|Children of light, children of darkness
By Uri Avnery
There are plants that flower only in the dark. There are
birds that hide in the day and come out only by night. And then there is
A man such as Bibi can flourish only in an atmosphere of fear.
Fear that gives birth to hate and agression. Fear that turns adults
into children who need a strong leader. Such fear elevates politicians
of Bibi's kind, who are found everywhere in the world. In lucky
countries such as France, a man such as Le Pen is relegated to a marginal
position. In unfortunate countries such as Serbia, a man such as Milosevic
is the leader.
The biggest foe of people such as Bibi is the sun. When it
sends out its rays of light into the dark recesses, all the dark fears
disappear, the imagined demons dissipate, and the fearsome enemy reveals
itself as nothing but a scarecrow waving in the wind. The night is the
kingdom of the Bibis.
Last week Bibi gave a speech at Bar-Ilan University in which he
revealed to his astounded audience that a horrible menace threatens us from
the East. And just where is this terrifying monster lurking? Woe
is me! The great enemy is none other than Jordan.
Yes, the Jordan of King Hussein, of blessed memory. The same
one that Israeli leaders, with Bibi in the lead, had spilled rivers of tears
over his freshly-dug grave. The good king, champion of peace, lover of
Israel. But isn't it the same king, Bibi pointed out in his speech, who
joined the terrible Saddam in 1991, when he rained his missiles on Israel?
And if that is the case with the good father, what can we expect from his
son Abdullah? What despicable tricks can be expected from him?
Netanyahu and his right-hand-man-for-the-day Ariel Sharon were
planning their visit to Jordan to strengthen our ties with the new king who
has already proclaimed his love for Israel. But far be it for a man of
Netanyahu's ilk to shrink from the truth merely for the sake of good
manners. He will make sure to speak it loud and clear.
And here is the bitter truth: In a time of trouble, Jordan is
capable of joining Iraq once again. The Iraqi army will descend on the
Jordan river. By then, if a Palestinian state is already in place, the Iraqi
army would truly be standing "at the outskirts of Tel-Aviv." Oh yes,
one sunny morning, the residents of Ramat-Gan and Giv'ataim would wake up,
look out their windows and what would their eyes behold? The Iraqi
army marching in the street, on their way to the beach. And all
because of the Left.
One could, of course, ask a few questions. For instance:
Just how would the Iraqi army cross the border into Jordan without being
detected by American satellites and by Israeli Intelligence? How would
it cover the distance from the suburbs of Baghdad to the suburbs of Amman,
and from there on to the suburbs of Tel-Aviv without being decimated by
Israel's airforce? And, even more to the point, why would tiny Jordan
risk a war in which it may very well lose its very existence? And why
would Saddam need to resort to such a marching display through the Jordanian
desert and Palestinian hills, when he could bomb Allenby Street in Tel-Aviv
in a matter of seconds with gas and biological warheads?
But there is no point in logical questions, since it is not logic
that Netanyahu is soliciting. A man of his ilk can win an election
only if he rides the black horse of fear. After fifty years of
independence, he needs to take us back to the Warsaw Ghetto, surrounded by
Himmler's Waffen-SS. Only then would he succeed in imbuing us with the
necessary burning hate for those murderous Arabs, who are plotting to push
us into the sea. And to those despicable Palestinians, who are
insisting on establishing their own state, only so that Saddam could close
in on "the suburbs of Tel-Aviv." And to the traitorous Left which is
aiding them and to the hostile press supporting the Left.
And who can save us from this second holocaust, one even worse
than the first? Only one man, no other, a "strong leader for a strong
people", Bibi the Great!
It is hard to believe that today, 50 years after the establishment
of our state, ten months before the dawn of the third millenium, someone has
the nerve to paint such a picture. The world is uniting, Europe is
becoming a political and economical unit, borders between countries are
being erased, technology is creating a global economy, and only in
regressive corners such as Kosovo and Afganistan do there remain islands of
an anachronistic war. Netanyahu speaks to us in the language of the
distant past. The language of fear, of hate, of war. He taps those
instincts in the deepest recesses of a nation's subconscious, which carry
the memory of pogroms from the Middle Ages and the holocaust of two
the light of day can chase out the dark and the demons flourishing under its
cover. It is the responsibility of the Left. It must lift its
head high and bring out the opposite message. Five years ago there was
Oslo, which caused the barriers between us and the entire Arab world to
crumble. In our own region, the borders began to blur too, peace
agreements were being signed, joint Israeli-Arab projects, the likes of
which a mere few years ago, practically no one had dared to dream of, were
born. Investments began to pour into our country, and Israel began to
integrate itself into the technological global economy. Were it not
for the tragedy that befell us in 1996 with the victory of a demagogue like
Bibi, we would be able to enter the 21st century as a state at peace, led by
scientists and economists in place of the Generals, a state putting its huge
energy resources into technological and societal progress.
This must be our choice: The past versus the future, fear versus
self-confidence. A new Warsaw Ghetto versus a state integrated in the region
and the world, Iraqi soldiers "on the outskirts of Tel-Aviv" versus Israeli
engineers in Kuwait and Casablanca, the 19th century versus the 21st. In
short: Darkness versus light.
Uri Avnery, Maariv, 03.99
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