Between Ariel Sharon and George Galloway

This week, Israel state archives released government protocols from the first Lebanon war. These protocols give us an opportunity to see what was going on behind the scenes and give us an insight into the minds of our leaders.

In the midst of these newly published documents, the main issue of discussion is the Judge Cohen report. This committee was appointed in order to investigate and publish a report on the massacre of Sabra and Shatila, a result of inner-Lebanese struggles. At the time Israel was at war with Lebanon. This meant a lot of fingers were pointed directly at the Begin government.

The government was debating whether or not to accept the Cohen committee resolution. The report stated that although there was no clear evidence of IDF involvement in the massacre, IDF officers did have intelligence regarding the massacre and did not do enough to stop the actions of the Christian tribes of Lebanon at Sabra and Shatila. The committee recommended that Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon, and head of the Intelligence core, Col. Joshua Sagi, resign from their positions due to their involvement and lack of action regarding the massacre.

Ariel Sharon, who would later on be regarded as a persona-non-grata by the Israeli left, opposed adopting the committee’s resolution saying:  “…our ill-wishers and naysayers will claim that what happened in the (Sabra and Shatila) camp was genocide.” Well, looking back over the last thirty years an easy case can be made that Sharon was correct.

In the last Israeli operation in Gaza, Pillar of Defense, Israel was once again accused of a massacre. This happened also in 2008 when Israel once again tried to fight terror and defend itself and like a few months ago, during Pillar of Defense, due to intense international pressure, Israel pulled the plug and ended the operation prematurely. In 2002, the most famous Israeli operation on terror was called Defensive Shield, emphasizing as always the need to defend Israeli civilians. Once again, Israel was accused of senseless murder and genocide in an attempt to protect itself.

Terror is a constant and consistent theme in Israel. It is also the reason why Israel went into Lebanon in 1982. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (the PLO) was launching attacks on Israel from the north. After years of struggles with the terror group led by Yasser Arafat, the PLO assassinated the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Shlomo Argov.

History shows that time and time again, Israel always finds itself playing defense. The world will always look down on Israel, demanding it to stop using its armed forces violently. This came to a peak with the death of the twelve year old, Mohamad Al-Dora, who was shot by Palestinian fire, but still IDF was set to blame for it. This video could perhaps explain why.

Meanwhile at Oxford University, there was a debate held between British Parliament member, George Galloway, and Eylon Aslan-Levy, an Israeli.  The moment MP Galloway discovered his opponent was an Israeli he decides to storm out of the room, complaining that he had “been misled,” explaining that he “won’t debate with Israelis”, and that he “doesn’t recognize Israel”.

The words Sharon used thirty years ago, predicting that Israel would be blamed for genocides are incredible. A nation, a state, a society that accepts or at times encourages massacres will be easily de-legitimized. When the Cohen committee declared that the Israeli forces knew about what was really happening in Sabra and Shatila, they gave the massacre an Israeli stamp, even though Israel didn’t take part in it.

The reason a person like Galloway could storm out wasn’t because of the so-called Israeli occupation. Although the topic up for debate was the motion for Israel to immediately withdraw from the West Bank, the issue wasn’t really about the West Bank. It was about genocides and war crimes. Somehow, this is the public image that has been imposed on state of Israel in the mere 64 years of its existence.

When MP Galloway walked out of that room, he wasn’t objecting to the Israeli occupation. He was rejecting the state of Israel as a whole. Galloway is continuing the boycott of ideas. Israelis, just for being Israelis, are not worthy of a simple conversation. Their voice isn’t equal. But make no mistake. This isn’t racism. Judaism, despite the comments from a member of the audience, is not a race. It’s a nationality and this is what Galloway is rejecting.

The boycott of ideas is what the so-called “enlightened” use against Israel. They use academic means against us, threatening to boycott our universities. In a world that has no strict morals and all is accepted, it is the enlightened man who sets the bar of what’s right, and what’s wrong. When that man is a neo-anti-Semite, the bar will always be out of our reach. On one hand he’ll pledge allegiance to the right of every nation for its self-recognition, but never toward Israel. For the Galloways, Israel has no chance of defending itself in the eyes of the world, exactly as Sharon predicted way back in 1983 – Israelis don’t have a right to speak.

About the Author
Deputy Editor and Columnist for Channel 20s' news website.