Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Non Existent Two State Solution

Eight European Union members said today that any future peace plan that was not based on the "two state solution" would fail.

This statement by France, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and Italy, is not based on any kind of logic. It's not based on any kind of reality. It's not based on anything even remotely sane.

It is based on a policy of appeasement that says that if you give into the unending demands of the Arabs, then surely, SURELY, there'll be peace.

For too long, the whole conflict between Israel and the 'palestinians' has been labelled as Israel’s responsibility. Israel’s fault. Israel the cause. Israel the guilty one. Israel must solve it. Pressure must be placed on Israel.

Well, I maintain a different approach.

There is a conflict, but it’s not between Israel and the 'palestinians' – it’s between the Arabs and themselves. Because if a new country called 'Palestine' was created today, does any logical and reasonable person seriously expect us to believe that peace will suddenly reign across the region? How is it that a 23rd Arab state will be that missing link between peace and war, when 22 Arab states have not been able to achieve that already?

Here’s a newsflash – if Israel ever does disappear, do not expect peace to come to the world. Do not expect people to lay down their weapons and hold hands while dancing around a campfire, chanting songs of love to the moon. Do not expect world hunger to end. Do not expect some kind of outbreak of goodwill to sweep the nations. Not only will none of this happen – the exact opposite of it will. Because without this little bastion of democracy and defiance against the oppressive countries surrounding it, a dark wave of Islamic Fascism will sweep the region and then the world. In Europe this has already begun, and citizens in Germany and France and Belgium and Sweden have lost the sense of security they might have once felt.

Many don't get this blatantly obvious fact, perhaps governed by the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism, or perhaps under the influence of those petro-fumes, or perhaps powered by a naivety in the same way Neville Chamberlain was back in 1938. Too many countries are too scared to call out the Arabs for their lack of human rights, their war mongering diatribes, their racism and their antisemitism. They continue to treat them with a respect they don't deserve. But by refusing to confront them, it hasn't helped peace at all. If anything, it did the opposite, because what this soft attitude essentially did was absolve the Arab world of any responsibility towards the Middle East. And without any responsibility, there is also no accountability.

World leaders are not prepared to deliver this lesson to the Arab world – out of fear that the black gold we depend on will dry up. Instead the world continues to pander to them, stroke their fragile egos, and speak of shared values! I mean seriously - can anyone name one shared value the western democratic world shares with the Arab world - other than the exploding rate of antisemitism!

They treat them and still do with more respect than they do Israel – the country that actually does share many of the same values.

And I could never quite understand how it is that those that call themselves progressive can attack the only country in the region that actually is? Are we supposed to believe that the values people hold in Europe or the USA are more similar to the Arab world and the 'Palestinian authority' than to Israel – values such as freedom of speech, democracy and the right to choose who your partner is?

Because I certainly don’t remember pride rallies in Iran, or freedom of speech in Saudi Arabia, or democracy in Qatar or Kuwait. And celebrating that women can now supposedly drive in Saudi Arabia is not really something to be hailed – when women still need written permission from their husbands or still have to be accompanied by a male relative.

The two state solution was never alive because the Arab leaders were never prepared to accept the responsibility that goes along with the rewards. But there is responsibility for the conflict, and to make Israel the cause of it is an injustice that continues to this day. If you want to look for responsibility look no further than the leader of the 'palestinians,' who refuses to lead. Look no further than their education system that preaches hatred, funded by the United Nations. Look no further than the official imams who spew hatred from their mosques. And considering that they financially reward those who murder children should tell you everything you need to know about their morality.

The stark reality is that we live in a world that places a higher value on fascism than it does on freedom.

The end to the conflict between Israel and the 'palestinians' does not lie in giving up minuscule land that will make no difference to the Arab world. It does not lie in dividing Jerusalem, a city that was never desired as a capital by any other people in history but the Jews. It certainly doesn’t lie in releasing prisoners whose blood soaked hands who will only kill again.

It lies in the Arab world accepting that they can’t have every inch of land in the vast Middle Eastern region. It lies in the 'palestinians' accepting that the State of Israel is not a colonial force or a foreign entity, but an integral part of that region with a history far longer than their own invented one. And it lies in the Arab world accepting their so-called refugees – who are Arabs like them – the way the world has accepted refugees from all over.

Until world leaders start pushing for freedom in the Arab world the way they say they value it, rather than rewarding fascism as they are doing now – then peace will remain as elusive now as it ever was before.

And any peace process is already doomed to failure.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Hanukkah – The Battle That Never Ended

Hanukkah is the story of a time in Jewish history when the world was covered in darkness. When the joy of a people was snuffed out. When the dreams of a nation had been squashed. And when the hopes of all of us were suffocated under the weight of oppression.

But from the darkest moments in our history, comes our greatest light.

More than 2000 years ago, the Land of Israel was under Syrian-Greek occupation and Antiochus, the Greek ruler of the time had declared war against the Jewish people. 
He wanted to destroy the individuality of the Jews, who stubbornly refused to give up their ways and traditions by outlawing all Jewish religious traditions and rites. He replaced the righteous High Priest in the Jewish Temple with a Hellenistic Jew, which was basically an assimilated Jew who had rejected his own culture to embrace the Greek one. He then enacted a series of harsh decrees against the Jewish people by making it illegal to keep the Sabbath, perform circumcisions and keep kosher dietary laws. His servants even tried to force a 90 year old man, Rabbi Eliezer, to eat pork and when he refused, was put to death.

Thousands of others were murdered when they too refused to abandon their traditions.

Antiochus’s servants went from town to town, village to village, forcing the Jewish population to worship their false idols.

There was only one area that remained a refuge, an area in the Judean hills – the same area today which the world likes to call ‘occupied palestinian territory.’

Here, the Jews refused to bow down to the false gods of Antiochus – and so they revolted, started by a man called Mattityahu and then continued by his son, Judah Maccabee.
The line had been drawn, and loyal and courageous Jews fell in behind the Maccabees, determined to keep their way of life alive.

Antiochus was enraged and sent in his generals with tens of thousands of men to wipe out Judah and his Maccabean followers and although the Maccabees were vastly outnumbered, they succeeded in defeating the army, armed by a strong spirit of faith and belief.

But despite this unbelievable military victory, this wasn’t even the miracle of Hanukkah.

The miracle occurred later when they managed to liberate the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and after clearing out all the idols, and cleaning up all the destruction and the vandalism that had occurred, they wanted to rededicate the Temple, but the golden menorah had already been stolen by the Syrians, so they built a cheap metal one instead.
With a small vial of oil that they had discovered, enough for just one day, they lit the menorah.

Except instead of flickering out in the morning light, it continued to burn for a further seven more, until more oil could be produced.

The darkness of the time has been vanquished and replaced by the simple light of a flickering flame that wouldn’t die.

So too are the Jewish people, who somehow fight against a world in which many want to snuff out their light as well, want to vanquish them from their land, want to remove them from history and somehow pretend they didn’t exist.

Just like that flickering flame, they too refuse to die, refuse to lie down, refuse to be defeated and refuse to succumb to harsh dictators who want to destroy them.
We fight back not simply to survive, but to live as Jews in our own land, carrying out our own traditions and our own ways of life, allowing our one small light to illuminate the world.

The story of Hanukkah may have taken place over 2000 years ago, but that wasn’t the end of the story. 

It was only the beginning.

Because the same fight led by a bunch of crazy zealots in the Judean hills is happening today. And every time we stand up for our way of life, for our land, for our people and for our freedom, the spirit of the Maccabees lives on in all of us.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Israel's "risks for peace"

I am sooooo tired of hearing how Israel must "take risks for peace." Israel is a tiny little country surrounded by countries hundreds of times bigger with some of the most despicable regimes in history. Around them are dictatorships that have ethnically cleansed Jews and Christians from among their population. The palestinian authority tortures its own people and puts them in jail if they don't like what they say about their corrupt criminal leader Abbas. Hamas executes people through their fake inJustice system, uses women and children as human shields, and then complains about being labelled as a terrorist organiation. Saudi Arabia chops off womens heads in the streets, makes all other religions illegal, denies entry to non-Muslims, funds fascists mosques who preach hatred around the world, and then somehow convenes a commitee to fight terrorism. Seriously?? Lebanon is run by a terrorist entity called Hezbollah, which has built up its arsenal to higher levels than before the last war with Israel, despite the UN resolution that was supposed to make this illegal. And the UN forces on the ground... well... they kind of just drive around in their jeeps "keeping the peace" by doing what they are very good at doing: nothing. Egypt kicks people out of their homes to declare a 2 kilometer security buffer zone with Gaza, builds walls - and then still leads the UN in resolutions condemning Israel for anything that can come up with. Jordan, the hypocritical fake regime, goes on about being the custodian of religous freedom in Jerusalem, yet ethnically cleansed Jews from the Old city of Jerusalem and destroyed and desecrated all the Jewish religious institutions, including tombstones. How low and sick can you go? Arab countries have kept the so-called Palestinian refugees in camps, denying them access to healthcare and employment while still bleating on about "justice for the palestinians." There is no justice in these countries. There is no freedom. There are no rights. Gays are thrown off buildings. Women have minimal rights - if any. There is zero democracy and zero accountability. And you know what the crazy thing is... these are considered the 'moderate' Arab countries!! Meanwhile, despite all these nightmarish countries, who salivate at the thought of carrying out another genocide against the Jews if given half a chance, Israel remains a country that is vibrant with freedom and democracy. Israel contributes so much to the world, while these fascist entities around it contribute nothing. So I don't think Israel should take any "risks for peace" at all. I don't think they should take one single risk that endangers one single citizen. If the Arab world want to benefit from the success Israel has, it is THEY who should take 'risks' - 'risks' that cost them nothing, it is THEY who should make peace, the way Israel has tried for almost 70 years. It is THEY who should give up on their dream of destroying the Jewish state, whose history goes back further than any of theirs. The world has confused itself in thinking Israel is the heart of the problems in the Middle East. It is the exact opposite, Israel is the only beacon of stability there.

Because the problems of the Middle East is not caused by Israel, but by the multitude of fascist Arab countries around it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Star of David is Burning Once Again

The Star of David is burning in the streets of Europe once again. In Berlin, Israeli flags are set alight. And in Sweden, synagogues are attacked by mobs, while children hide inside in fear. Outside the US embassy in London, there are protests calling for "Death to Jews.' They are shouting “Jews, remember Khaybar the army of Muhammad is returning” referring to the battle of Khaybar in the year 628, in which a Muslim army massacred Jews in the town of the same name in what is now modern day Saudi Arabia. Now people will tell you, it's because America recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital. They'll tell you that this recognition has inflamed the world! They'll say Trump wants war! But they'd be wrong. Because there is a reason they call antisemitism the oldest hatred of all. And well before Donald Trump's announcement, antisemitism had already risen to levels not seen since before World War 2. In France, Jews cannot walk openly wearing religious garb without fear of attack. And in Germany, Jewish community leaders tell their people to remove their kippot and avoid any signs that show they are Jewish. In America, Jewish college students cannot openly support Israel for fear of being violently attacked by anti-Israel student mobs, who tell you they are liberal and believe in freedom. These violent groups are supported by professors who espouse the same hatred of Israel in their lectures. Jerusalem is just another excuse in a long line of excuses for anti-semitic violence. Two weeks ago ‘Death to the kikes’ was painted on a Jewish charity in Ukraine. French synagogues have been attacked and Jews have been murdered at a Jewish school in Toulouse, including young children. In many parts of the Arabic world and the Muslim world, Israeli flags are constantly burnt, the holocaust denied, and antisemitic television shows is commonplace. There is no corner in the world safe from the long reaching tentacles of antisemitism. And yet, we are told it's because Israel exists - THAT is the reason. The world was fine before then. But you see...before there was such a thing as the State of Israel, Jews were being burnt in the ovens of Europe. Jews were being massacred by people who they used to live with in peace as neighbours. Jewish men, women and children were shot down in ditches, while many local people stood by, quite satisified to have their "Jewish problem" solved. People are quite happy to ignore the inconvenient fact that the leader of the Arabs of palestine worked quite openly with Hitler to carry out his "Final Solution" hoping to replicate the 'success' of Europe against the Jews in the Holy Land too. Countries who could have saved their lives, shut their doors to these desperate people trying to flee Europe, saying they didn't want an 'alien element' that would cause trouble. "Jews get out!" they shouted in the streets of Europe. "Go to palestine" they sceeched, laughing as they were driven from their homes. It's because of Israel that antisemitism exists. That's what people say. That's what they want you to believe. That's what they tell each other to make themselves feel better. It's just another excuse in a long line of neverending excuses. The Star of David is burning in the streets of Europe once more. Except it's not 1938 or 1940 or 1942. It's 2017 and the oldest hatred of all is alive and well.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A diaspora Jew

There's something that needs to be said about Jews in the diaspora, of which I'm one. In America, there are many Jews, mainly from the conservative or reform movements, who seem to be demanding that Israel must do certain things to keep them happy, such as recognising certain laws that are not part of Jewish halachic law, or opening up the Kotel to mixed prayer areas - even though they already exist!! Some of them even embrace anti-semities because they misguidedly say that social justice somehow means they need to criticise Israel. They say Israel is insulting them, but I think it's the opposite - it is THEY who are insulting Israel. For Israel is a Jewish country, not a religious one, but one whose principles are undoubtedly Jewish. In Israel, you can live any kind of life you like and how observant or non observant you are is totally up to you, yet it is has to be within the Jewish nature of the country. However, for those who demand that Israel must be exactly like every other country such as America or Australia or Britain are missing the point entirely. I think the vast majority of Jews in the world do not want Israel to be carbon copies of other countries. They want Shabbat to mean something special, even if they don't celebrate it. They want to hear the sirens on Yom Hazikaron and Yom Hashoa as everyone stops to observe those special moments. They want to celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut with street parties. They want the country to go quiet during Yom Kippur even if they don't fast themselves. And these are things that are unique in Israel - no other country in the world can celebrate Jewish joy so fully or reflect on Jewish sadness with such depth as they do in Israel. Israel is the centralising figure of the Jewish world - it's where we turn in prayer, where we look to for inspiration, where we beam with pride and honour. For Jews, Israel is our home, spiritual at this point, maybe physical at a later point, but it is the centre of the Jewish world. And outside Israel, our job is to support that country and that spirit and to respect how lucky we are in the world - not just the Jews in Israel, but outside Israel too, for our lives would not be our lives without Israel there to protect us. Without the shield of Israel existing for us, I shudder at what our fates could be. All we need to do is look around the world with its growing anti-semitism to realise that. But it's more than that - for Israel will always be the place where we can truly flourish as a people. And even if there are problems there, it's no different to any other country, except that it remains the place we Jews can truly call home. Our job in the diaspora is to support that vision and if we are so upset at what the Israeli government is doing, and if we can't sleep at night because we don't like the way they are going, then the only place to change that is from within, not spitting from the sidelines like some spoilt kid. The reality of today is that the Jewish population in America will diminish over the next few decades as they forget what being Jewish means, their intermarriage rates increase and they gradually forget the importance of Israel to their Jewish world. Israel remains our hope that the Jewish future will be bright and strong. It is the land of our past but more importantly, the land of our future.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A promise that will hold forever

4000 years ago, one man changed the world. He looked around him and saw a world he could not believe in. He saw a world he could not relate to. He saw a world he didn't believe in. And rather than be a part of it, he decided to stand separately. He decided to stand independently. He decided to stand alone. He believed in a single God, rather than the multitude of idols around him.

That man was Abraham and his covenant with God made him the first Jew - our original forefather. And in the same covenant, God promised him a land of milk and honey, a land in which the Jews would be able to call their own. It was a belief so strong that it caused Abraham to leave everything he ever knew and his whole life behind him and journey to a strange new land, a strange new world, and a whole new begining.

He was a simple man with a simple belief - a belief that changed everything we thought we knew.

One man.

And on that journey he began - a journey we still carry on today - he met many people and travelled to many places and had many adventures. But most importantly, he became the father of a people that still exist today. A people who still live in that same land promised 4000 years ago. A people who still believe in that promise, eventhough the world doesn't.

But Abraham was a man of the future, not the past. So he decided to purchase a cave and the surrounding land from a guy called Ephron. He paid him 400 shekels of silver in a deal, complete with witnesses and documentation. And with this purchase, he established that Hebron would belong to the Jewish people forever and ever. It was a place that he and his family would be buried, to rest forever on Jewish land.

Yesterday, UNESCO, who is supposed to safeguard the cultural and historical heritage of people, decided to declare that deal and void. They decided to erase history. They decided, rather than safeguard the cultural integrity of the Jewish people, to destroy it instead.

Or attempt to.

Because a collection of countries, many which don't even give their citizens basic human rights, don't get to decide on this. They have no authority. They have no right. They have no integrity. And they have no shame.

The UNESCO vote is not about culture or history or freedom or democracy or safeguarding anything. It has nothing to do with Hebron or Jerusalem. It has only to do with destroying the Jewish people, their rights, their history, their culture, their link to a land promised to them 4000 years earlier.

But history is an old beast, and it remembers things, long after those who have passed through it have faded away.

The dream of UNESCO, the Arab world and all those others to destroy the Jewish people will fail.

For the covenant made by Abraham is eternal and still very much intact.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Our eternal city of Jerusalem

Once more UNESCO passed an anti-Israel resolution today, rejecting Israeli sovereignty and calling it an occupying power in Jerusalem. But you know what... as angry and annoyed as we might feel, this vote doesn't really make a difference, because Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish world for so so long, so much longer than any of the countries that voted against us today. For over 3000 years since King David first proclaimed it as our capital, it has never left our hearts. It has never left our minds. It has never left our prayers. It is so ingrained in us as a people that no force on earth will be able to change that - least of all an insignificant organisation dominated by Arab dictatorships and human rights violators who contribute nothing to the world, but continued fanaticism. I was there earlier this year, walking the streets of the Old City, feeling its smooth limestone under my fingertips. I walked in small alleyways, where stories from thousands of years ago were still being told. I walked in large plazas, where the din of Jewish spiritual awakening continues to this day. I gazed with wonder as ancient synagogues rose up again, after being destroyed by the Jordanian occupying forces, who still bleat on about being the custodians of the Old City and protecting its religious institutions. I climbed rooftops and walked upon ancient buildings, taking in the kaleidoscope of colours that greeted me in the most unique view on earth. I watched tourists from a thousand places mingle among my fellow Jews, walking in awe, walking in wonder, walking in the footsteps of history in the heart of the Jewish world. How lucky I was to be there in God's own city, and how lucky I was to be in a place that had dominated the dreams and hopes and aspiration of an ancient people - my people. So resolution after resolution may pass, and condemnation after condemnation may pass too. But they are like dust blowing through the winds of time. Long after those who want to rip Jerusalem away from us are gone, she will remain standing, shimmering in the morning sun, glistening in the evening dusk, glowing under the eternal heavens. And we, the Jewish people, will be standing right alongside her.