Benjamin the Maccabee?

netanWhen I read about things like the E1 corridor, and hear the debate about UN resolutions and acceptance of Palestinian statehood, I step back and try to understand what is really going on.  I try to be objective and fair, fully knowing that my family history makes that close to impossible.  Naturally I am impacted by my own family’s plight during the Nazi occupation of Holland and, knowing Jewish history, I see the numerous examples of persecution against the Jewish people.

It is very easy to jump on the bandwagon of compromise and talk about how Israel needs to make concessions and show tolerance to the Palestinians.  Criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu is becoming more and more popular, not just amongst Israel’s enemies but amongst Israel’s friends and even Jews.  But is his approach so inappropriate?  If there is one major reason to elect an Israeli Prime Minister it is to protect the interests of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide.  We are on the verge of celebrating the holiday of Hanukkah, the holiday that celebrates the victory of the Maccabees, possibly the most military aggressive group in Jewish history prior to 1948, and I ask myself this; would today’s world criticize Judah the Maccabee?  Most likely yes.

The saying “hindsight is 20/20”, is poignant and applicable.  As a Jew who never knew his grandparents, I know that the world is still a place filled with people who want to see to it that future generations suffer the same fate.  Anti Jewish sentiment has never been based in logic or reason.  It is not something that can be eliminated by negotiation or compromise.  Nothing Israel has done in its history has ever shown evidence of a desire to pick war over peace.  Are all the moves Israel makes politically expedient? Probably not.  But does political expediency take precedent over survival? Definitely not.  If you choose to make the argument that the Palestinians just want the right to an independent state, I would answer; all the Jewish state wants is to be recognized as having a right to exist.  The Palestinians want land, Israel wants to live safely.  To pretend Israel is asking more is nothing short of clever anti-Semitism.    Benjamin Netanyahu has a reputation of being a difficult man.  This may be true.  But I ask you this.  Knowing that your enemies still won’t even admit you have the right to survival, do you really want someone easy representing your best interests?

The basis for peace does not start with concessions from a nation surrounded by people wishing to destroy it.  The basis for peace is the basic understanding by all parties that the other has a right to exist in peace.  Menachem Begin came further from the right than Benjamin Netanyahu, and seeing a true opportunity for peace gave the Sinai to Egypt.  The years of peace have proven it to be a solid move, even with the change going on in Egypt today.  If the Palestinians want peace, not just land and Israel’s destruction, I believe the world would see a much less “difficult” Benjamin Netanyahu.  But if Israel’s enemies continue to show its ultimate goal to be its destruction, expect a Maccabean type response.  One that Jewish people should be grateful for, not critical of.

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