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.

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