Alex Rose

The Jewish Path

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper ‘Trouw’ on March 31, 1977, PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein said:

“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons, do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’, to oppose Zionism.”

Having suffered Yossi Klein Halevi’s “The Jewish path back to Israeli democracy” as posted by Times of Israel, one feels as if one has experienced a diatribe  i.e. a prolonged discourse – a bitter and abusive writing –  ironical or satirical criticism, as defined by Webster’s dictionary. The piece is more about its author than the Jewish people. Hatred abounds when referencing conservatives ,who understand that peace comes from strength. Left-wing extremism is not the Gold Standard.

He speaks about 1982 selectively with disdain. In fact, during that period PM Menachem Begin authorized the bombing of the Osirak nuclear plant in Iraq and  the invasion of Lebanon to fight the PLO stronghold.

Halevi’s recall on history is scant, in regard to “Palestinians” and Israeli democracy. For the former, we draw his attention to a MIDA Op-Ed by Judith Bergman on Nov./09/2017 entitled, “Arab Historian Admits there is no Palestinian people.” She reminds us that when the Ottoman rule ended, there was no “Palestinian” national identity or political borders. She quotes historian Abd -Al Ghani admitting on official PA TV during 1917:

“Before the Balfour Promise, when the Ottoman rule [1517-1917] ended, Palestine’s political borders, as we know them today, did not exist, and there was nothing called a ‘Palestinian people’ with a political identity, as we know today.” This statement amounts to saying that the whole narrative of an ‘indigenous Palestinian people’ was made up at a later time. In fact, it was not until1964 that the Arab League created the PLO.

More recently, Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security, Fathi Hammad, speaking on Al-Hekma TV said on March 2012, “Brothers, half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis. Who are the Palestinians? We have many families called Al-Masri, whose roots are Egyptians. They may be from Alexandria, from Cairo, from Dumietta, from the North, from Aswan, from Upper Egypt.  We are Egyptians!—”

Judith Bergman concludes: “We live in a post-factual world. Facts no longer have any currency, unlike feelings and ideological posturing. The truth has been reduced to a troublesome inconvenience, and if it happens to stare you in the face, nothing could be easier than closing your eyes or simply looking away.”

Israel National News [Arutz 7] posted “Banana Republic” by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, INN on Dec 31, 2022. As Halevi, he refers to the 40 years, and protests, a series of American objections to Israeli policies; but reflected differently. He recalled PM Menachem Begin inviting US Ambassador Samuel Lewis for a tongue lashing.

“Are we a vassal state? Are we a banana republic? Are we 14 year old boys, who have to have knuckles slapped if they misbehave? ” And Mr. Begin continued:” You cannot and will not frighten us with punishments. Threats will fall on deaf ears—We shall not allow a sword of Damocles to hang over our heads. The People of Israel have lived for 3,700 years without a strategic agreement with America, and will continue to live without it for  another 3,700 years.”

Contrary to Halevi’s understanding, we are missing a Begin-like response today. The American government’s hostility to Israel’s new administration is offensive, says Rabbi Pruzansky. “That is not ameliorated by the fact that it is being prompted, aided, and abetted by so-called American Jewish ‘leaders’ whose progressive politics darkens their attitude towards the Jewish State.”

The list of demands on Israel by the Biden Administration is both demanding an unreal. Their persistence in hovering over a Two-State Solution was not what Begin bargained for. It made no sense then and makes less sense now.

The full account of “Is Israel a Banana Republic?” appears as Chapter 25 in Zvi Harry Hurwitz book,” Begin his Life, Words and Deeds ” “The anti-Netanyahu resistance is playing with fire “by Editor Jonathan S. Tobin appeared on Dec. 28,2022.

He likens the street scene following Netanyahu’s appointment to that of Donald Trump’s January, 2017 inauguration. Benjamin Netanyahu’s foes clearly intend to act as a “resistance,” rather than a loyal opposition.

From the time of the opposition defeat becoming apparent, the “anybody but Bibi” led by interim PM Yair Lapid, aggressively pursued Benjamin Netanyahu as “dangerous, extremist and irresponsible ” with intent to destroy democracy. The media followed suit..

The latest escalation of this unbridled behavior came from a group of more than 330 American rabbis. They signed an “open letter” denouncing Netanyahu and his partners vowing  “not to allow members of the Bezalel Smotrich-led Religious Zionist Party bloc – which includes Itamar Ben-Gavir’s  Otzma Yehudit Party and the much smaller, anti LGBTQ faction, Noam, led by Avi Moaz, to speak at their synagogues or organizations. “Rather inconsequential.

According to Jonathan Tobin, what really matters “is the sustained propaganda to paint Netanyahu’s government as the moral equivalent of the Iranian regime -an effort that is hurting Israel in ways that its perpetrators and fellow travelers don’t seem to comprehend.”

Those in the opposition, need to recognize “that in their attempt to demonize Bibi, they’re inflicting potentially irrevocable harm on Israel and the Jewish people.”

A further insight into the affairs of the recently established Netanyahu government is offered by Melanie Phillips, “Israel Joins the West’s culture wars”[JVS] Her observations clarify the impact of radical change.

She introduces her paper by a world occurrence.  “Just as happened in Hungary, Italy and the US and Sweden, the once -fringe Religious Zionist Party has come to power, because a significant proportion of the public has become profoundly disillusioned with a political establishment that it felt was ignoring and betraying its interests and values.”

Phillips lists several reasons for the change. [1] The growing acts of terrorism. [2]A deep sense of betrayal by the former government.[3] The failure to address illegal settlements in the Negev and Galilee . [4]Many areas that had been safe for Israeli Jews became unsafe.[5] Several actual horrific terrorist cases noted.

Israelis have not become extreme, but angry about a political and security establishment that appeared sluggish, incompetent and in thrall to liberal[ Leftist]  judges.  As stated by Melanie Phillips, Ben Gvir’s pitch was restoring public security. “We shall act against those who throw Molotov cocktails or stones and put at risk prison guards, women and do everything to jeopardize the system.—It’s about  time that the soldiers of the IDF and the policemen get support and backing.”

Phillips article includes “those screaming about the threat to Israeli democracy are the same people” who utter not a peep of protest when  the despotic Palestinian Authority  cancels elections, forces journalists under pain of death, to write only the approved line and routinely jails and even kills dissidents.

Melanie Phillips remarks,” Above all , these liberals [Leftists] fail to acknowledge their own profound illiberalism  ”

Left-wing Jews— A Jewish and American Tragedy by Dennis Prager  [11/06/2018′] commences as follows, “It is probably impossible to overstate the damage left-wing—not liberal but left-wing Jews” are doing to Judaism, Jews and America. This paper has proved most useful in my attempt to understand Yossi Klein Halevi.

It is perfectly acceptable for Halevi to disagree with Prime Minister Netanyahu. But hate speech is otherwise. In the words of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks ZT”L, “When hate depends on a specific cause, it ends once the cause disappears. Causeless, baseless hate lasts forever.”

Netanyahu, above all political leaders, pursued Iran. He also took the lead on terrorism. He founded the Jonathan Institute for addressing terrorism with a commencement conference in Jerusalem during 1979 and a 2nd conference in Washington DC in1984. Both were well attended by leading personalities.

Netanyahu is responsible for several significant books.

[a] A Place Among the Nations.[history]. [b] Terrorism – How the West Can Win. [c] International terrorism: Challenge and Response.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.