Gerald Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral work in Middle East studies, has lectured on numerous university and other platforms. He has debated many of the best Arab and pro-Arab academics in public debates and on television. Mr. Honigman is widely published in academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other publications.
Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:09 pm Happy 4th, America!...Israel and the Tall Ships Revisited
Happy 4th, America!...Israel and the Tall Ships Revisited
by Gerald A. Honigman
Where have the years gone? The decades?
With another holiday celebrating American independence fast approaching, this still seems like it all happened yesterday.
Indeed, it was one of those dreamlike moments in time never to be forgotten--July 4, 1976.
With all that Jews are still going through, almost four decades later, just to keep their one, sole microscopic nation alive amid those who want it dead, and too many others ready to deliver it to its enemies, the story demands an encore presentation...
Along with my best friend and fishing buddy, Arie, who is originally from Israel, I was watching what seemed to be an endless procession of spectacular tall sailing ships from numerous countries passing under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Brooklyn. They had arrived to salute America on its two hundredth birthday. Tears of pride were in many of our eyes that day.
But some things change, and some never will...
At almost the very same moment that those ships were sailing by, something else was happening thousands of miles away which would link Israel and America together forever in many a mind afterwards.
During the night before and the early morning of July 4, 1976, Israel launched Operation Entebbe.
On June 27th, Air France Flight 139 had been hijacked by Arabs and European soul mates. It was taken to Idi Amin's Uganda, where the hijackers were met with open arms.
The passengers were soon made to form two lines--one for Jews, the other for Gentiles. While most of the latter were freed, the Jews became Amin's "guests." His buddies next announced that the Jews would be killed if demands were not met.
I won't prolong the details, but what you need to know is that on July 4, 1976, Israel raided Entebbe, freed the hostages, and showed the world that it was possible to defeat terror--a lesson some still need to learn today, despite Osama bin Laden now sleeping with the fishes.
Oh yes, Operation Entebbe was also a wonderful present commemorating America's own liberty as well.
There was one Israeli combat fatality, and at least the last name should be very familar to all by now.
Lieutenant Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu (of blessed memory), of Israel's elite Sayeret Matkal, had commanded the strike force and was killed by a Ugandan soldier.
Yoni was a Dean's List Harvard scholar who returned to Israel to resume his combat role during the stressful years leading up to the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He was a remarkable human being--both a man of the world, as well as a true son of Zion reborn.
When my own son entered this world (G_d bless), we gave him the first name Jonathan, both in honor of King Saul's son, Prince Yonatan (King David's closest friend), and to honor Yonatan Netanyahu.
Given the atmosphere today in which Jews demanding that Israel receive real, more defensible borders (a la UNSC Resolution 242) instead of returning to the 9-15 mile wide ghetto of a state Israel was left as (until the '67 War) by the '49 armistice lines are declared to be right wing fanatics, Yoni would be condemned as well. Just look at how, decades after Entebbe, most of the world still deals with Israel going after the non-stop terror machine and its willing supporters in Gaza and elsewhere...
Any Jew who refuses to stick his head in the sand regarding what the Arabs' undoubtedly true intentions are continues to be excoriated--including and especially by the current occupant of the White House.
And that brings us to another Netanyahu--Yoni's younger brother (and fellow Sayeret Matkal member), Binyamin (there's no "J" in the original Hebrew).
Unlike too many other recent Israeli leaders, who feel that they must prostrate themselves and resume a ghetto Jew stance while begging the Gentile world just to survive, Israel's current Prime Minister shows reluctance to fit that pathetic mold, as does the man with whom he formed a coalition government, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The latter's own stance regarding Israeli security has often been firmer than Netanyahu's--so he has been blackballed by the Obama Administration and the Arabists running Foggy Bottom.
Earlier, Netanyahu's main opponent, Tzipi Livni, was far too cozy with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (you know, the Secretary of State with an oil tanker named after her in the Chevron fleet... get the picture ?).
Rice's non-stop, suicidal demands (which her boss, President Bush, also had to approve) were an abomination, in light of what Israel really faces regarding either the State Department's alleged good cops of Abbas or the bad cops of Hamas. Regardless of what the new Obama team and Foggy Folks' chief also say, the latter are merely more honest in their murderous intent. And recall that the latter-day Arafatians of Abbas have just merged with Hamas...
Bibi knows all of this. And, G_d willing, this time around--despite all of the relentless pressure he is being subjected to--he'll continue to have the will to resist even more powerful turns of the screw which will be forthcoming during President Obama's term in office.
When Netanyahu resumed his previous role as Prime Minister right around the same time Barack Obama won the American election, he promised to renew the Jewish and Zionist spirit that had been lacking in recent previous Israeli leadership.
Such "attitude" scares folks like the New York Times, National Public Radio, CNN, NBC, BBC, the current American leader, State Department, and others of their ilk--especially Lefty Jews more concerned about their own comfortable, private applecarts than the security of their brethren overseas.
For all the above, Netanyahu and Lieberman are right-wing, racist hardliners, because they refuse to bare the necks of Jewish kids to either the Palestinian Authority's Fatah or Hamas--neither of which show Israel on a map nor in their own kids' textbooks, while raising those children on nothing but murderous Jew-hatred.
On July 4, 1976, Yonatan Netanyahu re-sent America and the entire world a message that Jews have been delivering for thousands of years...
Rabbi Hillel, who lived during the Roman occupation of Judaea, restated already ancient Jewish teachings, proclaiming: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am not for others, what am I?"
Israel has tried very hard to come to fair accommodations with "others" it has had to deal with who, unfortunately, only see the entire region merely as purely Arab patrimony...
Justice through Arab eyes only. That's what the tragic story of the Sudan is about, and that's what the stories of other gassed, massacred, and subjugated Kurds, Copts, Imazighen/Berbers, native kilab yahud (Jew dogs), and so forth are all about as well (and why my own book was written http://q4j-middle-east.com).
Truth be told, the compromises Israel has sought with Arabs are light years beyond what Arabs have ever offered to the scores of millions of non-Arabs with whom they have clashed, competed, and forcibly Arabized.
You see, nothing will really change until that totally self-centered, conquering Arab mindset changes. This conflict is not about building freezes...
Thus, until then, Israel must concentrate on the first part of Hillel's above famous quote.
One of the main lessons of the current turmoil throughout the Middle East is that it's long overdue for Israel to once again support leaders who will place Israel's own crucial national interests first, before being pressured into consenting to any new deals to create a 22nd state for Arabs (and second, not first, in the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine) which will only endanger it further down the road.
Despite the deliberate, deceptive whitewashing done by even recent American leaders on their behalf, Arabs have openly bragged about the progress they've made in their destruction-in-phases scenario regarding Israel.
Given this reality, Bibi must send the same message Yoni did over three decades ago. He must demand--not beg--empathy for live Jews, not phony crocodile tears of sympathy for dead ones.
As America approaches its own birthday, what would over three hundred million Americans, in a three thousand mile wide America, do and demand given the nature of the beast a minuscule Israel faces? Like other nations, we have also gone to war, toppled governments, and acquired territories thousands of miles from home in the name of our own national interests. The situation Israel is dealing with is in its own very back and front yards and side porch.