his own significance.

    At present, he who failed to stand up to Iran is bullying his former friends in the UK over local referenda, pretending to be a man of authority. It is plain that one must not confuse Obama with real America. Israel cannot look for a guarantee of US support worthy of the name till a real President comes, nor solid Western help till the West recovers its moral will.

    However secondly, it is most vital to recall Who gave you the Land: Exodus 3:8 “And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that land to a good land and a large, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.” It may be that the weakness in resolve that is prevalent is because many, inside and outside Israel, are failing to remember Who is on the Throne of World History.

    If Pesach does not cause us to affirm that belief, what will?

  • DrBruce Gardner

    It is important, in assessing Israel and her enemies, not to forget two things. First, that the West has become the home of moral cowardice because it is willing to sell anything and anyone to avoid trouble. Obama has been, by any standards, a weak and incompetent world leader, willing to believe in any fantasy that establishes a narrative of his own significance.

    At present, he who failed to stand up to Iran is bullying his former friends in the UK over local referenda, pretending to be a man of authority. It is plain that one must not confuse Obama with real America: Israel cannot look for a guarantee of support worthy of the name until a real President arrives.

    However secondly, it is most vital to recall Who gave you the Land: Exodus 3:8 “And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that land to a good land and a large, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.” It may be that the weakness in resolve that is prevalent is because many, inside and outside Israel, are failing to remember Who is on the Throne of World History.

    If Pesach does not cause us to affirm that belief, what will?

  • Benjamin elisha

    Chag sameach lekol yisrael…leshana habah b’yerushalayim…am yisrael chai…

  • Darla

    Those who stand against Isreal, stand against God. They have been God’s chosen since before Jesus. But through Jesus all who believe on his very name to them he gave the power to become the sons of God. Jew and Gentile alike. Isreal plays the central role in prophesy and the antichrists plans. Stand up for Isreal. Pray for God’s protection and watch for prophetic events which are already in play.

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