This past week has witnessed a volcanic eruption of hypocrisy, falsehoods and double standards on a massive scale…writes Michael Kuttner.
It all happened when the Knesset passed a law which designates Israel as “the national home of the Jewish People.” That this self-evident fact for anyone conversant with our historical experiences should cause so many to recoil in horror speaks volumes about the level of deliberate ignorance and malice prevailing in certain circles.
Once the media had the bit between its teeth disinformation spread like a wildfire out of control. Ignoring facts all those participating in this Israel bashing fiesta have had an orgy of organized scapegoating.
It is instructive to analyse who exactly jumped onto the bandwagon as it hurtled down the path of lies and distorted assumptions.
Those Israeli politicians (current, disgraced, retired and aspiring) who sensed an opportunity to “stick” it to the governing coalition naturally garnered plenty of publicity for their opposition. Zionist parties suddenly, and not for the first time, found themselves in the dubious company of parliamentarians dedicated to the disappearance of any sort of Jewish State. The latter ironically protesting the “death” of democracy demonstrated that in fact democracy was alive and kicking in the corridors of power. If they would have attempted a similar charade in any other Islamic country they would have been promptly hauled off and never been seen again.
Politicians in other countries, some with dubious democratic records, taking their lead from a whipped up media, thereupon pontificated with varying degrees of hysteria and our usual fair weather “friends” all found time to scold, admonish and offer gratuitous advice.
Right on cue and acting according to a predictable script there was a collective condemnation and predictions of dire consequences from the Islamic world. Very few of them would even know what human rights, freedom of religion and democracy was all about. Some of them had in the past ethnically cleansed Jews from their midst and others currently forbid the presence of Jews and Christians. The PA threatens any Arab selling land to Jews with death while Jordan also forbids any sale. The latter country has a proven track record when it comes to expelling Jews and destruction of Jewish property. The collective chorus of hypocritical hype emanating from the Arab League is like a worn out recording which deserves to be ignored.
Not to be outdone Diaspora “machers” and Jewishly detached individuals spouted nonsensical rubbish and thereby demonstrated either their ultra left leanings or total detachment from and ignorance of the true situation in Israel. Critical comments and observations are of course part of democratic norms but when those doing the criticising are bereft of basic facts and instead engage in knee jerk media led fantasies it is no wonder that a chasm develops.
Describing the legislation as apartheid, death of democracy, right-wing fascism and other such slanders not only is disgusting but so far from the truth that it borders on deliberate misrepresentation. Those Jewish leaders who shout these canards play into the hands of a willing media and haters of Israel and Jews.
As a guide to the perplexed and for those wondering what all this fuss is about and for anyone who has already been seduced by the avalanche of lies here is a succinct summary of the legislation in question. Judge for yourselves whether it is as evil as it is being portrayed.
The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established.
The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.
The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
The name of the state is “Israel.”
The state flag is white with two blue stripes near the edges and a blue Star of David in the center.
The state emblem is a seven-branched menorah with olive leaves on both sides and the word “Israel” beneath it.
The state anthem is “Hatikvah.”
Details regarding state symbols will be determined by the law.
Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.
The state’s language is Hebrew.
The Arabic language has a special status in the state; Regulating the use of Arabic in state institutions or by them will be set in law.
This clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.
The state will be open for Jewish immigration and the ingathering of exiles.
The state will strive to ensure the safety of the members of the Jewish people in trouble or in captivity due to the fact of their Jewishness or their citizenship.
The state shall act within the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between the state and members of the Jewish people.
The state shall act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious heritage of the Jewish people among Jews in the Diaspora.
The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.
The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state and alongside it the Gregorian calendar will be used as an official calendar. Use of the Hebrew calendar and the Gregorian calendar will be determined by law.
Independence Day is the official national holiday of the state.
Memorial Day for the Fallen in Israel’s Wars and Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day are official memorial days of the State.
The Sabbath and the festivals of Israel are the established days of rest in the state; Non-Jews have a right to maintain days of rest on their Sabbaths and festivals.
Any level-headed people reading these principles carefully must conclude that not only are they restatements of historical fact and a reinforcement of the 1948 Declaration of Independence but in no way, shape or form do they threaten the civil liberties of any minority citizens of the State.
It is useful to mention that there are numerous Islamic Republics, Islamic theocracies as well as other countries where Islam is the official religion and where other faiths are not tolerated. In addition, there are about 15 countries where Christianity is the State religion.
Have any of those critics now convulsing over Israel’s benign and totally democratic statement of principles ever made similar accusations against those countries which designate themselves Islamic or have made Christianity as the official religion of their country?
Of course not – and we all know or should know why that is.
The spectacle of a resurrected Jewish Nation is anathema for many. It’s a pity that far too many Jewish communal leaders, politicians and groups fall into the same trap and give comfort to those who hate us.
Most of us, thank goodness, are not ashamed to grasp a once in a lifetime opportunity to proudly assert our legal and historic rights to the Land of Israel.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.