HOWARD EPSTEIN: WHAT’S THE VALUE OF AN APOLOGY 500 YEARS LATE
A View of the Catholic World
It is interesting to note that all non-Jewish pre-Herzlian Zionism came from the Protestants in England (with a little input from the USA). As for the Catholic and Orthodox countries, all they could manage was repression and persecution.
After my little rant last week at the hapless and cruel Irish nuns who, bless ’em (although they would never be caught blessing us), appear to have slaughtered, intentionally or neglectfully, some 10,000 or so (to them, disgustingly-illegitimate) babies, as opposed to the several millions of our sucklings, infants and children that the Europeans did away with a couple of generations back, I was particularly gratified to read the comments of the newly-appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations. This Portuguese gentleman was abjectly contrite about Jewish expulsion and inquisition – and immolation – à la mode Espagna, around half a millennium back. Well, as they say (yawn for the aphorism), better late than never. Look a cadeau cheval in the bouche? Moi? Let’s see how quickly the Catholic Church apologises to the bereaved and bereft Irish mothers now demanding genocide trials on the Emerald Isle. I am willing to bet it will not take 500 years.
As I was saying, several times, over the past year writing these pieces (Blogging hell! A whole year already of complaints about the way Israel is castigated by those insufficiently sin-free to cast the first stone! Doesn’t time fly when you are abused to provide somebody else’s enjoyment?). As I was saying, several times, over the past year writing these pieces: judge us by the quality of our enemies, none of whom, along with certain of our self-proclaimed friends, is even unsqueaky clean, let alone pristine, lily-white or completely pure, howsoever Jüdenrein they have managed to render themselves.
Instead of the Euros making life difficult for Israel, they could discount the lead-in period for the apology owed to us for what they ALL did (with the exception of the Romanians and possibly the Italians) in the Shoah and say:
“We’re really sorry, Israel. We pretended that it was those nasty Nazis wot did it but, truth be told, we were all as guilty as sin, we couldn’t wait to push your people into the cattle trucks, and we must have known that – given the obvious absence of food, toilets and showers for the journey – they were not being taken anywhere better than the place they were leaving, so we can only say that we should like to demonstrate that we have improved above the level of the bestial by acknowledging that Israel is a non-apartheid democracy and it is those whom we have always supported who should be restrained from continuing in the European tradition of the auto-da- fé and begin to treat Jews with the respect they deserve – sorry, have earned.”
Come on, Europe. We’re waiting. It shouldn’t take half a millennium, you know.
Russian Roulette – Updated
Last week we learned that five teenagers a day commit suicide in the Russian Federation, so wholesome and energizing is the Russian life-style. The nations nearest that statistic were all once part of Soviet Russia. The teenage statistics are all in line with their all-age groups, both genders, suicide rates, too. That of Russia is 40 per 100,000 of population (40/100k) at numero uno and, to put you out of your agony as to where this is going, Israel is at 67th place with 6.2/100k, the USA at 43rd place with 11/100k (almost double that of Israel) and the UK within a whisker of Israel (62nd place and 7/100k).
Amazing, is it not, that Israel’s constantly-criticized (alleged) anti-Arab behavior has not induced a headline-grabbing, astronomically high suicide rate amongst its neighbors in Lebanon, Jordan (with 80% of its population being Palestinian and all) or for that matter Gaza? Do Hamas not collect such statistics, or would they not be seen dead wasting a bullet on themselves when it is worth so much more pumped into a Jew as a Hamas operative emerges from a tunnel, bored into Israel with the money that should have been spent on the people’s welfare? (Eyeless in Gaza? With apologies to Aldous Huxley, more like Heartless and Clueless in Gaza.)
Last week also, Britain’s Buffoon-at-Large, Boris Johnson (actually the Foreign Secretary) visited Israel and made his oft-repeated claim to gravitas here: he worked on a kibbutz as a student, nearly half a century ago. (Hurrah! Kol HaKavod! That would tell him all he needs to know about life here today.) Being (like Kerry) a “Friend-of-Israel”, he considers himself qualified to lecture the Israeli Prime Minister thus: Israel can choose between (another yawn) a Two-State “Solution” or being an apartheid nation. So uplifting for us when great men come here with original thoughts!
It is one thing to cast pearls before swine but quite another for swine (uninformed creatures) to seek to cast their self-perceived pearls of wisdom before those who are likely to have a better understanding of their own situation – and that of indigenous South Africans during the Apartheid era.
Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa between 1948 and 1991, institutionalized, that is, by legislation forbidding South African citizens to marry or pursue sexual relationships across racial lines. Worse and disgustingly, the Population Registration Act 1950 set out four racial groups based on appearance: known ancestry, socio-economic status and cultural lifestyle: “black”, “white”, “coloured”, and “Indian” (the last two including several sub-classifications) – places of residence were determined also by racial classification. From 1960 to 1983, 3.5 million non-white South Africans were removed from their homes and forced into segregated neighbourhoods. Most of the targeted removals were intended to restrict the black population to ten designated “tribal homelands” (bantustans).
None of that is likely, should something other than a Two-State “Solution” come about, to arise in Judea and Samaria. Arab citizens there would enjoy rights similar to those enjoyed today by Arab citizens of Israel, they already live in their own towns and villages and would continue to do so. Few Jews will exchange homes in Ramlah for Ramallah – and vice versa. The Arabs will continue to enjoy tertiary education in the more than a dozen colleges and universities instituted under Israeli administration since 1967 – the only pre-Six Day War such institution on the West Bank of the river and country of Jordan being the agricultural college established for them by the Iraqi Jewish philanthropist, Kadourie. Interracial intermarriage is not only possible but is a fact and will continue for those who desire it. Life could be improved by reducing the required number of road blocks and security posts, but that would entail the Arabs embracing their equal status in the only democratic country for miles around, and their opportunities in the world’s most dynamic economy.
If the Palestinians would abjure violence and leave rabid and murderous anti-Semitism to Hamas in Gaza, they could enjoy a life free from travel restrictions, there being no further need to fear terrorism in an Israel, where all work for improved lives for their families. Of course, ever since Ben Gurion ordered the killing of Jews on the Altalena seeking to deliver guns to the Irgun, we have known that there can be only one security authority in Israel, controlling military and police: that of the Israeli government. That will be no more oppressive for the Palestinians than for the Jews.
Johnson’s ignorance is an affront to those who suffered real Apartheid. As for the frequently attacked “settlements”, as allegedly the main obstacle to the “peace process”, most are with a few kilometres of the Green Line and do not obstruct Palestinian expansion of their towns.
So, BoJo, you can take your half-baked ideas and leave them to mature somewhere, perhaps in the Israeli sun on the kibbutz where you worked. Come back after they have enjoyed some exposure to Israeli truths and learned what this country is all about. Then, visit us again to eat your words, leaving the sound-bites and mantras in Whitehall. You may also learn something about how the UK could plan to survive outside Europe, alone in the world without an accessible support system – a little like Israel. If the UK makes a success of it, its annual GDP growth could be ten times higher than last year’s 0.4% – like that of Israel.
One Hundred Reasons to Celebrate Purim
Well, enough of all that. It’s Purim weekend and we have an extra cause for celebration, which is not some Purim shpiel nor fake news, and I give it to you as I read it, unedited – and uplifting (face it: there is nowhere on earth like Israel):
Israel is taking in its first refugees from Syria’s six-year-long civil war.
On Wednesday, local media reported that Israeli Minister of Interior Aryeh Deri had approved an “outline” for a plan by which 100 Syrian children orphaned during the country’s ongoing civil war would receive temporary residency status in Israel. After four years, they could get permanent residency and bring family members from Syria to live with them.
Israel has resettled refugees from neighboring Arab states before, although under much different circumstances. After Israel pulled its remaining troops from southern Lebanon in 2000, it resettled 6,500 Lebanese from the former occupied areas who feared reprisals from Hezbollah. This mostly included fighters from the South Lebanon Army, a militia that supported Israel’s military occupation. The lives of the militants and their families would have been in danger in a post-occupation Lebanon, and Israel felt an obligation to protect their former partners.
Now, Israel has provided medical care to around 2,600 Syrians injured during the country’s conflict—which has killed around a half-million people and displaced 11 million more. The Israeli public is also aware of the horrors unfolding just a few hours to the north: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has discussed increasing humanitarian aid related to the conflict, and back in December, an Israeli crowdfunding campaign raised over a million shekels ($250,000) for displaced Syrian children in less than a week.
That Israel has not accepted any refugees from Syria—while Lebanon and Turkey, two countries that are comparatively poorer and less stable, now host a combined 3.7 million Syrians—is partially a result of the country’s fraught position within the Middle East. Israel has been in a state of cease-fire with the Syrian government since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and Syria is rife with terrorist groups violently opposed to the Jewish state’s existence, including Hezbollah, ISIS, and al-Qaida. It’s hard to imagine any Israeli government accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees from an enemy country overrun with militarism.
But this week’s news shows that over a half-decade into the civil war, Israel is at least willing to accept some number of refugees under specialized circumstances. If the children end up settling in Israel, they’re also likely to be there for a while: Although the regime of Bashar al-Assad brutally expunged the last pockets of non-Islamist resistance in the key city of Aleppo in December, the regime isn’t anywhere to close to controlling the entirety of the country. Over the past week, peace talks held in the Kazakh capital of Astana stalled, ISIS launched a renewed attack on the major city of Dier Zour, and jihadist factions clashed in Idlib, in Syria’s northwest.
Chag Purim Sameach!
Coda – Wendy Sherman: As a reward for her great negotiating successes with North Korea and Iran (on behalf of Presidential luminaries Jimmy Carter and Barak Obama respectively) intended to prevent them going nuclear with their weapons systems, how about sending Wendy Sherman to Iwakuni, about an hour’s drive out of Hiroshima? Having learned to live with its own nuclear history, Hiroshima is now a delightful city with lots to see and lovely hotels. She should be delighted at the prospect of taking day trips there from Iwakuni.
It would also represent some sort of poetic justice for, according to the Times (of London) Friday last:
North Korea’s launch of four ballistic missiles this week was a rehearsal for an attack on US bases in Japan, missile experts have concluded.
Three of the missiles landed less than 200 miles from Japan. Judging from their trajectory and potential range, Dave Schmerler, of the James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies in California, said that the launch was designed to show that Pyongyang could strike Iwakuni, a joint US and Japanese airbase in western Japan. [The ability to mount nuclear warheads is covered in the report.]
It is not often that negotiators get the chance of seeing the long-term outcome of their work, but Ms Sherman could be the exception. After all, her work was truly exceptional, opening up the prospect of nuclear war launched by such worthy nations as those of the psychotic Kim Jong Un and the hardly more stable ayatollahs and mullahs in Tehran. Being in Iwakuni for a while (she may not have long) would be some sort of reality check for Ms Sherman and, should she stop sending postcards home, for Jimmy and Barak, too.
© March 2017 – Howard Epstein
Howard Epstein is a political commentator and the author of Guns, Traumas and Exceptionalism: America in the Twenty-First Century, recently published by Amazon and on Kindle. He writes:
There is no need for me to tell you that the scourge of gun crime is perhaps the most pressing issue in the USA. My book takes a new approach – support failing gun control by viewing gun crime through the prism of gun culture.
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