This absorbing, well written, impassioned study by a historian and director of Israel's Holocaust museum provides what could be called a "moral evaluation" of the facts surrounding the historical context pertaining to the ongoing situation in the Middle East.
The book is quite powerful and transports the reader into the experience & world of the Jew with the sense of frustration being almost palpable from the text. A study that will hold the reader's attention throughout.
This is a study which exposes how the present, allegedly "flawed" perception of the Arab-Israeli conflict permeating the International community is shown to have fanned the flames of an ever increasing hatred of the Jewish people and their nation. Many readers will find this a contentious issue, but it is a worthy read irrespective of one's personal stance.
The title of this work ("Right To Exist") is said here to speak volumes in itself and is described as a damning indictment upon much of modern day society where many intellectuals & public figures (including University professors, media distorters, anti-Semites and alleged "peace activists") are said to have allegedly used their positions as platforms from which to unjustly vilify the State of Israel. The implications of their actions are discussed at various places in the text.
The book in no way objects to criticism of the Jewish State as long as that analysis of Israel is "comparative, contextual, and fair". However the book contends strongly that the Jewish nation is the only one criticized for faults that are far worse among other nations and that this criticism crosses the line from being acceptable to blatantly anti-Semitic.
The source of this work describes himself as a "lifelong liberal, peace activist and a seeker of justice", critical of some Israeli Government policies, but someone whose attitude changed following the increase of Palestinian terrorism etc. and who eventually found himself voting for the "hardline" Israeli leader Ariel Sharon.
The book begins with a description of how many innocent Jewish civilians including women, children and the elderly have been killed by Palestinian terrorists whilst the Arab World responds with more cries of "death to the Jews" whilst the rest of the World simultaneously looks away or pretends not to hear. The resounding silence being described as endorsement and support for the killers of these Jews to continue with their murderous policies.
The study proceeds to argue that there is no "cycle of violence" in the Middle East in which each side is morally culpable and moves to destroy what are described here as numerous lies and myths about the history of, as well as the ongoing, Arab-Israeli issue.
The reader is provided with quite a detailed context surrounding the beginning of the "second intifada" in relation to the offers made by Israel at the Clinton/Barak/Arafat summit and also what are called the true facts surrounding the beginning of the ensuing violence.
Another matter addressed is what is cited as the alleged "impossible task" of appeasing the Palestinian populace. Reference provided as to how lightening restrictions upon Palestinian movement for security purposes has always been accompanied by a sharp rise in Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians. The effects of all these issues on the writer are also presented together with some advice for those who consider that "peace" will result from Israel giving to the Arab world (Palestinians) the territories of the ancient Jewish homeland re-captured in 1967.
The book traces the long struggle to establish and defend the Jewish State in the face of alleged Arab resistance and International hostility arguing that it is impossible to understand the conflict in the Middle East without accepting the reality that from the very beginning the overt strategy of the Arab leadership has been to eliminate the existence of any Jewish state and to destroy the Jewish population.
The text mirrors this International hatred with reference to the vast number of Arab/Muslim sponsored UN Resolutions against the Jewish State described as being out of all proportion to other nations and issues etc. and which has seen Israel uniquely singled out for censure, divestment and boycott .
By way of comparison the reader is shown from the text that there existed a blatant disregard for any UN Resolutions within the Arab world whilst it pursued the genocide of the Jewish people from their midst during the Arab-Israeli wars which the writer proceeds to analyse in some depth throughout a large part of this study.
The reader is shown how nations are often called upon to defend their policies, and sometimes even their history, but few if any need to actually justify their existence. A process which the book cites Israel as having been mired in through the past 55 years of Palestinian terrorism and Arab rejection with nearly all of the Arab world described as still refusing to recognise the mere right of Israel to even exist. Thank you.
on 1 January 2007
In this phenomenal work,Yaakov Lozowick , the director of the archives at Yad Vashem,Israel's Holocaust Museum and the author of "Hitler's Bureucrats,The Nazi Security Police and the Banality of Evil",embarks on both a moral evaluation of Israel's wars for survival,as well as an indictment on the bigots of the world,who deny tiny Israel's right to exist.
As Cynthia Ozick describes so eloquently "The title alone - the scandal of calling into question a living nation's existence-ought to shame the prevaricators and defamers,whether they be professors in universities , media distorters,'peace activists' who justify terror,morally deformed intellectuals,self-decieving unconfessed haters,or merely the herd of the easily led"
The introduction describes why the author,a lifelong liberal and peace activist,in the wake of the collapse of the Oslo process,and Arafat's launching of war of terror against Israel's populace,voted for Ariel Sharon of the center right Likud Party,traditionallly regarded as a hawk and hardliner(although his record as Prime Minister was to prove the opposite).
Lozowick describes how former Prime Minster,the center left Ehud Barak, at Camp David 2000,offered the Palestinian Authority the whole of Gaza and almost all of the West Bank,(including most of East Jerusalem),and in response Arafat stormed out of the talks and launched a terror war against the Israeli people , in which thousands of Israeli Jews (mainly women and children) have been murdered,maimed, terrorized,widowed and orphaned.
In response to Arab terror war against them, the Israeli people voted for Ariel Sharon , war hero who had been villified by Israel's enemies around the world as well as by section of Israel's left.
The election of Sharon led to a barrage of intemperate condemmnation of Israel by the UN,the international media,world governments and groups like Amnesty International,placing all the blame for the conflict on Israel's shoulders ignoring the fact that Israel had recently chosen peace and been given a war of terror instead.
Lozowick describes some of the Arab terror , such as the shooting of ten month old Jewish infant,Shalevet Pass,in her stroller on a playground,in Hebron,the murder of five month old Yehuda Shoham who had his head smashed in by a rock thrown at his parents car, and the bombing of the Dolphin Disco in Tel Aviv,in which 17 teenagers,mostly girls, were murdered and others cruelly maimed and disfigured.
As a historian and archivist for Yad Vashem memorial,Lozowick describes how he had unearthed snap shots of some Shoah victims. For the first time , a friend of Lozowicks , saw pictures of his father as a young man ,and of his aunts, who did not survive the Shoah. He was astounded by the striking similarity of his own daughter to one of his aunts. "It was almost as if she had been given a second chance at life. For his daughter,the discovery served as a trigger to develop a serious sense of her own participation in the flow of Jewish history. Fifteen year old Malki Roth was murdered at the Sbarro pizzeria in the center of Jerusalem".Israel did not react to all of these killings , until in March 2002, an Arab suicide bomber struck at the Park Hotel in Netnaya, killing twenty-nine Jews as they sat down to the Passover seder table-the most family orientated moment of the Jewish year.
Israel reacted by launching a campaign to go after the terrorists in their own lairs,a ground asault to ensure the minimum of Arab civilians were hurt. This led to a worldwide orgy of hatred , directed at Israel, by most of the world. Shreiks of loathing told of a massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in Jenin , an allegation by the media , that turned out to be false. The massacre had not taken place. It was a blood libel. The Israelis had ensured that very few civillians had died , which lead to a greater toll of casualties among Israeli soldiers.
When Jews were massacred the world was silent , when Israel decided to act , using ethics higher than any other nation , at time of war , the world erupted into hateful hysteria against Israel and all her people.
In Chapter 1 Lozowick outlines the early history of Zionism and Jewish resettlement in Israel , explaining the depths of the ancient roots of the Jews to the Land of Israel,renamed Palestine by the Romans in 70 CE in order to cut off the Jewish historical connection to the land. He refutes hate-monger Edward Said who claims that the early Zionists were not capable as seeing the Arabs as fully human , pointing out that this in fact described rather Arab attitudes towards the Jews,with much greater justification. He also refutes the revisionist historians , who sprang up in the 1980's with the goal of distorting the history of the Land of Israel to deny any Jewish rights there. Lozowick recounts the bloody Arab pogrom against the Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1920,which started the war against the Jews presence in the Land of Israel, that has continued for the last 86 years,the 1921 attacks on Jews in Jaffa and Petach Tikva,the massacre and destruction of the ancient Jewish community of Hebron in 1929 , together with further pogroms in Jerusalem , and the Nazi-inspired war by the Arabs against the Land of Israel's Jewish population of 1936 to 1939 in which thousands of Jews were butchered.
During the British Mandate over 'Palestine' from 1917-1947,the Jews and Arabs made many of the key decisons regarding each other. The Jews made settlements a central element of their efforts , the Arabs chose violent rejection of the Jewish presence and sovereignty as their hallmark. Not much has changed in eight decades,as the author points out.
While people have been emigrating and changing the demographics of their new lands throughout human history (and it is unfair to describe this as 'colonialism') , in human history there has never been a case where a group migrated to a land it had lost for longer than living memory. Indeed very few nations have lasted over two thousand years as the Jews have. "Moreover" Lozowick reminds us,"if the Jews are a nation , how can it be moral , to deny them a place of their own , like other nations. At most you can measure the morality of a nations behaviour,not its existance."
I would go so far as to say that denying a nation's right to exist is racism,akin to Nazism,hence in the opinion of the reviewer anti-Zionism is Nazism.
From 1920 Jews have been attacked in the Land of Israel because they are Jews , because the Arabs did not want Jews in 'Palestine' ,hence the fashionable distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is a false one.
The author also describes two parallel developments during the British Mandate , the immigration of Arabs into 'Palestine' by the hundreds of thousands -too many Arab villages were growing up next to Jewish ones to fast to be explained merely as natural population growth. While the British recorded the statistics of Jewish immigration ,they did not count the masses of Arabs crossing into the Palestine Mandate.
Secondly the hundreds of thousands of Jews clamouring to get out of Europe , and into 'Palestine' were blocked from doing so , and were mostly dead by 1945. " Every single Jew who wanted to immigrate to Palestine,but was denied the chance by the growing restrictions , can be laid to the account of Palestinian violence and British appeasement;the number probably runs to the hundreds of thousands. Even this small fraction of Jewish dead exceeds all of the losses of Palestinian lives in the conflict with Zionism...the Palestinian decision at this time was to join the anti-Jewish camp at it's violent edge. Let this be kept in mind when the Palestinian propagandists decry their victimization by the victims of the Nazis."
The author also points out how although millions of people around the world , have been made into refugees , the only ones not to have been resettled have been the Palestinian Arabs, who have retained their refugee status,in order to use it as a weapon against Israel. This in contrast to the 700 000 Jewish refugees expelled , after generations, from Arab countries in 1948,and all were resettled in Israel.
The author,while pointing out that Israeli actions have not always been perfect or praiseworthy, have been of higher moral calibre than all other armies in wartime,regardles of all the sick propaganda to the contrary. He points out that never has a Jew entered a Palestinian home and killed a Palestinian child in her bed,as Arabs have done countless times to Jewish children.
Lozowick still believes that the time may still come for a peace deal ,leading to two states living side by side,but that first the Arabs must genuinely accept Israel's right to exist,and give up the dream of controlling all of the Land of Israel,which would lead to the entire land being completely emptied of Jews,as most of Europe would be during World War II.
The author believes that this will take many generations, well over a century,before they realize that they cannot drive the Jews out.
It would help of course if they were not encouraged in their genocidal dreams,by far-left bigots in academia,the media, NGO's and politics to name a few of the hotbeds of anti-Israel hate.
The Right of Israel to exist is what the conflict is all about and always has been ,not about 'occupation,'apartheid',refugees',or any of the other Goebellesque propaganda ploys designed to set up Israel and her people for destruction i.e to prepare a second holocaust.