The Love That Dare Not Speak Its' Name

I almost got lynched last week. Right in the middle of a dinner party. Why? Because I did something that's most uncool now in Britain. I defended Israel. I even - brace yourselves - called myself a zionist.

The topic of the Middle East had arisen over coffee. Inevitably, someone mentioned Israel. After listening for five minutes, I had to conclude there must be TWO countries on this planet with the same name. Because I sure as hell didn't recognise the Israel being described.

For this one was now teeming with psychotic Jewish soldiers, all merrily murdering innocent Palestinians.

And this Israeli government was fiendishly plotting to gobble up the entire Middle East. No country in the region was safe!

Oh, and let's not forget the 'genocide' that was occurring at such a fast rate that my goodness, pretty soon there wouldn't be any Palestinians LEFT!

And on it went. I blinked in astonishment as I heard Israel described variously as 'huge', 'powerful', 'fascist' and assorted other nasty things.

I was bewildered. I mean, 'big'? Israel? Hardly. Look at any map of the region and trust me, you'll be hard pushed to even see the Jewish state. She takes up less than 1% of the Middle East.

I also reminded my fellow diners that as the number of Palestinians is steadily increasing, clearly there is no 'genocide'. Especially since news crews, complete with cameras, are an ever present fixture. Could anyone present verify their charge of state sanctioned 'ethnic cleansing'? Please?

I asked ever so nicely. Did they have any facts? Figures? Anything? No? Apparently not.

Oh, and out of interest, how many present had ever set foot on Israeli soil?

Let me stress: these people were not bigots. They were not anti semites. Probably not a racist bone in their pale British bodies. They didn't mean to bash Israel: they thought they were merely stating fact. Which makes it more alarming, somehow...

'But you can't deny that Israel is a racist state,' one of the guys at the table glared at me.
'How so?' I enquired.
'Well, we all know that only Jews can become citizens,' he snapped, 'If that's not racist, what is?' Nods from the others, several of whom were now sending me baleful glances.
So I explained that almost 30% of Israeli citizens are not Jewish. More: there are several Arab politicians in the knesset, the parliament. And anyone of any faith can apply for citizenship, as with any other nation. People seem to forget that Israel is the only true democracy in the whole Middle East.

At this point, one of the women arched an eyebrow and indicated my pendant, which has my name in Hebrew. 'Yeah but hang on - you're Jewish! Naturally you're biased when it comes to Israel.'

And there you have it. The argument always used when a Jew defends the Jewish state. You're biased.

Please, somebody tell me: since when does stating objective, verifiable fact, equal 'bias'???

Let's take that 'logic' a bit further, shall we? No woman can discuss abortion: for clearly she'll be 'biased'. No black person can describe the racism they suffer or refer to slavery: after all, they're hardly objective, right? And how can any Arab make any point about anything in the Middle East? They control 99.9% of it, so they're bound to be partisan!

Yet strangely, I've yet to hear this charge of 'bias' applied to any group other than Jews who defend the Jewish state.

And then of course, it happened. Someone came out with the one allegation that makes every Jew see red and which offends many non Jews too. The allegation that right now seems to be voiced every other week. It appears in letters sent to newspapers, it's voiced on radio shows. I've heard it trotted out by people whose geographical knowledge is so poor they think the 'Middle East' is the new Curry restaurant in their high street.

'Ironic, isn't it? After all you Jews have suffered, you lot are the new Nazis.'

My, but how extraordinary!

When American troops went pouring into Afghanistan and Iraq, unpopular though that was, they were never called 'Nazis'.

When Britain entered into a war with Argentina over the Falklands, a piece of rock in the middle of nowhere that nobody ever looked twice at, those British soldiers were not referred to as 'Nazis'.

And when terrorists plotted and planned for years before slaughtering thousands of innocents in New York and London, well, even THEY were not quite 'Nazis'.

Oh, but the Israelis...

How DARE they put up checkpoints to stop terrorists making it into packed restaurants, schools and hospitals!

How DARE they seek to protect citizens from those who, in the past, have dressed up as pregnant women and orthodox Jews and have managed to slip through and detonate their deadly bombs!

How terribly aggressive of those blasted Jews, for claiming the right to defend themselves from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and all the Arab nations that still openly admit their desire to wipe Israel off the map!

I pointed this out to my fellow diners. One or two of them looked thoughtful. Most were dismissive. A few gave me the cold shoulder. Then someone changed the subject and for that night at least, Israel was off the hook.

Not for long, though. In the UK, Israel bashing is our new national sport. And going for gold medal is - cue drum roll please - the BBC. Closely followed in second place by the Guardian newspaper.

Thus the BBC will cover terror attacks on Israel by showing the grieving mother of the suicide bomber - and ignoring the grieving relatives of the dead Israelis. Of course, that's when they deign to cover the attacks at all.

Half the time, they don't even bother to mention them. Unless those dying are Palestinian. Then it's often the lead story. And for anyone who doesn't believe this, check out the detailed study done of the BBC's coverage of the Middle East, here:

As for the Guardian, well, don't even get me started. Nobody's asking them to be 'pro' Israel but a passing acquaintance with the facts would be nice.

Don't think any of this really matters? Think again. In 2007 we saw a mass rally of Brits marching through the streets of London, screaming and chanting 'Death To Israel', and brandishing banners which read, chillingly: WE ARE ALL HEZBOLLAH

That's right. Hordes of British people, publicly swearing allegiance to a known terrorist group. Watching this on T.V. I fought an urge to grab my passport and catch the next plane to Israel. I love Britain but I'll admit - that scared me.

And physical attacks on British Jews have got so bad that in Manchester, Jews walking to synagogue must now have a police escort. Jewish schools have to install bomb-proof glass in all the windows. Two NON Jewish MPs have launched a parliamentary enquiry into the level of anti semitism now occurring in the UK.
Is it coincidence that all this comes after years of Israel being demonised in the British media?

Brits are tolerant, decent, and fair. But when fed this constant diet of anti Israel junk by their own media, why wouldn't they conclude that Israel is the villain of the piece?

Now if humanly possible, I'd be there every damn time someone bashed Israel unfairly. Indeed, there are days when reading and hearing some of the garbage that passes as 'fact' about the Jewish state, it is all I can do not to scream.

Are you now thinking I view Israel through rose-coloured glasses?

I don't claim that Israel is some utopia, in which innocent blood is never spilled. Israelis and Palestinians are both dying. And from what I can see, they both bleed red.

Nor do I claim that every Israeli soldier is some little cherub, complete with wings, harp and halo. There are good soldiers and bad soldiers. As in any other army.

But tell me - have you seen the touching pictures of young Israeli soldiers playing with Palestinian children and looking after them? No? Quelle surprise. I'll be giving a link to them on another page; check them out. You won't be seeing them on the BBC any time soon.

My point: Israel is a country like any other. How would the UK react if Islamic terrorists, every day, launched rockets into towns and killed innocent British citizens? That's what's happening in the Israel town of Sderot, as I sit and type this.

Israelis live their lives on constant red alert. Some people know this, but just shake their heads and tut, thinking that hey, they 'stole' the land and are now getting their just desserts, well, newsflash: Arab leaders themselves admit this is NOT what happened.

Want proof? You betcha. I'll give you quotes from Muslim and Arab leaders who openly admit that they, not the Jews, made the Palestinians flee their homes back in 1948, so as to avoid the five Arab armies poised to attack.

I realise I can't persuade anyone to love Israel as much as I admittedly do. But if I can maybe stop even one person from hating her, just by giving them verifiable, objective FACTS, then that's a start.

After all, nobody wants to base their beliefs on errors and lies, right? That really would be biased...

London Jewess

4th January 2008


Anonymous said...

Good for you! The world is never as black and white as people seem to think, and there is culpability on all sides in this mess. Israel has been fighting for its survival since its establishment sixty years ago, so it has learnt to deal harshly with those who refuse to accept its existence (such as Hamas and Hezbollah), but it has also demonstrated willingness to make peace with those who will accept it (Egypt and Jordan).

Juggling Frogs said...

Mazal tov Paperback/Zionista!

Welcome to the blogosphere.

Hatzlacha raba with this new project.

rachel f said...

Wow, that sounds soooo familiar! I can't count the number of times I've dealt with people who have NO idea of reality; they only think Israel is some horrific menace to world peace and harmony (whereas, of course, Hezbollah and their fellow terrorists are really freedom fighters).

Great job!
rachel f

mama_pajama_1 said...

STANDS and applauds.

thank you

Anonymous said...

Wow. Nicely stated.

Rhemasonador said...

I kind of feel sorry for you. You are bright and articulate yet you are in a culture that is so very much against your tradition and I doubt if it will get any better.

You seem to be trying to reason with the unreasonable and that is not only futile but could also be dangerous.

Be careful

sue said...

Wow! politics at a dinner party? Isn't that the ultimate faux pas?

No wonder things got out of hand.

We face the same things here in the US. People just don't get it. I've heard the most heinous things that Israel is "supposed" to have done. And nobody ever mentions that many (I can't quote any kind of percentage) Palestinian victims (of violence perpetrated by both 'armies') lie in pain and dying with ambulances (red crescent) just standing there, watching, as they will go to paradise, if left to die. Then their deaths are, of course, blamed on the Israeli army.

Gnrjames said...

Hi I just dropped in to read your new blog page and what a thunderous opening on racist views of the uneducated on feeding articles that appear in newspapers and other media outlets.

It is sad that the Muslims are starting to get their own way here in Australia but with lots of condemnations for concerned Australians who really don't want them living next door to the Aussie life.

I lay the blame squarely at the feet of the extremists who think they can bully their way around the world for their own particular agenda. We see it to often in the world today and the moderates hid behind the vail of no comment or just bury themselves in the sand of dismay.

Albeit I will again try to log this comment and I might have to have another blog name by the looks of it. Happy days there Paperback Writer and good luck with your PhD from Dropshortandduck Downunder in Wonderland of Oz.

jwinden said...

I just read your post about Israel.
I'd be proud to have you read my posts and I will follow yours. Not only do you make a lot of sense but you right beautifully. Both qualities are rare here in the US.
Thanks for your post.
Joe W

Sam from NY said...

If your blog happened to be a book,
I would purchase a few copies for myself,
and one for each of my friends and family.
Not only because I have agreed with every statement in it, but because there are facts in there that most people just don't seem to get. Keep it up!

cnjrtom (Jen) said...

A fact often forgotten is, the Israelis aren't trying to protect only themselves, but also the, I'm guessing millions, or at least many thousands, of Christian tourists who come there each year to see their holy sites! Do they think they would have any access to those sites if the Muslims controlled the land? No, I guarantee you a mosque would pop up very quickly on each one.

Anonymous said...

I find myself adding your posts to my bookmarks semi-frequently, I should set up an RSS feed.

Anonymous said...

Wow, after reading these few blogs, I've been completely turned around! I never knew that Jordan was originally part of Palestine. You see, the problem in the US is that our media is so ridiculously biased TOWARDS Israel that people get sick of it and look for alternative sources. Unfortunately, all of the other sources are ridiculously biased towards Palestine. It was good to read objective and historical facts. Even though both claims to ancestral right to the land make no sense to me (since the Jewish people originally moved onto the Canaanites and all those other guy's land) I now realize that both sides have equally nonsensical claims, and they each deserve a part of the land. I do still think that Jerusalem should be divided though, maybe even into three sections, since it is such a controversial place. And I don't agree at all with the harebrained scheme to demolish the Dome of the Rock, I'm not sure who's bright idea that is. Imagine how the Muslim community reacted to a cartoon, then imagine how they'd react to the demolition of their third most sacred mosque. A chilling idea to entertain...

Anyway, great blog, and I love your answers and questions in R&S...

Shinkirou Hasukage

tramanmann said...

i don't even know where to start! it sickens me to know that there are people out there who claim to know every thing about this big jewish conspiracy, yet know nothing about judaism. i live in the us and where i work there is this guy who is very, no extremely anti-zionist and fundamentally muslim. constantly he tells me about something he has read over the internet about how the zionist seek world domination and that "true jews" don't support the "zionist entity." i try to reason with him but to no avail. he has in his mind that any thing else is lies made to fool him by the "zionist" in essence jews. i try to not let it bother me but i can't. he knows nothing about judaism but claims to hold its only truth in the plam of his hand.i have no one to talk to about this because i'm the only one in my house who hasn't converted to christianity and my temple is between rabbis. i wish i had your eloquence and intellegence to write about the facts. thank you! comfort at last!