Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Essence of Israel

"Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother." Moshe Dayan

Although Australia plays host to hundreds of foreign ambassadors, you'll usually only ever see one hogging the opinion pages of our newspapers - Yuval Rotem, the Israeli ambassador.

Today, for example, he's popped up on the The Australian's opinion page with Cause for Israel stronger after boycott attempts, an edited extract of a speech given to the NSW Parliamentary Israeli Friendship Group on Tuesday.

Yuval's wonderful speech contains heaps of highlights and piles of pearls.

Did you know, for example that:

1) "John Howard... stood firm for freedom across the world at every opportunity"?

2) "Doc Evatt...helped to negotiate the re-foundation [!] of the state of Israel"?

3) "Common sense does not comply with vigilante local councils wreaking self-imposed economic sanction on one nation that is locked in a struggle for peace"?

4) "BDS in Australia has... become a media byline, like the S11 and G20 protests before it, for another failed movement of radical activists, which, shamefully, attached itself to a municipal council for a few months?"

5) "When we hear about BDS now, it's not coming from the mouths of prominent politicians and mayors or respected journals of record. It's being shouted from poorly attended protests, or from the back of police cars, or from the former communists who stayed with Stalin even after the Wall fell"?

6) "[Israel is] a tiny, miraculous country in the Middle East, awash with the principles of democracy, values of freedom and the colours of culture not enjoyed by the subjects of autocratic and theocratic regimes that surround [it]"?

But the following is my all-time favourite because something quite extraordinary occurs in it. Despite the bombast, Yuval manages to capture and communicate the very essence of Israel in just one word:

7) "It was another example of the way we defeat Israel's detractors in the West: using our minds, appealing to common sense and exhibiting that of which we are truly proud: our culture, our innovation, our way of life, our language, our technology, our teachings, our art - unleashing our contribution to the world."

Savage dogs are unleashed.

Thanks, Yuval, for that invaluable Dayanesque insight into exactly what it is that makes Israel Israel.

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