For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
ONE OF the simplest ways to influence public opinion is to present a common enemy. Today, the favourite bogeyman in international affairs is the state of Israel
Ronald S. Lauder The Irish Times 07 December 09
Israel-bashing is growing in popularity in many areas. At international sporting events, Israeli athletes are sometimes avoided, sometimes prevented from taking part by immigration officials, and sometimes not even invited. British, Canadian and South African trade unions have been calling for boycotts of Israeli goods. Universities and trade unions campaign for a boycott of Israeli scholars and businesses, and for international sanctions.
The founder of Human Rights Watch, Robert Bernstein, recently exposed this hypocrisy when he criticised his own organisation for treating Israel like a pariah state.
The height of cynicism is the attempt by many Islamic countries to delegitimise Israel, to deny it the right to exist. Such propaganda has been ongoing for years and is characterised by both expediency and hatred. This battle is increasingly fought by the governments of these countries in international forums, in particular the United Nations. By levelling false, sometimes slanderous, accusations against Israel and its democratically elected government, they try to undermine its legitimacy.
The UN, it seems, reserves most of its ire for the most liberal, free and progressive country in the Middle East. A country that guarantees and upholds religious freedom and offers all of its citizens, including its Arab minority, the same civil rights, is pilloried by those who blatantly disregard the values of the UN Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights.
In an interview with this newspaper last week, UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay from South Africa referred to “propaganda which portrayed the [UN Human Rights] council as biased and a venue for bashing Israel”. Propaganda? Not really. The human rights council in Geneva, dominated by vanguards in human rights such as Libya, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, is almost obsessed with Israel’s alleged misconduct. Yet it overlooks, or downplays, crimes committed by Hamas and other terrorist groups. The council’s one-sided resolution on the Goldstone report speaks volumes.
In 2006, then UN secretary general Kofi Annan criticised the human rights council for “disproportionate focus on violations by Israel”, while neglecting other areas with “graver” crises. Things haven’t exactly improved since then – quite the contrary. In fact, at the general assembly in New York, no other Middle Eastern country is denounced in speeches and resolutions as often as Israel.
On most UN bodies, an inbuilt majority of non-democratic countries gives the Israel-bashers a free rein. Sometimes they are even backed by democratic countries. It was sad to see that Ireland was one of five European governments that supported the Goldstone report recently.
Israel-bashing enjoys widespread support in western media, as well as in universities, NGOs, trade unions and international organisations. Yet these critics often turn a blind eye to the realities in the Middle East.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"