Monday, April 17, 2006

Unrestrained

Pesach is the time of year when the Jews remember how terrible it was to be slaves to other people, building their palaces and empires in return for nothing except the murder of their baby boys. And of course it it the moment we celebrate our redemption under a courageous leader with God's might behind him.

The Jews who left Egypt, the Talmud says, were only 20% of the Hebrew population (see The 80/20 Rule). The remainder stayed behind, believing that life with the Egyptians was preferable to the unknown risks of the desert, despite the miracles wrought on their behalf. On the way to the Promised Land, the tribes that attacked Israel or failed to intervene when the people were weakened, were destroyed or eternally doomed.

Today in Tel Aviv, a terrorist murdered 9 people taking a light lunch at a falafel store. Islamic Jihad immediately claimed responsibility whilst Fatah's Al-Aksa Martyr's Brigade chipped in with the standard libel of how it was to avenge "Israeli massacres". And of course, Sami Abu Zuhri, the official spokesman for Hamas (that's the democratically elected government of the Palestinian Authority, as funded by Russia and some of the "moderate" Gulf states), said the attack was "a natural result of the continued Israeli crimes" against Palestinians; "our people are in a state of self-defence and they have every right to use all means to defend themselves."

A report by the BBC, not renowned for balanced reporting when it comes to Israel, said:

"Well over a dozen Palestinians have died in recent weeks, nearly all of them militants. Hamas, which has carried out dozens of previous bombings, has been observing a ceasefire with Israel for more than a year. The group does nothing to stop other militant groups from attacking Israel, but the tone of the official government statement was, by Hamas standards, quite muted."

The point when even the BBC concedes that Israel has been targetting people who deserve it, whilst Hamas at best stands idly by and allows the murder of civilians eating their lunch, is the moment that we should all stand up and take note.

Hamas calls it self-defense. Now they will learn what self-defense looks like. As far as Freedmanslife is concerned, and we imagine the newly sworn-in Kadimah government too, this reaction is tantamount to casus belli. An elected government permits terrorists to act unimpeded from its soil and justifies its actions in this way. But how long before the West buckles and starts talking to Hamas, reopening the flow of cash and kind that funds more lunch-queue bombings?

These animals deserve to be caged. Democracy, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, is where 2 wolves and a sheep vote on what to have for lunch. In the Palestinian democracy, the wolves are in power and are happy to sacrifice the sheep at the altar of world opinion. Now is the moment for us to eliminate the wolves, and go after the wolves who hide in sheep's clothing amongst the flock.

Those of you who are Jewish must now choose the path of the 20% and not that of the 80%.

Those of you who are not, this is still your battle. Standing with us, like the Irish at Cable Street, like Orde Wingate in Mandate Palestine, like Raoul Wallenberg at Budapest Station, you can fight this scourge before it visits your own streets with a ferocity of a hundred Madrids, Londons and New Yorks. Ignore the moral equivalences and shoddy reportage of the Independent, Guardian, BBC and Channel 4. Understand that Israel is the canary in the coalmine, and that your governments must continue to shun any elected leadership that preaches or permits terrorism.

Pandering to them does nothing except encourage them along the same path. Your failure to recognise this will come at an unimaginably heavy price.

So whilst the other side use terror or the threat of violence to get you to support their cause, Freedmanslife asks you politely to use your heads and take a longer view. We Jews have a funny habit of surviving while great nations crumble into dust. It's a good bet that standing by our side will do you a favour in the long run.

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