Thursday, July 8, 2004

They’re Not The Same

Musings #58
July 6, 2004

They’re Not The Same

Last night my husband and I were vastly outnumbered at the official “American Independence Day Reception” of the U.S. Consulate, Jerusalem. We were the minority of the minority. Just being Jewish Israelis made us different from most attendees; then add my husband’s crocheted kippah and my hat. To put it mildly, we were easy to spot, and that’s just the superficial aspect. No other Jews from our type of neighborhood were there either.

The vast majority of the guests were Arabs, church clergy, or a combination of the two. We all had to pass through security checks and be on the official invitee list. There were live music and lots of food, but the only food reliably kosher was the ice cream.

Of course there was a ceremony. Four U.S. Marines marched as a tightly choreographed unit with flags. I have no idea how the two, in the middle, holding the flags could see where they were going, as the flags covered their faces. They just kept blindly following their flags, with that American confidence; they know what’s right.

Then we heard the speech describing the past year in Jerusalem, which included a phrase that was both so wrong and so typical of American policy: “…more deaths on both sides…” It’s the same as lumping Japanese kamikaze pilots and U.S. Navy sailors killed by Japanese torpedoes as “…more deaths on both sides…” I think I deserve a medal for self-control, since I didn’t make a fuss right then and there.

A few minutes later, after “The Star Spangled Banner” blared from very loudspeakers, and then the Marines blindly marched back. American policy is blinded by their “principles” of “even-handedness.” This concept ignores right, wrong, terror, murder and victims.

Our annual invitation to this American Independence Day event is rather recent, even though we’ve been on official “consulate lists,” as “contacts” for at least twenty years. I remember, it must have had been about twelve years ago, an American “official” was visiting our humble Shiloh home, when my husband broached the subject. “I understand that there are consulate events to which you invite various Israelis, Arabs, but no Jews from YESHA.” The official very smoothly answered: “But we don’t invite anyone from the Chamas terror organization, either.” Well I couldn’t stay quiet. “Do you mean that you’re equating us with the terrorists who murdered my friend, Rachella Druk, just a few short months ago?” Ok, I’m not very diplomatic. I’m neither sorry, nor embarrassed by my outburst. He deserved a lot worse than I gave him. Imagine, in my home, served my food and telling me that I was in the same category as terrorists.

I can’t say that absolutely nothing has changed, since now we’re on the invitation list to the American Independence Day bash. But in terms of policy, nothing has changed. Not since hundreds of Israelis have been murdered by terrorists all over Israel, and not since thousands were murdered in the states on 9-11.

Americans haven’t learned a thing. They don’t realize that the terrorists who attacked American targets are inspired by the fact that the terrorist, Arafat, is now accepted by the U.S., U.N. and even some Israelis, as legitimate national leader. The coordinated terror attacks that so traumatized America derived from the same terrorism plaguing us here in Israel.

By lumping together victims of Arab terror with the perpetrators, the American government shows a total lack of comprehension. They are blindly following their flags and policy according to their presumptions and theories, never letting facts get in their way. It may prove dangerous to them, again, and for sure it endangers us here.

Alas, if we had real leadership in Israel, it wouldn’t matter at all, because a true leader would never follow another country. A true leader leads.

Batya Medad, Shiloh

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