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Golda Meir, Israel’s prime minister, once memorably said, “Better a bad press than a good epitaph.” In the Western world, where a cushioned elite increasingly mistakes headlines or academic studies for the real world, the difference between the material world and words is often lost. . . .
One can always depend on Roger Cohen for a good quote since he never seems able to open his mouth without saying something stupid that he thinks is wisdom. Here’s how he begins his latest column:
“I took a short break for my daughter’s bat mitzvah, Israel killed nine activists on a Gaza-bound ship in international waters, and its bungled raid prompted international uproar and Jewish soul-searching.”
He couldn’t be more obvious. First, he lets us know that he’s a Jew (bat mitzvah) and then he let’s forth with no less than five anti-Israel points in 21 words:
Killed nine (no mention of the attack on the soldiers) activists (no mention of lots of evidence that they were radical Islamist Jihadists seeking martyrdom), international waters (implication this is some kind of piratical aggressive act and no mention that this is how blockades are conducted, international law experts point out it was legal, see Cuban Missile Crisis, British operation in the Falklands, etc.), bungled raid (it is Israel’s fault that it went in without lethal force and faced greater violence than expected), Jewish soul-searching (Oy! Where have we gone wrong! We used to let people beat us up and murder us and now Israel-gasp!-defends itself).
There is an Arab proverb to the effect that the guy hits me and then runs off screaming that he was assaulted.
And so after purveying anti-Israel propaganda that delegitimizes Israel, Cohen then goes on to say that the main threat to Israel is…anti-Israel propaganda. . . .
Delegitimization is a real problem for Israel today but actually the threat of destruction–or at least, loss of life in terrorist and rocket attacks, nuclear attack from Iran, assaults that shut down normal life–are the real threat. Having people call you names and an obscure boycott here and there doesn’t compare to being destroyed or dead. . . .
The real threat to Israel is not being unpopular in certain circles (and check out U.S. public opinion polls for a corrective there) but Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, the Muslim Brotherhoods, and others of that ilk. And guess what? They are also the real threat to the West, too.
But you know what? In the end, it doesn’t matter what people say, what matters is how the real world hits them upside the head. In 2001 an article ridiculed me for warning about a threat of revolutionary Islamist terrorism against the United States. It came out in early September, just before the eleventh day of that month. A few conks on the noggin coupled with elections will force more realistic policies. The only problem is who is going to do the bleeding, but it won’t be from delegitimization but rather from being blown up.
Barry Rubin, “The Big Lie About the Israel ‘Delegitimization’ Threat,” GLORIA Center, June 13, 2010
The Iranian news agency Fars reports that Iran is conducting an investigation into a possible connection between the Coca Cola and Nestle companies, which market their products in Iran, to the “Zionist Mossad.”
“Coca Cola, Nestle Investigated In Iran For Their Mossad Connection,” Middle East Media Research Institute, June 15, 2010
“Whoever believes that our battle with the Jews and the Crusaders has subsided or is dormant is living in delusions. Do you know why, oh distinguished people? Do you know why the conflict continues and will continue until the Day of Judgment? Because the Communist East and the Capitalist West fear nothing as much as they fear the proclamation that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger.”
“Gaza Sermon on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV: Annihilation of the Jews will be Achieved by the Muslims; The Destruction of Their State Will Only be Achieved Through Islam, by Those Who Bow Before Allah; The Communist East and the Capitalist West Fear Nothing as Much as They Fear the Words ‘Allah Akbar,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, June 16, 2010
Tunisia has made it a crime for anyone to incite foreigners not to invest in the country, give it loans or sign trade deals with it, in new legislation that government opponents say could be used to stifle criticism.
Reuters, “Tunisia bans telling foreigners not to invest,” Jordan Times,June 17, 2010
Notwithstanding saturation coverage of the “Massacre In The Med” (as the front page headline in Britain’s Daily Mirror put it), there are other Jewish stories in the news. This one caught my eye in Canada’s Shalom Life: “No danger to the Jewish cemeteries in Tangiers.” Apparently, the old Jewish hospital in this ancient port city was torn down a couple of months back, and the Moroccan Jewish diaspora back in Toronto worried that their graveyards might be next on the list. Not to worry, Abraham Azancot assured Shalom Life readers. The Jewish cemetery on the rue du Portugal is perfectly safe. “Its sanctity has consistently been respected by the local government that is actually providing the community with resources to assist in its current grooming.”
Sounds great. Being in the neighbourhood, I thought I’d swing by and check out the “current grooming.” . . . On pushing open the gate and squeezing through, I was greeted by a pair of long underwear, flapping in the breeze. In Haiti, this would be some voodoo ritual, alerting one to go no further. But in Tangiers it was merely wash day, and laundry lines dangled over the nearest graves. If you happen to be Ysaac Benzaquen (died 1921) or Samuel Maman (died 1925), it is your lot to spend eternity with the groundskeeper’s long johns. Pace Mr. Azancot, there is no sense of “sanctity” or “community”: as the underwear advertises, this is no longer a public place, merely a backyard that happens to have a ton of gravestones in it. . . .
By 2005, there were fewer than 150 Jews in Tangiers, almost all of them very old. By 2015, it is estimated that there will be precisely none. Whenever I mention such statistics to people, the reaction is a shrug: why would Jews live in Morocco anyway? But in 1945 there were some 300,000 in this country. Today some 3,000 Jews remain—i.e., about one per cent of what was once a large and significant population. That would be an unusual demographic reconfiguration in most countries: imagine if Canada’s francophone population or Inuit population were today one per cent of what it was in 1945. But it’s not unusual for Jews. . . .
In 1936, during the Cable Street riots, the British Union of Fascists jeered at London Jews, “Go back to Palestine!”, “Palestine” being in those days the designation for the Jewish homeland. Last week, Helen Thomas, the doyenne of the White House press corps, jeered at today’s Jews, “Get the hell out of Palestine,” “Palestine” being now the designation for the land illegally occupied by the Jewish apartheid state. “Go home,” advised Miss Thomas, “to Poland and Germany.” Wherever a Jew is, whatever a Jew is, he should be something else somewhere else. And then he can be hated for that, too.
Mark Steyn, “The lesson of a Jewish cemetery,” Macleans, June 17, 2010
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