Us and them is used here to apply to South Africa and Australia. Here are some extracts from a speech made by an Australian Member of Parliament sent to me by one of my Israeli correspondents, Geoff Boner, a retired medical specialist…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (11:20):
“In so many ways the conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists is a struggle between the enlightened values of a modern democracy and the benighted values of mediaeval theocracy; a struggle between Jerusalem, where women serve as Supreme Court justices, and Gaza, where a woman’s sworn testimony is worth half that of a man’s; a struggle between a government that rules by the ballot and a government that rules by the bullet; a struggle between a society in which liberty of conscience is protected and a society in which freedom of speech is rejected. At its essence it is a struggle between civilisation and barbarism. These are harsh words but it is time for some straight talk, time to assess the cold, hard facts in the cold, hard light of day. Those facts reveal that Hamas is an armed and dangerous terrorist movement with mass murder on its mind. It not only seeks the destruction of Israel as a political entity but also craves the extermination of every Jewish man, woman and child. You do not need to take my word for it. Article 7 of the Hamas covenant declares: …
‘the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: “The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews … when the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him’ …”.
Mr Smith goes on…”The contempt shown by Hamas for the most fundamental principles of liberty should come as no surprise. After all, no-one should be surprised that theocrats do not turn out to be democrats. But what is astounding is the aid and comfort offered to hardline Islamic extremists by hardline Australian leftists…. While speaking on the Middle East, I would be remiss if I did not mention this government’s disgraceful reversal of policy at the United Nations. Foreign Minister Carr describes Australia’s decision to abstain from the General Assembly vote on the elevation of Palestine’s status as ‘a good compromise’. But it was no compromise; it was a cave-in. It was a cave-in by a beleaguered Prime Minister prepared to sacrifice anything, including support for Israel, on the altar of her own political survival. We all want to see a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but this will only be possible when those pledged to Israel’s destruction finally see the error of their ways. The upgrade of Palestine’s status at the UN will set back the prospects of peace. It will embolden Palestinians to think they can get their way without any need to— “
I would not recommend that any of my readers hold their breath while waiting for a similar speech to come from our own Parliament. In fact the SA Zionist Federation was compelled to offer the following condemnation of the ANC’s Government response to the recent Gaza operation. I quote an extract…
“On November 21, 2012, the ANC issued a press release on the recent escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The statement, while recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself, placed the blame for the unrest solely on Israel. With particularly strong words it condemned the “barbarity of the Israeli Defense Force’s bombardment of the Palestinians” and stated that “the collective punishment of the citizens of Gaza is an outrage bordering on fascist aggression.” It also claimed that “Women and men of all ages and children are being mercilessly murdered in this war of attrition.”
The statement was unambiguously one-sided. It did not mention neither the hundreds of rockets that Hamas and other Palestinian groups had fired on Israel over the months that preceded Israel’s reaction nor the casualties caused by them. It identified Israeli occupation as a cause for the violence, ignoring the fact that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2006. And it gave the impression that Israel was deliberately targeting civilians, an undeniable mischaracterization of the truth.
Moreover, the statement adopted an incendiary language typical of activist organizations or fringe radical groups. It was therefore particularly disturbing to notice that the statement was signed by Ebrahim Ebrahim in his official capacity of Deputy Foreign Minister on behalf of the ANC. That a senior official of the South African government would express himself in such blatantly insulting, unfair and unconstructive manners is an embarrassment to the ANC, the rest of the government and the South African people…”
“Mischaracterisation of the truth”? It is the too polite way of saying it is a lie, an outrageous lie…a lie that is repeated almost daily in our media. It is the inverse of the reality in which Muslim extremists within the Middle East and nearby regions murder each other and non-Muslims mercilessly and indiscriminately in pursuit of their power struggles and ideological obsessions. It is the fate for the Jews of Israel dearly desired by Hamas and its like, not excluding elements within Israel’s supposed Peace Partner, Fatah.
This statement is one more sign of the deep corruption within the ANC and comes as little surprise. It is also not remarkable that radical activist groups in this country spout similar dishonest and slanderous lies. It is even possible to understand non-Jewish leftwingers, in their bubbles of denial, ignorance and self-reinforcement, lending credibility to such claims.
What is truly hard to understand or forgive is when Jews use similar “mischaracterisations”. And when hard-headed senior journalists, wise to the ways of the world, not only provide space for such blatant lies in their news media but, by various propagandistic devices, amplify and lend credence to such hateful nonsense.
I meant to discuss more rational issues in this post, but the impact of such incitement cannot be ignored and excused. To those sincere and goodhearted Jews engaged in endless navel gazing to find the tiny “flaw” which may explain such behaviour on the part of Israel’s enemies and who feel that by showing “love and understanding” the ills of the world can be dissipated, I’m afraid you’re due for endless disappointment.
Yes, love and understanding are indeed good things but they are not the weapons to turn aside Israel’s enemies. That requires a judicious blend of strength, courage, restraint and diplomacy for which no formula exists. So we put our faith in ourselves and our chosen leaders, and in fate or God whichever you prefer – and, like the Israelis themselves, get on with life.