By Jerome S. Kaufman
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit, that purports to be the public affairs voice of the Jewish community here, which, of course it is not, asked the Zionist Organization of America, Michigan Region to help with an event. The ZOA was to obtain an audience and sponsor a luncheon for an Israeli diplomat the Council had brought in for a tour of the local Jewish community. The ZOA-MI did so and had a nice turnout.
Generally it has been our experience that Jewish Community Councils, Federations, the American Jewish Committee, Hillels and many other establishment Jewish organizations nationwide, have a propensity for a particular political point of view and almost invariably, a speaker is hired that not so subtly proclaims it.
We were therefore not surprised with the delivery of the diplomat who addressed us. She was Orli Gil, Israel Consul General for the Midwest based in Chicago. Ms. Gil was well spoken and had a list of diplomatic credentials attained over the years. She also had a history of appearing at gatherings sponsored by such organizations as listed above.
She assumed her post as Israeli Consul General to the Midwest region in July 2008 and is a career diplomat who has served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 22 years. Ms. Gil holds a BA in English and Hebrew Literature from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem – hardly an education, by the way, directed toward political expertise.
Ms. Gil spoke well enough. Unfortunately, the Israeli Government message that she presented was disappointing, to say the least. It was sometimes difficult to determine whose view was being presented – the Israeli or the Arab.
The terminology used by Ms. Gil was shocking. She had somehow learned to use the pro-Arab version. She spoke of Israel having “conquered” much Arab territory in 1967 and was “occupying” it to this day. She spoke of Israel “giving back” land that Israel had “conquered” and was fully prepared to “give back” more for peace.
Never did she seem to understand and certainly did not verbalize the fact that Israel had simply regained territory that should have been the Jewish Homeland in the first place. Never did she remind the audience that the Jewish claim to the land goes back over 3000 years. Never did she state that there is no genuine legitimate Arab claim to the land and that at no time was there an Arab nation on that land. In fact, the term “Palestinian” always referred to the Jews living there.
Arabs were simply designated as Arabs who had migrated into the area when the Jews began to drain the swamps, make the land habitable, utilized Jewish genius to bolster the entire economy and thus create jobs for these Arab immigrants. They streamed in from Iraq, Egypt, Syria and surrounding areas only because in Palestine and then Israel, they finally had a chance to make a decent living and to obtain the huge benefits of a democratic nation that they do not have in their own Arab countries to this very day.
If Consul General Gil and the entire Israeli diplomatic corps had read, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine published in 1984 book by Joan Peters and describing, in great detail, the origins of the Arab population of Palestine, they would learn these basic facts. These facts have been studiously ignored by an Israel government too obtuse to understand their public relations significance.
Furthermore, Judea and Samaria (not “West Bank”), Gaza and the Golan Heights never “belonged” to Arabs and certainly not Jordan, Syria and Egypt, who themselves conquered them in 1948. At that time, these bordering nations invaded the newly “reborn” Jewish nation in an attempt to immediately abort its rebirth. To be perfectly accurate, these Arab nations were the “occupiers” from 1948 until they were finally expelled in 1967 by the Israelis in the Six Day war of self-defense.
But, this is all old hat and virtually beyond repair. What was even more depressing was Orli Gil’s discourse on the so-called “peace process” It appears that the Israeli Government under PM Netanyahu and his stalwarts Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres et al, who somehow, under the pathetic Israeli political system that keeps dinosaurs in power forever, are still pursuing a “peace process” which has been an unmitigated disaster.
Not one gesture of peace or huge swath of territory given to the Arabs has been reciprocated other than as a sign of weakness and a greater opportunity to enlarge their Arab terror bases against the Israelis.
Gil had the inane idea, as does her titular boss, Bibi Netanyahu, that the Arabs will eventually come to the table and give up their self determined right of return of millions of third generation “refugees”, they will agree to a demilitarized state, they will allow Israel to control the Jordan Valley, the Egyptian border, the Lebanese border, allow the IDF to police Judea and Samaria as needed to protect Israeli citizens, allow Jerusalem to remain undivided and remain only the capitol of the Jewish state and not make it the capitol of a “Palestinian” state, etc. and to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State.
To me, this last requirement is the greatest of the abominations. How I as a Jew or Israel as a Jewish nation has to ask anyone to grant them the “right to exist” when we have over 3000 years of such an obvious existence and G-d given at that, is beyond abomination.
It is abomination enough to make me ill and to yearn desperately for the day when, G-d willing, Israel finally has political leaders with genuine self respect, genuine pride in their people and their nation and are finally able to shed off their sick dependency upon others and feel the need to plead with them to recognize Israel’s very “right to exist.” Instead, hopefully one day, we will have leaders with the confidence and strength to tell the immediate world exactly where to get off.
Jerome S. Kaufman
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