Tel Aviv Diary - November 25-29, 2010 - Karen Alkalay-Gut


November 25, 2010

The Koreans may be starting a world war, but we are concentrating on our little gossips and contretemps. We can't change the world but we can distract ourselves. So on the news today is some legislator complaining that 85% of the married population says they have committed adultery, are committing adultery or will be committing adultery. Shocking. But the real problem is not the statistics, but the analysis. All this mean is that Israelis refuse to admit loyalty - they talk big. This is true of patriotism as well. When a new immigrant is asked "Why? WHY did you come here when you could be living it up in your birth country?" it doesn't mean the questioner would live somewhere else if he could. It means it's much cooler to leave alternatives open, not to commit themselves to any one thing - any one country, any one person. It is also a pose of superiority - nothing is going to tie me down. Small wonder - we've been betrayed so often.

November 26, 2010

Friday afternoon in the port - we biked south on the promenade, had carrot juice at comme-il-faut and then came back through the city streets. Drought is perfect weather for biking. Too bad there is no chance for a bath. The water shortage makes it prohibitive.

November 28, 2010

How do you escape the summer weather this country is experiencing even after Thanksgiving? The joy and beauty that masks impending chaos? Ikea. It is always another world. A peek into dozens of Swedish living rooms, dozens of complacent homes with everything in place and every corner utilized to its fullest potential. Every item 'affordable,' backed by a smiling young architect or creator, and every path marked out comfortably but with great certainty for the visitor. Thanks to the fact that we were a critical group, our major was expense was in swedish meatballs - otherwise we would have bought the whole story wholesale. Once outside the walls of that wonderful institution, we encounter the truth - that our proportions do not match the proportions of the orderly Swedes, that our apartments were built by carpenters who used their eye rather than their tape measure, and that our lives do not match the logical existence of a safe, solid, swinging country.

It is good to be home.

November 29, 2010 (a little early)

Tomorrow, November 30, anti-Israel activists in New York City plan to demonstrate and call for boycotts of stores that sell Israeli products. This action in New York is just one of many. (Please read this article and the one below it to put this into context)

Please visit this website: www.BuyIsraelGoods.org --- The website includes a locator so that you can find stores in your area that carry Israeli products.

Boycotters have been energetically lobbying other stores across the country to drop Israeli products, from local co-ops to Costco and Trader Joe's.

StandWithUs and the America-Israel Chambers of Commerce calls on schools, college campuses, synagogues, community organizations, and individuals to designate Tuesday, November 30, as the day to actively Buy Israeli Goods. Go to your local stores and request Israeli products. Whenever a boycott is called, respond by purchasing the very Israeli goods that are being targeted and let store managers know they should keep them well-stocked on the shelves.

It is important to show these people running a campaign of delegitimizing Israel (Began when terror did not weaken the Israeli people)

Say no to boycotters who advocate destructive instead of constructive measures, who undermine hopes for peaceful co-existence, and whose only goal is to defame, cripple and damage Israel.

The very date, November 30th, is symbolic. It comes the day after the 53rd anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution when the effort, against all odds, to restore the Jewish State was endorsed and recognized by the international community. It also comes just as Hannukah is approaching when we celebrate the Maccabees who also restored Jewish independence, and who were a few who triumphed over the many. We can do the same, and shine a light on Israel for all people of good will.

On November 30th, please buy Israeli products.

Also if you can, please take pictures or videos of people purchasing Israeli products, and send them to us. Make fun entries for youtube, make them positive, fun, and/or funny. Email your photos or links to your videos to big@standwithus.com. -----------------------------------------

The following is from Rupert Murdoch, founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of News Corporation. This essay is adapted from his remarks upon being presented with the Anti-Defamation League's International Leadership Award in New York on Oct. 13.

The War Against the Jews

We live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews.

For the first decades after Israel's founding, this war was conventional in nature. The goal was straightforward: to use military force to overrun Israel. Well before the Berlin Wall came down, that approach had clearly failed.

Then came phase two: terrorism.

Terrorists targeted Israelis both home and abroad - from the massacre of Israeli athletes at Munich to the second intifada. The terrorists continue to target Jews across the world. But they have not succeeded in bringing down the Israeli government - and they have not weakened Israeli resolve.

Now the war has entered a new phase. This is the soft war that seeks to isolate Israel by delegitimizing it. The battleground is everywhere: the media multinational organizations NGOs. In this war, the aim is to make Israel a pariah.

The result is the curious situation we have today: Israel becomes increasingly ostracized, while Iran - a nation that has made no secret of wishing Israel's destruction - pursues nuclear weapons loudly, proudly, and without apparent fear of rebuke.

Every day, the citizens of the Jewish homeland defend themselves against armies of terrorists whose maps spell out the goal they have in mind: a Middle East without Israel. In Europe, Jewish populations increasingly find themselves targeted by people who share that goal. And in the United States, I fear that our foreign policy only emboldens these extremists.

When Americans think of anti-Semitism, we tend to think of the vulgar caricatures and attacks of the first part of the 20th century. Now it seems that the most virulent strains come from the Left. Often this new anti-Semitism dresses itself up as legitimate disagreement with Israel. Far from being dismissed out of hand, anti-Semitism today enjoys support at both the highest and lowest reaches of European society - from its most elite politicians to its largely Muslim ghettoes. European Jews find themselves caught in this pincer.

We saw a recent outbreak when a European Commission trade minister declared that peace in the Middle East is impossible because of the Jewish lobby in America.

This minister did not suggest the problem was any specific Israeli policy. The problem, as he defined it, is the nature of the Jews. Adding to the absurdity, this man then responded to his critics this way: Anti-Semitism, he asserted, "has no place in today's world and is fundamentally against our European values." Of course, he has kept his job.

Unfortunately, we see examples like this one all across Europe.

Sweden, for example, has long been a synonym for liberal tolerance. Yet in one of Sweden's largest cities, Jews report increasing examples of harassment. When an Israeli tennis team visited for a competition, it was greeted with riots.

So how did the mayor respond? By equating Zionism with anti-Semitism - and suggesting that Swedish Jews would be safer in his town if they distanced themselves from Israeli actions in Gaza.

You don't have to look far for other danger signs:

The Norwegian government forbids a Norwegian-based, German shipbuilder from using its waters to test a submarine being built for the Israeli navy.

Britain and Spain are boycotting an OECD tourism meeting in Jerusalem.

In the Netherlands, police report a 50 percent increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents.

Maybe we shouldn't be surprised by these things. According to one infamous European poll a few years back, Europeans listed Israel ahead of Iran and North Korea as the greatest threat to world peace. In Europe today, many of the most egregious attacks on Jewish people, Jewish symbols, and Jewish houses of worship have come from the Muslim population. Unfortunately, far from making clear that such behavior will not be tolerated, too often the official response is what we've seen from the Swedish mayor - who suggested Jews and Israel were partly to blame themselves.

When Europe's political leaders do not stand up to the thugs, they lend credence to the idea that Israel is the source of all the world's problems - and they guarantee more ugliness. If that is not anti-Semitism, I don't know what is.

That brings me to my second point: the importance of good relations between Israel and the United States. Some believe that if America wants to gain credibility in the Muslim world and advance the cause of peace, Washington needs to put some distance between itself and Israel.

My view is the opposite. Far from making peace more possible, we are making hostilities more certain. Far from making things better for the Palestinian people, sour relations between the United States and Israel guarantees that ordinary Palestinians will continue to suffer. The peace we all want will come when Israel feels secure - not when Washington feels distant.

Right now we have war.

There are many people waging this war. Some blow up cafes. Some fire rockets into civilian areas. Some are pursuing nuclear arms. Some are fighting the soft war, through international boycotts and resolutions condemning Israel. All these people are watching the U.S.-Israeli relationship closely. In this regard, I was pleased to hear the State Department's spokesman clarify America's position. He said that the United States recognizes "the special nature of the Israeli state. It is a state for the Jewish people." This is an important message to send to the Middle East. When people see, for example, a Jewish prime minister treated badly by an American president, they see a more isolated Jewish state. That only encourages those who favor the gun over those who favor negotiation.

Back in 1937, a man named Vladimir Jabotinsky urged Britain to open up an escape route for Jews fleeing Europe. Only a Jewish homeland, he said, could protect European Jews from the coming calamity. In prophetic words, he described the problem this way: "It is not the anti-Semitism of men," he said. "It is, above all, the anti-Semitism of things, the inherent xenophobia of the body social or the body economic under which we suffer."

The world of 2010 is not the world of the 1930s. The threats Jews face today are different. But these threats are real. These threats are soaked in an ugly language familiar to anyone old enough to remember World War II. And these threats cannot be addressed until we see them for what they are: part of an ongoing war against the Jews.

Rupert Murdoch

Israel-Commentary.org

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