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P. David Hornik

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August 25, 2013 - 9:00 am
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Melanie Phillips

Check out the previous installments in P. David Hornik’s ongoing series exploring how Israel is perceived around the globe.

August 4: Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 1: The Whole World Against Us
August 11: Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 2: That Bird Could Be a Mossad Agent!
August 18: Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 3: From Woodstock to the Promised Land

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In a recent blog post, British Jewish author and commentator Melanie Phillips took the European Union to task for deciding to boycott Israelis who live in East Jerusalem, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), and the Golan Heights.

Phillips clarifies why the EU’s designation of all Jewish life and activity in those places as “illegal” is legally, let alone morally, baseless. But if the EU and the UN regularly and ritually make this “illegality” charge, and pressure and punish Israel accordingly, Phillips claims that

the fault in large measure surely lies with Israel. For although some may find this incomprehensible, Israel does not make to the world the one case that matters—why Israelis are fully entitled under international law to build their homes in these territories….

And Phillips attributes that failing, among other things, to

Israel’s bleak and despairing judgement that the international community, composed of those who historically and presently were and are driven by obsessive hatred of the Jewish people and which finds expression for that hatred through vehicles such as the UN and EU, will always do the bidding of those who wish to destroy the Jews and is therefore impervious to reason and morality.

While I wouldn’t put it quite so strongly, I found those words noteworthy and insightful. It’s true, as many have complained, that Israel tends to be hesitant and diffident in making its case. Here I want to suggest three of the factors that have a discouraging effect.

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All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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Mr. Hornik, you might want to fix this typo:

The Israeli government, in an act of folly, handed administrative control of the Temple Mount to the 0 thus Jews who insisted on their right to pray there became “zealots.”

As you undoubtedly know, administrative control of the Temple Mount was given to Muslim religious authorities, known as the Waqf. They forbid any Jewish religious worship of any kind on the Temple Mount, and maintain their own standards for conduct there.

Is it a Jewish holy site? Yes, it is; the Dome of the Rock is where Herod's Temple stood, and Solomon's Temple before that. But Jews cannot pray there. They content themselves instead with praying down below, at the Western Wall... and have frequently come under fire for that.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
That typo wasn't in there when the article first came out, then somehow got in. Strange. I'll ask to have it corrected. The missing words, instead of the 0, are "Muslim Wakf." Some groups of Jews have continued to insist on their right to pray at the Mount itself, not just at the Western Wall, and have been called zealots for it.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Israel has and always will be identified with the God of creation. All who fear Him will honor Israel, those who dishonor Him will hate her. When the "west" was Christian Israel had a chance to prosper, but are on their own now.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
For whatever reason(s) Israel, much like the US GOP, has lost the Pop Culture war.
They aren't 'cool' or 'sexy' or even 'sympathetic' anymore. All of which they were at one time (from independence into the 1970's). Since then the media has morphed Israel from 'Plucky Little Nation' to a 'Regional Bully'. So there' the problem. Or at least a couple of the problems facing Israel today.

One suggestion for turning around the current, negative image would be reissuing and (making) remaking Leon Uris's 'EXODUS' and MILA 18. Novels and movies. With appropriate promotion. And in the case of EXODUS movie doing it right this time, rather than a Star Vehicle. Remind people who you are. Where you come from. And WHY an Israel is necessary if only as an conscience that reminds THEM of who THEY were and why that made Israel a necessity. This is a media world today. And the current generations outside of Israel don't know who you are or why.
They need to shown.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
With no particular evidence, it seems to me the hostility of the Europeans and some in the US toward Israel is based on the conclusion that Arab anger at the presence of a non-Muslim state in the Middle east is not going away, the Palestinian groups are not going away, and they cannot be mollified because much of the hatred is religious in origin. So the result is to blame Israel for a situation that can't be resolved and arises directly from its presence. Given Europe's dependency on Arab oil, they cannot be indifferent.

Fair? No way, but the world is not a fair place. And I'm not sure there is much Israel or the US can do about it.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Making one's case isn't always a matter of funding. Sometimes it's just a matter of will. Some months ago, a commission headed by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Levi completed its report outlining Israel's historic and legal rights within the territories captured in 1967. But Netanyahu, reticent to suggest that "Israel has rights too" and spark pushback from outside, refuses even to present the Levi Report for consideration by his Cabinet. That's just shameful.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think you make exactly the right point. Since when is it necessary for a country to have an inordinately expensive, well-oiled propaganda machine to conduct reasonable diplomacy? The problem is not lack of funding, it's the cynicism and self-pity of the Israelis, who have convinced themselves that the world is so hostile that communicating with it would be worse than useless. It's the old mentality of contempt and hatred that Jews developed for the Christians in response to medieval antisemitism.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a little sad.
To speak truth to the world is something you do whether or not you expect it to have an effect.
You do it as much for yourselves, to maintain a posture of hope and commitment, as you do for the effect it may have.
In the end, you cannot control when and how the world will respond to your message.
But you can keep the light burning and ready for when the time for your message to be heard arrives.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
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