Our 1948

These situations are not spontaneous, but they are part of a well organized (and funded) anti Israel Campaign. The intention of this campaign is not to question Israeli policies but her legitimacy. Calls for "ending the Israeli experiment" or to seek a "one (Arab) state solution" have been voiced by European officials of the highest rank. Calls for divestment of companies doing bussiness with Israel and boycott of Israeli products are common. And of course, there is calling Israel an "Apartheid State" in order to equate the situation with the South African Apartheid.

In 1948, Jews living in Israel fought the battle for recognition of the Jewish people's right to self-determination, which has not been recognized to this day by most Arab States. Many wars later and with many layers of complicating factors, it seems like the conflict is farther than ever from resolution.

Don't get me wrong: Israeli leaders, as leaders of any Democracy, need to be reminded of their obligations and corrected when they make mistakes, and they do make them. When Israeli policies run counter to basic Jewish values or basic Democratic values, Israeli leaders need to hear the objections - and Israelis are not shy about it and neither should Jews anywhere. There is a difference, however, between objecting to specific policies and attacking the very existence of the State. In several countries, including Israel, civic groups have been put together to counter this insidious campaign of delegitimation.

In America, several groups specialize in Israel advocacy online but none has been targeting -so far - specifically the delegitimation campaign against Israel as a whole. Only an organized effort can turn the tide around, and doing nothing will leave us dealing with the symptoms without addressing the illness.

I just came back from participating in the 2010 General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, where a number of those organizations doing Israel advocacy were present. They all do good work, but they all also agreed to the need of coordination and the need to focuse on identifying, decoding and countering the delegitimation messages. They all also agreed that only the Federation system has the clout to make it happen.

Each generation of Jews has its own defining moments; a time when Jewish communities need to step up to the plate to ensure the rights of our people. In what is now the greatgrandparents generation, that was the time of Anti Semitism, the Holocaust and the birth of Israel, for the Baby boomers it was civil rights and supporting Israel in her wars for survival. And today, our generation duty is, ironically, the same as that of the older generation: to defend the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, the right of Israel to exist.

Alone among 192 members of the United Nations, Israel cannot be a member of the Economic and Social Council until 2021 nor the Security Council until 2025 because Israel has not been accepted in any of the regional groups. The Western European and Others group finally accepted Israel, as a temporary member, in 2000 but that still leaves Israel's access to the full rights of UN membership denied. This is not a questioning of policies, this is open discrimination. From the 18 countries identified as violators of Human Rights, the Human Rights Commission has condemned only one: Israel, with nine resolutions - this means that Israel is being treated with different standards that all other countries of the world - and that is discrimination.

Since the founding of the UN, 70,000 people were killed in Algeria, 200,000  in Bosnia, 160,000 in Chechnya, 1.5 million in Cambodia, 4 million in Congo, 445,000 in Saddam's Iraq, 1.5 million in Mozambique, 2 million in North Korea, 1.2 million in Rwanda, 450,000 in Sudan (Darfur) and 20,000 in Syria. Where was the Human Rights Commission then?

The UN serves the 4.4 Palestinian refugees through the UNWRA, an agency with 28,000 employees. It also serves the "other" 20.8 million refugees worldwide through the UNHCR, and agency with 6,689 employees.

680,000 Jews and 750,000 Arabs were displaced during and in the aftermath of the war of 1948. Only the Arab refugees remain today...may I ask why?

Israel needs to be held to high standards when it comes to respect for Human Rights and its policies need to be questioned when they are unfair; but the same standards should be applied to all nations. Singling out Israel is using her as a scapegoat and it is also discriminatory.

Each generation has its challenges. As American Jews this is the time for us to step up to the plate in defense of our people's right to self-determination. This is our 1948...


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