Photo: AFP
'When quite a large part of the world is anti-Semitic, de-legitimization is serious trouble'
Photo: AFP
Eitan Haber

Israel failing to heed warning signs

Op-ed: The real threat boycotts hold is a wave of de-legitimization of Israel sweeping over the world

What's the surprising thing about tsunami waves crashing on the beach? The surprise itself. A person sits at a café near the beach, and suddenly, a huge wave comes out of nowhere, and within a second or a minute there is no café, there is no coffee and there is no person.



The same applies to earthquakes: A person sits in his office on the 16th floor of an office building, talking to his wife on the phone, and without any prior warning the earth moves and the man doesn't even get a chance to say "goodbye" on the phone.


A actual example is the terror attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Did someone on the 98th floor of those towers think for a minute, for a second, about what would happen? And even the gas blast disaster in Jerusalem this week: A family goes to sleep, happy and content, and dies within seconds.


Ehud Barak described it well when he spoke about the "cherry blossom": The frostbites on the cherry tree are invisible, and one morning it suddenly blossoms amazingly without any prior notice.


The examples, of course, are not good. A state is not a café, an office building or even a surprised family or a cherry tree. In most cases, a state does not disappear at once, and warning signs can be found. Often these signs are worthless. But what happens when it happens?


To this day, the students and followers of Ze'ev Jabotinsky speak proudly about the warning signs he gave the Jews in the Diaspora, that if they fail to destroy it on time – it will destroy them. And they of all people are the first ones to jump up and try to destroy every warning sign today. Nonsense, rubbish, gloomy prophecies. Foolishness hasn't killed anyone yet.


What is this about? One has to be deaf, insane and a minor, as the Talmud says, not to pay attention to what is taking place these days on the diplomatic front. It was, I believe, Salam Fayyad, the former Palestinian prime minister, who was responsible for the statement and the policy that followed, which basically says: We won't be able to beat you with terror (because you have, among other things, an excellent Shin Bet), so we will try to defeat you on the diplomatic front.


In other words, the Palestinians have realized that pictures of blood and fire and pillars of smoke fail to serve their purpose, and they have "relocated" to a place where they have had an advantage almost from the very beginning.


'The entire world is against us'

Most of the world's countries don’t recognize the occupation and the settlements established on the lands of the occupied territory. They saw in every settlement a piece of denying the Palestinian people's right to freedom and independence and a new life. Naftali Bennett and his friends can shout all they want about ancestral merits and ancestral land and ownerships from the Bible, and even if they are completely right, the world in the current century covers its ears.


After realizing that they have the world's sympathy (including the US and even Canada, and maybe even Micronesia), the Palestinians went on to cut off the political and economic oxygen pipes of what we refer to as "liberation," "redemption," "the return to Zion," and they will always refer to as "occupation."


Indeed, the European boycott is not felt in Israel yet. Israeli exports to Europe even increased in 2013. But what will happen in 2014? It's possible that thick clouds are gathering over our heads.


We were wrong to think in past days that the great America, our old-time friend, will stand by us and foil the Palestinian plot that has swept Europe. Don’t make Washington laugh. The Americans have already discovered before us, so it seems, that they can work against the State of Israel through the Europeans. And they? Their hands are clean. They have always told us what they think about the "liberation," which they see as "occupation," and we responded with a wink.


The real problem hiding behind the economic boycott and possible diplomatic boycott (and I pray that we are wrong) is that after it or at the same time a wave of de-legitimization of the State of Israel may sweep over the world. In a world of which quite a large part is really anti-Semitic, that is serious trouble and a recipe for tough times. The State of Israel will find it very difficult to run its life then.


I hope that we are wrong, and that so are the 100 Israeli economy and business leaders who approached the prime minister recently to warn him of what is expected. But if, God forbid, this is the way and this is the direction, we will soon be able to take the old records out of the dusty drawers and sing together: "The entire world is against us."


פרסום ראשון: 01.23.14, 18:17
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