It seems a bit odd that so many countries consume Israel’s general discourse hook, line and sinker. But today, more than ever, it is about time the question to be asked is not what is happening to Israel but why?
Last week a suicide bombing on a bus at the Burgas Airport in Bulgaria killed five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian. Israel was quick to point accusatory fingers at Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hizbullah. The United States spared nothing in immediately following suit, saying the operation had “all the hallmarks” of Hizbullah. Never mind that the operation was not even remotely close to Hizbullah’s modus operandi, it was more important to pump up the already incendiary rhetoric against Israel’s “enemies”.
For months now, Israel has busied the world with the “will it won’t it?” question as to whether it will attack Iran. Israel easily diverts the world’s attention away from its own oppressive measures against the Palestinians by posing an even bigger dilemma – that of a nuclear threat from the most dangerous prong of the ‘axis of evil.’ Instead of asking why Israel needs to create such an exaggerated threat, the world coddles it, reasserting its paranoia – and in the US’s case – partnering up with it in its incitement.
The latest frenzy is Syria, of course. Yesterday, Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak beat the drums of war yet again, saying "the State of Israel cannot accept the transfer of advanced weapons systems from Syria to Lebanon," and added that Israel was facing "a worldwide campaign of increased terror," led by Hezbollah.
The advanced weapons system he is referring to is Syrian President Bashaar Al Assad’s purported stash of chemical weapons which Israel says it fears will be snatched up once Assad’s regime falls and transported to the evil hands of Hizbullah. From there, they say, it’s straight to the peaceful towns and cities of Israel.
The question here is not whether Bashaar Al Assad has chemical weapons or not, or even if they would be used against Israel should they fall into someone else’s hands. The question is: why does Israel always either exaggerate an already existing situation or fabricate one out of nothing? The answer is simple. Because that is the only way to divert attention away from the real reason Israel is a pariah state in the eyes of many.
It is no coincidence that horrific bombings such as the one in Burgas take place; or that arrest warrants are issued against Israeli officials for war crimes; or that Israel is boycotted by companies, churches and universities. There is rhyme and reason behind this hostility towards Israel and it has absolutely nothing to do with ‘anti-Semitism’ like Israel would love for the world to believe. It has nothing to do with the Holocaust either. What it is all about is the one thing Israel works so hard to conceal: its oppression and occupation of the Palestinians. Israel cannot afford to have the world see it unmasked and the brutality of a decades-long military occupation rise to the surface – an occupation that has bred oppression, injustice and violence since its inception. Proof of this is that when a tiny corner of Israel’s tightly sealed wrapper folds back and the ugly truth sees the light, it lashes out in an attempt to push back the cover before anyone has gotten a peek.
The end result is that Iran – and by proxy – Hibzullah, has become the biggest so-called “threat” to the world since Communism. Save for the occasional inane ranting of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran does not seem to be a threat to anyone. Israel on the other hand, refuses to allow any international agency to examine its stockpile of nuclear weapons, which by the way it denies it even has. It bars UN committees from entering the occupied territories on a fact-finding mission on its illegal settlements in the West Bank and it continues to threaten, occupy and oppress a nation with diplomatic immunity unprecedented in world history.
The only ray of hope is those who have pulled back that deceptive wrapper, even if only a little. The threats against Israel, whether real or contrived, are not random. If the world wants to know why Israel is seen in such an undesirable light, it’s going to have to start asking different questions.
Joharah Baker is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.