I have spent most of the past 12 years being ashamed to be an Israeli. Israeli governments made me ashamed, and they did so by abasing, disgracing and humiliating me as a Jew and as an Israeli.
Prof. Steven PlautSteven Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa and is author of "The Scout" (available from Gefen Publishing House). More of his writings can be seen on the New Plaut Blog, as well as in numerous electronic and print newspapers.
I have been ashamed for 12 years at being an Israeli, because this was the period in which the governments of Israel abandoned the struggle for Jewish national survival. They stopped trying to defend me and all other Jews. They lectured me that it was my fault that the Arab fascists were attacking Jews, and that it was within my power to stop the carnage, if only I would agree to demean myself sufficiently, to grovel before the terrorists of the Middle East, and to appease the anti-Semites. I could achieve peace if I would agree to place my neck in an Arab noose, but if I refuse to do so, then I would be the impediment to peace and my obstinacy would be to blame for all further carnage.
For 12 years, my government pursued a policy of defending me and my family by abandoning all attempts to defend us. My government decided to pursue peace by pretending that war did not exist. After two millennia of anti-Semitism, my government decided that anti-Semitism does not really exist, and that when people randomly murder Jewish children, it is because they have some legitimate grievances, because they have suffered, and because Jews have shown them insufficient sensitivity.
My government implemented policies based on the presumption that the making of concessions to blood-thirsty terrorists would be rewarded with moderation and goodwill, that importing armed Nazis into the suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem would cause them to seek peace. My government followed policies based on the notion that the Jews were evil, insensitive and selfish. My government decided that if Jews would only "share" their land and resources with those who rule the entire territory from the Atlantic Ocean to Central Asia, that is, with those who refuse to agree to any "sharing" that allows a Jewish state to exist anywhere in the Middle East, then there would be peace.
My government decided that rewarding terrorists for violence would end violence, and then told me that there was simply no alternative to coddling terrorists and Nazis. My government pursued peace by pretending that war did not exist. My government sought peace through arming and bankrolling terrorists. My government decided that anti-Semitism can only be overcome by redressing the "underlying grievances" that it reflects. My government fought terrorism by not fighting it, and by trying to appease it. My government insisted that I must coddle anti-Semites and terrorists, and must pander to their agenda and desires, for there is no other choice.
My government over the past 12 years preached to me that it was my own pride and my parochial patriotism that was the obstacle to peace. It told me I must seek peace through self-abasement and self-humiliation. My government told me that if I would show willingness to compromise, then so would the Arabs.
My government has been wrong about everything, but refuses to admit it has been wrong about anything.
My government decided that Palestinians are a "nation" and that chunks of my Jewish lands were in fact "Palestinian lands". My government decided that Arabs may freely live any place they wish anywhere in the land of Israel, but I may not live freely where I might choose if it happens to be across the "Green Line". My government instituted discrimination against me and against other Jews in the name of "affirmative action", quotas and preferences for Arabs and directed against me.
My government fought for my survival through cowardice and endless "restraint", turning my other cheek against my will, pursuing endless "goodwill gestures", which only inflamed the violence. It did so despite the fact that I and my fellow Israeli citizens voted repeatedly to revoke the "Oslo approach" and voted in favor of pursuing war against our enemies, not appeasement. My government abandoned all of northern Israel to the mercies of the Hizbollah rockets, now aimed at me in the thousands. My government abandoned the Jewish towns near the Gaza Strip to rocket barrages from the PLO.
I have spent the past 12 years cringing in shame. My government made me feel that way. But I have never felt as ashamed at being an Israeli as I did this week, when my government decided to reward the Hizbollah for murdering three of my fellow citizens in cold blood. My government also abandoned Ron Arad, releasing his kidnapper, rewarding the terrorists who kidnapped him, who "sold" him to Iran and possibly murdered him. My government decided to release nearly 450 murderers with blood on their hands in order to "buy" the release of the carcasses of three of my fellow citizens, who were murdered by the Hizbollah after they had been kidnapped by it.
My government had abandoned southern Lebanon to the Hizbollah and assured me there would be complete tranquility thereafter. After the farcical Israeli "withdrawal" ordered by my government, the Hizbollah has fired almost daily into Israel, has sent in terrorists who murdered Israeli civilians, and snatched the three soldiers (two Jews and one Bedouin Arab) whose bodies were released this week, after murdering them in cold blood.
Last week, the Hizbollah murdered one more army officer working a bulldozer; in response, my government punished some empty Hizbollah buildings. The prisoner "deal" was possible only because my government refuses to execute the murdering savages, the terrorists. My government thinks capital punishment is inhumane, and its absence has made possible the murders of 1,300 of my fellow countrymen. That is like twenty two September 11ths, when measured proportional to population.
The Hizbollah also held as prisoner a man who had entered Lebanon for criminal purposes, possibly a drug deal to pay off his gambling debts. I opposed releasing any terrorists to get him released. I might have considered agreeing to release a handful as payment to the Hizbollah to keep him imprisoned there, if he is indeed a drug smuggler.
My government decided to respond to the murders of the three POWs by rewarding their murderers, not by converting three Hizbollah towns into large parking lots, not by bathing the Hizbollah leaders in napalm. My government signaled to all my fellow citizens that it was unwilling to avenge our deaths. My government let every Israeli soldier know that his life would be worthless if captured by the enemy, because my government would always seek "deals" with those who murder POWs. My government made it known that by grabbing some Israelis as hostages, anyone could obtain any concession they want from my country. My government also let every soldier know that, if captured in war, he would be abandoned to his fate by my government. My government agreed to this "deal" with the Hizbollah, a deal that spit on the family of missing Israeli airman Ron Arad. The man who kidnapped and "sold" Arad has been released by my government as payment for the release of the common criminal.
My government is trying to cover its shame by boasting that it "held out tough" and refused to release the baby-murdering terrorist Samir Kuntar, the man who murdered the members of the Haran family in Nahariya. My same government boasts that it would have released this arch-murderer had the Hizbollah so much as told Israel where Ron Arad (or his grave) is.
So much for "standing tough".
My government is a disgrace. My government practices cowardice and pretends it is courage. My government displays indifference to the Israelis who will now be murdered by those released terrorists and murderers. My government had the gall to pretend it was acting out of compassion and morality when it signed this capitulation, when it placed that smirk on the face of the Hizbollah chief terrorist, boasting of his victory.
To drive home the point that the "deal" proves to the world that the Jews are on the run, the terrorists blew up a bus in Jerusalem, the same Jerusalem they pretend is holy to them, as part of celebrating the stampede of Jewish flight. After all, the Hizbollah was being rewarded for terror, so why should not the Palestinians follow their lead in obtaining Israeli surrender?
The bus atrocity in Jerusalem was carried out by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a PLO terror group under the direct command and control of Yasser Arafat.
My government pretended it was suddenly acting out of Jewish ethical values. My government would not know a Jewish ethical value if it popped up in its face. My government pretends there is a "Part B" to this capitulation, in which information about Ron Arad will be released. I do not believe them. I think my government is lying, to window-dress this act of cowardice.
As I watch the victory smile on the mug of the Hizbollah chief terrorist, my own government makes me cringe. My government makes me ashamed of being an Israeli.