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Ze’ev Jabotinsky Said It Best: Israel, Don’t Apologize!

March 18th 2012

Ze'ev Jabotinsky
Ze'ev Jabotinsky

It seems that Israe's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing one of the toughest decisions any leader could have – How to handle an enemy at their doorstep devoted to their destruction.  In facing Iran, Netanyahu has to also manage the relationship with the world’s most powerful man, President Barack Obama, someone who alliance with the State of Israel seems tentative, at best.

Rest assured, no matter what Netanyahu decides, it will not be long before the United Nations condemns Israel for action (spoken or otherwise) against Iran.  Nations will demand that Israel apologize for something or other. In 2011, Netanyahu was facing immense pressure from Obama and the world to compromise significantly to the Palestinians. Yet, Netanyahu handled it with the cunning and diplomacy we have come to appreciate of him.  As Dan Friedman wrote in an op-ed, Netanyahu “is finally in touch with his inner Ze’ev Jabotinsky, having delivered a stinging public rebuke upon meeting the president on Friday." It was less a response than a lesson in Jewish history and Jewish pride. About the President’s plans for the Jewish state, Netanyahu said flatly, “it ain’t gonna happen.” That left "Mr. Obama back on his heels and struggling to regain his balance.”

Clear language like this from Jabotinsky, the greatest Zionist leader ever, is precisely what is needed the next time the U.N., Obama or the world media condemns Israel. Israel as a nation is a modern miracle; fewer than 70 years after six Million Jews were murdered and the world stood by and watched; surrounded by enemies who have tried to destroy the nation many times over; Israel’s survival is a simple miracle.

Rather than quoting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling Zionists "the most detested people in all humanity" and the extermination of six million Jews during World War II "a myth," that 9/11 was “a big fabrication”, or that there are no homosexuals in Iran, Prime Minister Netanyahu should stand up and say "loudly, clearly, coldly and calmly answer with the only argument that is understandable and accessible to this public: `Go to Hell!'"

Amazingly, Netanyahu’s simple speech can be something which was written over 100 years ago, in 1911, by Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the great Zionist leader, and founder of the Revisionist movement (including the Betar Movement of which I served as National President.)

"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…. Every accusation causes among us such a commotion that people unwittingly think, 'why are they so afraid of everything?'"

Who are we, to make excuses to them; who are they to interrogate us? What is the purpose of this mock trial over the entire people where the sentence is known in advance? Our habit of constantly and zealously answering to any rabble has already done us a lot of harm and will do much more. ... The situation that has been created as a result, tragically confirms a well known saying: "Qui s'excuse s'accuse." We ourselves have acquainted our neighbors with the thought that for every embezzling Jew it is possible to drag the entire ancient people to answer, a people that was already legislating at the time when the neighbors had not even invented a bast shoe. Every accusation causes among us such a commotion that people unwittingly think, 'why are they so afraid of everything?' Apparently their conscience is not clear.' Exactly because we are ready at every minute to stand at attention, there develops among the people an inescapable view about us, as of some specific thievish tribe. We think that our constant readiness to undergo a search without hesitation and to turn out our pockets, will eventually convince mankind of our nobility; look what gentlemen we are--we do not have anything to hide! This is a terrible mistake. The real gentlemen are the people that will not allow anyone for any reason to search their apartment, their pockets or their soul. Only a person under surveillance is ready for a search at every moment.... This is the only one inevitable conclusion from our maniac reaction to every reproach--to accept responsibility as a people for every action of a Jew, and to make excuses in front of everybody including hell knows who. I consider this system to be false to its very root. We are hated not because we are blamed for everything, but we are blamed for everything because we are not loved...

We may apologize only in rare, unique and extremely important moments when we are completely confident that the Areopagus in front of us really has just intentions and proper competence. We do not have to apologize for anything. We are a people as all other peoples; we do not have any intentions to be better than the rest. As one of the first conditions for equality we demand the right to have our own villains, exactly as other people have them. Yes, we do have provocateurs and draft dodgers, and it is even strange that we have so few of them under current conditions. Other people have also these kind of "good," and, in addition, they have embezzlers, and pogrom-makers, and torturers--so what-- the neighbors live and are not ashamed.... 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.

Israel owes nothing to the U.N. or anyone other than to do what is best for her people – just as any other sovereign nation.

In a world where the U.N, the world’s media, and others including Peter Beinart slam Israel constantly, its really quite simple – it’s better to have an Israel that is hated than an Auschwitz that is loved.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a Top 25 PR agency and has a best-selling PR book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” an Amazon best selling Public Relations book.


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