Why would someone like Sebastian Cevallos, a university student in Ecuador, care about Israel? You'd think this tiny country on the other side of the globe from where he lives would have no bearing on his life. But it does. Here’s why.
Israel has repeatedly offered the Palestinians their own state—and the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected those offers.
Israel has repeatedly offered the Palestinians their own state, and every time, those efforts were rejected for one simple reason: the Palestinians have never accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Palestinian leaders have rejected offers of statehood contingent upon promises of peace numerous times, including in 1938, 1948, 1993, 2001, and 2007.
In the peace talks of 2001 and 2007, Israel offered to give back to the Palestinians almost all of the territory Israel currently occupies in the West Bank. Both times, the Palestinians rejected their offers.
In a world full of human rights violators, why would the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement single out the most pro-human rights country in the Middle East that has “a boisterous free press, is the model of women’s and gay rights, and whose Arab citizens (1/5 of the country) are the freest in the Arab world”? The reason is that the movement is not about human rights, but about crushing Israel.
Israel’s defensive walls and security checkpoints are responses to repeated terrorist attacks—and those walls have been very effective.
Israel’s defensive walls and security checkpoints are responses to repeated terrorist attacks—not an attempt to “encircle the Palestinian population and to seize more land for Israeli control,” as anti-Israel activists claim.
Israel built the defensive walls after years of suicide bombings following the 2000 peace talks, in which they offered to give back much of the territory they occupied in the West Bank—an offer the Palestinians rejected.
Israel only gained control of the West Bank after Jordan attacked Israel.
Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 during the Six Day War, despite Israel’s pleas to Jordan to not invade. Israel defended itself, defeating Jordan and occupying the West Bank, including its Arab residents, known as Palestinian. In other words, if Jordan had not invaded, Israel would never have controlled the West Bank.
Anti-Israel activists incentivize Palestinian leaders to reject peace with Israel.
The Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement incentivizes Palestinian leaders to reject peace by convincing them that Israel can be destroyed if it becomes an international pariah and is economically and diplomatically isolated.
The BDS movement’s stated goal is to direct economic and political pressure against Israel to force it to give up territory to the Palestinians and give them the “right of return” and full citizenship. The BDS movement fools the public by claiming it supports a peaceful solution. What they don’t say is that they want that solution to eliminate Israel.
On April 16, 1948, Palestinian leader Jamal Husseini told the U.N. that “the representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight.”
Israel has repeatedly responded to the hostilities of surrounding Arab states by attempting to negotiate for peace.
After losing the 1967 Six Day War against Israel, the heads of state of eight Arab nations joined forces in Khartoum, Sudan and passed the Khartoum Resolutions, which declared the “three NOs”: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.
Israel responded to repeated hostilities from its neighboring states by signing the Camp David Accords in 1978—the first peace treaty signed between Israel and an Arab state—in which it entered into peace with Egypt and returned their portion of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.
There are no legitimate legal grounds to question the right of Israel to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
Israel was legally founded in 1948 after the U.N. General Assembly officially approved its creation in 1947 with Resolution 181. There have been three autonomous nations that have governed the land of Israel. The First Kingdom of Israel, the Second Kingdom of Israel. And the modern state of Israel. The Arabs have never had a modern state in the land that we know as Israel. Prior to Israel’s legal founding, Palestine was already home to 80,000-90,000 Jews.
The U.N. is egregiously biased against Israel, targeting it more than any other country by far. In fact, of its first 103 resolutions, the UNHRC dedicated 56 to criticizing Israel — thus targeting Israel more than all other countries combined.
The UN Human Rights Council attacks Israel more than every other country combined, including North Korea, Iran, Syria and Russia.
Of its first 103 resolutions, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) dedicated 56—over half—to criticizing Israel. In other words, the council wrote more resolutions aimed at Israel than at all other countries combined.
Out of all of the UNHRC’s special sessions called to address emergency human rights situations between 2006 and July 2014, 4.7% focused on Sudan, 4.7% focused on the Ivory Coast, 4.7% focused on Libya, and a stunning 33% focused on Israel.
Israel is the only country in the entire Middle East that doesn’t segregate and oppress its minority population. According to a 2013 report by US based research group Freedom House, Israel is the only country in the Middle East rated “free.”
Why would someone who lives in Ecuador—that’s me—be preoccupied with… Israel? The countries are separated by two continents and an ocean. Nothing that happens in Tel Aviv has much, if any, effect on what happens to me in Cuenca.
Except for this: I always want to know the truth about things. And I hate lies. And there are more lies told about Israel than about any place in the world. I have come to realize that if you believe lies about Israel, you will believe lies about almost anything. And if you know the truth about Israel, you’re likely to think straight about most things.
In other words, Israel is a kind of truth test. Fail this test, and you’ve fallen into a fantasy world of untruth, a funhouse mirror of the real world.
That’s a pretty bold statement, I know. But I stand by it—and I’m not even Jewish. In fact, only about 1,000 Jews live in the entire country of Ecuador. So how did Israel even get on my radar? you might ask. That’s easy.
Israel is very hard to ignore, no matter where you live. Did you ever meet someone who didn’t have an opinion about the Jewish state? So, sometime during my high school years, Israel got my attention. And I started to do some research.
At first, I thought, “Wow, this is a complex issue.” Was Israel the victim or the aggressor in the Middle East? Did it oppress its minority population or was it a bastion of civil rights? Was it a colonizer of Palestinian land? Or did it have legitimate claim to that land? Why did the United Nations pass resolution after resolution condemning Israel, but say nothing about Syria or North Korea? Why did Israel’s neighbors pledge themselves to its utter destruction?
All this attention, focused on a country you have to squint to see on a globe, a country one-tenth the size of my own and with one-half the population. It was all very confusing. So I pushed on. And the more research I did, the clearer the picture became.
Israel has free speech, a free press, and independent courts. It has open and fair elections. Its neighbors don’t. Women have full rights and are active in every profession, including the military. That’s not true of any of its neighbors.
Neither is this: Tel Aviv hosts one of the largest gay pride parades in the world, and the only one in the Middle East. A fifth of Israel’s citizens are Arab Muslims. In fact, they have their own political party. The holy sites of all religions are fully protected within its borders. Can’t say that about its neighbors.
More research led to even more revelations. Israel has repeatedly offered the Palestinians their own state, and every time, those efforts were rejected. Why? For one simple reason: the Palestinians have never accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. And the wall Israel built to separate themselves from the Palestinians? The wall most of the world condemns? The only reason the Israelis built it was to stop waves of suicide bombings. It worked. The bombings stopped.
This stuff isn’t hard to find out. Nor was it hard to find out—despite the lack of Western media coverage—how many Syrians fled to Israel during the Syrian civil war to have their injuries treated and lives saved in Israeli hospitals.
And then I realized that Israel is like a North Star of truth, a way to set your moral compass. If you can’t locate this star, you’re guaranteed to get lost in a sea of lies. How many rockets does Hamas have to launch, how many times does Iran have to threaten to blow Israel off the face of the earth, before this becomes clear to you?
Yes, life is complicated. As young as I am, I know that. There are shades of gray. But some things are pretty close to black and white. They just are.
Why anyone who values freedom and democracy wouldn’t wish Israel well, wouldn’t be willing to take its side when it’s threatened, I find hard to understand. I guess not everyone is interested in truth.
Well, I am—which is why Israel means so much to me. Even in Ecuador.