A View From Israel: When fools rush in
Photo by: Reuters
The recent Welcome to Israel 2012 campaign launched worldwide to encourage anti-Israel activists to fly to Israel is but one of many attempts, such as the infamous Mavi Marmara incident, to challenge Israel’s sovereignty.
The organizers of the campaign said that they had no plans to stage demonstrations.
One volunteer coordinator said that the planned activities included laying the foundations for a school, mural painting, helping Palestinian villagers plant trees, and attending cultural and artistic workshops.
Arriving activists supposedly were asked not to lie about the reason for their visit.
Clearly, some activists did lie as they managed to get through checkpoints set up specifically to prevent them from reaching their destination.
The Public Diplomacy Ministry rightly printed flyers saying: “Dear activist, we appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns. We know there were many other worthy choices.You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives.
“You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and support of terrorism throughout the world.
You could have chosen to protest Hamas rule in Gaza, where terror organizations commit a double war crime by firing rockets at civilians and hiding behind civilians.
“But instead you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy, where women are equal, the press criticizes the government, human rights organizations can operate freely, religious freedom is protected for all and minorities do not live in fear.”
The point is clear. You cannot be human rights activists if Israel is the country of your choosing. The current conflict is not a blanket human rights issue.
THESE SO-CALLED activists have yet to demonstrate concern for real human rights abuses taking place daily around the world.
What about the 150 Afghan schoolgirls who were poisoned by conservative radicals opposed to female education, after drinking contaminated water at a high school in the country’s north? What about Mohammed Nabil Taha, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy who died last year at the entrance to a Lebanese hospital after doctors refused to help him because his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment? What about the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in squalid refugee camps in Lebanon and who are the victims of an apartheid system that denies them access to work, education and medical care? And Lebanon is not the only Arab country guilty of this flagrant violation of human rights.
Last week, Jordan decided to revoke the Jordanian citizenship of Palestinian Authority and PLO officials at the same time that a new electoral law in Jordan seeks to limit Palestinian representation in parliament. All this is meant to complete the divorce from Palestinians that Jordan’s King Hussein began in 1988.
And over 1,000 Palestinians have been stranded along the border between Syria and Jordan for the past few weeks as they attempt to escape from the mass murder currently taking place in Syria. But Jordanian authorities refuse to allow them entry.
Where are the human rights activists? Where is the “concerned” Israeli Left? ALL CITIZENS of Israel – regardless of their race, religion or sex – enjoy equal human rights and protection under the law.
These foreign provocateurs ignore this fact and effectively ignore Israel’s right to self-defense, make unsubstantiated claims regarding its intent and challenge Israel’s democratic values and rule of law.
The Left blindly fights for the rights of activists purportedly fighting for human rights.
Sure, they say, let these activists into the country. Then the world will cheer Israel for being so open to expression.
As was proven just a few days ago, anti- Israel provocateurs did not come here to peacefully stand on the roadside holding placards. They came instead to disrupt the daily lives of citizens and create difficulties for IDF patrols.
It does not matter what Israel does right. The world will always find something wrong.
That in itself is not problematic, as all democracies have their issues. Rather, the obsessive focus on Israel while the countries surrounding it commit real human rights violations against Palestinians living within their borders only solidifies the argument that these so-called activists care very little about Palestinians. Were this the case, they would be found on Jordan’s border with Syria insisting on equal rights for the Palestinians stuck there.
They would be hollering in Lebanon against government mistreatment of the Palestinian population there.
But the activists are not there. They are here. In the only democracy in the Middle East. In the only country that offers the same level of medical care to the suicide bomber and his victims.
They are protesting against a country that offers shelter to gay Palestinians escaping their brutal culture. Women seeking Israeli shelter from threats of “honor killings” is common as well.
And the Israeli Left has not said much about the brutalization of Palestinians elsewhere.
Their focus on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank comes as a result of their problem with Israel – not their love for Palestinians.
Therefore, it must be concluded, these concerned individuals are really only interested in furthering their anti-Israel campaign because they hate Israel – not because they love Palestinians.
In reality, both groups are wasting their time. Foreign and Israeli activists supposedly concerned with human rights violations should focus on the countries where such violations actually take place on a daily basis.
Israel needs to continue the development of a policy on how to deal with anti-Israel activists. The preemptive moves Israel took last week to prevent the arrival of many activists proved successful and this is certainly a good first step in Israel’s struggle against foreign provocateurs.