Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, July 2010
Criticize Israel, Bless Israel
By Rev. Ted Pike
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 12, 2010
In 2006, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu paid special tribute to Irgun, the Jewish terrorist organization. He dedicated a plaque at the rebuilt King David hotel, which Irgun had bombed in 1946, killing 91, primarily British. In 1948 Irgun slaughtered more than 100 innocent Palestinian men, women, and children. Zionists then drove 800,000 panic-stricken Arabs out of Israel to eventually inhabit concentration camps in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank. Netanyahu made it clear the terrorists’ blood flowed in his veins. Irgun made the Jewish state possible and he was profoundly grateful. By authorizing Israel's recent terrorist attack on the Free Gaza flotilla, Netanyahu showed his likeness of spirit.
Yet as a result of unprecedented international criticism of Israel, we are seeing the first hints of a tempering of Israel's reflexive repression, even violence, toward the Arabs.
Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan is emerging as an eloquent and high-minded disciplinarian of Israel. Turkey is a NATO member and has enjoyed friendly relations with Israel. After Israel's attack on the flotilla, Erdogan castigated Israel more harshly than anyone—even perhaps Ahmadinejad. He has severed much of the former economic and military relationship with Israel, banning Israeli military flights over Turkish air space. This is so uncomfortable to Israel that a secret meeting was held last week between Israel's Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. This was evidently Netanyahu's initiative. Yet, Israel's hardline Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (the same who described the flotilla as "violent propaganda") was furious that such a possibly conciliatory gesture could be made without his knowledge or permission. He says Israel will never give the apology and financial compensation to victims which Erdogan demands. Clearly, there are divergent points of view, even among hawks, in the government of Israel. They are emerging largely as a result of the beneficial influence of worldwide criticism.
Netanyahu's conception of a commission of inquiry into the flotilla attack is floundering. Earlier he made it clear he wants no "biased" international probe into Israel's attack. Israel's inquiry, he has said, will be limited to justifying its actions according to Israel's interpretation of international law. It will also cast aspersions on IHH, organizer of the flotilla and other allegedly pro-Hamas participants. Only Israel's top-ranking military leadership will be allowed testimony. Yet even the head of this kangaroo commission, Supreme Court Judge Jacob Turkel, is disgusted with its transparent intention to only whitewash Israel's actions. He says he will resign unless given broader powers of inquiry. On Monay, Israel's cabinet announced the scope of the inquiry will be broadened. It is still a sham, excluding testimony from soldiers involved in the flotilla raid, as well as survivors. Nevertheless, such mild accomodation by the government of Israel is only happening because of worldwide outrage.
Israel's tentative lifting of the quarantine on supplies for Gaza still remains so restrictive it lays bare the extent of Israel's cruel, capricious, and arbitrary collective punishment of the people of Gaza. Over the past several weeks, Israel has periodically announced that, in addition to increase of trucks into Gaza, certain ludicrously non-strategic items (such as ketchup, candy bars, etc.) will be allowed in. Why were they ever banned? A big angst for Netanyahu recently has been whether impoverished Gazan farmers should be allowed to sell flowers and strawberries to the outside world. He is standing firm that they should not. He says such would end Israel’s last vestige of control over Hamas! Last week Israel allowed in a little wood, such as in furniture, but not a single 2x4 which might help build a bunker for Hamas -- or rebuild thousands of homes devastated by Israel's bombardment of “Cast Lead.” On Monday, perhaps to soften the visit of 5 EU foreign ministers to Gaza, Israel decided to allow construction materials - if the Palestinian authority will certify that their uses are non-military. For years, human rights groups have struggled to convince a skeptical and indifferent world of Israel's punitive cruelty to the Gazans. Now Israel’s own psychopathic hardness is persuading us. Because Israel has drifted light-years from any compassion to the Palestinians, it does not know how to express mercy - even under international pressure. Clumsily, Israel again opposes itself by dramatizing to the world’s press the lifting of a few more unnecessary restrictions on the necessities of life to the Gazans. It insanely believes it will be perceived as generous. The opposite is true. The EU and parliaments throughout Europe (the latest was Germany) unite in demanding Israel stop this pernicious nonsense and decisively end oppression of the Gazans. Such loosening of Israel's chokehold can only be happening as a result of worldwide indignation.
The Turkish relief organization IHH, which orchestrated the flotilla, has published a 40-page summary of Israel's attack. It confirms dozens of testimonies from survivors. It emphasizes that Israel launched the attack on the largest vessel, the Mavi Marmara, while actively shooting live ammunition from attack boats and helicopters. Also, as Israeli commandoes descended to the lower deck they were shooting into portholes and killing as they came. It details that the more than 700 passengers taken captive by Israel were treated despicably. Some were injured so badly by the Israelis that they had to be hospitalized in Israel. The testimony of this respected Turkish relief organization (with more than 90 charity projects worlwide) is widely believed by European leaders and parliamentarians and tens of millions. This pressures Israel to subject itself to a thorough international investigation.
Finally, criticism of the flotilla attack is indirectly helping preserve freedom in Europe. The head of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, says the situation of European Jewry is at its worst since the end of World War II. "Jews are afraid to walk the streets with Jewish signs. Synagogues, Jewish schools, and kindergartens require barbed-wire fences and security, and Jewish men, women, and children are beaten up in broad daylight." Zionist defenders of Israel, like this group and the Anti-Defamation League, routinely exaggerate the magnitude of the anti-Semitic threat. (The World Zionist Congress reported only six assaults on Jews in Russia in 2009). Violence against Jews by Gentiles, like violence by Israel against Arabs, is always contemptible. Yet Kantor's recommendation of how to end anti-Semitism is also unfortunate. He does not encourage Israel to cease hateful, violent behavior toward the people of Gaza. Instead, he wants more hate crimes laws to be passed worldwide, criminalizing with harsh penalties those who criticize matters Jewish! That may not be so easy any more, especially in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In the annual report of its 56-member hate crimes bureaucracy in Europe (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), the Anti-Defamation League says that no less than 23 nations no longer respect their promises to pass new hate laws and provide hate statistics to ADL. Nine nations "reported fewer than 10 hate crimes and, in some cases, 0 hate crimes." ADL/B'nai B'rith are being mocked, largely by nations of the former Soviet Union. It is clear that the hate law enthusiasm ADL elicited in European countries five years ago is declining. I believe it results from at least two causes that work together. Since "Operation Cast Lead" 17 months ago, levels of "anti-Semitism" throughout Europe have skyrocketed. (In Spain criticism of Jews and Israel exceeds 80 percent.) This in itself would not be enough to alienate European nations against hate laws. What is alienating is that many Parliamentarians and leaders have now had time to observe the freedom-stealing fruits of hate laws throughout the world. Such awakening has been assisted by the world's premier educational website against hate laws, www.truthtellers.org. Over the past five years, I have given over 700 internet and radio interviews and truthtellers.org has sent out at least 400 articles by myself and Harmony Daws, largely against hate laws - always identifying ADL/B'nai B'rith as their architect. At least 40 percent of the audience for my six hate law videos, broadcasts and e-alerts exists in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Now, with international anger at Israel at an all-time high, many of the inhabitants, and probably leaders, of these nations know that Israel and its PR rep ADL are the same. They know that to support ADL hate laws is also to support an essentially Zionist global agenda to end freedom. Thus, again, worldwide criticism of Israel, plus at least five years of uniting ADL with hate crime laws in the minds of Europeans, is preserving freedom.
The Bible says: “rebuke a wise man and he will love you,” but “he that hates reproof is brutish.” (Proverbs 9:8, 12:1) The evangelical movement over the past century, by unconditional blessing and support of Israel, has foolishly ignored Solomon's wisdom. As a result, Israel has become the arrogant, violent, spoiled brat not only of the Middle East but of the world.
In 1982, after Israel saturation-bombed 19,500 Palestinian refugees into oblivion, Prime Minister Menachem Begin (who authorized the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre) said, “ Israel does not need to answer to others, only to itself.” Time has shown, however, that as a result of rejecting Jesus and His ethics of turning the other cheek, Israel does not possess the necessary moral compass or compassion to guide itself. The rest of the world, through enlightened and constructive criticism, must help out.
Don't hesitate to really bless Israel with the healing balm of salty Biblical reproof. All the prophets, including Jesus, did so.
True friends of the Jews do not seek the peace of Jerusalem by cursing Israel with flattery and silence.
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.
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