Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Ideas vs Old World

Last week, a Palestinian youth orchestra "serenaded", as the NYTimes article called it, a group of Holocaust survivors in Israel. Unfortunately, Palestinian authorities disbanded the youth orchestra from the West Bank after performing calling the Holocaust a "political issue."
"She exploited the children," said Hindi, the head of the camp's popular committee, which takes on municipal duties. "She will be forbidden from doing any activities.... We have to protect our children and our community."

The move highlights the sensitivity of many Palestinians over acknowledging Jewish suffering, fearing it would weaken their own historical grievances against Israel.
I don't know about you, but I saw the performance as a gesture of peace and good will. It's too bad the children are more mature than the politicians. I am waiting for the day an Israeli orchestra can tour through Arab countries. I am waiting for the day I can take a car and drive from Jerusalem to Beirut to Damascus to Baghdad.

If the Arabs are going to turn everything to a political issue, it is time that they "own up" to their treatment of minorities; own up to the estimated 900,000 Jews that fled or were expelled from Arab/Persian countries. Own up to the alliance that Arab leaders had with Nazi Germany in the 1930's and 40's.

My family fled Tunisia in 1961. It is perhaps a similar story to many Palestinian families. But I, and most Jews from Muslim countries, do not hold grudges against their countries of origin. I do not ask for any compensation.

I believe the reason the Palestinian Arabs hold a grudge, while the Mizrachi/Sephardic Jews do not, is because they let themselves be pawns in the greater schims of Arab leaders. Their entire focus is on Israel. Hardly a beep about Arab policy to keep Palestinians in "refugee" camps for generations, or discrimination to keep them poor. Israeli Arabs, and to an extent the Palestinian in the occupied territories, live in much better conditions than the Arabs around Israel. Who has a greater chance to go to medical school, an Israeli Arab or a Jordanian, Egyptian or Saudi?

Before the intifadas and without the various terrorist Palestinian organizations, Palestinians in the territories could have "enjoyed" the benefits of Israel, including medical care. I'm not saying that there should be one-state, it wouldn't solve the reason for why we need a Zionist Israel. If the Palestinians want to vote, than the two-state plan is the only way.

The NYTimes and Khaled Abu Toameh of the JPost have more details on the story.

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