by David Meir-Levi
Dozens of leaders from the Arab and Muslim world, UN representatives, representatives from NGOs, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Neturei Karta rabbi, a representative of the US Department of State, and even two Israeli Arab MKs (Members of Knesset) converged on Doha, capital of Qatar, for a two-day anti-Israel hate-fest, given the auspicious title: “The International Conference on Jerusalem” ( 26-27 February 2012).
The conundrum of an orthodox rabbi and Israeli MKs at the Doha hate-fest is a topic for another essay, as is the thoroughly anti-Israel speech of an American self-proclaimed State Department representative. For now it is illuminating to focus on the broader content and outcomes of the conference itself.
The fundamental goal of the conference, as described on its website, was to legitimize the establishment of Jerusalem as the capital of the independent, sovereign Arab state of “Palestine” within Israel’s current borders. To accomplish this goal the conference sought to legitimize, by the political and moral stature of its attendees and participants, its demand at the UN Security Council for a UN resolution to form an international commission to investigate the actions taken by Israel since 1967 to erase Jerusalem’s Islamic and Arab identity.
To that end, all but one participant was focused on delegitimizing Israel, denouncing its existence within any borders and denying thousands of years of Jewish history. The speakers talked about Jerusalem as if Jewish history did not exist or was a fraud — as if all Jewish claims in the city were just a tactic to dispossess Palestinians. The conference, then, sought to lend credibility to the latest strategy in the Arab political and propaganda war against Israel: the delegitimization of Israel’s history and the creation of a fictitious “Palestinian” history to replace it, thus eviscerating any Jewish claims to an historical and religious attachment to the Land of Israel.
There were two entities that emerged victorious from the conference. Not surprisingly, one was the Palestinian Authority — but the other was Israel.
The Palestinian victory was the “Doha Declaration on the International Conference for Defense of Jerusalem” at the conclusion of the conference. The declaration called upon the UN to create the commission described above; and upon all Muslim states to contribute to a “historic global mobilization for the expression of international solidarity with the Palestinian people in Jerusalem” and for support of their legitimate rights and to identify and confront illegal Israeli efforts to “judaize” (sic) the city; and upon “the international powers who remain silent” towards Israeli violations to assume their responsibility and compel Israel to implement all UN resolutions relevant to Jerusalem; and upon the UN and other international entities to stop Israeli illegal excavations and archaeological explorations which distort the “true history” of the site; and upon UNESCO to force Israel to stop its unilateral policies for imposing a fait accompli in Jerusalem, including the immediate cessation of all settlement activities, the removal of the “apartheid wall,” the preservation of Islamic and Christian sanctities, and to halt Judaization (sic) schemes.
In short, the Doha Declaration demands that the Muslim world compel the UN to impose upon Israel the demands that the Muslim world maintains on behalf of the Palestinians but has not itself been able to impose despite 65 years of war, terrorism, black propaganda, hate education for its youth, rejectionism, and an endless, relentless diatribe of genocide and rhetoric of annihilation by nuclear or political means. Given the Arab oil sheikhdoms’ influence at the UN, such a commission as envisioned in the Doha Declaration is likely to be forthcoming in the near future.But Israel and Zionism and Jews worldwide also won an important victory at this conference: recognition by even the most clueless of the true end-game of Arab efforts against Israel.
The speakers at the conference were so extreme and so blatant in their anti-Israel diatribe, their denial of any legitimacy of Jewish history, and their unconditional support for the invented faux-history of “Palestine” that even the Peace Now representative was “shocked and dismayed,” and forced to admit that all too much of the Arab and Muslim world does not want peace with Israel. They want, instead, Israel in pieces.
As Lara Friedman, the representative from Peace Now described it, the true nature of the event was most clearly revealed by the absence of any representation of the Israeli perspective and any interest in the two-state solution. Speakers at Sunday’s opening session, including the two Israeli Arab MKs and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas (whom the West deems a moderate and who supposedly is Israel’s partner in peace), one after another laid out an endless litany of criticisms and condemnations against Israel — many of them marked with galactic exaggeration and outright lies. All spoke a great deal about Muslim and Christian attachments to Jerusalem (but omitted any reference to Jewish attachments) and the importance of defending against Israeli encroachment on the holy sites and communities associated with both religions. Ironically, only veteran Palestinian diplomat Afif Safieh spoke in a serious, credible way about a realistic two-state resolution involving the continued existence of Israel.
Other than Safieh, the representatives at the conference never once acknowledged the legitimacy of Jewish history and tradition regarding Jerusalem. Quite the opposite, they framed the future of Jerusalem as a zero-sum game – Israel loses, the “Palestinians” win.
In sum, Ms. Friedman concludes, “If representatives (at the conference) … cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jewish equities (sic) in Jerusalem, they should know that they discredit their own professed interest in peace.” Indeed they do.
If a leader of Peace Now, arguably the most clueless of all the NGOs agitating to force Israel to make concessions that will supposedly bring about peace, can have the scales fall from her eyes thanks to the Doha Conference, then surely the less clueless of American media, academia, religious leaders, NGOs and Congress can experience a similar epiphany.
Just as a doctor must first correctly diagnose the illness before deciding how best to cure it, so too must political and intellectual actors in the West first understand the true nature of the Arab stand vis-a-vis Israel, the bona fide dynamics of the conflict, in order to unite in an effort to curtail the violence and implement strategies that will lead to peace and cooperative co-existence between Israel and its Arab neighbors and other Muslim countries worldwide. Thanks to Doha, it is now clear, at least to some for whom it was previously not clear, that pressing Israel for concessions will not lead to peace, precisely because the Arab side does not want peace.
Ms. Friedman’s epiphany has yet to be translated into revised policy for Peace Now; and given its history of methodical and conscious regurgitation of blatant Arab anti-Israel propaganda as though it were gospel, it is reasonable to expect that Peace Now might be a little slow to implement a game-changing alteration to its ideology and political positions. But at very least Ms. Friedman’s revelation at Doha should be the first step in validating PM Netanyahu’s assertion of yesteryear:
If the Arabs were to lay down their weapons, there would be no more violence. But if Israel laid down her weapons, there would be no more Israel.David Meir-Levi
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