September 15, 2010

Israelis don’t want peace? Of course they do!

What a great Rosh Hashanah present from Time magazine; a cover story telling whoever is willing to listen, that Israelis are not into peace. Just like that. Why? Because Israelis are making money, they got off easy with the world economic crisis, the real estate is booming even when Hamas fires rockets in the air, and above all it’s been over two years since the last mega-suicide bombing. In short we’re all having a ball and couldn’t care less about peace. Who needs it, right?

So if for some reason you imagined that you’re bummed over the unsolvable conflict with the Palestinians, if you thought the flotilla story mattered to almost every citizen here, or if you were fantasizing that you’re worried about the well-being of the IDF soldiers, and Gilad Shalit in particular, you were totally off. According to Time magazine, we are all completely indifferent. It showed a photo of three guys on the beach smoking a hookah, quoted a real estate agent who said he sells apartments even when Kassam rockets are flying, and found some old survey that “proves” only 8 percent of Israelis are worried about the conflict, because most of them find that education and security problems are more severe.

Surprised? Probably not. Is this only one step further taken in a direction we are all familiar with? Probably so. And if someone hasn’t comprehended yet – this is the way the neo-anti-Semitism works.

It’s not open, it is sly and sophisticated. It hides behind academic lectures that choose very specific articles for their arguments, it prospers behind movies that choose to put certain things in the spotlight and ignore others, and it slithers through everyday headlines that stretch the limits a little more, and then a little more, and a little more. The neo-anti-Semitism is so intelligent, that sometimes it even catches us at a moment of insecurity, and we ask ourselves: hey, maybe it’s true. Maybe I really don’t care.

So let me remind you how much we don’t care. Because we don’t care, we continue to raise our children on songs of peace, while the other side educates on hatred, violence, and suicide bombings as a life goal. Because we don’t care, every prime minister we have had in Israel in the past decade has tempted the Palestinian leaders with peace offers that were continuously refused, and usually the refusal included waves of Kassam rockets and suicide bombers. Because we don’t care, tens of thousands of citizens joined a walk across Israel a few weeks ago, that called for the freedom of the kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit, whose rights have been abused for over four years. This is what our indifference to peace looks like in our everyday lives.

The problem is, that while we know the truth, a new truth is being formed as time goes by. It doesn’t really matter if Mahmoud Abbas is the one who’s been refusing new peace negotiations for over a year while Israel was open to them. It doesn’t really matter if the Palestinian leadership includes terrorists that couldn’t care less about peace, and that Abbas knows he would never be able to restrain them if God forbid a peace agreement would be reached.

Facts do not play a role when a journalist decides on a thesis, and later finds a way to “prove” it.

This is the modern politically correct way to sell lies, just like a century ago many Europeans believed that Jews use Christian children’s blood to make matzos. The end hasn’t changed, only the means.

The encouraging thing is that the hundreds of comments on the Time website to this article, prove that we actually do care, and a lot. Usually comments to articles like these are diverse, but most of the comments tell Time magazine that this is not journalism, its racism.

But let’s stop hating Time for a moment, and look at ourselves. Is it possible that we care, but we’re just too quiet about it? Maybe we just don’t communicate it enough. Maybe it’s the same thing that happens to a couple that take each other for granted; they don’t say anything because they figure everything is known, but when one of them gets up and leaves one day, nobody is really surprised.

Maybe this is what has happened to us: we are so busy with defensive responses that we forget to say that we want peace. It begins with our Prime Minister and ministers that have to say this whenever they can, and it continues to each and every one of us. During conversations, comments or even on our Facebook page.

It may sound a bit tedious because it seems so obvious, but it is important to say it. All the time. Why? Mainly because it’s the truth.

Reprinted courtesy of Globes, Israel’s Business Arena.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

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