At the very inception of the Zionist movement, Herzl understood that Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel would take place with international support. One of the tenets of Zionism has always been that by creating a Jewish state, anti-semitism would disappear and that the Jews would take their rightful place among the family of nations. As such, public opinion has always played a very significant role in the Zionist project. From Ben-Gurion's policy of havlagah, restraint, in response to Arab attacks and provocations, to today's hasbarah efforts, Israel has always wanted to win the favour of the international community.
With the release of the biased and factually incorrect Goldstone report, which labels Israel an aggressor for responding to over 10 000 rockets fired from Gaza, and finds it guilt of "war crimes", Israelis have set upon presenting their case clearly to the world. We want people to understand the pain and suffering of the people living in Sderot, a city where practically the entire population suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, to know what its like to have 15 seconds to flee for your life to a shelter before a Grad missile lands on your house or workplace. Responding to international criticism over the IDF's actions in Gaza, Israelis appeared before the news cameras and asked the world what options they had, what other country would tolerate so many repeated attacks on its sovereignty and citizens and waiting so patiently. "What choice do we have? Would the United States allow Mexico to fire 10 000 rockets into California before it responded", they asked, pained by worldwide callousness. For the world, the issue was settled: the Jews were the initiators and firing missiles at civilian targets was a legitimate reaction to an Israel occupation of Gaza which has ended 3 years earlier. The international jury has decided that Israel had no right to defend itself and stood with the brave freedom fighters of Gaza who hid weapons in mosques and hospitals and used their own wives and children as human shields. We tried so hard to convey our story to the world, only to be slapped in the face with the UNHRC's farce of a report. And again, like a broken record, we try to explain ourselves to the world and to justify to them why our children deserve not to be blown up in their schools and playground.
I have had enough of apologies, explanations and justifications. It is time for Jews to stop being ashamed and to lift our heads up high. As if to absolve Israel for its crime of existing, Jewish apologists repeat like a catechism that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle-East and that Arabs in Israel enjoy more rights and freedoms than in any Arab country. To counter the malicious lies and slander spread against our brave soldiers, we say ad nauseum that Israel has the most moral army in the world, and then explain, as if it is a badge of virtue instead of a sign of utter insanity, how Israel endangers its own soldiers rather than harm enemy civilians.
Lovers of Israel would do well to listen to Jabotinsky's words, written in 1911 but still so true today. In his classic essay Instead of Excessive Apology, he explains that the Jewish world does not owe its enemies any moral diatribes or lectures about our own righteousness. "We constantly and very loudly apologize... Instead of turning our backs to the accusers, as there is nothing to apologize for, and nobody to apologize to, we swear again and again that it is not our fault... Isn't it long overdue to respond to all these and all future accusations, reproaches, suspicions, slanders and denunciations by simply folding our arms and loudly, clearly, coldly and calmly answer with the only argument that is understandable and accessible to this public: 'Go to Hell!'?... Do our neighbors blush for the Christians in Kishinyov who hammered nails into Jewish babies' eyes?" Not in the least,-- they walk with head raised high and look everybody in the face; they are absolutely right, and this is how it must be, as the persona of a people is royal, and not responsible and is not obliged to apologize... We do not have to account to anybody, we are not to sit for anybody's examination and nobody is old enough to call on us to answer. We came before them and will leave after them. We are what we are, we are good for ourselves, we will not change and we do not want to." How many times have the Arabs apologized for murdering and maiming Jews sitting in cafes and restaurants? Do they blush for the terrorists who shot 10 month old Shalhevet Pas, sitting outside her home in Hebron, or for shooting in cold blood 8 teenagers studying Torah in a Jerusalem yeshiva? I have yet to see one international condemnation of the daily incitement against Jews in the Arab media, or the hatred and anti-semitism taught in Palestinian schools.
Operation Cast Lead was the very definition of a just war. Since the Gaza Withdrawal, life in southern Israel had become virtually impossible. The Red Alert siren and having 15 seconds to run for cover had became a routine part of life in Sderot. Those who were silent while Kassams fell on homes, schools, synagogues and workplaces in Sderot have no right to express any opinion about Israel's response. The hypocrisy of demonstrators worldwide, outraged at Israeli "atrocities", knows no bounds. Israel has an obligation to protect its people - end of story. The responsibility for any innocent civilians killed lies solely with the people who used their houses of worship as weapons storage and admit without any shame to using women and children as human shields. As was said time and time again, if you go to sleep with rockets in your house, don't expect to wake up in the morning.
I refuse to explain and to justify Israel's right to exist any more. Israel exists by right, like any other country in the world. Only Israel is constantly questioned and delegitimized. Instead of appearing before the world to present our story and to convince them of our justness, we must answer the only way that the world will understand. "Dear world, Go to Hell!"