Jean Pierre Braun

Israel: Alone or Isolated ?

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Is Israel alone? No,

Is Israel isolated? Yes, unfortunately.

Yet this is the unfortunate paradox in which Israel, Israelis and most Diaspora Jews find themselves today.

Since October 7, many countries and organizations have loudly proclaimed their unwavering support for Israel, their eternal commitment to fighting anti-Semitism and ensuring the safety of Jews everywhere.

The United States, France, the European Union, England and many others have all declared their support for Israel in its war against Hamas. We think we’re surrounded by friends and peoples who understand our situation and approve of our military response, but instead, in reality, we are quite isolated.

Of course, we must warmly thank the United States for its votes in the United Nations Security Council, and for sending much-needed military supplies. But have they honored their commitments to support Israel on the northern front (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq) or even in the Red Sea? I am afraid not. Moreover, if we are to believe the FOX television channel, the American military is very frustrated at being shot at, by the Houthis and also in Irak, Syria, etc., without being able to retaliate by order of the Washington government. And how are we to understand the ambiguous messages coming out of the White House? One example: the US presidential spokesman says that Biden understands that there must be no ceasefire at this time. At the same time, Blinken proclaims that Israel should facilitate the return of Gazans from the north of the territory to their homes immediately. These are contradictory and irreconcilable demands. The bottom line is that, while the United States is here to surround us, advise us and accompany us, Israel is still very isolated and can only really count on Tzahal to wage this war.

Another word on the Houthis: their agenda is 100% in line with Hamas: not only do they want to paralyse Israel by stopping all trade with Asia: remember that 45% of cars imported into Israel pass through the port of Eilat. In addition to paralyzing trade, the Houthis, like Hamas, are deliberately targeting Jewish civilians with their drones and long-range missiles attacks on southern Israel. Israel has proved in the past that it can overcome the hostile closure of the Red Sea on its own (1956, 1967). But this time, in a fit of generosity, the United States decided to help Israel by setting up an international coalition to put pressure on the Houthis. We all know what happened next: the coalition went no further than issuing verbal threats, the Houthis laughed and carried on, the major carriers stopped transiting through the Red Sea, Eilat suffered a serious economic crisis, and the entire Israeli economy is threatened. Once again, are we alone? No, between 20 and 30 countries want to help us on this “far south” front, but we feel very isolated, and realize that it might have been better if we had tackled this problem ourselves.

All those same countries mentioned above contribute to “humanitarian aid” for Gaza. But we all know that humanitarian aid only applies to Arab populations. Nothing for Israel, either financially or in kind. No consideration for the displaced populations in Israel, for the destroyed villages, for the devastating effect of this war on our economy.

We should also mention medical organizations such as MSF, the Red Cross and others, or women’s rights NGOs such as MeToo or OXFAM, all of which are 100% concerned only with Arab populations, totally ignoring the suffering of the October 7th victims, and even refusing to bring the hostages the medicines prepared by their families.

Once again, Israel is completely isolated and left out of all these medical and humanitarian programs. There is so much to say about the absurdity of this one-way “humanitarianism”. Humanitarian has become the most overused word in the international vocabulary since October 7, the most meaningless too. When it comes to Israel, it has become a simple binary concept: the world arrogates to itself the right to demand that Israel act in a humanitarian manner, respect humanitarian law, let humanitarian convoys through, and so on. On the other hand, the world grants Israel…. : Absolutely nothing on the humanitarian front.

In the diaspora, the situation is hardly any better: While many voices around the world express their outrage at the appalling rise of global anti-Semitism, very few people outside our own community take part in demonstrations, petitions, and other forms of resistance to anti-Semitism, leaving the Jewish community totally isolated in the face of increasingly aggressive adversity. After the Holocaust, it took almost 30 years for Holocaust denial to become a tolerated topic of discussion in the public sphere. As for anti-Semitism, it was a taboo subject; if some dared to flaunt it, it was usually with embarrassment. By contrast, it took less than a month for the first words of Holocaust denial to appear regarding the October 7 pogrom. And it seems that since then, anti-Semitic rhetoric has been liberated, as if legitimized. Worse still, anti-Semitic attacks around the world are taking place in broad daylight, even the call for genocide of the Jews (from the river to the sea, etc.) has become an acceptable claim. Oh sure, the free world proclaims its outrage: “no, Israel is not alone, we are all against anti-Semitism”! But when our brothers and sisters, children and friends are physically threatened and attacked at Trocadero Square or in American universities, we find ourselves completely isolated.

The opening day of the trial against Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague is a fateful day. Israel must defend itself against the charge of genocide. The accuser is none other than South Africa, that paragon of human rights, a country with a flawless track record on human rights and all related matters. It should have been a carefree day: Tzahal is the most ethical army in the world, the Israeli government has never called for any genocide, the evidence is undeniable, the documentation extensive. But the knot in our stomachs at the start of this trial shows that this may not be enough. I think that instead of being a trial of truth, it will be a trial characterized by our great isolation. The USA has of course said that this trial is an absurdity, but if you look at the composition of the panel of judges, at least 9 out of 15 come from countries openly hostile to Israel. The die has been cast from the start.

It’s up to us to distinguish between solitude and isolation. It’s up to us to understand who our true friends are and who are not, on an individual, collective, or national level. And above all, if we don’t want to sink into counter-productive pessimism, it’s up to us to realize that we must remain united to find within ourselves the strength necessary for our survival and our future.

About the Author
Jean Pierre Braun is a retired Silicon Valley CEO now living in Jerusalem. Born in Paris, Jean Pierre immigrated to the USA after completing its Electrical Engineering degree in France. Besides being a serial entrepreneur, Jean Pierre was also the founder of a unique, very successful Silicon Valley Synagogue, and upon his return to France became Vice President of a local CRIF branch, and the President of the Rachi community in Grenoble. A father of 3 and grandfather of 10 ב'ה, Jean Pierre and his wife Annie made Aliyah in 2016.
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