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Update – 22 August 2012

Posted by Emily Gian on 22 August 2012 at 3:03pm:

I came across an article a few weeks ago by Yair Lapid, a former Israeli journalist (and son of Tommy Lapid) who has now formed a new Israeli political party, “Yesh Atid”. In the article, entitled “Somebody Wants to Kill Me” he begins,

“The recent terror attempt at Sinai, which was miraculously thwarted at the last minute, reminded me of a very painful truth that has been with me since I was born: Somebody out there wants to kill me.

“I’ve never actually met him; he knows nothing about me. Strangely and outrageously enough, it isn’t even personal. Bizarre, no? There is someone out there who has devoted his life to trying to kill me, but I’m not supposed to be insulted”.

Lapid’s words resonated with me, as I am sure they resonated with many of you. When I read some of the statements last week against Israel and Jews by Iran’s leaders, my first thought was for my 18-month-old nephew Niv, who resides in Yahud in the centre of Israel. Yesterday, Niv went to crèche for the first time. He can walk, he is starting to talk, he makes amazing animal sounds, and he loves his dog. But his very existence is so offensive to some people that they think he and everyone around him should be wiped off the face of this earth.

It all began last week when Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying that a “light of hope will shine on the Palestinian issue, and this Islamic land will certainly be returned to the Palestinian nation, and the superfluous and fake Zionist [regime] will disappear from the landscape of geography” (see more).

Speaking ahead of Al-Quds day, the head of Iran’s Passive (civil) Defence Organisation declared “[Al-Quds Day] is a reflection of the fact that no other way exists apart from resolve and strength to completely eliminate the aggressive nature and to destroy Israel”. Al-Quds day is an annual event initiated after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The day is set aside to support the “oppressed people of Palestine” against “the Zionist usurpers” (see more). The rally, which took place on Friday, attracted millions of people.

Last week, a rally took place in Sydney to mark the Al-Quds day and it was attended by around 150 people. J-Wire reports that one speaker urged the Australian government to impose sanctions on Israel as “Israel is the most tyrannical regime in the world today”. These people are obviously very happy to ignore the daily bloodshed that is occurring in Syria and to focus on the Jewish State. The speaker continued, “when we say Free Palestine, we don’t mean the little that is left. We want every square centimetre that has been occupied since the beginning. We want the removal of the entire Zionist regime from the land of Palestine. We don’t want the little dots on the map. We want the entire land. We want the removal of every single Zionist” (see more). These lovely people in Sydney seem to be echoing the words of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who stated, “Zionist presence on even one centimetre of Palestinian land was dangerous. That’s my personal understanding. Don’t blame me later, this is how I see things”.

He continued, “The Zionist regime is a malignant cancer, if even one cell remains on Palestinian land, the current situation will continue in the future.. Today, countering the Zionist entity and the fabricated Zionist regime safeguards the rights of all human beings, defends human dignity and paves the way to save humankind from arrogance, poverty and misery “(see more). I wonder, just as an aside, if a nuclear attack on Israel would only affect the 80% of the country that is Jewish? Please click here to read more inflammatory statements made by Iranian leaders in the past week.

In response, Israel sent a letter to the UN Security Council asking for Iran to be condemned. The letter states, “as Israel has made clear in our previous letters to the Security Council, complacency in the face of Iranian hate speech and incitement is dangerous. The delusional statements of Iran’s leaders are not those of crazy people, but rational fanatics, with irrational hatreds. One can only imagine what such an extremist regime would do if it got its hands on the world’s most dangerous weapons” (see more).

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon did condemn the statements when he declared “The Secretary-General is dismayed by the remarks threatening Israel’s existence attributed over the last two days to the Supreme Leader and the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran… The Secretary-General condemns these offensive and inflammatory statements”. The statement then continues “[Ban] believes that all leaders in the region should use their voices at this time to lower, rather than to escalate, tensions” (see more).

I can only guess that the last part of his statement is also directed at Israeli leaders, though comparing the rhetoric of Israeli leaders and Iranian leaders seems a little vile.

EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton released a statement saying she “strongly condemns the outrageous and hateful remarks threatening Israel’s existence… Israel’s right to exist must not be called into question” (see more). I am glad that these hateful words from Iran have not gone unnoticed by world leaders, but this goes much further than just questioning the ridiculously out-dated line about Israel’s “right” to exist.

So as world leaders issue seemingly empty condemnations, this hatred of Israel continues and the existential threat is as prominent as ever. Even today’s Australian carries a front-page article about how an anti-Israel protest has led to more Jew hatred.

To my own horror, I was also disgusted to read last week about an attack which left a 17-year old Israeli Arab boy unconscious in downtown Jerusalem last Thursday by eight Jewish youths. One of the suspects, a 13 year-old Israeli boy, stated “I hope he dies. You can’t go by Damascus Gate without getting stabbed. So why do they come here? I beat him, and I’d beat him again. I’m not sorry for what I did” (see more).

As a society, Israelis cannot let this sort of hatred become the norm and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rightly condemned the attack saying “this is something that we cannot accept – not as Jews, not as Israelis. This is not our way; this goes against our way, and we condemn it in word and deed. We will quickly bring justice to those responsible for this reprehensible incident. We say as clearly as possible: The State of Israel is a democratic and enlightened state in which when we come across acts such as these, the entire state, and all of its leaders come out together against such a phenomena, and we will continue to do so” (see more).

And this is the difference between Israel as a democracy and many of the hateful regimes in the Arab and Islamic world which sadly, makes the attainment of peace a distant prospect.

Best wishes,

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