Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Portal of Ideas blog has been translating articles by Catalan activist, journalist and former politician Pilar Rahola. Here are excerpts from some of her writings:

Why don’t we see demonstrations against Islamic dictatorships in London, Paris, Barcelona? Or demonstrations against the Burmese dictatorship? Why aren’t there demonstrations against the enslavement of millions of women who live without any legal protection? Why aren’t there demonstrations against the use of children as human bombs where there is conflict with Islam? Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan? Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel? Why is there no outcry by the European left against Islamic fanaticism? Why don’t they defend Israel’s right to exist? Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism? An finally, the million dollar question:Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, who have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn’t care.

And then, to the concept of freedom. In every pro Palestinian European forum I hear the left yelling with fervor: “We want freedom for the people!” Not true. They are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan, or other such nations. And they are never preoccupied when Hammas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom. The resulting consequence of these ideological pathologies is the manipulation of the press.

The international press does major damage when reporting on the question of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. On this topic they don’t inform, they propagandize. When reporting about Israel the majority of journalists forget the reporter code of ethics. And so, any Israeli act of self-defense becomes a massacre, and any confrontation, genocide. So many stupid things have been written about Israel, that there aren’t any accusations left to level against her. At the same time, this press never discusses Syrian and Iranian interference in propagating violence against Israel; the indoctrination of children and the corruption of the Palestinians. And when reporting about victims, every Palestinian casualty is reported as tragedy and every Israeli victim is camouflaged, hidden or reported about with disdain.

I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not as anti Israeli as my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel. To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews.

As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles. Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty I have a triple moral duty with Israel, because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too.

The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn’t want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.
The first question, then, is why so many intelligent people, when talking about Israel, suddenly become idiots. The problem that those of us, who do not demonize Israel have, is that there exists no debate on the conflict. All that exists is the banner; there’s no exchange of ideas. We throw slogans at each other; we don’t have serious information, we suffer from the “burger journalism” syndrome, full of prejudices, propaganda and simplification. Intellectual thinkers and international journalists have given up on Israel. It doesn't exist exist. That is why, when someone tries to go beyond the “single thought” of criticizing Israel, he becomes suspect and unfaithful, and is immediately segregated. Why?

I’ve been trying to answer this question for years: why?

Why, of all the conflicts in the world only this one interests them?

Why is a tiny country which struggles to survive criminalized?

Why does manipulated information triumph so easily?

Why are all the people of Israel, reduced to a simple mass of murderous imperialists?

Why is there no Palestinian guilt?

Why is Arafat a hero and Sharon a monster?

Finally, why when Israel is the only country in the World which is threatened with extinction, it is also the only one that nobody considers a victim?

I don’t believe that there is a single answer to these questions. Just as it is impossible to completely explain the historical evil of anti-Semitism, it is also not possible to totally explain the present-day imbecility of anti-Israelism. Both drink from the fountain of intolerance and lies. Also, if we accept that anti-Israelism is the new form of anti-Semitism, we conclude that circumstances may have changed, but the deepest myths, both of the Medieval Christian anti-Semitism and of the modern political anti-Semitism, are still intact. Those myths are part of the chronicle of Israel.

Tolerant and cultural Islam suffers today the violent attack of a totalitarian virus which tries to stop its ethical development. This virus uses the name of God to perpetrate the most terrible horrors: lapidate women, enslave them, use youths as human bombs. Let’s not forget: They kill us with cellular phones connected to the Middle Ages. If Stalinism destroyed the left, and Nazism destroyed Europe, Islamic fundamentalism is destroying Islam. And it also has an anti-Semitic DNA. Perhaps Islamic anti-Semitism is the most serious intolerant phenomenon of our times; indeed, it contaminates more than 1,400 million people, who are educated, massively, in hatred towards the Jew.

In the crossroads of these defeats, is Israel. Orphan and forgotten by a reasonable left, orphan and abandoned by serious journalism, orphan and rejected by a decent UN, and rejected by a tolerant Islam, Israel suffers the paradigm of the 21st Century: the lack of a solid commitment with the values of liberty. Nothing seems strange. Jewish culture represents, as no other does, the metaphor of a concept of civilization which suffers today attacks on all flanks. The Jews are the thermometer of the world’s health. Whenever the world has had totalitarian fever, they have suffered. In the Spanish Middle Ages, in Christian persecutions, in Russian pogroms, in European Fascism, in Islamic fundamentalism. Always, the first enemy of totalitarianism has been the Jew. And, in these times of energy dependency and social uncertainty, Israel embodies, in its own flesh, the eternal Jew.

A pariah nation among nations, for a pariah people among peoples. That is why the anti-Semitism of the 21st Century has dressed itself with the efficient disguise of anti-Israelism, or its synonym, anti-Zionism. Is all criticism of Israel anti-Semitism? NO. But all present-day anti-Semitism has turned into prejudice and the demonization of the Jewish State. New clothes for an old hatred.

Benjamin Franklin said: “Where liberty is, there is my country.” And Albert Einstein added: “The World is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”. This is the double commitment, here and now; never remain inactive in front of evil in action and defend the countries of liberty.
Those who go into the streets claim to do so in favor of the freedom of Palestine. Well, where have they been all these years, as the fundamentalist phenomena that oppressed the Palestinians were on the rise? Does Hamas have anything to do with freedom, or rather, doesn't it have everything to do with Islamism of a fascist tendency? Is freedom defended by training children to commit suicide attacks and by enslaving women? Is freedom defended by Iran, which supports Hamas financially? Does freedom belong to the terrorists of Hezbollah?

Those who protest in the streets also say they do so out of solidarity. Well, solidarity with whom? With Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, who has been less critical of the incursion than any European carrying a sign? With the Palestinians who do not agree with having the financial aid sent to their people being used to build armies and prepare bomb attacks? Do they wonder what happens to these funds? Does solidarity with the Palestinians mean defending terrorism and excusing Hamas' aggressions? Is peace defended by boosting Palestinian leaders who do not believe in it?

It is true that the intolerant left lives better by being anti-Israel. And it is also true that, in the face of complex realities, the vociferous masses prefer the simplicity of the "good" and the "bad." But, beyond prejudice, facts are stubborn. Israel withdrew from Gaza, leaving intact the economic structures it had created. Hamas destroyed them all, and took advantage of the withdrawal to prepare an army of destruction. And hundreds of missiles later, it continues its preparations.

The silence of this left, which is so loud today, has been very significant. What is happening in Gaza is tragic. But it did not start with the Israeli incursion. And to put all the blame on Israel is comfortable and simple, but useless. Because the main enemy of the Palestinian people comes from within.

(h/t Zvi and Bubbe)

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