By Daniel Chejfec
Over the last couple of weeks, it seems that a new "herem" (excommunication) has been put on every liberal in the world that defends Israel's right to exist. Pilar Rahola, the Spanish Socialist lawmaker, is one of those who has been expelled from her party for initiating a pro Israel website. She is not well known in America (yet) but she is very well known in Europe and Israel as a champion of many liberal causes. Watching an interview she gave for Israeli TV inspired me to express my feelings in a different way.
Why am I pro-Israel? Because I'm liberal. Notice I'm saying BECAUSE. Not "in spite", not "and", but BECAUSE. In my mind, when you are a liberal and you want to promote the cause of individual freedoms and free societies, you have no choice but to be pro-Israel. Why? let's go down the list...
- During World War II the Jewish community in Palestine sided with the Allies, the Arabs sided with Hitler
- In Israel everybody has the right to vote. In the Arab world that right is rare
- In Israel women enjoy equality under the law...should I even mention what is their position in Arab society?
- Homosexuals in Israel cannot be discriminated against, in Iran they "do not exist" according to Ahmedinejad
- In Israel, people have freedom of expression even when they disagree with the government - just look at the Israeli Media. In the Arab world, stepping out of the party line means death
- Israel is willing to live side by side with a Palestinian State, Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel and the PLO is not complaining too much about it...
- Israel rehabilitated over 1 million refugees in the first few years of its existence, the Arabs left the Arab refugees of 1948 to rot in refugee camps
- Israel has an independent judiciary.
- In Israel, workers are unionized if they wish to be, Worker unions in most Arab countries are either forbidden or state-controlled
- Israel has a multiparty democratic system.
The list could go on, but I believe I made the point. In most of the social issues I care about, Israel scores very high and the Arabs fail. I'm not denying that Israel has some adjustments to do of her own, especially regarding the growing income gap and the resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians, but those two issues still find Israel scoring higher than the Arab countries and certainly higher than the Palestinians.
So in spite of all the flak given to Israel by the European left and some of the American left, I proudly proclaim that because I'm liberal, I'm pro-Israel, and I consider supporting the Jewish State to be on the "good" side. At the same time, I tip my hat to the Palestinians and their ministers of propaganda for their skills, since they managed to put the world upside down and gain the support of the western left for their autocratic, fanatically religious, irredentist, expansionist ideologies. They learned well the lessons from Alois Brunner, Eichman's second in command, believed to be still in Syria where he sought refuge after WW II
Pilar Rahola inspired me and she can inspire many of you. Unfortunately, her interviews are mostly in Spanish and the captions I saw in some of them are in Hebrew or Russian, which might account for how little she is known in our country. But if you know either Spanish or Hebrew, go to You Tube and search for "Pilar Rahola" - she'll surprise you !