counterpunch: by Uri Avenery –
Today, when presenting his passport, an Israeli feels no such pride. He may feel a sense of contrariness (“us against the whole world”), but he or she is conscious of his country being considered by many as an apartheid state, oppressing another people. Every person abroad has seen countless photos of heavily armed Israel soldiers confronting Palestinian women and children. Nothing to be proud of.
This is not a subject anyone ever speaks of. But it is there. And it is bound to get worse.
THOSE WHO are interested in the history of the Crusades ask themselves: what brought about the Crusaders’ downfall? Looking at the remnants of their proud fortresses all over the country, we wonder.
The traditional answer is: their defeat in the battle of the Horns of Hattin, twin hills near the Lake of Galilee, in 1187, by the great Muslim Sultan Salah ad-Din (Saladin).
However, the Crusader state lived on in Palestine and the surroundings for another hundred years.
…….People do not leave for material reasons only. They may think that they are emigrating because life in Berlin is cheaper than in Tel Aviv, apartments easier to find, salaries higher. But it is not only the strength of the attraction of foreign lands that counts – it is also the strength or weakness of the bond to the homeland.
In the years when “descenders” were considered trash, we were proud of being Israeli. During the fifties and sixties, whenever I presented my Israeli passport at any border control, I felt good. Israel was viewed with admiration throughout the world, not least by our enemies.
I believe that it is a basic human right to be proud of one’s society, one’s country. People belong to nations. Even in today’s global village, most people need the sense of belonging to a certain place, a certain people. No one wants to be ashamed of them.