In defence of Israel

Every country is deserved of criticism. I've yet to find a country whose domestic and foreign policies I agree with in their entirety. As such, it is entirely justified to level criticism when criticism is due. What I object to however is criticism that is mounted in a highly discriminatory and ad-hoc manner. I have Israel in mind.

There are most certainly Israeli government policies of which I am critical. I criticise the Israeli government for not being as pro-active as it could be in regard to finding a solution for peace with the Palestinians. What I object to however is exaggerated and discriminatory criticism. I find, ever increasingly, particularly amongst the so-called 'intellectual elite' in Australian society (i.e. academics with an overinflated sense of self-importance, who consider themselves the pinnacle of mankind's intellectual achievement) that criticism of Israel is disproportionate and rife, hypocritical and downright discriminatory. Sure, I don't agree with everything that Benjamin Netanyahu says or does, but does this really justify a widespread, concerted international effort to criticise, demonise and undermine Israel? Aren't there other countries more deserving of criticism than Israel? Why is there an all-out effort to attack Israel, on the basis of territorial disputes and counter-terrorism efforts, when there are so many other wrongs in the world? Why do we have organisations like this one, why are there proposed labour union-sponsored academic boycotts in the UK, and why is our own Australian electorate of Marrickville proposing a total boycott of all Israeli products, when there are so many others more worthy of criticism? The answer is, very plainly, that it's discrimination and racism. People hate Israel. There, I said it - people hate Israel. Do the same organisations, unions and local councils suggest that we boycott China for oppressing Tibetans? No. Do they boycott Australia, the UK and the US for the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan (which I know they disagree with)? No. Do they boycott Iran for persecuting the minority Bahai faith, or Saudi Arabia for executing homosexuals and stoning so-called 'adulterers' (i.e. rape victims)? No. When criticism is due, give it, but keep it in proportion and keep it fair. The international movement against Israel is not founded on fact and objectivity - it is founded on hatred and discrimination. I don't agree with everything Israel says and does, but the same applies to every other country on Earth. Singling out a single country, and repeatedly attacking them for policies we disagree with, while ignoring the huge injustices in so many other countries is discrimination, plain and simple.

In a region of the Earth ruled by tyrants, dictators and Islamist fundamentalists, Israel is the only modern, Western-style, progressive, parliamentary democracy. Israel is a multicultural society, with a huge Muslim minority (about 20%) , and even takes a world-leading social stance by recognising same-sex marriage. Do they get credit for this? No. Instead her critics choose to focus all their efforts on degrading her and insinuating that she is a racist apartheid country, while ignoring her strengths, and completely forgetting the injustices in so many other countries including their own.

If Israel is deserved of a boycott for her attempts to protect herself against terrorism, then so is Australia for its participation in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. If Israel is criticised as an 'apartheid country', then we should look at our own - Israel has far larger ethnic minority groups than Australia does, all of whom have full democratic rights.

Israel is more like our own country than any other in that region of the World. Yet, there is an enormous international movement, led by the radical left and the 'intellectual elite', to demonise that country. Before you make a concerted effort to alienate Israel, take a long, hard look at your own country.

If you gave me a choice to live in any country in the Middle Eastern region, I know where I'd prefer to live, without a shadow of a doubt - and it wouldn't be the country where they amputate my hands for opposing the rulers or stone to death my wife for being raped.

One thought on “In defence of Israel”

  1. Hey Peter,

    You seem to be commiting the mistake they are talking about here:

    http://fora.tv/2011/05/19/Naomi_Klein_Blueprint_for_Accountability#Is_Critique_of_Israel_Instantly_Dubbed_Anti-Semitism_

    Besides:

    “Aren’t there other countries more deserving of criticism than Israel?”

    Yes, but that doesn’t mean Israel does not deserve criticism.

    “Why is there an all-out effort to attack Israel, on the basis of territorial disputes and counter-terrorism efforts, when there are so many other wrongs in the world?”

    Because Israel’s policies is, as you say, among the wrongs in the world. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also do something about all the other wrongs.

    “When criticism is due, give it, but keep it in proportion and keep it fair.”

    Fair enough. I also criticise the segregation of people in the Americas. In my home country Brazil or in the United States, for example, the descendents of slaves still haven’t achieved the same level of opportunity on average as the white descendants. But a lot of progress has been done. Today the US even has a black president.

    In my adopted Australia there still a huge gap between aborigines and colonisers. But there has been progress. We have recently had our prime minister finally officially apologise for the occupation and pledge to close the gap between the peoples. There are many active campaigns to achieve that goal, although it is certainly a task that will take generations.

    The economic, social and military gap between Palestinians and Israelis is much larger than those in the countries above and therefore it is fair to subject it to much stronger criticism.

    “Do the same organisations, unions and local councils suggest that we boycott China for oppressing Tibetans? No.”

    Organisations that lobby for gay rights do not necessarily lobby for women’s rights. Their non-support of a worthy cause does not imply that their cause is not worthy of support.

    “People hate Israel.”

    I hate the fact that people can’t live in peace there. I have many Israeli or Jewish friends. I don’t know any Palestinian. But I’ll criticise my friends if I think they’re doing wrong to a stranger.

    “The international movement against Israel is not founded on fact and objectivity – it is founded on hatred and discrimination.”

    Here’s a documentary that is critical of Israel in a perfectly non-discriminatory manner:

    http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=-5293917261584022246&ei=wh6oSt3TBIaqwgObvaSHBQ&q=peace+propaganda+and+the+promised+land&hl=en#

    “In a region of the Earth ruled by tyrants, dictators and Islamist fundamentalists, Israel is the only modern, Western-style, progressive, parliamentary democracy. Israel is a multicultural society, with a huge Muslim minority (about 20%) , and even takes a world-leading social stance by recognising same-sex marriage. Do they get credit for this? No.”

    That’s all really nice. But also in South Africa in the times of apartheid the standards of living of white South Africans was much better than that of the black population. That didn’t mean that apartheid wasn’t wrong.

    “If Israel is deserved of a boycott for her attempts to protect herself against terrorism, then so is Australia for its participation in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”

    Indeed.

    “If Israel is criticised as an ‘apartheid country’, then we should look at our own – Israel has far larger ethnic minority groups than Australia does, all of whom have full democratic rights.”

    You can’t exclude the population of Palestine from that calculation. They do not have any rights. They have been under oppressive military occupation for decades. The division between Israel and Palestine is illusory. It is one geographical region in dispute since the British abandoned the region. All people in the region should have the right to a dignified life, especially the indigenous people — the Palestinians.

    “If you gave me a choice to live in any country in the Middle Eastern region, I know where I’d prefer to live, without a shadow of a doubt – and it wouldn’t be the country where they amputate my hands for opposing the rulers or stone to death my wife for being raped.”

    I don’t think they do either of those things in Palestine. That is a discriminatory generalisation.

    Cheers! 🙂
    Eric

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