Once again, selective and misguided ‘human rights’ champions seek to hijack a large cultural event to advance their anti-Israel bigotry and hypocrisy.
Tel Aviv, one of the world’s most liberal cities, is hosting this year’s Eurovision song contest in May. The Icelandic Eurovision band Hatari is reportedly planning an onstage protest in Tel Aviv against Israel’s alleged mistreatment of the Arab population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Once again, selective and misguided “human rights” champions seek to hijack a large cultural event to advance their anti-Israel bigotry and hypocrisy.
Is the Icelandic band upset about the fact that Israel regularly delivers electricity, food and medicine to the same Hamas-ruled Gaza that seeks Israel’s destruction? What other country in the world delivers humanitarian aid to mortal enemies bent on its destruction? Israel has even delivered free electricity to Gaza when Hamas preferred to use its money on rockets and guns.
Is the Icelandic band troubled by the fact that thousands of Arab non-Israeli citizen patients each year receive treatment at Israeli hospitals? Even wounded Muslim terrorists received treatment at Israeli hospitals, sometimes even next to their wounded Jewish victims.
Should Israel be condemned for transforming a largely illiterate Arab population in 1967 to one of the most literate populations in the Middle East? Will the Icelandic group protest over the fact that the life expectancy among Arabs in Judea and Samaria is comparable to many European countries?
Will Hatari protest against the fact that persecuted Muslim Arab gays fearing execution flee to Israel? Where are the “human rights” champions when women, Christians and gays are oppressed and mistreated in Gaza, Iraq, Iran or in Saudi Arabia?
Why Should Israel Participate in Eurovision?
Many harsh Israel critics often question, for the wrong reasons, why Israel should participate in Eurovision or in other European-based sports and cultural events. Geographically speaking, Israel is indeed located in the Middle East and Western Asia. However, decades of widespread anti-Israel sports and cultural boycotts in the Middle East have prevented the Jewish state from taking part in the region’s cultural and sports events. This is why Israeli sports teams play against European teams instead of teams from Lebanon, Syria or even Egypt and Jordan.
However, there is another reason for Israel’s involvement in many European cultural, scientific and commercial events.
It has often been said that Western civilization owes its existence to three ancient cities: Rome, Athens and Jerusalem. Jewish exile communities have lived in Europe for over 1000 years. In the case of Italy, Jewish communities existed already in Roman times. Europe and Western civilization as we know it would be very different without the disproportionate contributions by the Jewish people to culture, science, commerce and moral codes.
Like other Western democracies, Israel is a free and civilized society that embraces diversity, including self-criticism. Westerners who visit Tel Aviv, and Israel in general, often feel like they are still in Europe or America. The reason is simple: the Jewish state embraces the same values of freedom and progress as the rest of the free world.
However, unlike other Western democracies, Israel’s location in the world’s harshest region compels it to fight in self-defense for its existence and freedom. Hamas, Syria and Hezbollah are not neighbors like Greenland or Denmark.
Instead of being constantly slandered, the embattled sister democracy Israel should be commended for defending freedom and human progress.