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Diplomacy beats despondency

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The world has changed. The once all powerful Church no longer demonises Jews. In America, we are a popular minority. In England, the majority view Jews favourably.
by Martin Zagnoev, Johannesburg | Jun 07, 2018

In spite of these changes, any hint of anti-Semitism hits a nerve, evoking terrible memories of a time in which our survival was at stake.

Many Jews were hardened by the trauma of the Holocaust, and decided that to survive, we would have to return to the Holy Land and become fighters.

The Diaspora Jew was viewed as a persecuted loser.

Unfortunately, Arabs in and around Israel bitterly opposed the influx of their Hebrew cousins, and repeatedly tried to destroy the Jews. Fortunately, we were tough enough to survive – in fact, we prospered.

Nevertheless, ongoing war is not in anyone’s interest.

Many have become despondent, believing that peace is impossible. We have to keep on fighting, even if it turns into a public-relations disaster for the country. Right wing politician Menachem Begin was a strong proponent of such a view, yet he made peace with Egypt, our biggest enemy.

Begin knew that the military option would have been suicidal. Instead, he became a master negotiator.

In South Africa, the majority of Black people are not anti-Semitic, even if many of their leaders support their Palestinian allies. Shootings around Gaza won’t win us sympathy. Even a hardliner like Ariel Sharon considered Israel’s stay in Gaza to be a humanitarian problem.

It’s best to keep a level head. Locking horns with our government and trading insults won’t resolve the situation, or make it easier for us. If we want to be heard, diplomacy would probably work better. I believe our leaders need to de-escalate rather than increase tensions.

Two thousand years ago, most Jews were still living in Israel under Roman occupation. They decided to attack and expel the occupiers. Unfortunately, Rome crushed the rebellion and destroyed the Great Temple. Many Jews were killed, while others were sold as slaves in Rome. And so, the terrible 2000-year exile began. Militancy doesn’t always help us.

 

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