Friday, 30 August 2013


Imagine HaTikvah!

Original Thinking by Barry Shaw.

How can I possibly explain to a secular Europe the driving spirit of Israel in terms they understand?

While visiting a Europe obsessed with multi-culturalism, I spoke in Amsterdam about a European policy that seems to be based on the lyrics of John Lennon's song 'Imagine.'
A world of no borders, no country, no religion. Nothing to live or die for.

I spoke about the internal decay that is manifesting itself in a Europe that has abandoned its national values for an amorphous existence of no clear national identity. I added that they were now trying to impose this flawed political philosophy on to Israel by denying its heritage in places like Jerusalem in favour of appeasing Arab demands for yet another state, this one to be called Palestine on land bequeathed to be part of the National home of the Jewish People.

I make the comparison of Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ with Israel’s national anthem that talks of Zion and Jerusalem, a place that is about to be sanctioned by the European Union.
It is a comparison between 'Imagine’ and HaTikvah' against a rising background noise of Shariah.

John Lennon wrote a song. It’s was called ‘Imagine.’ It could be the theme song of Europe. We all love the lilting lyrics of hope.

‘Imagine there’s no country. It isn’t hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.
Imagine all the people living life in peace.’

That, more or less, is Europe today. Sounds idyllic.

But how can a secular European possibly understand the vital centrality of Jerusalem to Jews, even to secular Jews?  Jerusalem, located in a completely different neighborhood surrounded by hordes of people who are clearly not of the same ilk as the Dutch or the Danes.

How can they get their heads around the all-embracing heritage, history, and connection of the modern state of Israel with its never abandoned inheritance of a lost 3000 year old sovereignty? How can they appreciate that we will not easily relinquish our birthright on the vain hope of a utopian future when our enemies have not exhibited the same equanimity  of a peaceful and democratic Europe?

How can secular Europeans, for whom Lennon’s song is their unofficial, non-national anthem, appreciate that a nation, a people, that has nothing to die for has nothing to live for.

Defending that heritage, that sovereignty, has nothing to do with hating, or depriving others of nationhood. Even if their demands are not legitimate and based on a fiction, Israel stands ready for an accommodation, a compromise. But when the truth is that their motivation is the elimination and removal of the Jewish presence in the Middle East, just as they are doing with the Christian presence in the region, pardon me if we do not quietly sneak away out of fear, but stand proudly with our nation Israel, and be prepared to fight and die for it.

Let me give you the flip side to ‘Imagine’.  It’s ‘Hatikvah’, our national anthem. 

“To be a free people in our own land, Eretz Zion, Yerushalayim.” 

Eretz Zion. Last month I took my dispersed family into the Old City of Jerusalem. I showed them the Zion Gate. It exists. I showed them the pockmarked holes where Arab bullets bit into the walls, bullets that also bit into the flesh of the Jews that lived there in 1948 as the Jordanians attacked Jerusalem, captured the Old City and the east part of Jerusalem, killed the Jews that failed to escape their bombardment, destroyed the synagogues and yeshivas, and used the Wailing Wall, the surviving section of the ancient Jewish Temple, as a toilet.

Today, the Kotel is where my son, and last month my grandson, celebrated their bar mitzvahs, thanks to Israel liberating our eternal capital from the destructive grip of our enemies in the 1967 war, a war that was launched against us by the Arabs.
This is the meaning of ‘Hatikvah’, our ‘Imagine.’  Our hope. Eretz Zion. Zionism. To be a free people in our own land.

This is the place that the E.U., in their infinite stupidity, says is out of bounds, is over an imaginary 1967 line, and cannot be part of Israel. Any Jew living there, working there, or doing research there, must be fined, demonized, and sanctioned.  Imagine!
So what that our heritage, our roots go back, in that place, thousands of years? This has no relevance in a European world of imagine, it seems.

It has, however, massive significance in our song, the song of hope, ‘Hatikvah!’

You see it in our flag with the Magen David – the Shield of David – at its center. Who was David if not the King of Israel, the person who built Jerusalem as the Jewish capital of Israel more than 2000 years ago? And what is the Shield of David if not the ability to defend Israel, to resist aggression and the urge to destroy the Jewish state, whether that aggression is from warfare, terror, or even European delegitimization.
You hear it in our language. Hebrew, the only language in the world to have been revived, brought back from the dead, resurrected after 2000 years. Hebrew, the language of the Bible, in everyday use in today’s modern Israel.

As Israel’s pioneering Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion once wrote, “Only when our people merge with the land and its landscape, and Hebrew becomes its natural language in which it thinks and dreams, only to this nation will the Book unfold the secret of its heart and soul: and the soul of the Book will become one with the soul of the People. They have settled in the land and in its landscape. They have transformed desert into orchard. The people of Israel have adopted the Hebrew language with love. It has become the word by which they think and they dream. HaTikvah fulfilled.

All this, and yet our enemies continue to think they can destroy us today, as they tried to do so often in the past. All this, and Europe decides what is Israel, and what is not.
So Europe may try to impose ‘Imagine’ onto the Middle East in their utopian altruism, but you Europeans fail to understand that our region, and gradually yours, is overcrowded with people who do not sing from Europe’s song sheet. They wish to impose their own will, their own song, the song of Shariah, on us all.

Europe must wake up and realize that our battle is your battle. We are fighting to preserve our sovereignty, our heritage, our people, and our values, against a wave of haters who wish to destroy us.  We should be on the same side.

Sadly, Europe does not, yet, appreciate the gravity of what we are facing.  Instead, you wish to impose a moral equivalency on to a region where there is no moral equivalency. You have already introduced it into your continent where the words of multi-culturalism, contained in the song ‘Imagine’ , will be you death knell.

This is your first, and last, fatal mistake.  

For while you sing ‘Imagine’, the real world is singing a completely different song.

Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narative.’
He is also the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Alternatives to a failed Two-State Solution (video)

The negotiations for a Two-State solution between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs will, inevitably, fail.
The reasons why, and alternatives to a failed Two-State solution, are outlined in this part of a talk I gave at the new Jewish Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on August 11, 2013.
This is one in a series of short videos dealing with countering the delegitimization and demonization of Israel.

Barry Shaw

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Ten important lessons for the South African ambassador to Israel.

Sisa Ngombane, the new South African Ambassador to Israel, needs to get himself an education very quickly.

The headline of his Jerusalem Post interview read “For us, Hamas in a national liberation movement.” Wrong, Mr Ambassador! Hamas is a religion liberation movement. Lesson number one. Try reading the Hamas Charter, the part that says “Oh Muslim! There’s a Jew hiding behind me. Go out and kill him!”
The Ambassador thinks that this Islamic terror organization has “legitimate grounds to exist” because he supports the armed struggle.

Mr. Ngombane thinks that “Hamas is a work in progress.” Yes, Mr. Ambassador. Hamas is progressing and developing its aim of eliminating Israel. This is part of your first lesson. Read its Charter to understand what Hamas truly stands for. It is not simply a state of their own, but a state instead of Israel, free of Jews.

The South African government still has a long way to go when its ambassadors cannot favor a liberal democratic nation like Israel over totalitarian, mono-cultural, and oppressive Islamic terror regimes such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

Lesson number two is understanding what democracy is all about. Legitimacy does not come with elections. The Germans voted for Hitler. Palestinians voted for Hamas. In both cases Jews were killed by “liberation systems.” bent on liberating their regimes from Jews.

Lesson number three is making the same mistake as the European Union with Hezbollah. You cannot divide a terrorist organization into a “military wing” and a “political wing.”  That, to us the victims, is disingenuous. It smacks of you supporting the aims of Hamas and Hezbollah but wanting to hide the connotation of terror. Your words that “some people have managed to stay away from terrorism while conducting an armed struggle” are deeply disturbing. It indicates to Hamas, who you support, that there are legitimate targets that you would not consider terrorism if, for instance, members of our IDF or security forces were killed by them. 

Any Ambassador, based in Israel, who thinks that any Palestinian group that practices terrorism against us does not disqualify the whole group as being terrorist needs an urgent education. Lesson number four is take a study course at the ICT Counter-Terrorism Institute of IDC Herzlia and learn what constitutes a terror organization. I will be happy to introduce you to Boaz Ganor.

Lesson number five is that any group that adopts the policy and practice of the BDS Movement, as the ANC has done in your country, automatically becomes part of the BDS Movement by definition. You can’t be partly pregnant when it comes to boycotting Israel. You either are for it or against it, and the ANC have voted against Israel.

When asked if he thinks Israel is an Apartheid state, an allegation falsely made against Israel that hatched its evil birth in South Africa, the Ambassador that he thought there are “strong signals that it is going down that route, that there will be discrimination, that because you are an Arab you won’t be able to live here or buy a property here.” Lesson number six, Mr. Ambassador. Not true. In fact Arabs constitute over twenty percent of our population and do build and buy houses here.

Lesson number seven comes rapidly in its footsteps. Listen to what Mahmoud Abbas is telling anyone who will heed him, that no Jew or Israeli will be permitted to live (or have a home) in any future Palestinian state. By your own definition, Mr. Ngombane, the Palestinian state which you, and your government, support will be an Apartheid state. Why is your government not condemning this? In fact, your government is completely silent on this racist, anti-Semitic, and Apartheid policy adopted, at top level, by the Palestinian leadership in both Ramallah and Gaza.

And here we come to the important lesson number eight. The basic political thinking of your own government is colored by your experience in overcoming the previous regime. You had a hard fought victory, but not all conflicts can be defined by your black liberation theology. The Palestinians are not the blacks, and we in Israel are not white. We are, as you will discover as you visit our land and meet our people, a Rainbow Nation. Neither are we colonial invaders, as we are described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The deep, decades-old rift between Israel and South Africa stems from your country giving birth to the appalling “Zionism is Racism” slogan which, like anti-Semitism, once spawned is hard to put back in the womb of hatred. South Africa continues to be a hub of anti-Israel thought and political action. It remains malevolently on your campuses, and has seeped inevitably into your government circles.

Lesson number nine involves you truly understanding the agenda of the Palestinian movement which, sadly, is not to be a nation alongside Israel but a state in place of Israel. Study their words to their own people, their charters, their ceremonies. They are replete in exhortations to remove Israel and glorify their murderers. Their terrorists, Mr. Ambassador, are not freedom fighters. Invite Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch to give you an eye-opening presentation.

Finally, lesson number ten is for you to go out and study the rich and three thousand year history of the Jewish People and the State of Israel. Understand our heritage and birthright. You will, I am sure, come to the conclusion that we are peace-loving people living in our sovereign land.

Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant on Delegitimzation Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College. He is also the author of “Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.”

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The latest Israel-Palestinian peace talks. How bad can they be?

The latest Israel-Palestinian peace talks. How bad can they be?
Original Thinking by Barry Shaw.

True, there is not much optimism surrounding the launch of the Kerry-inspired peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, at least the leadership based in Ramallah. Not that the leadership based in Gaza are any friendlier.

We have already seen protests against the proposed release of over a hundred Palestinian terrorists. It is fair to say that the majority of Israelis object strongly to this pre-condition. They object because their release is not linked to any final and permanent peace deal. Most Israelis, I guess, would accept this as a terrible but inevitable price to pay for comprehensive peace. The fear is that these murderers are to be released simply to persuade Abbas to enter the negotiating room. This is a terrible and ominous condition. That is why Israeli ministers have been muttering something about it being a trade-off for something in the future they cannot speak about right now. Maybe, but the Israeli public has raised a yellow card as a warning notice to its government.

Optimists say that talk is better than no talk. I’m not so sure. With the current state of Palestinian politics, with what the Palestinians are telling their people in Arabic on their television, in their print press, and in their mosques and schools about a land from the river to the sea, and with the stated intentions of Mahmoud Abbas, Israel have very good reason to fear the outcome of these talks.

In my opinion, they are pre-doomed to failure. They are pre-doomed to failure because that is the intention of Mahmoud Abbas. Mahmoud Abbas has something that Israel does not have. That is Plan B. His Plan B is more important to him than talks that, according to his agenda, are bound to head nowhere.
He knows he will not get what he wants from the current Israeli government. He didn’t get what he wanted from the last Israeli government of Olmert. That is why he walked away with the maps, the very generous maps, and didn't come back.

He is prepared to let his negotiators waste the next nine months, or sooner if the talks blow up before the scheduled timetable. The reason for the breakdown will always be his non-acceptance of Israeli needs, whether they are land, Jerusalem, Israelis remaining in sensitive areas, refugees, or security requirements, but the breakdown will always be posed as Israeli intransigence rather than the lack of Palestinian flexibility.
Mahmoud Abbas can be as tough as he wants in these talks. Why should he be less European than the European Union who, in their total lack of diplomatic wisdom, came out with the unilateral directives punishing Israel for any future beyond the notorious and fictitious 1967 lines.  This will come back to haunt Israel when the Abbas negotiators declare failure. It will justify his Plan B.

Plan B will start off, as the failures of the two previous sets of peace talks did, with violence carefully orchestrated by the Palestinian leadership that will leave many Israelis dead and injured.
Plan B is what Abbas wanted to do a long time ago, but was prevented from doing it mainly by America. That is to go to the United Nations. He will go to New York, when talks fail, backed by an atmosphere of chaos and anger on the Palestinian street (read death on the Israeli street), to tell the General Assembly, where he has an automatic majority, that he negotiated in good faith but failed due to the Israelis. He will then request a vote on statehood for the Palestinians based on the lines that were rejected in the talks. The truth is he will get it. It’s a given. America will have a hard time holding back the weight of Third World countries, linked to the European nations who have already told us whose side they are on.

Can anybody tell me that this will not be the inevitable outcome of the current peace talks? They are a fraud because both sides know they are leading nowhere.

My gloomy prediction is made even worse by the fact that Israel does not have its own Plan B.

Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College. He is also the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’