Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a grave warning at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday (May 31) that Israel is facing a “great struggle” that will be an existential threat.
“We are in the midst of a great struggle being waged against the State of Israel, an international campaign to blacken its name. It is not connected to our actions; it is connected to our very existence,” he said.
“It does not matter what we do; it matters what we symbolize and what we are.
“This is a phenomenon that we have known in the history of our people – what hasn’t been said about the Jewish People? They said that we are the focus of all evil in the world. They said that we are the poisoners of the wells of humanity. They said that we drink the blood of little children. All of these things are being said about us today as well. It was not true then and it is not true today. This does not have a shred of truth,” Netanyahu continued.
“I read again the poem of the great Alterman, about the accusations that are hurled at us, and he says that the most important thing is that we do not believe the awful things aimed at us because in the end that will be the victory against us. As long as we do not believe, as long as we reject these things and do not flagellate ourselves, we will be strong and steadfast.
“I think that it is important to understand that these things do not stem from the fact that if only we were nicer or a little more generous – [since] we are very generous, we have made many offers, we have made many concessions – that anything would change. [Because] this campaign to de-legitimize Israel entails something much deeper that is being directed at us and seeks to deny our very right to live here.
“I think that one must ask how can it be that Israel is accused over homes in Gilo, or over this or that action that we take to defend ourselves from terrorists, but that when a hundred times more victims – a hundred times more, not twice or ten or 50 times as many, but a hundred times – more people are being slaughtered in Syria, just in Syria – there are no protests, no condemnations, no 80% of decisions by United Nations human rights committees, against Syria.
“It is we who are accused, IDF soldiers who are accused of killing children. I saw the IDF delegation to Nepal which rescued Nepalese children and brought babies into the world. I did not see a delegation from Boko Haram. I did not see delegations from Iran there. I did not see delegations from Al Qaida and I did not see delegations from Syria.
“There is no justification for the campaign of de-legitimization being waged against the State of Israel, in which they are trying to suspend us from international organizations.
“The last thing we need to do is to bow our heads and ask where we went wrong, where we erred.
“We have done nothing wrong and we have not erred. We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy.
“There is no democracy that is more challenged than the State of Israel, which respects human rights, which respects pluralism, which respects humanity even in the most difficult war situations, even when thousands of missiles are being fired at our cities.
“Therefore, here we are not dealing in justifications, here we are telling the truth.
“This past weekend we had to rebuff a major international effort to oust us from FIFA and I am pleased that we succeeded. This was part of the continuing effort; I am not deluding myself that these efforts will cease, and we need to act on a very broad front, but the first thing that we must arm ourselves with is the truth — the truth, and also with the inner pride that we know who we are and what we represent, and that we will not capitulate to libels.
“And therefore, an accomplishment must be noted, an important accomplishment, but it must also be noted that this was a milestone in a long campaign in which we will insist on our rights and in which we will uphold the truth – not on our truth alone, but on the truth and we will not allow ourselves to be ousted from important sports organizations nor from those which are not important.”
Hana Levi Julian