LETTER: On Israel and Zionism

The denigration of a single nation will not lead to peace as long as it involves neglecting facts and blindsiding the truth. This partial and vicious defamation of Israel has led to widespread misconceptions of the Middle East conflict. This letter aims to clarify misconceptions about Zionism, Israel and the conflict between Israel and the ruling Islamist party of the Gaza Strip, Hamas.

Zionism was the ideal that founded the State of Israel. Zionism is about the Jewish people being active decision makers in a state of their own, in control of their own destiny. Before there was a Jewish state, the Jewish people were scattered throughout the nations of the world with no national identity. One popular misconception about Zionism is that it involves Jews’ stealing of land from Arabs and ethnic cleansing. On the contrary, from the beginning of World War I, much of the land was owned by absentee landlords. Approximately 80 percent of the Palestinians were debt-ridden peasants and semi-nomads. In forming their initial agriculture living communities, or kibbutzim, Jews bought uncultivated land, paying high fees for small tracts of arid land.

Israel is a parliamentary democracy. It institutionalizes constitutional law through the Basic Laws of Israel. These laws give each citizen, whether Jewish (75 percent), Arab (21 percent) or other (4 percent), protection of life, the right to vote, freedom of religion and expression, freedom of occupation and the right to privacy. There are high-level Arab members in the Knesset, Supreme Court, Foreign Service, Israel Defense Forces, Israeli Police and Jewish National Fund.

The Israeli government has always supported a two-state solution in which there is a Palestinian state and Israeli state. Israel faces daily threats to its survival by hostile nations and armed terrorist groups that aim for its destruction. This constant need to go to war to ensure survival has been the common denominator for each war and the center of the Middle East conflict. Until Israel receives the peaceful partners it yearns for, Israel’s enemies will live on the Middle East conflict.

In 2006, Hamas was elected in Gaza. Hamas supports the destruction of Israel. It exercises this goal by launching rockets daily on Israeli civilians. Over the past 12 years, 12,000 rockets have been fired at civilians from Gaza. After the killing of Hamas Operative Ahmed Jabari, Hamas accelerated its rocket launching over the past few weeks and put over 1 million Israelis in bomb shelters.

In response, Israel began Operation Pillar of Defense, targeting 1,500 Hamas terror sites, which are embedded in the civilian population in Gaza in order to prevent Israel from defending itself without impacts on civilians and infrastructure. The accomplishments of the operation have come at many costs to Gaza at the fault of Hamas’s tactics and goals. But there is no nation that would tolerate missiles falling on its citizens without defending itself. Likewise, there is no nation that has gone to the length Israel has in efforts at minimizing civilian deaths.

 

Holly Bicerano

CAS 2015

hollyjb@bu.edu

4 Comments

  1. No mention of the illegal blockade, no mention of Operation Cast Lead, no mention of anything. Well done.

    Way to dehumanize Palestinians under occupation. I’m sure Wolf Blitzer would be very proud.

  2. A few extra sources and questions says:

    “Gilad Sharon, the son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, has called for Israel to ‘flatten’ Gaza as the US flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945 with an atomic bomb.”

    “At the weekend Eli Yishai, Israel’s deputy prime minister, declared: ‘The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years.'”

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/israel-should-flatten-gaza-like-hiroshima-says-ariel-sharons-son-gilad-16239945.html

    As the former Prime Minister’s son publicly urged the military to wipe Gaza off the map, a member of the Knesset and the National Unity Party, Michael Ben-Ari, called for Israeli soldiers to kill Gazans without thought or mercy.

    “There are no innocents in Gaza, don’t let any diplomats who want to look good in the world endanger your lives – mow them down!” it was reported on the Hakol HaYehudi website.

    He also told soldiers to ignore Goldstone; in reference to the UN commissioned Goldstone report on Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza, which found evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Even religious leaders joined the fray, with a prominent Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Yosef, the son of former chief rabbi, Ovadia Yosef, in a sermon at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron blessed IDF soldiers while urging them “to learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy.”

    Incitement to kill by Israeli rabbis is nothing new. In 2007 Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safad, urged Israel to kill a million Palestinians to stop the rocket fire from Gaza.

    http://rt.com/news/israel-gaza-hamas-war-103/

    and an extra link for good measure: http://www.thenation.com/blog/171333/prominent-israelis-flatten-gaza-or-send-it-back-middle-ages#

    Now, after reading the several sources and feel free to look up others, care to explain how the IDF is taking extreme measures to prevent civilian death? Or how Israel wants peace but Palestine is an unwilling partner? I mean, I’d be an unwilling partner if someone if threatening to slaughter my entire family.

    Oh, and if, “there is no nation that would tolerate missiles falling on its citizens without defending itself.”
    Than does that include Pakistan? Can they attack the U.S. for all the drone strikes? It would be self-defense after all.

  3. Thank you for taking the time to write this. It is sad that it is necessary to do so and that it will likely fall on deaf ears.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^

    The following was written by a Muslim:

    “So, the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?
    The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people.
    These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.
    In the past, we have talked about why some Israeli soldiers attack and mistreat Palestinians. Also, we saw Israeli planes and tanks attack various Arab countries. But, do these attacks match the current atrocities being committed by some Arab states against their own people.
    In Syria, the atrocities are beyond anybody’s imaginations? And, isn’t the Iraqis are the ones who are destroying their own country? Wasn’t it Tunisia’s dictator who was able to steal 13 billion dollars from the poor Tunisians? And how can a child starve in Yemen if their land is the most fertile land in the world? Why would Iraqi brains leave Iraq in a country that makes 110 billion dollars from oil export? Why do the Lebanese fail to govern one of the tiniest countries in the world? And what made the Arab states start sinking into chaos?”

  4. “there is no nation that has gone to the Length of Israel has in efforts at minimizing civilian deaths” = , destroying all manner of civilian infrastructure, such as the headquarters of the Palestinian Paralympic Committee, a media office, water treatment plant, energy plants, schools, hospitals, mosques, etc.. and keeping Gaza in a state of siege for over 6 years that people cant leave when their homes are being bombed.

    Doublethink, “a word coined by George Orwell in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts”

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