This year, on May 14, the Nation of Israel celebrated her 74th birthday. In the shadow of the Shoah, and against all military and political odds, this small country has survived multiple invasions, continual terrorist attacks, and generations of global leaders seeking her destruction or delegitimization. Although the United Nations approved Israel’s creation in 1947, she has uniformly persecuted this democracy since the 1950s. For a century (from the 1920s to the present) key State Department leaders in the USA have been anti-Semitic and opposed any policies supporting Israel. During WWII, such sentiments kept millions of Jews from emigrating to the USA and other Western nations.
Today’s university students in the USA and Europe are subject to a barrage of agitation propaganda that accused Israel of “apartheid” policies, “war crimes” and being a European or White, “settler-colony” displacing native Palestinians. Some even question significant historic Jewish presence in the region. The BDS campaigns to cripple Israel economically and the well-funded Arab/Middle East Study centers on hundreds of universities means that most students are getting a very one-sided narrative.
Islamist and other radical politicians are proposing that the US congress declare the creation of Israel a “disaster” or “tragedy” and they encourage eliminating any aid to Israel until she relinquishes all the “occupied territories” from her 1967 Six-Day War victories.
Let’s set the facts straight and get a balanced view of historical and contemporary reality.
The Jewish people have a continual presence in the Holy Land for over 3000 years. This is verified not only in the Bible, but by numerous archeological finds.
“Palestinian” is a created national identity in the wake of pan-Arab failure to destroy Israel in the 1950s and 1960s. Arabs displaced by the war suddenly have an identity as refugees and victims, with no Arab states welcoming them as citizens. I am not minimizing their suffering, but with all the wealth available from Arab states, there should be no one in poverty.
Israel has agreed to numerous plans (1949, 1956, 1967, 1976, 1999-2000, 2010, 2015) for peace and offered 92-96% of the territory gained in 1967 in exchange for recognition, diplomatic exchange, and an end to state-sponsored terrorism. Israel is not the aggressor and her measured responses to continual terrorist attacks are models of restraint.
Israel has more than two million Arab citizens integrated into all facets of society. Contrast this with current Palestinian leaders calling for a “Jew-free” (echoes of the Shoah in Germany) state next door.
Israel is the only democracy in the region, with freedom of conscience and religion, and numerous political parties and social activists. The joke in Israel is, “Five Israelis, six political parties.” The only place in the entire Middle East where LGBTQ+ people have any liberties is in Israel.
Israel is dubbed, “start-up nation” and leads the world in many areas of agriculture, water reclamation, energy technology, medical advances, and information sciences. In fact, Israel’s sworn enemies quietly go to Jewish doctors for critical medical procedures, and Israel is exporting oil and natural gas to her neighbors.
Israel is not perfect and her own citizens are the most critical. There are Left and Right parties, and much discontent. She is working on economic and security alliances with her neighbors and remains open to peacemaking, if Arab leaders and Western elites will face the realities that she is here to stay and a good partner for freedom.
Israel is a gift to our world and we should celebrate her surviving and thriving under such adverse pressures.