Recently, Ahmed Al-Jarallah, Editor-in-Chief of the Arab Times, wrote an op-ed that urged Gulf states to normalize relations with Israel, and criticized the Palestinians. Al-Jarallah stated that Gulf states should not support the Palestinians financially or mediate between them and Israel “whenever one of them throws a missile at Israel.” If they attack Israel, he suggested, “let them rebuild what they destroy by their own acts.” In conclusion, Al-Jarallah stated, “All the Gulf states should normalize relations with Israel due to the fact that peace with this most advanced country is the right thing to do.” As for the Palestinians, he vented, “Let the foolish fend for themselves.”
Naturally, the Israeli media quoted the op-ed extensively. Finally, someone in the Arab world has listened to reason, looked at the facts, and realized that the Palestinians are the aggressors and Israel is acting only in self-defense. I, too, was happy to hear about Al-Jarallah’s words, but I think that if Israel did what it is supposed to do, it would have no enemies at all, not even the Palestinians. After all, we are the people who conceived the motto “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and we are the ones expected to realize it.
An alliance with Israel may be great for the Gulf states, and I am certainly happy when any Arab country wants to make peace with us rather than fight against us. However, for Israel, this is far from enough. No peace that we will make will hold until we make peace with one another. Look, for example, at the peace we have with Egypt and with Jordan. There may be absence of active fighting between us, but there is a lot of hostility toward Israel, especially among the citizens of the two nations. Therefore, in the event of a war, Israel cannot trust these countries not to join its enemies.
We may not realize it, but Israel, the startup nation, was initially a startup society. Our “experiment” was unprecedented, and has never been attempted since. The idea was that people who came from foreign, often hostile nations, could form a nation by extolling the idea of unity itself. If successful, the “formula” would be a role model for humanity.
For centuries, we teetered between success and failure, but in the end, we failed the world: We fell into such diabolic hatred of each other that the world has never since tried to establish a nation based on mutual responsibility and loving others as yourself.
Nevertheless, the world did not forget our obligation. Not only our own scriptures remind us of our mission, but antisemites and historians also recognize it.
Among those antisemites is the most notorious Jew-hater in US history: Henry Ford, founder of the automobile company. In his antisemitic composition, The International Jew – the World’s Foremost Problem, Ford details his grievances against the Jews. Yet, here and there, he throws some very thought-provoking statements: “It may be that when Israel is brought to see that her mission in the world is not to be achieved by means of the Golden Calf,” he writes, “her very cosmopolitanism with regard to the world and her inescapable nationalistic integrity with regard to herself will together prove a great and serviceable factor in bringing about human unity.” Ford also complained that “the total Jewish tendency at the present time is doing much to prevent” Jewish unity.
Regarding being a startup society, Ford advises contemporary sociologists to study the ancient Israeli society. In his words, “Modern reformers, who are constructing model social systems on paper, would do well to look into the social system under which the early Jews were organized.”
Similar to Ford, acclaimed historian Paul Johnson wrote in his comprehensive composition A History of the Jews, “At a very early stage in their collective existence [Jews] believed they had detected a divine scheme for the human race, of which their own society was to be a pilot.”
To this day, the world regards us as indebted. It cannot forge the kind of unity that it needs today—among nations and faiths—and it does not see the example it needs to receive from us. This is why the Palestinians can feel confident that the world will side with them. It blames us for every conflict on the planet, not only with the Palestinians, but also among themselves. And until we make peace with one another and become the pilot society, the social model that the world expects to see, we will remain the world’s pariahs.
Bahrain Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa receives Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at Gudaibiya Palace, Manama, Bahrain, February, 15, 2022. Bahrain News Agency