ARE ZIONISTS WORSE THAN ISLAMISTS?

Lee Bender,

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צילום: ערוץ 7
Lee Bender
Lee S. Bender co-authored a book, "Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z" (Pavilion Press) with Jerome Verlin, and has been speaking about anti-Israel bias and activities to numerous schools, synagogues, churches and civic groups, and written dozens of articles published in local and national media. He is Co-President of the Zionist Organization of America-Greater Philadelphia District, a board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia, Israel Advocacy Committee of Jewish Federation among other organizations. A former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney, he has been in private practice as a trial attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 1995. twitter: LeeB@emet6md...

Are Zionists really worse than Islamists?  One could reach that conclusion based on reports in “mainstream media” as well as actions and rhetoric from the United Nations, the European Union, much of academia and a slew of non-governmental organizations including the innocuous-sounding Jewish Voice for Peace. [A more comprehensive list of such NGOs can be found at http://www.ngo-monitor.org/]

Aided and abetted by Muslim and Arab propaganda, they all claim – falsely – that Israel is “occupying” “Palestine” and they therefore seek to punish Israel by promoting boycotts, sanctions and divestment (BDS) and in other ways. But when it comes to Islamism and corresponding terrorism and other attacks, there is largely silence or an attempt to whitewash those actual atrocities.

Here’s a handy guide to this corrosive manipulation of the facts, and thus the perception of Israel and Zionism on the one hand, and Islamism and sharia on the other hand:

Can there be any serious argument in favor of Islamism? After all, it is a religious/political system that seeks to enshrine and impose its laws (sharia) on lands it occupies and the peoples who live there, and attempts to conquer territory through jihad (holy war). Sharia law  essentially abuses women and LGBTQ individuals; legalizes so-called honor killings and female genital mutilation; demands male supremacy; is biased against all “infidels;” glorifies those who chop off the heads of Jews and Christians or who otherwise murder infidels; stones adulterers; puts to death apostates; cuts off the hands of thieves; severely punishes those who criticize Mohammed or Islam; treats non-believers as second-class citizens (dhimmis); is anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-democracy; and whose ultimate goal is Islamic supremacy and triumphalism. Consider this: what positive things have Islamists brought to the world-at-large?

Zionism: According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the term was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum and generally refers to “the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Zionism has come to include the movement for the development of the State of Israel and the protection of the Jewish nation in Israel through support for the Israel Defense Forces.” That the Jewish People have the basic right to self- determination owing to its long history of being persecuted and living as a Diaspora community, is potent and self-evident. Israel is an open democracy that respects all civil rights and grants equal rights to women, minorities (25% are Arab and non-Jews), and LGBTQ individuals; has an independent judiciary; robust free press; excellent healthcare and educational system; upholds freedom of religion and worship with full and complete access to religious sites-- in short, classic Western, liberal values. This is all enshrined in its Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.

Moreover, Zionism has unleashed the potential of Israelis to endeavor in  tikkun olam- commonly defined as “repairing of the world” - and become the “Start-Up Nation.” Zionism has propelled Israel to share with the world amazing life-saving technologies, devices, innovations in computers, biomedicine, water, and agriculture, and be a first-responder to humanitarian crises and natural disasters around the world. This is a deep expression of Jewish values. Jews have no interest in conquering land or taking over land of others—there is no jihad equivalent.

Despite the above contrasts, Zionists continue to be slandered, libeled and demonized, while Islamists are respected and in some cases labeled as victims.

Zionists and all Jews are routinely accused of stealing Arab lands, of oppressing Arabs and of being colonizers -- though the facts and international law refute these allegations. The Bible, San Remo Conference, the U.N., and other sources clearly support the Jewish People’s claims to the lands. Israel has additional legitimate claims to territories it gained in 1967 because it acquired them in a defensive war (as per international law) and because those areas were not legally part of another sovereign nation. But the false claims against Jews enable the justification of the incessant acts of terrorism and murder targeting Jews via suicide/homicide bombings, stabbings, car rammings, missile and rocket attacks and infiltration tunnels. This is likely also because Muslims are viewed as victims of Western colonialism and prejudice and because systemic social ills in Muslim societies are rarely if ever exposed.

Yet, it is hard to see how Muslims are really so oppressed. Today, there are 56 Islamic countries which are home to most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. Among these are 22 Arab states with a population of 400 million. In contrast, there is one tiny Jewish state—Israel -- with a population of 6.5 million Jews and 1.2 million Arabs (the latter group’s population has actually swelled since 1948).  Israel’s land mass is 1/625 the size of the Arab world. The total Jewish population on the planet is a mere 14 million. Israel is the true “David” even though it is portrayed as the “Goliath.”

It is the Islamists who refuse to recognize the nation-state of the Jewish People. Just read and listen to what they repeatedly say in public. Two recent examples:    

On official Palestinian Authority TV, Fatah Central Committee member and Commissioner of Treasury and Economy, Muhammad Shtayyeh stated, “The Fatah Movement never demanded that Hamas recognize Israel. To this moment, Fatah does not recognize Israel. The topic of recognition of Israel has not been raised in any of Fatah’s conferences” (Official PA TV, ‘Topic of the Day,’ March 26, 2017, translation in Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) bulletin. Note: Fatah is the largest party within the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the president of the Palestinian Authority, which governs the Palestinian Arabs in Judea-Samaria/West Bank.

Hamas’ Political Bureau head, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, stated on Lebanese TV that “Our principles say that our land is all of Palestine, including the land that is under occupation [i.e., Israel] … [The proposal to establish a Palestinian state in Judea/Samaria and Gaza] is a tactical step that does not harm the right of the Palestinians to all of the land of Palestine” (Amad, independent Palestinian news website, March 28, 2017, translation in PMW bulletin,  April 21, 2017). Note: Hamas- the Islamic Resistance Movement- is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and rules in Gaza; its charter refuses to recognize Israel in any borders and until recently contained genocidal clauses against all Jews.

PA Education Minister Sabri Saidam promotes martyrdom and appears dead set on maintaining the radical curriculum. The curriculum is carefully crafted by the Palestinian Ministry of Education to alternately combine violence with international pressure against Israel. Saidam posted on his official Facebook page on 6-16-17 a status that read: "May Allah have mercy on the Martyrs of Jerusalem and all of Palestine" - referring to the terrorists responsible for the murder of border policewoman Hadas Malka in Jerusalem that same day.

Moreover, Palestinian Arabs want an ethnically cleansed state, free of Jews.

This does not engender confidence that peace can be obtained with Islamists- full, equal peace. Because of political correctness, many tiptoe around expressions of Islamic law because, of course, it is not fashionable to criticize another religion or judge it- even if its sacred texts call for subjugating non-believers. But when it comes to the Jews and their miniscule state, it appears to be open-season to meddle away.

It should be clear that those who treat Zionism as worse than Islamism have a nefarious agenda that, at its root, amounts to Jew-hatred. What else could explain condemning a positive movement while elevating a negative one?