Well, it’s over and, for the most part, forgotten. The attendees have all returned to their respective kingdoms, caliphates or dictatorships.
Despite the fact that more than 100,000 troops were deployed (only two mortar attacks disturbed the proceedings) and Iraq (thanks to America) had an elected government, less than half the Arab League member countries attended the recent summit held in Baghdad. Of those who did attend, most were surrogates. (Can’t blame that on America; we have left the building.)
There are many reasons why the conference failed to attract top leadership. There was unrest, to put it mildly, in Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Tunisia, along with criticism by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of Iraq and Iran, to mention just a few. However, one of the key reasons for the boycotts (unreported by the media as usual) was simply that Muslims distrust Muslims, Shiites distrust Sunnis (and vice versa), the Muslim Brotherhood distrusts Hamas, etc., the dictators and kings distrust political parties who distrust other political parties and the military (and vice versa).
In fact, one could surmise there is only one thing they all do agree on – hatred of the only progressive nation in the region: Israel.
This is extremely interesting in view of the fact that Israel, a non-Muslim country, is the only system in the Middle East that grants democratic freedoms to Muslims. Plus, I have yet to read of a deathly ill or wounded Palestinian transported to a Muslim country for medical treatment, a routine occurrence in Israel.
Speaking of routine occurrences in Israel, while I would bet most “scholars” could name “Israel’s wars of aggression” and the number of “innocent Palestinians” killed by “brutal Israeli soldiers,” I would give odds that most of those same scholars could not name one-third of the contributions made by Israelis to humanity. With your permission, I call just a few to your attention.
Out of a worldwide population of 12 million Jews, there have been 165 Nobel Prize winners; out of approximately 1.5 billion Muslims, there have been nine Nobel Prize winners, and six of them were the Peace Prize, including Sherin Ebadi (an Iranian woman in exile), Anwar Sadat and Yasser Arafat (seriously?)
Note a few of the older contributions:
Medicine and research:
Two out of the top three medications to treat multiple sclerosis were developed in Israel; one is used by approximately 70 percent of MS patients worldwide.
The PillCam: the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill, is used in 60 countries.
Treating uterine fibroids without surgery: an Israeli-designed system for non-invasive treatment uses ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging to destroy them without incisions, anesthesia or hospitalization.
West Nile Virus vaccine: first passive vaccine against the mosquito-borne virus which has killed thousands.
Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, relies on Israeli talent, as do IBM, Cisco and Microsoft (Windows NT -Microsoft Israel).
ICQ: internet instant messaging
World leader in Internet security
Aleph system: manages the Library of Congress, the China National Library and 1,200 sites in 50 countries.
Leaders in flash disk technology
Satellite TV technology.
Portable Digital X-rays: U.S. military uses in battlefield situations to the wounded
Nano-lubricant: world’s first synthetic lubricant
Pegasus electronic pen: allows users to write directly into a computer (and on paper!), wireless telephone, PDA, mobile computer and transmit written material by email or fax.
Saving children’s hearts: With a success rate of 95 percent, Israel provides urgently needed pediatric heart surgery to children regardless of race, religion (including Muslims and Christians), sex, color or financial situation.
Drip Irrigation: revolutionary irrigation process
Destroying disease-carrying insects: chemical-free method of eradicating black flies and mosquitoes, saving millions of lives.
Bio-Fly: eradicating the Mediterranean fruit fly by producing neutered male fruit flies without using pesticides.
I could go on, but I think you get the message.
On the one hand, Israel is a literal testament to blood (six wars, two intifadas, ongoing terrorism attacks), sweat (limited water supply, two-thirds of the land was desert and barren hills) and tears (children blown up on school buses, citizens killed in rocket attacks and suicide bombers on an almost daily basis).
On the other hand, Israel, the only democracy in the region offering all citizens (including its 1.5 million Muslim citizens) freedom and political representation, has absorbed and settled literally millions of immigrants. It is one of the world’s largest exporters of fruits and flowers, has revived a centuries-old language, and ranks third in the world in the number of university graduates per capita. In addition to the aforementioned Nobel prizewinners, a high-tech industry second only to California’s Silicon Valley, Israel also has the highest number of scientists per capita in the world. (Click here for an exceptional overview of this incredible God-ordained land and its people.)
Despite her remarkable progress and continuing political concessions in numerous attempts to make peace with her neighbors, Israel is probably the only country in the world that not only must continuously defend to the international community of nations her right just to exist, but is perhaps the only nation specifically threatened with annihilation by its neighbors. While terrorist rockets rain down on Israeli citizens almost daily, and Iran, which has called for its complete destruction, attempts to develop nuclear weapons for the task, the United States and United Kingdom, among others, are urging Israel to adopt a “wait and see” attitude.
Fortunately, the Israelis – unlike the West, secure in its existence since Reagan neutralized the Soviet threat – have not forgotten what happens with a “wait and see” strategy. Yes, we have lost thousands of our finest, bravest young men on foreign battlefields and endured a Civil War and 9/11; however, except for our MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) standoff with the USSR, the heartland of America itself has not been seriously threatened. The Jews, because of continuing attacks, are not able to forget, and so they remind themselves annually while paying homage to the remaining survivors with a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem.
In Israel, Yom HaShoah is a most solemn day which, in so many words, restates a national commitment that was reiterated by Prime Minister Netanyahu in his speech to the United States Congress on May 24,2011: “We must take calls for our destruction seriously … We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say ‘never again,’ we mean ‘never again!'”
Perhaps for America, some words of Rudyard Kipling, the essence of which redound upon Israel, should be required reading for high school students, or perhaps all of us:
God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine,
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!