Two media items caught my attention today.
One was a clever cartoon in the San Francisco Examiner. It depicted a crowd at an anti Israel rally. The signs carried were vicious, “Israel butchers” and “Death to Israel”. One such individual quite obviously Osama bin Laden was saying to two astonished non Arabs carrying these signs,” Glad you could make it to the rally!”
I often wonder if those far to the left Jews who attend these anti Israel rallies understand they are aligning themselves with anti Israel and anti U.S. groups like the so called “International Solidarity Movement” and “Answer” whose mission statements (either obliquely or directly) call for the destruction of the State of Israel. But maybe they are no more than self hating Jews and a world without Israel would suit them just fine. In the bay area there are probably more of them than in other parts of the U.S. and most of them hide out in Berkeley. Well they are going to be disappointed. Israel is going nowhere and will continue to be a Jewish homeland for a long, long time.
The other media item was a report on one of the N.P.R. news bulletins and it referred to the more than 10,000 people (yes, ten thousand) who have been killed in Sri Lanka over the last few decades. Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) is an island nation off the south east coast of India. Sri Lanka was best known for its fine tea and accomplished cricketers but now add in the Tamil Tigers a terrorist group responsible for most of that body count. However all the mayhem in Sri Lanka receives the slightest of media attention (not to mention hardly a peep at the U.N.) but Israel responding to a barrage of missiles and mortars fired by Hamas terrorists over a period of many years becomes the leading front page news item world- wide, receives condemnation for its act of self defense from again all corners of the globe and gives Arabs and non Arabs cause to stage demonstrations and rallies in cities as far flung as Paris, Sydney and Istanbul.
The demonstrations have often contained distinct elements of virulent anti Semitism (include the bay area in that) and for the Jews of these far flung places it has been a most uncomfortable sight. The scathing attacks on Israel by the Prime Minister of Turkey (a country with whom Israel has had military ties) have unsettled the Turkish Jewish population and there have been rumors of a boycott of Jewish owned stores. So again why is there this insatiable obsession with Israel and an almost total indifference to Sri Lanka and bastions of freedom and democracy like Zimbabwe, Belarus, and Libya –there is a lengthy list. Well my teacher once told me” Jews are news” and I would like to add that the world cannot stomach tough, resilient militarily successful Jews. But they love dead Jews. Ever notice how much sympathetic attention the holocaust receives?
The success of Israel as a nation in so many respects, a nation that embodies the very best of human values, a nation that is finding medical cures, that is innovative in fields like agriculture, technology, science, music and the arts is galling to so many. But for them I have one of my favorite expressions,” Am Yisrael Chai-The people of Israel lives!”