About Ari Bussel
In the series "Postcards from Israel,” Ari
Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to
join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two
sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from
home. Israel and the United States are inter-related - the two
countries we hold dearest to our hearts - and so is this "point
- counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part
of our lives.
They Burned Books
Indicators of Our Time
Candles of Darkness
December 1, 2009
Palestine, Stand Proud Israel
for Israel, But Why?
Blaming the Messenger
for Our Country, Fighting for our Lives
Once They Burned Books
February 25, 2010
The flames could be seen clearly in small streets
far away from the city square. It was not the smoke or ashes, rather the sense
of excitement that provided warmth and exhilaration. Jan came running in from
the outside, his face red, eyes shining. His mother looked at him puzzled. Short
of breath he exclaimed: They are burning books – tomorrow we are not going to
It was many years ago in a different part of the world books were burned.
Treatises on philosophy, history, culture, the arts, sciences and medicine were
carefully determined inappropriate and dangerous. Their writers’ only guilt, a
sin as old as the Devil Himself, was their religious affiliation – they were
Jews. In fact, the burners not altogether careful, every once in a while in
their zeal included a book by a non-Jewish author.
Over the decades it seemed such an event could
not reoccur. The slogan "Never Again!” reminds us of one of humanity’s darkest
hours when layers were peeled off to expose only the rotten, and evil fermented
and multiplied. We were clearly wrong. Most have forgotten this not-so-ancient
promise and the prophecy that history will repeat itself is now being fulfilled
in front our eyes.
It is 2010, the dawn of a new decade. The
innocence of youth mingled with inner wisdom of our ancestors’ experiences guide
the very young 21st century. Yet, our urge to run before we walk is
too strong, like Jan’s excitement while his mother shuddered.
Five thousand dollars worth of detergents
produced in a Jewish town in Judea and Samaria was confiscated from an Arab
driving the consignment and was then destroyed. Using Israeli-made products
"stands contrary to the national and moral obligations of the Palestinians.”
Particularly when the production takes place in Judea and Samaria. The egregious
action was sanctioned by no other than Israel’s "partners for peace,” the
Once they burned books, now the Palestinian Prime
Minister participates in such burning events. It might have been fruits during
the event in which he participated, at the same time Jewish people around the
world celebrated the New Year of the Trees. Jews build and innovate; the
so-called Palestinians destroy and kill.
Yesterday, the Presidents of the Major Jewish
Organizations in the USA went to visit that very same Prime Minister to see if
peace could be advanced. They like Jan, while like Jan’s mother, fear evident in
her eyes, I am amazed: Why are we those who initiate, bother, make the effort
and extend a hand while our enemy, whose sights are clearly not set on peace,
acts forcefully and effectively against us? Could a plea from B’nai Brith to
Hitler have saved six million?
Israelis have long employed Arabs. Even at the
most orthodox "settlements,” Arabs earn a respectable living and work alongside
observant Jews, learning a trade, often treated like family. Israelis simply
know no other way. Then one of those same Arabs returns with an axe and murders
a young child, and attempts to kill another.
Israeli doctors treat Arabs, and then a young
Arab woman comes for treatment, using a special Israeli waiver allowing her
passage for health reasons. She was strapped with explosives as repayment, what
she believed to be an "All Merciful” type of payment.
Arabs once worked in construction and to this
very day are employed in numerous jobs in Israel. Is there anything wrong with
Once they burned books. Today they have embarked on a very effective campaign,
sophisticated propaganda against the Jewish right to the Land of Israel. The
response? To achieve peace, we must better their economic conditions, claims the
Israeli Prime Minister.
Is everyone blind in Israel, or has everyone
fallen victim to the most extraordinary campaign of deceit embarked upon since
the Nazi regime? Apparently, in the Mediterranean little makes sense, history
repeats itself and one should never be surprised.
"Gaza Under Siege” is another aspect of the
Campaign to Destroy the Jewish State. The "Siege” is so effective, indeed, that
people around the world protest to this very day against the Israeli
"disproportional response,” "atrocities” committed and the on-going blockade.
The Response? Humanitarian aid continues to flow from Israel, alongside fuel and
electricity. Israel stands accused even as she continues sending Social Security
funds into Gaza. Israelis are blamed for war crimes and crimes against humanity,
yet they provide medical service, send an elevator to a hospital in Gaza and
work to fight an outbreak of H1N1 in humans or Bird Flu among animals.
Jan’s mother was horrified, for her son did not
know better. When humanity degrades itself to burning books, the end of days has
come. I am petrified as I see the real entity under siege: Israel is being
blamed for sins she never committed. Israeli doctors are being excluded from
conferences and Israeli academics are not allowed into professional societies,
memberships are being denied and participation is prohibited.
Israeli officials, at the highest levels, are
unable to land in many countries lest they be tried for imaginary crimes,
wrongly accused as a means of deterrence and an excuse for hatred. Worse,
Israelis are being boycotted, multinationals are beginning to divest from Israel
and she may soon find herself unable to export – whether produce, goods,
services or knowledge and human capital.
We are still in the early stages of this campaign
of evil. At present, Israeli officials are being silenced, they are not allowed
to speak freely at universities around the world. The truth is unable to surface
under the expanding web of lies and hatred.
Will Israel be able to survive on her own, until
everyone finally recognizes the true nature of the beast? Will it be too late?
How is it that we just live again the horrors of the past and those who can
still remember keep silent?
Once they burned
books, then they burned bodies, mountains of bodies of children, women and men,
young and old, healthy and frail. Their only sin was being Jewish. Today they
start the process again, yet the crematoriums are still cold. We must stop the
process before the ovens are warmed up, for we will be unable to stop it once
the ashes start spewing from the tall chimneys the world over.