What connects European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to a Jerusalem landmark inscription? Hypocrisy. Obfuscation of truth. Tampering with history, be it more distant or very recent.
Far from the sound and fury of unabated fighting on Israel's South and North, both Solana and the sign set new standards for insincerity, duplicity and pretence. Both travesties - equally stomach-churning, mind-boggling and plainly exasperating - came to light on the same day last week.
The marker was put up to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the King David Hotel blast in which the IZL (in the framework of an ad-hoc partnership with the other undergrounds - the actual operative order having come from Hagana commander Moshe Sneh) blew up the edifice that served as the British Mandate's nerve center. The IZL phoned warnings to the French Consulate, The Palestine Post (this newspaper's forerunner) and the hotel switchboard, requesting that the building be vacated forthwith to avoid casualties. The Brits haughtily pooh-poohed all three advance notices.
This is the marker's original text:
"The hotel housed the Mandate Secretariat as well as the Army Headquarters. On July 1946 Irgun fighters, at the orders of the Hebrew Resistance Movement, planted explosives in the basement. Warning phone calls had been made urging the hotel's occupants to leave immediately. For reasons known only to the British, the hotel was not evacuated, and after 25 minutes, the bombs exploded, and to the Irgun's regret and dismay, 91 persons were killed."
IT'S ALL incontrovertibly true, but truth isn't everyone's cup of tea. And so Her Majesty's embassy demanded the sign be revised. To curry favor and avoid discord, Jerusalem's municipality dutifully promised to remove offensive references to the British refusal to clear the premises.
It may seem paltry considering current bloody events, but it's symptomatic. We're always so eager to please and so hungry for foreigners' approval - even at the expense of the justice of our cause.
The King David bombing is still cited today by Israel's maligners as an example of "Jewish terrorism," exploited particularly in order to set up synthetic moral equivalency between Arab suicide bombers who deliberately target civilians and the Jewish underground, which went out of its way to avoid casualties, civilian and otherwise.
The King David lie remains too useful to too many. They can't let it be dented, not even via a forgettable memorial plaque. And in our alacrity to accommodate ourselves and bask in the warm glow of enlightened post-modernist bon ton, we all too often willingly sacrifice the ethical core of our case, that which sets us apart from those who would annihilate us.
We even omit to stress the existential nature of Israel's struggle: how it was savagely attacked on the day of its birth by seven armies (some trained, equipped and led by the very same Brits who denied entry into this country to Jewish refugees from Hitler's hell, and later to hell's emaciated survivors). We compliantly submit to our characterization as somewhat unsavory.
SOLANA, HABITUALLY disseminating these de-rigueur characterizations, showed up here on "a fact-finding mission" on behalf of the EU, which presumably couldn't figure out what triggered the latest regional fuss and didn't apparently realize that fanatic Islamo-fascists - in possession of territories unilaterally ceded to them by Israel - had violated Israeli sovereignty, killed Israeli soldiers, abducted others and shelled noncombatants deep inside the country.
Both Hamas and Hizbullah owe allegiance to masters and manipulators in Damascus and Teheran, hardly the darlings of the world's progressive, liberal and tolerant democracies. Some of these democracies nevertheless dispatched Solana to discover what the uproar from troublesome Israel's vicinity was all about.
While here, Solana saw fit to uphold the EU's refusal to classify Hizbullah as a terrorist organization, asserting that the EU "does not possess sufficient data to determine" whether Nasrallah's nasties belong on its baddie list. He insisted on this not being a moral lapse on Europe's part, but strictly "a legal issue."
Solana's humbug isn't paint on metal. But it is, in essence, indistinguishable from the King David plaque modification. In both instances manifestly evident facts are denied and disingenuously covered up to serve vested interests and facilitate double standards.
If the specter of Jewish terrorism can be artificially conjured and magnified, it may not-so-subtly excuse horrific unrelenting terrorism against Jews.
Conversely, if that monstrously barbaric terror unleashed against the Jews can be diminished and deceptively passed off as something else, then Jewish self-defense is cast in a villainous light and tarnished with malicious tendentiousness as "disproportionate" and, indeed, inherently terrorist itself.
BY PRETENDING that Hizbullah may possibly be on the up-and-up, Solana knowingly propagates falsehoods. He isn't a misguided visitor to Beirut - like the three young women whose tearful departure from that city was so heartrendingly documented by the BBC. Probably never lovers of Zion to begin with, they were allowed to ramble on - without interruption or critical interrogation - about how Israelis "torture" the undeserving Lebanese. Solana surely knows better.
His realpolitik sanctimony notwithstanding, he knows that had Hamas and Hizbullah stayed inside their side of the demarcation line and not terrorized Israelis, no violence whatever would have broken out. No "humanitarian disaster" would be looming over either Gaza or Beirut.
But worse yet - in his heart of hearts - Solana knows that had Israelis not resisted the aggression of the Hamas and Hizbullah objects of his compassion, had Israelis not taken up arms in their self-defense, they'd face another Holocaust, as Hamas's and Hizbullah's Iranian sponsor has already explicitly threatened, mincing no words.
Unlike the British Mandatory high command, Israel cannot afford to superciliously dismiss serious forewarnings.