CHUTZPAH, ISN’T IT?

This Thursday marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration. Named for Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, the Declaration stated in part: “His Majesty’s Government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Can you imagine such magnanimity? The British government viewed with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, when Palestine was not even under British control! It wasn’t until December 9th of that year, five weeks after the Balfour Declaration was signed, that British forces led by General Sir Edmund Allenby wrested Jerusalem from Turkish control. In fact, it wasn’t until practically a year later, on October 31, 1918, when all of Palestine came under British control. I’m sure that at that time, His Majesty’s Government viewed any number of territorial changes with favour. Who knows? Perhaps His Majesty’s Government also viewed the retaking of the expanded Thirteen Colonies with favour as well. Why, I think that Lord Balfour was simply divine – at least in his own mind. Having perused the Torah any number of times, I’ve come across HaShem promising the Land of Israel to Abraham and his descendants, but I’ve never come across Lord Balfour promising the Land of Israel to Abraham and his descendants.

But it was more than a national home for the Jewish people that His Majesty’s Government viewed with favour. His Majesty’s Government viewed fairness with favour. His Majesty’s Government knew that it had to show fairness to both the Arabs and the Jews already firmly ensconced in Palestine. And so it did. His Majesty’s Government showed fairness to the Jews and even more fairness to the Arabs. His Majesty’s government simply knew that unfairness to Jews would lead to hurt, anger and feelings of being disenfranchised; unfairness to Arabs led would lead to slit throats. Just as His Majesty’s Government viewed the establishment in Palestine of a national home for Jewish people with favour, so too did the British view un-slit throats with favour. And that’s why immigration to Palestine of Jews looking to escape Hitler was curtailed and cut down to a trickle by the British, as was immigration to Palestine of the bedraggled, war torn Jews who somehow managed to defy the odds and survive Hitler.

If His Majesty’s Government viewed fairness with favour, it also viewed justice with favour – its concept of justice. And that’s why His Majesty’s Government views how it was done dirty by the very same Jews it sought to “civilize.” The savage bombing of the King David Hotel by the Igun Tzvai LeUmi will never be forgotten, nor will the kidnapping and hanging of Sergeant Clifford Martin and Sergeant Mervyn Paice (the Irgun Tzvai LeUmi threatened to hang the two kidnapped Sergeants if the British carried out the execution of Avshalom Haviv, Meir Nakar and Yaakov Weiss.) Apparently justice, full and complete justice, has yet to be carried out. Otherwise why has no State Visit to Israel ever taken place by any British Prime Minister? “When the time is right” remains the official response issued by 10 Downing Street.

His Majesty’s Government cedes land that is not its own, His Majesty’s Government views fairness with favor, especially when dealing with Israel’s Arab population, His Majesty’s Government has yet to put aside decade’s old recriminations against Israel, despite its own besmirched, sullied reputation between the years 1917 through 1948. Chutzpah, isn’t it?

CAN IT BE?

Be still my heart. The same New York Times that seems to be unable to differentiate between reporting and vilifying when it comes to Israel, recently ran a story about Arabs in Haifa enjoying freedoms that Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East dare not even dream about?
Haifa’s 30,000 Arabs comprise roughly 10 percent of the population. They include equal numbers of Christians and Muslims. Haifa’s Arab population tends to be better educated and wealthier than Arabs elsewhere in Israel. How is this possible? Either Haifa’s Jews are far more benevolent towards the Arab population in that city or perhaps Haifa’s Arabs have a different focus in life than do Arabs, both Christians and Moslems living elsewhere in the Jewish state. Can it be that Haifa’s Arabs focus in on improving their own lives instead of making life miserable for Haifa’s Jews? Can it be that Haifa’s Jews, no different than Tel Aviv’s Jews or Jerusalem’s Jews generally adopt an attitude of B’Vakasha (in this case, rather than meaning please or thank you, B’Vakasha can be translated as gezunterheit) towards Arabs who mean them no harm?
“If you live in an Arab neighborhood you have a community. If you live in a Jewish neighborhood, you are a stranger and that gives you freedom as an Arab woman…I couldn’t do this anywhere else,” explained Fidaa Hammoud, who moved to Haifa four years ago and lives with her partner in a Jewish neighborhood, where they run a Palestinian Café called Rai.
Can it be that it’s more than mere lip service when Israel proudly proclaims that it is the only democracy in the Middle East? Can it be that by democracy, Israel says that its government, aside from being elected by free elections, stays out of peoples’ bedrooms and unlike its Arab neighbors, neither flogs nor stones in the name of Allah those living a lifestyle that doesn’t conform with Judaism?
A number of Arab-owned businesses opened on Sdeirot Ben Gurion (Ben Gurion Boulevard, Haifa’s main thoroughfare at the foot of Mount Carmel) in the last decade and a half, with signs in Arabic, English and occasionally Hebrew welcoming all. Doesn’t it strike anyone as strange that there are virtually no complaints by either the owners of these establishments or by the Arabs who frequent these establishments of interminable waits at security checkpoints manned by Israeli military? Can it be that no such checkpoints going in and out of Haifa exist, because Arabs of Haifa have always had a live and let live attitude and have yet to have their souls infected and minds poisoned by mass murder organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas? Can it be that security checkpoints anywhere in the country would come down, once Arabs lay down their knives, guns, ammunition as well as all other instruments of mayhem and murder?
As one who advocates that the great “humanitarians” of Europe and this country along with the sanctimonious ethic-ists of the western world who are full of BDS, visit Gaza and the West Bank before they further putrefy the earth with their slander and character assassination of Israel, I will gladly suggest that they pay a visit to Haifa instead. Can it be that those self-appointed “guardians of humanity” would rather focus on Arabs with chip on their shoulder rather than on Arabs who stand head and shoulder above their counterparts, because they are leading productive and successful lives in a free and democratic Jewish State?