David Ben Gurion said that Israel would not be a normal country until a prostitute was picked up walking the streets of Tel Aviv. By that yardstick Israel has been a normal country for a long time. But whether meant in jest or not even Ben Gurion did not comprehend the enormity of reaching the goal of the ordinary and the mundane.
What really is sad is the ever increasing lack of help and understanding from their diaspora brethren and the lack of the lack of support of Israel’s anti boycott legislation. This forbids entry to foreign nationals who support boycott and divestment movements. The more prominent of the objectors were listed on the front page of two week ago’s Jewish News.
Lets name and shame them. The Board of Deputies, who can normally be guaranteed to take the soft option in any argument, The Jewish Leadership Council , The New Israel Fund, the Union of Jewish Students and of course the Trade Union Friends of Israel. The speedy response of these and others from the more familiar rent a quote crowd ,who condemn any and every Israel action , demonstrates this condemnation was hardly a thought out reaction.
Since the country’s independence in 1948 it has been in a constant state of war with many of it neighbours which refuse not only to recognise it but plot its downfall. So where does Israel stand in the freedom league tables and should we be applauding this sensible measure rather than deploring it? Have we condemned Israel in the manner of the ritual United Nations motions which we generally claim to deplore?
By what yard stick should we judge Israel by. If it is by twar time standards then defending Israel is easy. Throughout the second world war Britain was governed by a wall to wall coalition. The press was censored and enemies of the state were locked up if not at a whim but with only cursory evidence brought against them. To be blunt it was internment without trial. I shed no tears for the fascist Sir Oswald Moseley but did this single individual present such a danger to the State he had to be kept under lock and key until the end of the war.
Britain being an island gained some respite from attack by the Germans by the protective seas which surround it and and the lack of sophisticated long distance rockets to bridge the gap.. A world away from what little Israel has to face now. Modern technology and hard to protect land borders with her population centres being just a few miles away from the hatred of the enemy.. Without mincing words they are little better than sitting ducks.
For those who say the second world war was a long time ago and the world has changed tell that to Governments of both of Britain’s main political parties who have banned people from this Island for what they think and what they say and deported others.
Labour’s Jacqui Smith while Home secretary banned 22 people in the space of a single year in 2008/9. They included American” shock Jock” D.J Michael Savage ,preachers and churchmen all of whom were said to too off message for our delicate ears.
More recently we banned the Dutch right wing Parliamentarian Geerd Wilders who could one day be the Prime Minister of the Netherlands and more than a million people tried to ban Donald Trump. We all know where he ended up. On assuming office Trump has fought to set up his own ban from millions of people from six countries.
It was not until 2013 that the United States Supreme Court , a country which delights in calling its self the land of the brave and the home of the free,” finally struck down a law which kept professing Communists from entering the country. It is still a law on the Statue of a number of American States.
But for some countries mere deportation is not enough. The notorious revisionist historian David Irving was not simply booted out for Holocaust denial in Austria but jailed for 3 years. Do we Jews think that was draconian? Well most of us applauded the sentence. There would probably would have been demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy if Irving one day was found languishing in an Israeli jail.
I will expect Israel to live up to the noblest ideals of Judaism when the rest of the Western world has caught up to the ideals of modern day Israel. It will be a long wait but I remain hopeful.