So much has been happening in the news lately concerning Israel, and my apologies for only catching up now. Perhaps it is better to write one post to cover several issues that have sprouted up about the the flotilla incident, the dismissal of Helen Thomas and the whirl of news surrounding the Holy Land lately.
So let’s start with the most recent issue and work backwards. Since I’m not able to view certain video clips outside of the U.S,. I have to rely on articles, rather than the original clip, from The View a few days ago. Apparently, the women were discussing the whole controversy about the former queen of White House correspondents, Helen Thomas,’ anti-Semitic remarks (She said the Jews should “get the Hell out of Palestine and go to their “homes” in Poland and Germany. These “homes” were places 6 million of them were slaughtered during WWII).
Joy Behar commented; “The incredible lack of understanding of history is just appalling to me. That she would tell Jews to go back to Germany and Poland, Auschwitz, and Dachau. It’s unbelievable she would say something like that.” I think Joy was cutting Helen a lot of slack there. As an icon young journalists have been modeling their careers on for decades, Helen Thomas knows exactly what the Holocaust is and where it took place.
Whoopi Goldberg attempted to make the case for the Palestinians when she spoke up and said “For many, many, many years, there were not Jews in Israel, okay?” I can’t fault Whoopi Goldberg, because this is a common misconception. As Joy Behar said, “The lack of understanding of history is appalling,” although given the propoganda, it isn’t the average citizen’s fault if he or she doesn’t realize that Jews have been living continuously in the Land of Israel longer than any other nation or people on the face of the Earth. Yes, the Romans threw most of the Jews out of their homeland 2,000 years ago. The Jews lost autonomy, or self-rule in the region, but the Jewish presence has never disappeared from the Holy Land. When refugees from the war in Europe and Jews from the Middle East came in large numbers to settle the State of Israel in 1948, Israel regained political control of the Jewish homeland, but this doesn’t mean there was no Jewish presence from 70 C.E. until 1948.
The ladies on The View debated whether Helen Thomas should have gotten fired for her statements. The conclusion was that Thomas should have made her statements in a more politic way. However, there is no “right” way of telling Jews already in Israel to go back to Germany and Poland. Helen Thomas was aware that she was invoking the Holocaust with these statements, and to think otherwise is naïve, because as a 90 year old woman, she would have been a young woman during WWII and was probably in college when the death camps were liberated. She must have read about the Nuremberg trials, when Nazi atrocities were described in detail. She isn’t some naïve youth who has no idea what she is talking about and has a vague recollection from high school history class that Jews at one time in large numbers lived in Europe, and wouldn’t it be a splendid solution to the Middle East conflict if they would just go back there.
Some have spun Helen Thomas’ comments to mean that Jews should get out of territories that are part of what the U.S. and the U.N wants to establish as a Palestinian State rather than as all of Israel (I personally don’t think the two-state solution is feasible, but that is perhaps for another discussion). Again, consider Helen Thomas’ age. She recalls very well when what is today is called “Israel” was referred to as “Palestine.” Again, her telling the Jews to return to the inferno of Europe hints that by “Palestine” she means the “Palestine” the Jews left Europe for, what was established as the State of Israel in 1948.
This is my “view” of Helen Thomas statements. They were simply inexcusable, could not have been said in a “nicer” way, and her dismissal was the correct course of action. One wonders how many others feel the way she does and are distorting news reports. The so-called humanitarian aid workers on board the Turkish flotilla managed to fool the world into thinking they were not carrying weapons, that they did not beat up the Israeli soldiers first (there is footage showing a terrorist throwing a soldier overboard), and that Israel was the aggressor. However, people cannot be fooled for long. Helen Thomas might have tricked people into thinking she was giving impartial and fair accounts, but what was in her heart became as clear as the scowl on her face. As the redemption approaches, the truth comes to the surface and the lies become more obvious for what they are.
So we may ask, how can Moshiach (the Jewish Messiah) come in a world that is increasingly filled with injustice and lies? Well, that is the perfect condition, when we can see the lies for what the are, terror for what it is, and have a persistent desire for the truth. The fact that the world seems so hopeless creates the kind of void and desire that inspires hope and action. Problems become solutions, faults become merits and darkness is transformed into light.