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Cut Israel a Break

By Gil Stein

NAZI PROPAGANDA films were made to convince the world that Germany was a peace-loving nation that was forced to attack Poland. With the creation of the web and the access the 24-hour "news," it is so much easier to spread lies and half-truths.

The Arab propaganda machine has done a terrific job of creating a fictional reality that portrays terrorists as victims and their victims as evil. The small country created by refugees and surrounded by hostile neighbors is the international bully, while terrorists supported by despots are the world's heroes. Muslim leaders deny the historical Jewish ties to Jerusalem even though Jews have lived in the city continuously since before the birth of Islam. They have created the myth that Israel came about because of the European Holocaust. Modern Zionism had its roots in the 19th century and early 20th (Tel Aviv celebrated its centennial last year). The Holocaust may have made international support of a Jewish state more politically acceptable, but the groundwork for a Jewish homeland was started well before World War II. They make claims that Israel is the reason the Palestinian Arabs have no state. Israel supported the U.N. Partition Plan, which created a Jewish state and a Palestinian state. Every Arab country voted against the resolution and seven Arab armies attacked the new country of 650,000 Jews. The Palestinian Authority today still will not accept a Jewish state in the Middle East.

Everyday lies abound in the press, which are then spread via the web and are baseless but "newsworthy." Following the earthquake in Haiti, Israel sent doctors and erected the first mobile surgical hospital on the island. Not only is the anti-Israel propaganda machine unwilling to acknowledge Israel's humanitarian contributions, they are now charging Israel with stealing Haitian organs.

Local activists have contributed to this climate of hate and false accusations. They compare the plight of Gaza to that of the victims of the Holocaust, embellishing the situation there and minimizing the death of 40 percent of world Jewry. Gaza is no paradise, but it is ruled by Hamas, not Israel, and Hamas has vowed to destroy Israel.

That doesn't stop the lies. Israel is accused of genocide (the deliberate destruction of a people) when in fact under Israeli administration of the territories, the Arab population increased, as did their standard of living. Now Israel is accused of war crimes because she attacked military targets in civilian areas. The fact that terrorists and rockets were located in those areas seems to be inconsequential. College campuses feature "Israel Apartheid Week" even though Israel has rescued thousands of Ethiopian Jews and brought them to the promised land. Arabs in Israel enjoy equal rights of Jews, except for compulsory military service. Today Africans from Darfur and elsewhere are desperately trying to sneak into Israel. Arab homosexuals seek asylum in Israel as they are persecuted in Muslim countries, facts ignored by most human rights organizations.

Israel is not perfect, nor should we expect it to be. She has made mistakes. This can be said of every country. When we criticize a country as criminal when she defends herself, racist when she accepts refugees from the poorest of countries, of harvesting organs when she sends hospital teams to Haiti and intolerant when she is a haven to gays and other persecuted minorities, we only strengthen those who support terrorism and bigotry.

Gil Stein is the Santa Cruz representative for Stand With Us, an international advocacy and educational organization headquartered in Los Angeles.

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