Viewpoint: Tsunami Warnings

We are witnessing the usual hand-wringing,claiming that the tsunami could have been warded off had Israel only been more proactive and flexible. That’s bunk.

UN split in half [do not re-publish] (photo credit: Avi Katz)
UN split in half [do not re-publish]
(photo credit: Avi Katz)
I WAS SURPRISED TO SEE 22-YEAR-OLD M. IN our synagogue as he usually only arrives to recite the yizkor prayer for his departed mother. He was called up to the Torah for the gomel blessing recited by someone who has survived a life-threatening incident. I pressed him on the circumstances. “The exodus from Egypt – you’ll see it tonight on the news,” he replied.
M. was a security guard at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. He narrowly escaped being lynched, when an Egyptian mob trashed the building on September 9.
The dramatic events in Egypt have heightened the tsunami warnings for this holiday season, stemming from Israel’s certain defeat in the UN General Assembly over the Palestinian bid for recognition in late September. And we are witnessing the usual hand-wringing, claiming that the tsunami could have been warded off had Israel only been more proactive and flexible. That’s bunk.
It was Abba Eban, a pronounced dove, who opined that if the General Assembly were presented with an anti-Israel resolution that states that the world is flat, that resolution would also pass overwhelmingly. The only exception occurred in 1991, when General Assembly Resolution 4686 revoked Resolution 3379, which had equated Zionism with racism.
That bright moment was totally unrelated to Israeli flexibility. What produced the temporary reversal of form was the ascendancy of the United States after the First Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The prime minister at the time was Yitzhak Shamir, famous for his remark that “the Arabs remain the same Arabs and the [Mediterranean] Sea [into which the Arabs want to push us] remains the same sea.”
The situation today is more reminiscent of November 1975, when the General Assembly passed that infamous “Zionism Is Racism” resolution. At that time, the US was still reeling and divided after its defeat in Vietnam. Western Europe was in an economic tailspin as a result of escalating oil prices. The Third World was ascendant and PLO leader Yasser Arafat, gun at his side, was as welcome a guest at the UN as Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is today.
I have no doubt that our talented ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, will come up with an appropriate speech, when the resolution recognizing the Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence is passed. He might as well, however, spare himself the effort and content himself with rereading ambassador (and future president) Chaim Herzog’s address, as he literally tore Resolution 3379 to shreds.
Let us suffice with one citation: “Who would have believed that in this year, 1975, the malicious falsehoods of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ would be distributed officially by Arab governments? ...This is the racism, which was expressed so succinctly in the words of the leader of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, in his opening address at a symposium in Tripoli, Libya: ‘There will be no presence in the region other than the Arab presence...’” Prosor has to merely copy the speech, change the year from 1975 to 2011, and substitute Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for Arafat.
It is instructive that the Palestinian propaganda slogan accompanying their bid for recognition is “Palestine State 194.” The number refers to UN Security Council Resolution 194, passed in December 1948 during Israel’s War of Independence, which presumably mandates the return of the Arab refugees – thus effectively obliterating Israel.
Got it? In other words, the 1967 borders are just the appetizer – the demand for the return of the refugees remains on the table.
Diplomatically and economically, Israel is actually better off than it was in 1975. Yet national and Jewish solidarity are markedly weaker. Likud leader Menachem Begin, as leader of the opposition, would have never made political capital of an anti-Israel General Assembly resolution, the anti-Israel neo-Ottomanism of Turkey’s ruling AKP party, or an inflamed Egyptian street mob as Kadima’s Tzipi Livni, the leader of the opposition, is doing today.
In 1975 people realized that the last thing one does in a tsunami is to confine Israel to a narrow band adjoining Yitzhak Shamir’s sea.