Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Jews are news

Guilty as charged! I wrote a letter to the Editor, which elicited replies and added to the controversy. My letter pointed out that the term 'Occupied territory' as it applies to the former land of Palestine has a different meaning for Arabs, Jews, and the rest of the world. When Arabs, i.e. Jordan occupied East Jerusalem, drove the Jews out, destroyed the synagogues, that was OK, but when, after 1967, the Jews moved back to Jerusalem, that was 'occupation' Although some people approved of my letter, and others had disagreed, no one picked up on the obvious historical truth that was my point. Suddenly the newspaper is full of letters about the Israeli Palestinian conflict. When there is no news, bash Israel, and by implication, the Jews. Today there were two long opinion pieces on the subject, one presenting the Palestinian side, arguing on points of international law, the other presenting the Israeli side, taking a broad historical perspective, going back to the Ottoman Empire, the creation of the Arab kingdoms by the British after the First World War, and the promise of a homeland for the Jews.  Both articles are right in essence, but neither comes to grips with the present reality, that the Jews are there to stay in the land formerly known as Palestine, and the Arab refugees who fled from there have nowhere else to go and have lived on international charity for the last sixty years. The New Zealand government's official position is that it support a two state solution  and sees Israel's, and especially Benjamin Netanyahu's intransigence as the one great obstacle to this ideal solution. Hi presto! Murray McCully has the answer to this intractable problem that had eluded all the other great statesmen for two generations. Well, Mr, McCully, I am entirely on your side, I totally agree with you. A two state solution would be an admirable resolution of the problem of two people sharing the same land, but only if Jews can live in peace among Arabs without fear of being murdered just as Arabs live among Jews in Israel. Unfortunately such a radical solution has not proved to be acceptable to the leaders of the Palestinian Arabs (don't call them Palestinians, because that implies that only the Arabs who fled from Palestinian are Palestinians). Unfortunately understanding the issues confronting the Jews of Israel is beyond many New Zealanders who read the newspapers and listen superficially to the news. Even Tom Scott, a prodigiously talented left leaning cartoonist, playwright and film maker, depicted the Arab Israeli conflict in images reminiscent of the images of the Jew in der Sturmer, a huge, overpowering, Israel bullying poor wee, small Murray McCully.