Dear Rashida Harbi Tlaib,
My name is Gerd Buurmann. I am living in Germany. Today I read this tweet of yours:
What are you talking about?
Over 1.6 million Muslims live peacefully with Jews in Israel.
This is not apartheid!
In Israel, Muslims and Jews are neighbors. They are work colleagues, teachers, lawyers, judges, politicians, policewomen, firemen, soldiers, cooks, sexual partners and much, much more. They laugh, live, eat, cry and argue with each other. They share the same country. They are connected to the trees, rivers, mountains, seas, lakes, towns, villages and deserts of their homeland, which they often include in their prayers. They are one family! Some are distant relatives, others trusted friends.
This is not apartheid!
The founding charter of Hamas demands the annihilation of the entire Jewish people (Article 7) and the destruction of Israel (Article 13). In mosques and on television Hamas ministers call Jews bacteria which should be exterminated and vermin whose throats should be cut and whose families should be murdered.
Wiam Wahhab, a Lebanese government minister, declared on July 4, 2010 on Al-Jadid/New TV:
„I support Germany in politics and Brazil in sport. I like the way Brazil plays football, but I like the Germans because they hate the Jews and burned them.“
Lebanon is one of the countries that have imposed a travel ban on me, Gerd Buurmann, just because I previously dared to travel to Israel. In addition to Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait, Yemen, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Iran reserve the right not to let people cross their borders if they are Jewish or visited Israel. Many of those countries are proud to have driven the Jews out of their countries. They are proud of their genocide. These countries also persecute homosexuals. In Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, homosexuality can result in a death sentence. In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive cars or leave the house unveiled and without a man’s permission.
Israel equips state hospitals with prayer rooms for all religions after a Muslim successfully filed a lawsuit with the country’s Supreme Court because he could only pray outside of a clinic in Tel Aviv. Jews in Gaza, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Libya don’t have their own prayer rooms in hospitals; they’d hardly be granted a residency permit! It is forbidden to be Jewish in those regions. The countries are all „judenrein“!
Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Muslims live safely in a democracy that allows them to be gay or lesbian. They have the same rights as all other citizens of the country, regardless of gender or skin color. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where citizens can elect and, above all, change their government. The Israeli government is therefore the only government in the Middle East which is democratically elected by Muslims and Arabs.
That’s not apartheid!
Mahmud Abbas became president of the Palestinian Authority in 2005, but his term of office ended on January 9, 2009. Since then, he has held power without legitimacy. BDS is silent on that issue! Jordan is a monarchy with Islam as its state religion and Sharia law as its national law. All Palestinians who do not belong to Islam are second-class citizens in Jordan. BDS is silent on that issue! In Syria all Palestinians are disenfranchised and locked up in camps. In January 2014, the Syrian army encircled Palestinians in a camp and let them starve.
A Jew hater criticizes those things about Jews that he gives non-Jews a pass on. An Israeli politician is already demonized if he’s not a saint. An Arab politician, however, is already declared a saint if he is not the devil. Israel is required to be superhuman in order to have permission to exist. For the rest of the world it’s enough to simply be human. Billions are spent to find Jews who are not perfect, only in order to demonize them: Look here, the Jews!
Countless journalists, correspondents, European and American organizations are on the road in Israel just to photograph, film and collect stories that show Jews as not perfect. Those photos, films and stories are regularly broadcast by state-sponsored and supported media, so that the majority are led to believe Israel to be the greatest threat to world peace and by and large no better than its Jew-hating neighbors.
Despite the continuous and relentless war that has been going on since 1948 against Israel, with the aim of wiping out the entire country and its population, Israel has adhered to all the basic principles of a democratically constituted society. This is unique in history.
Why don’t you praise Israel?
Israel may not be perfect, but there is no country in the world that has performed better under similar circumstances.
Why do you constantly criticize Israel?
Please do not point out to me all the mistakes Israel has made. Don’t list all the misdemeanours Israel is said to have committed. I am well informed. I read the same newspapers you read. I watch the same TV programs you watch. Just explain to me why you criticize Israel specifically more than any other country in the world.
Criticism of Israel and Judaism is certainly allowed. Much criticism of the Israeli government comes from within Israel itself. In many countries Israel is certainly the most criticized nation, be it from free or unfree countries, be it from Germany or Iran. The United Nations has criticized Israel more often than all the other countries combined: from North Korea to America, from Russia to Afghanistan.
Why do you spend so much time with criticisms which are endlessly repeated?
Only 0.1% of the total world population consists of Israelis. In these 0.1% the United Nations sees a people that must be given special attention. The other 99.9% of the world are basically given clemency. So either Israel is a state more vicious than North Korea, Russia, China, Venezuela, Germany, Hungary, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, the USA and all other countries of the world combined or the United Nations has a problem with the Jew among nations.
If anything is superfluous, then even more criticism in the direction of Israel. What needs more attention are those regimes where criticism can be and is punished with violence and death.
Why don’t you rather criticize those regimes where critics are persecuted?
There’s already enough criticism of Israel which is merely repetitive. However, there is a lack of criticism of the behavior and actions of Israel’s enemies. Indeed, that criticism can result in violence and even death in some parts of the world.
I am for Israel, not because I believe that somebody first set his foot in the sand somewhere, or because some God invited some bearded man for a coffee to discuss dividing up the world, but because Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which women and men have equal rights; homosexuality is recognized by the state; opinion, art and science are free; no religion is discriminated against, and Jews neither have to be better nor worse than all other people.
Every square meter in the Middle East that takes Israel as an example is one square meter of humanity gained.
So why are you demonizing the country that lets me live as I am and fail to criticize all the countries where I am persecuted because I am the way I am?
Gerd Buurmann, Germany
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