by Eliezer Sherman
“They want others to change, forgetting that it is also they that may have to change. And without changing, even if the Palestinians will have a state, they won’t be free. To be free, you must let go of the hate”
“Even if the Palestinians have a state, they will not be free,” declared Arab Israeli diplomat George Deek at a StandWithUs U.K. event last Thursday.
The 30-year-old diplomat from Haifa derided Palestinians for holding onto a culture of “victimhood,” which he said “robs us of our dignity.”
“They want others to change, forgetting that it is also they that may have to change. And without changing, even if the Palestinians will have a state, they won’t be free. To be free, you must let go of the hate,” he said.
Deek, who is vice ambassador to Norway, criticized the Palestinian Authority for continuing to pay salaries to Palestinian convicts in Israeli jails.
“The greater the crime, the more money you get,” he said, relaying the story of a Palestinian terrorist whose wedding costs were covered by the PA.
“The Palestinian Authority budget relies heavily on foreign donations. In the year 2012 alone, 16 percent of those foreign donation, $155 million, the money of Norwegian and British taxpayers, among others, was paid to terrorists,” he said.
He said when the Norweigian government, on his request, brought the issue up with the Palestinian government, Palestinian officials’ response was that “stopping those payments would be considered nothing less than betrayal.”
He commented on modern antisemitism in the Middle East, saying, “In Europe, Jews paid the price for not giving up their connection to their God, and in the Middle East, they pay a price for not giving up the connection to their home. An old hate is reborn with a new excuse.”
“Antisemitism is not about Jews, and nothing would be more tragic than to continue to see it as a Jewish issue,” he said.
Deek quipped that others in the Arab community, both among Israeli Arabs, Palestinians and Arabs abroad, have said that either “he’s a masochist or he doesn’t understand the reality he lives in.”
He said he is often asked, in “genuine dialogue”: “Why represent those who are considered to be your enemies. Aren’t you afraid of losing your identity? What is it you are trying to achieve?”
Indeed, his upbringing includes an extraordinary Israeli mishmash of ethnic and cultural identities. “I was a Christian Orthodox kid in a French Catholic school with a majority of Muslim students, in the Jewish country in the Arab Middle East,” he said, to audience laughter. “And nothing seemed more normal.”
And while he boasted one of the “best qualities of life” for Arabs in the region, he lamented the ever-growing persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
“Outside Israel, Easter celebrations have become a rare sight … Christians were driven out of Mosul in Iraq … [They were] put to flight in Syria. The last church in Afghanistan was destroyed in 2010. Thirty Christians were beheaded in Libya just a few days ago. And in Gaza, bishops are beaten up and Christian symbols are forbidden.”
Watch a video of Deek’s remarks below:
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.