Visiting Israel is a privilege not a right

I will visit Israel later this year. I have been warned that Israeli airport security is heavy, and that because I am a Canadian of Lebanese origin, it will likely be even heavier for me. I am prepared for that, and I am grateful for the opportunity to visit Israel.

In 2017 alone, there were 16 fatalities in Israel due to Arab terrorism. In some years before that, the counts were much higher. Between September 2000 and December 2005, for example, 1,100 Israelis were killed due to Arab terrorism.

Security is a price that Israel is forced to pay to protect itself against Arab terrorism. I consider visiting Israel a great privilege, not a right. This is why I am astounded by some of the international reactions to Israel’s decision to ban 21 pro-BDS groups from entering Israel.

The Irish Times, for instance, claims that, “Israel’s decision to blacklist 20 activist groups and block their members from entering the country is a self-defeating move that betrays once again Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s alarming intolerance of dissent both at home and abroad”.

Wow!

The funny thing is that The Irish Times does not even understand that in its editorial, it gave the very reasons why Israel is correct in its action. It says, “BDS calls for ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, ending discrimination against Israeli Arabs and granting a right of return to Palestinian refugees”.

In other words:

  • The BDS movement wants Israel to withdraw unconditionally (and while the Palestinian leadership refuses to negotiate a peace agreement) from land that it invaded perfectly legally in a war of self-defense in 1967, leaving itself open to terrorist attacks from that land. Those attacks would be far worse than attacks from Gaza because terrorists in the West Bank would have easier access to Iranian missiles, and their missiles would be able to quickly reach right into the heart of Israel, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa.
  • Since Israel could not withdraw and leave its Jewish citizens behind to face Arab violence, the BDS movement is essentially demanding that Israel ethnically cleanse Judea and Samaria (the Jewish name attributed to the West Bank, long before the name “West Bank” was invented) of Jews, just as Arab armies did when they invaded that land in 1947/48.
  • The BDS movement spreads the lie that Israel discriminates against Israeli Arabs when in reality, Israeli Arabs have equal rights which they shamelessly use to elect members of parliament who are opposed to the very existence of Israel. The BDS movement spreads this lie while knowing that Arab states are the ones that impose apartheid rules on their minorities, including Jews who have practically all been chased from the Arab world, going from a population of 851,000 Jews in 1948 to only 3,330 Jews in 2017.
  • The BDS movement wants to flood Israel with millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees, therefore turning Israel into an Arab state.
  • The methods of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement consist, as its name indicates, of attempting to destroy the Israeli economy.

Israel has absolutely no obligation to let such people enter the country. There is no automatic right to enter any country that one wishes to enter. It is a privilege that must be earned.

The Irish Times says that this ban signals a “rightward drift in Israeli politics”, and that it is a “gambit by a right-wing government eager to placate its own hardliners”. This is interesting because I am an Arab who is proudly left-wing and yet I fully support the ban. In fact, I wonder why it did not happen earlier.

When someone hates a country to the point that they wish to destroy it, asking for the right to enter that country is hypocritical, and demanding that right is unbelievably shameless. These people are spoiled brats.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere. Fred Maroun writes for Gatestone Institute.
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