You know me pretty well by now. After the last few weeks of war in the Mid East, you’re likely expecting me to stand up for Israel, suggest she receive special privileges, special treatment, less criticism from the media and so on.
Would it surprise you then, if I do just the opposite and say straight out Israel shouldn’t be allowed any special rights?
I would suggest that Israel be given the exact treatment any other country in her situation would receive. – From the press, from the UN and from the world at large. She should not be getting more support than we would give any other nation in a time of crisis. I don’t advocate extra perks for Jewish people. Nothing over and above the norm, in fact.
What I’m asking – which seems to be too much these days – is that Israel receive the same as. Nothing less than. That this country be measured with the same measuring stick used on the rest of the world. I’m suggesting we give her a fair deal.
Consider recent events. What other nation in the world assaulted by enemy forces would be expected to:
- Turn the other cheek while her civilians are killed year after year?
- Wait for the world’s approval before defending herself from those seeking her demise?
- Use moderation when she does retaliate?
- Stop new housing developments her enemies disapprove of?
- Give up more land to her opponents—after an entire community of 8,000 Jews surrendered their homes, neighborhoods and even their occupations five years ago?
It’s time we ask whether the same expectations would apply to another nation. If there was any another country with the same life-and-death scenario, that is. If we could imagine a country where being on high military alert is the norm, where innocents are murdered by hostile forces routinely and where every boy and girl leaving high-school is called up for two to three years of active duty to defend their homeland, we could make the comparison.
Some say Israel gets what she deserves. They say her harsh treatment of 1.5 million Arabs has turned the world against her. Fingers point condemning Israel, among other things, for building the wall along the West Bank. This wall was constructed to detain Palestinians entering Israel proper and relieve them of any weapons. But instead of seeing this tactic as self-defensive, accusers label it “apartheid.” Which begs an accurate remembrance of what the term originally meant! These voices can be heard regularly, denouncing Israel for superior missiles, fighter aircraft and battle tanks and smearing her government as power-hungry, aggressive and violent in nature.
And those of us hearing these things on our evening news often believe what we’re told.
For those who believe in fair-play, the question is this: Would we allow our governments to do anything less than that if it came down to protecting our families from terrorists at large among us, our own neighbours proving positively and repeatedly that they want us dead?
When it comes down to the media and us, the reports we believe and conclusions we come to, are we unintentionally guilty of hypocrisy? Do we judge a tiny country like Israel without knowing all the facts? Or, for that matter, have we thought through all the implications of being targeted in a war-zone?
Expecting Israel to meet the same standards meted out to other nations isn’t wrong. But is that what we’re doing here?
As Israel continues surviving against the will of many, how should we respond to the voices among us calling any act of self-defense on her part “inhumane?” Should we encourage them to call Israel’s attackers to account as well? When we hear them blaming her for tensions in the Middle East and demanding Israel “exercise restraint,” would it be fair blaming the instigators as well and demanding an end to their acts of terror?
Or could it be that her critics don’t object to any acts of violence against Israel?
If we’d been assaulted by suicide bombings and devastating explosions as long as we could remember, what would our government policies look like? Would we expect our politicians to overlook murders of school children on bus trips, or their mothers killed in the marketplace? Would we object to seeing weddings blown to pieces by bomb detonations, or having another quiet restaurant dinner end in a bloodbath?
I believe we owe Israel an apology for all the years we’ve expected so much more of that country than we would expect of our own.
And that she should be praised for showing remarkable restraint.