The Right of Israel to Exist

There have been a plethora of articles about Israel. Too many are negative. Too many seem to be questioning the right of Jewish people to live in the Middle East. The final borders of Israel/Palestine have been under dispute since the surrounding Arab countries attacked Israel the day she and Palestine were declared nations in 1948. Then came wars initiated by the Arab countries in 1967 and 1973 and peace negotiations from Carter to Clinton to Obama. I cannot think of another war where the country attacked but fought back, not once but three times, must acquiesce to the demands of the aggressors.

President Obama and Secretary Kerry have recently blamed Israel for the failure of the peace process; for not freeing enough terrorists for peace (an oxymoron) and for continuing to build in Jewish communities in Jerusalem and the 2% of the land upon which Jews live in Judea and Samaria. But when it came to demanding of the Arab world to accept Israel a priori as a Jewish state- this wasn’t necessary, not yet, maybe later.

Israel is the only country in the world that has to defend her right to exist-first as a country and then as a Jewish state. The hypocrisy is breath-taking. Jordan is a Muslim country. No Jews. Iran is a theocracy where atheists can now be condemned to death and gays are hanged from cranes in the middle of the square. No Jews. Neither country permits freedom of religion. Syria has been accused of gassing her own people, murdering her Christian citizens and starving her children for three years. No Jews. Thankfully Canadian, Judy Feld Carr, was able to purchase their freedom from persecution bringing the last Jew out of Syria September 11, 2001.  Iraq is a Muslim country. No Jews. And then there’s Saudi Arabia. No Jews. Not only is it a prior a Muslim country and the nurturer of the vast majority of 9/11 terrorists, it’s an apartheid country that denies all women not only civil rights but human rights.

Where is the outrage against these countries for their wanton persecution and murder of those who do not fit their paradigm? Where are the calls for them to justify their right to exist?

Then there’s Palestine, a country that received its mandate along with Israel in 1948 but remains a failed state. It’s failed because the Arab states surrounding the fledgling country of Israel decided to attack Israel, and failed miserably, despite the fact that Israel had fewer weapons, and had been working to provide a home for the survivors of the Holocaust. Then the Arab world tried again in 1967 and 1973 to eliminate Israel and failed. I can’t begin to imagine the humiliation felt in these countries where honour and shame are the foundation upon which they live and breathe.

But the failed state of Palestine has never had to justify its actions or its right to be amongst the nations of the world. Neither Pakistan, the home to the Taliban, nor India, (both established at the same time as Israel), have been forced to justify their existence.

And so today, there is but one country, a liberal democracy in the Middle East, Israel, about which so much is written and against which so many UN resolutions are made. This despite the fact there have been 1,178 Israelis killed and 8022 injured between September 29, 2000 and December 31, 2009, (the majority of attacks taking place prior to 2004), most of them cowardly attacks by genocide bombers who some in the West call freedom fighters.

No matter how much land Israel returns, no matter how many terrorists Israel releases it’s never enough, not only for Arab countries, but the vast majority of Western countries. The Jews living in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for millennia, and the Jews living in Judea and Samaria are portrayed as the cause of the failure of peace talks. Why is it so wrong for Jewish people to live in these places? How is their very presence a detriment to the formation of Palestine? Has it been decided that no matter the borders of Palestine, it will be free of Jews?

Not that long ago there was an attempt to eliminate the Jewish people for being Jewish. No justification could be found for saving them. Now the Jewish State is in the same position. She is  facing existential elimination while at the same time required to justify her right to exist.

About the Author
Diane Weber Bederman is a multi-faith, hospital trained chaplain who lives in Ontario, Canada, just outside Toronto; She has a background in science and the humanities and writes about religion in the public square and mental illness on her blog: The Middle Ground:The Agora of the 21st Century. She is a regular contributor to Convivium: Faith in our Community. "