Saturday, August 29, 2009
by Dionysis Theodorou
My family and I moved to Cyprus from Israel two years ago. Over this period I have faced a certain amount of persecution from friends, family, colleagues and complete strangers because of my love for Israel.
Unfortunately, the main reasons for this conflict are usually a lack of historical knowledge and and a cultural disposition of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeliism.
These negative sentiments and outbursts of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeliism grew noticeably during Israel’s defensive operation in Gaza in January of 2009.
During the war, the Israeli embassy requested that I appear on a popular TV show to give my views on the Gaza war known as Operation Cast Lead. After the show, I felt that not enough had been said and that there were many questions left unanswered that I needed to address.
People's reaction to the war in Gaza prompted me to review and renew my knowledge of modern 20th century Israeli history—the history that dealt with the settlers, the British Palestine Mandate, the creation of the state of Israel and the Arab opposition to the existence of the Jewish state in the wars that followed: The war of Independence, 1948; The Sinai War, 1956; The Six Day War, 1967; The War of Atonement, 1973; The Lebanon War, 1982; The Gulf War, 1991; The Intifadas, which began in the late 1980’s; The Second Lebanon War, 2006 and the war in Gaza of January 2009.
People's lack of information and the hatred they expressed towards the Jewish people and towards Israel caused me to start this blog.
Before ignorantly accusing Israel of crimes against humanity and siding with terrorists that intentionally attack innocent civilians, people should consider the contributions that the Jewish people and Israel have made and are making to the world.
When people condescendingly ask me: Why an earth would you want to live in Israel? and How is Israel now? Is it better now or is it still a mess? I say: Israel has always had it together, from universities and institutes of research that contribute to all of humanity in military, agricultural, medical and scientific technology to an incredible infrastructure that supports a growing population of 7 million people.
Only by visiting and spending some time there would someone begin to understand the awesome miracle which is Israel.
Briefly consider the article below by Ed Weiss and the lists that I have provided and think, that through the centuries, the Jewish people have built, developed and contributed to the lands they have lived in more so even than the native population of those lands. Would the Jewish people do anything less in their own land, despite being surrounded by enemies and having to deal with the constant and openly declared threat of total annihilation.
Consider 5.8 million Jews surrounded by 300,000,000 Arabs; Less than 14 million Jews in the world and between 1.3 and 1.5 billion Muslims.
The Jews have had a continuous presence in the land of Israel for over 3000 years.
The Arabs should have wisely accepted the Jews as neighbours: they would have benefited from their genius and industriousness. Some Arab leaders with vision embraced the idea of the Jews settling and establishing a state in the British Mandate.
"Who can challenge the rights of the Jews in Palestine? Good Lord, historically it is really your country." Yusuf Diya al-Khalidi, Mayor of Jerusalem, 1899
"We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement...We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home...Our two movements complement one another." Emir Faisal, a leader of the Arab world, 1919
"Those good Jews brought... prosperity over Palestine without damage to anyone or taking anything by force." Syrian Alawi notable's letter to French Prime Minister, June 1936
Other leaders and influential observers commented on Jewish immigration positively, understanding that the Jewish people would cultivate and develop the land thereby improving living conditions and building the economy.
“The country was…and is now, underdeveloped and under-populated.…There are…large cultivable areas that are left untilled. The summits and slopes of the hills are admirably suited to the growth of trees, but there are no forests. Miles of sand dunes that could be redeemed, are untouched.” Interim Report on the Civil Administration of Palestine to the League of Nations, June 1921
“It is manifestly right that the scattered Jews should have a national center and a national home and be reunited, and where else but in Palestine, with which for 3,000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated?” Winston Churchill, 1920
The area included such an assortment of ethnic groups that over 50 different languages were spoken. “Palestine,” Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1911, p. 600
“During the last two or three generations, the Jews have recreated in Palestine a community….This community [has] its town and country population, its political, religious and social organizations, its own language, its own customs, its own life.” The Churchill or British White Paper, June 1922
"No one doubted that the Arabs had benefited from Jewish immigration. Their numbers almost doubled between 1917 and 1940, wages had gone up, the standard of living had risen more than anywhere else in the Middle East." Historian Walter Laqueur
"Jewish agricultural colonies...developed the culture of oranges...They drained swamps. They planted eucalyptus trees. They practiced, with modern methods, all the processes of agriculture..Every traveller in Palestine...is impressed by..the beautiful stretches of prosperous cultivation about them." Interim Report of the Civil Administration of Palestine to the League of Nations, June 1921
‘If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel’ – Benjamin Netanyahu
The mess in the Middle East today exists because Israel's neighbours refuse to even accept Israel's existence. They continue to openly declare their intentions of destroying Israel and establishing an Arab Palestinian state that extends from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, maintaining that all of Israel is occupied land.
Egypt and Jordan have both accepted Israel's right to exist and have normalised relations with Israel, thereby putting an end to the conflict.
We pray that Palestinian leaders would care enough about their people to do the same.
As Golda Meir once said: We will have peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.
Consider this article by Ed Weiss:
Boycott Israel? Do It Properly
(Note: Now that doing economic damage to Israel is the moral fashion, with European groups organising boycotts, the Presbyterian Church voting to "selectively" divest from companies doing business in Israel and the Episcopal Church suggesting it may follow suit, the following article is a welcome reminder of the damage the boycotters, if they were — perish the thought — consistent, would do to themselves.)
O.K. So I understand that you are ticked off at Israel, and in love with the Palestinians. That's fine with me, as long as you have truly weighed up all the facts.
So, you want to boycott Israel? I'll be sorry to miss you, but if you are doing it—do it properly.
Let me help you.
Check all your medications. Make sure that you do not have tablets, drops, lotions, etc., made by Abic or Teva. It may mean that you will suffer from colds and flu this winter but, hey, that's a small price for you to pay in your campaign against Israel, isn't it?
While we are on the subject of your Israeli boycott, and the medical contributions to the world made by Israeli doctors and scientists, how about telling your pals to boycott the following:
An Israeli company has developed a simple blood test that distinguishes between mild and more severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis. So, if you know anyone suffering from MS, tell them to ignore the Israeli patent that may, more accurately, diagnose their symptoms.
An Israeli-made device helps restore the use of paralyzed hands. This device electrically stimulates the hand muscles, providing hope to millions of stroke sufferers and victims of spinal injuries. If you wish to remove this hope of a better quality of life to these people, go ahead and boycott Israel.
Young children with breathing problems will soon be sleeping more soundly, thanks to a new Israeli device called the Child Hood. This innovation replaces the inhalation mask with an improved drug delivery system that provides relief for child and parent. Please tell anxious mothers that they shouldn't use this device because of your passionate cause.
These are just a few examples of how people have benefited medically from the Israeli know-how you wish to block.
Boycotts often affect research. A new research center in Israel hopes to throw light on brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer's disease. The Joseph Sangol Neuroscience Center in the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer Hospital aims to bring thousands of scientists and doctors to focus on brain research.
A researcher at Israel's Ben Gurion University has succeeded in creating human monoclonal antibodies which can neutralize the highly contagious smallpox virus without inducing the dangerous side effects of the existing vaccine.
Two Israelis received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Doctors Ciechanover and Hershko's research and discovery of one of the human cells most important cyclical processes will lead the way to DNA repair, control of newly produced proteins, and immune defense systems.
The Movement Disorder Surgery program at Israel's Hadassah Medical Center has successfully eliminated the physical manifestations of Parkinson's disease in a select group of patients with a deep brain stimulation technique.
For women who undergo hysterectomies each year for uterine fibroids, the development in Israel of the ExAblate 2000 System offers a non-invasive alternative to surgery.
Israel is developing a nose drop that will provide a five year flu vaccine.
These are just a few of the projects that you can help stop with your Israeli boycott.
But let's not get too obsessed with medical research, there are other ways you can make a personal sacrifice with your anti-Israel boycott.
Most of Windows operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel. So, set a personal example. Throw away your computer!
The Pentium NMX Chip technology was designed at Intel in Israel. Both the Pentium 4 microprocessor and the Centrium processor were entirely designed, developed, and produced in Israel.
Voice mail technology was developed in Israel. The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 in Israel by four young Israeli whiz kids. Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R.& D. facilities outside the US in Israel.
So, due to your complete boycott of anything Israeli, you now have poor health and no computer. But your bad news does not end there. Get rid of your cellular phone!
Cell phone technology was also developed in Israel by Motorola, which has its biggest development center in Israel. Most of the latest technology in your mobile phone was developed by Israeli scientists.
Feeling unsettled? You should be. Part of your personal security rests with Israeli inventiveness, borne out of our urgent necessity to protect and defend our lives from the terrorists you support.
A phone can remotely activate a bomb, or be used for tactical communications by terrorists, bank robbers, or hostage-takers. It is vital that official security and law enforcement authorities have access to cellular jamming and detection solutions. Enter Israel's Netline Communications Technologies with their security expertise to help the fight against terror.
A joint, non-profit, venture between Israel and Maryland will result in a five day Business Development and Planning Conference in March. Selected Israeli companies will partner with Maryland firms to provide innovations for homeland security.
I also want you to know that Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.
Israel produces more scientific papers per capita — 109 per 10,000 — than any other nation.
Israel has the highest number of start-up companies per capita and in absolute terms, the highest number, except for the U.S.
Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies outside of Silicon Valley.
Israel is ranked second in the world for venture capital funds, behind the U.S. Israel has the second highest publication of new books per capita.
Relative to population, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on earth. These immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom or expression, economic opportunity, and quality of life.
Believe it or not, Israel is the only country in the world which had a net gain in the number of trees last year.
So, you can vilify and demonise the State of Israel. You can continue your silly boycott, if you wish. But I wish you would consider the consequences, and the truth.
Think of the massive contribution that Israel is giving to the world—and to you—in science, medicine, communications, security.
In relation to our population we are making a greater contribution than any other nation on earth.
Ed Weiss lives in Ra'anana, Israel
[ Published: January 1, 2005 ]
Have a look at this site which lists famous Jewish People by Category .
You will be surprised at some of the names that are listed.