“The State of Israel and the Jewish communities around the world are two sides of the same coin of the Jewish people”
Guest post by Mariana Herrera & Dina Ergas Guez
Since the beginning of the operation Protective Edge (which seeks to restore calm in southern Israel) we have witnessed the ways in which a significant portion of society that ignores the history of the creation of the State of Israel and the current state of the middle East policy is fooled by biased information and malicious anti-Israel propaganda published in the media and the social networks. The demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinian people become a true anti-Semitic act even putting civilian lives of Jewish faith in danger. These demonstrations obviously far from providing solutions only seek to spread hatred and violence.
In France, for example, where the Muslim population exceeds almost 6,000,000 people and where there were already several attacks against the Jewish community (remember the attack on the Jewish school in Toulouse), in the last days there were demonstrations supporting Islamist terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Jihad Islamic. One could see how the crowds burned israeli flags, posters calling the Jews to return to their neighborhood, shops owned by Jews were vandalized and many synagogues were attacked. Although the government tried to ban the latter manifestations, because of its violence, it failed in this mission. This allows us to infer the pressure these groups exert on governments. The Jewish community in France perceives this situation and it is manifested in the high numbers of new French immigrants to Israel.
In the case of Chile, the Chilean Palestinian community (the largest in the world with 400,000 people) has held three massive manifestations in support of the people of Gaza in which it strongly condemned Israel for committing crimes against humanity. These public demonstrations have been marked by extreme violence and by the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel comments, characteristic of the most conservative and radical sectors of the Chilean Palestinian community which call the hatred and extermination of Israel. The Chilean media meanwhile (in its majority owned by Palestinian families) does nothing to calm the situation but on the contrary present the conflict always favoring the anti-Israel propaganda. This climate of anti-Semitism has reached such a level that houses of Jewish families have been stoned, Jews have been yelled to go live somewhere else, Jewish schools have been scratched with anti-Semitic slogans and Palestinian parlamentaries have demanded the government to break diplomatic relations with Israel. In this unfavorable context Chilean Jewish community (sixteen thousand people) has failed to demonstrate a clear message both in favor of Israel and against any anti-Semitic demonstration.
These are just two examples, there were other anti-Israeli demonstrations all over the word, the most notorious in Germany where the posters called to gas the Jews, and asked Hitler to finish his work, and in Belgium where a restaurant banned entry to Jews.
The State of Israel and the Jewish communities around the world are two sides of the same coin of the Jewish people. The one needs the other to strengthen both Israel and the Diaspora. In times of crisis this union is expressed as a spirit of solidarity. Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People in Israel is not exempt from this premise and wants to express its support to both the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli society, and also to the Jewish people in the diaspora. Through the centuries the Jewish people has remained united despite its internal differences and has ousted the largest empires that have wanted to exterminate it. This will not be the last time we as a people will be faced with a difficulty, nor will it be the last time we will overcome it.
Mariana Herrera MA in History of Art. Made Aliyah from Chile. Works as coordinator in Think Art Think Smart, program that developed thinking skills with Jewish and Arab children living in Eastern Haifa.
Dina Ergas Guez MA in Psychlogy. Made Aliyah from Argentina. Works as coordinator and guide in Beit Hatfutsot.