Monday, May 11, 2009

Israel Not the Country the Left Paint It As

This came to me as an email and points out such good things for people to consider. If not anti-semitism, why is it that Israel is picked on so much and brings out such venom in some people. After reading hateful comments in the Oregonian about Israel, I wonder. Now the Pope is visiting Israel today and is putting pressure on creating a Palestine, regardless of the fact that they cannot bring themselves into recognizing Israel. Palestinians are following the decisions of Hamas, a terrorist group.
Nadene Goldfoot
Israel Still Looks Good, Warts and All - Greg Sheridan (The Australian)

The Israel I know, which I have visited for weeks at a time, which I experience through its literature and media and the Israeli citizens I have met, bears no relation to the Israel I see in most of the Western media. That Israel of the Western mind (and indeed of the Arab mind) is a hateful place: right-wing, militaristic, authoritarian, racist, ultra-religious, neo-colonial, narrow-minded, undemocratic, indifferent to world opinion, indifferent especially to Palestinian suffering.

Yet the Israel I know is mostly secular, raucously, almost wildly democratic, has a vibrant left wing, having founded in the kibbutz movement one of the only successful experiments in socialism in human history. It is multi-ethnic, there is a great stress on human solidarity, there is due process. And I've never heard an Israeli speak casually about the value of Palestinian life.

The Israel I know is a Western democracy, often under siege. I see a society striving for the good, certainly not beyond criticism, but overall behaving as well as any comparably sized Western society would or could in all the circumstances.

Nobody declares Saudi Arabia an illegitimate state because it has no democracy or human rights, and its doctrinaire Wahhabi Sunni establishment rules over a marginalized Shia minority. Nobody declares Turkey an illegitimate state because it has a disgruntled Kurdish minority, some of whom certainly aspire to statehood. Even North Korea, the most extreme Stalinist gulag on earth, is constantly reassured that the West accepts not only the legitimacy of its state, but does not even seek regime change. Only the legitimacy of Israel is routinely questioned: a special standard for the Jewish state.

Since 1977 Israel has given up territory equivalent to three times its size in exchange for peace with various neighbors. This was land acquired in defensive wars that made a contribution to Israeli security. Israel may be guilty of many things but a refusal to compromise is not one of them.
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