Hello, world. My name is Israel. Can we talk?
If you’re reluctant to shake my hand, let me assure you of my legitimacy. In fact, I’m the most legitimate nation on earth! My claim to my little slice of land is endorsed by the Bible and the United Nations. Russia is half the size of the moon. Is Russia’s existence legitimized by the Bible and the U.N.? Or Britain’s, China’s, Germany’s, France’s, America’s?
I’m told I’m good at fighting. I hate that compliment. I’ve got a scrapbook over 5,000 years old that proves how much happier I am building than destroying. Take a look at the staggering number of Nobel Prizes I’ve earned in every field, even though we Jews are a miniscule percentage of the world’s population. Get to know me and you’ll agree I’m much happier making deserts bloom than conquering them by force. You doubt me? I’ve given back conquered lands – including Gaza – double the size of my own territory, to neighbors who hate me, in hopes of gaining peace. Silly? Naïve? Of course. But at least it shows I’ll try anything for peace.
I’m so much happier curing diseases, building hospitals and charities to enable those who need those hospitals to get treatment free of charge. Arab men and women wounded while trying to destroy me enjoy the most modern medical care at no cost. I chase fire engines all around the world. Remember Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake in 2010? I rushed from half a world away with portable facilities for sophisticated surgery. I don’t always dress the part. My doctors who sneak into Jordan to help the brutalized refugees from Syria must not be identifiable as Israelis.
I much prefer writing great books, making great music and great movies and making and financing great symphony orchestras, and bringing blighted cities back to life, and giving scientists the ways and means of achieving breakthroughs that lift the lives of everybody. And, yes, I enjoy making money. And sharing that wealth by education, inspiration and job-creation. There’s so much I’d rather do than fight. And yet, I keep hearing my friends and my enemies talk about what a great fighter I am!
Why do my enemies outnumber my friends? A magician once amused his audience by saying, “Notice, please, that at no point do my fingers leave my hands!” Please, let me know when my plaint departs from fact, even for an instant.
I had to use force to extract my own settlers out of Gaza and return the entire territory to the Palestinians. (There’s no such thing as “Palestinians,” but in the interests of peace, let’s pretend there are!) I wanted to welcome a new era in which my Arab neighbors would see themselves as partners in a new prosperous and peaceful Middle East. And what did I get? An implacable enemy that elected Hamas, sworn to eliminate me. The Gaza residents promptly trashed my multi-million dollar gift of successful greenhouses I’d built, that had exported the most beautiful flowers and tastiest exotic fruits from Gaza all over Europe.
Then came the rockets by the thousands, from Iran to Hamas in Gaza, whereupon the murderous rain began to pour down all over my southlands. My prime minister says it with bumper-sticker brevity: “Israel uses its missiles to protect its civilians. Hamas uses it civilians as human shields to protect its missiles.” A U.N. agency that makes no secret of hating me had to admit they’d discovered a huge stash of rockets Hamas had stored in a Gaza school! And I had no choice but to bomb a mosque when I learned it was also used as a warehouse for weapons to rid the world of me.
Will you tell me, please, what part of this terrible drama you’re missing? Do you not know that Hamas started the bombing? And do you not know that I turned the other cheek and held it there as long as I could without getting my head blown off? And, further, do you not discern that the entire aim of Hamas is to be able to show horrifying video of their children being murdered? A (non-Jewish) NATO general from the U.K. saluted me as the most moral fighter in the history of warfare! If you do know all this and still sympathize with the Hamas use of their children to harvest sympathy after having orchestrated the slaughter of their own young ones merely to defame me, how, then, do you explain yourself?
You don’t have to answer me. If you can live with your duplicity, I can live with my curiosity. Meanwhile, I will continue to defend myself. I would rather be cursed at than prayed over.
Other countries slaughter, rape and plunder as though it were common courtesy, and their embassies never seem to attract protesters. But let a Jewish household in the West Bank build an additional guest room, and the world has to take a pill and lie down lest it choke on its rage!
Golda Meir, former prime minister of Israel, put it squarely where it fits. “We can forgive you for killing our sons,” Golda said to our enemies. “But we will never forgive you for making us kill yours.”
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