By Yochanan Gordon
Genuineness and politics don’t go hand in hand. Most altruistic, well-meaning people don’t look to express their kind-heartedness in the political arena; so when we hear time and again that the relationship between Israel and America could never be stronger and that Israel has no greater ally than the United States, that statement should be taken with a grain of salt.
Paraphrasing a Biblical axiom, the late Shlomo Carlebach put it best when he soulfully sang, “Israel, we have no friends in the world, the Holy Land, the holy people of Israel are all alone—hein am levadad yishkon.” I believe that in their heart of hearts, all Israelis believe this Biblical adage, but for some reason, when push comes to shove, they keep making the same mistakes all over again.
Abu Mazen could stand on his head claiming his legitimacy as a viable peace partner until he’s blue in the face and I wouldn’t believe him. The problem isn’t that Abu Mazen is not trustworthy, but rather that our president chooses on principle to negotiate with terrorists and pressures Israel into doing so as well; Israel feels compelled to comply, for fear of being labeled an obstacle to peace and stability in the region.
The truth, however, is that being Israeli, or Jewish for that matter, is altogether not in line with political correctness. In other words, as far as Israel is concerned it would be illogical to continue to make concessions and sacrifices in the way of pleasing the international community, since it is a fruitless attempt at gaining more friends in the world. The bottom line is that those who have Israel’s back will continue to do so knowing full well Israel’s right to the land it calls home. And, sad but true, those who contest Israel’s rights to its G‑d-given homeland will continue to defy any logical claims towards ownership in order to push their sole agenda to besmirch Israel, as has become the political norm on the international stage.
To anyone who observes the realities of life, it is clear that the truth is not popular. We see this in the Gemara, which sides, more often than not, with Hillel over Shammai. Hillel had a reputation of being more of a people’s person than Shammai. Shammai was more intent on seeing through to the core of each issue that he encountered, whereas Hillel sought the most effective way to disseminate a life of Torah and mitzvos to the masses.
Perhaps a more modern-day example of the polarities between popularity and truth is the video of Mohammed Zoabi, an Israeli Arab calling for the immediate release of the three Israelis being held captive by Hamas terrorists, and a wakeup call to Prime Minister Netanyahu to cease cooperating with terrorists. Just a day after the video first aired, it had garnered 50,000 views but has earned the 17-year-old Israeli Arab death threats from his neighbors and feelings of alienation from his immediate family, including his aunt, Hanin Zoabi, who is an MK in Israel.
As politically incorrect as it may be to hold on to areas of the land that the Palestinians claim to be theirs, it is an indication of who is the true owner of the land, and the opposite holds true as well. When the Gemara discusses the law in a scenario where someone claims that he owes money and the alleged borrower denies ever borrowing money from that person, the borrower is exempt, since we assume that a person would not completely deny a claim to the face of his creditor. On the other hand, if he were to agree partially to the claim, we administer an oath regarding the remainder that he is denying.
If Israel acquiesces to the incessant claims of the Palestinians to land that rightfully belongs to Israel, it only bolsters their claims that Israel is occupying land that does not belong to Israel. However, if Israel believes that the land rightfully belongs to Israel and stands strong amidst the pressure, there is a greater chance of convincing the international community of our unquestionable rights to the land. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose twentieth yahrzeit is soon approaching, warned Israeli leaders countless times not to forfeit an inch of land for the sake of peace. Instead, he advised Israel’s leaders to open up to the first Rashi in Bereishis, which forthrightly states G‑d’s promise of Israel to the Jews. Sadly, to this date, I don’t think that advice has been heeded, and here we are in the same struggle that we have been in since the founding of the state in 1948.
Winston Churchill had what to say regarding the truth and it went something like this: “The truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” If there was anything that has been pursued longer than peace between Israel and the Palestinians and has also been unsuccessful, it has been the attempt of sworn enemies of the Jews throughout history to erase us. Nothing is more in line with Churchill’s definition of the truth—because in the end we are here and we will continue to be here forever. v
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