Historian Andrew Roberts on “What we owe the Jews”

Last week, CiF Watch posted a piece by Roslyn Pine reporting on the UK Launch of “Friends of Israel on July 19.  What follows is an edited version of the speech delivered by Roberts at the event, which was held in the British House of Commons – as published in The National Post.

From Morocco to Afghanistan, from the Caspian Sea to Aden, the 5.25 million square miles of territory belonging to members of the Arab League is home to over 330 million people, whereas Israel covers only 8,000 square miles, and is home to seven million citizens, one-fifth of whom are Arabs. The Jews of the Holy Land are thus surrounded by hostile states 650 times their size in territory and 60 times their population; yet their last, best hope of ending two millennia of international persecution — the State of Israel — has somehow survived. When during the Second World War, the island of Malta came through three terrible years of bombardment and destruction, it was rightly awarded the George Medal for bravery. Today Israel should be awarded a similar decoration for defending democracy, tolerance and Western values against a murderous onslaught that has lasted 20 times as long.

Jerusalem is the site of the Temple of Solomon and Herod. The stones of a palace erected by King David himself are even now being unearthed just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Everything that makes a nation state legitimate — blood shed, soil tilled, international agreements — argues for Israel’s right to exist, yet that is still denied by the Arab League. For many of their governments, which are rich enough to have economically solved the Palestinian refugee problem decades ago, it is useful to have Israel as a scapegoat to divert attention from the tyranny, failure and corruption of their own regimes.

The tragic truth is that it suits Arab states very well to have the Palestinians endure permanent refugee status; whenever Israel puts forward workable solutions they are stymied by those whose interests put the destruction of Israel before the genuine well-being of the Palestinians. Both King Abdullah I of Jordan and Anwar Sadat of Egypt were assassinated when they attempted to come to some kind of accommodation with a country that most sane people now accept is not going away.

See the rest of the edited version, here

See the unedited version, here.

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