Wednesday, February 9, 2011

In Israel there is Free Speech!!

This week there is a major conference in Jerusalem of European lawmakers and politicians who are members of an organization called “European Friends of Israel”. Unlike many such speeches today in places such as Edinburgh University, Rutgers, and other locations that are interrupted and subsequently cancelled because groups who claim to be working for “human rights” won’t allow people to hear any view except their own, this speech was not interrupted.

In his opening speech, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the gathering with the following words which are unlikely to appear anywhere in the main stream media:-

I learned that 2500 years, ago the Greeks took the ropes of the bridge across the Bosporus. They burnt the bridge after they won the war against the Persians. They took the ropes and put them in the Acropolis, in the Parthenon, as a testament to their values, the values that they safeguarded in the battle for freedom.

So there were two sources of freedom for Western civilization that grew out of these two places. One was in Athens and the other is in Jerusalem. People say, “well, you don’t really have an attachment to this land. We are new interlopers. We are neo-crusaders.” If I could I would invite each of you into my office. You would see a display of antiquities from the Department of Antiquities. And from the place next to the Temple wall, the Western Wall, from around the time of the Jewish kings, they found a signet ring, a seal of a Jewish official from 2700 years ago, and it has a name on it in Hebrew. You know what that name is? Netanyahu. Now, that’s my last name. My first name, Benjamin, goes back a thousand years earlier to Benjamin the son of Jacob who with his brothers roamed these very hills.

So we do have some connection to this land, but we recognize that others live in it too. We want to make peace with them but we have this basic millennial connection to this land. Part of the campaign against Israel is the attempt to distort not only modern history, but also ancient history. It is said that “There was no Jewish Temple” – did you hear that one? Well, I’d like to know where were those tables that Jesus overturned? Were they in Tibet? There’s an attempt to rewrite history – ancient and modern and to deprive the Jewish people of their connection to their ancestral homeland and this is why I so welcome the fact that you come here to Israel, to Jerusalem – perhaps next time to my office. .

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