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Can The Whole World Be Wrong?

Can The Whole World Be Wrong?

The whole world condemns Israel. What else is new?


Speaking from Madrid, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan reiterated his demand that Israel immediately terminate its campaign against terrorism. Citing the opposition to Israel from China through Europe to the United States, Mr. Annan declared: "Can the whole world be wrong?"

I wish to remind Mr. Annan: Some 3,800 years ago, the whole world worshipped pantheons of disparate forces embodied as various gods. A single individual, Abraham, claimed that all existence emanated from one, indivisible, incorporeal God. Abraham was labeled Ha'Ivri (“the Hebrew”), meaning that he came from the other side.

While this appellation may have had a geographical origin (he came from the other side of the Euphrates River), Jewish tradition understands "other side" in the sense of an adversarial position: While the whole world adhered to polytheism, Abraham insisted on the truth of monotheism.

"Can the whole world be wrong?"

In the fourth century BCE, the Greek Empire stretched from Macedonia to India, the entire "civilized" world. With Greek political domination came the hegemony of Greek culture and philosophy. The whole world accepted the Greek worldview with man at the center and the physical world as ultimate reality. A small band of Jews, known as the Maccabees, refused to succumb. They insisted that God was the source and that a deeper spiritual connection was the goal of life.

"Can the whole world be wrong?"

In the ancient world, including the advanced civilizations of Greece and Rome, infanticide was universally practiced. Newborns who were unwanted, because they were weak or handicapped (or girls), were killed by their parents or left to die of exposure. The Jews insisted that all life was sacred, and condemned infanticide as murder.

"Can the whole world be wrong?"

Compassion for the poor and infirm, built into the commandments of the Torah, was scorned as weakness by societies from ancient Greece to modern Nazi Germany. The Nazis instituted a program called "T-4," which systematically set out to kill all physically and mentally disabled persons.

"Can the whole world be wrong?"

From 1939-1945, the whole world claimed that immigration quotas made it impossible to accept Jews trying to flee the Nazis. The British turned away shiploads of Jewish refugees trying to find shelter in Palestine. Even President Roosevelt, "a friend of the Jews," refused to order the bombing of the train tracks leading to Auschwitz, which would have saved the 400,000 Jews of Hungary.

"Can the whole world be wrong?"

June 1981 - A daring Israeli Air Force raid destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. Israeli intelligence maintained that the reactor was about to be loaded with highly enriched uranium, and that radioactive fallout of any later raid might have decimated Baghdad. International condemnation was fast and furious, and an emergency session was convened of the United Nations Security Council. Sen. Mark Hatfield of Oregon called Israel's attack "one of the most provocative, ill-timed and internationally illegal actions taken in that nation's history." A decade later as the Gulf War began, and a decade after that as America prepared to oust Saddam Hussein, the international community was ever grateful for Israel's strike at Osirak.

"Can the whole world be wrong?"

April 2002 - After a rash of suicide bombings which leave 127 Israeli civilians (including babies and entire families) dead in a single month, the government of Israel launches a defensive campaign against the terrorists and their infrastructure. Israeli forces uncover scores of bomb factories, with suicide belts already prepared, and large stashes of illegal munitions and rockets. Kofi Annan and the whole world insists that Israel has no right to defend itself.

"Can the whole world be wrong?"

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April 13, 2002

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 27

(27) SaintAnthony, March 23, 2006 12:00 AM

Are "names" confusing ???

This is helpful dialogue, and I hope Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and others might all be more tolerant if not more understanding of each other's views. But it seems to me that the words and names we use are sometimes confusing. To me, "Israel" was and still is a people, not a place or nation. It seems to me that no one in North America really knows what the "J" word accurately represents anymore; for, as Samuel Hayakawa wrote in "Language In Thought And Action", some words bring forth such "loaded" connotations that perhaps they should be carefully interpreted in context, or not used at all. Consider this: that an American might also be an "Israelite" descendant, but not "Jewish", or a "Zionist". An Israeli is 80% likely to be secular, and perhaps only 20% likely to be religious in any faith, yet 90% likely to be a "Zionist". A "Palestinian" is likely to be "Muslim", yet could be Druse, Shiite, Sunni, and a follower of the Q'uran, or so radical as to wear a suicide vest, be sewing them for all his grandchildren's wear, and be waiting his "mullah's" latest "fatwa". Yet we all live in recent memory of the political, religious, and racial pogroms and genocides perpetrated by Uncle Joe, Uncle Adolf, Uncle Benito, Uncle Hirohito, Uncle Joe Stalin, Uncle Nikita K, Uncle IdiAmin and others who would become our "Big Brother", using doublethink, newspeak, lovehate, and doubleplusgood propaganda to wash our brains clean. So, could we all prayerfully think for ourselves? and greet our neighbor with a smile & handshake? Like it or not, we're all cousins, if not Brothers !

(26) Anonymous, June 21, 2004 12:00 AM

re: J. Lieberman

I respectfully request that you read the comments on the following "comments" page, and in response to other articles, before stating that selects which comments are published.
Thank you

(25) Anonymous, May 12, 2004 12:00 AM

I disagree...

It seems that any comments that do not agree with the article are not posted. What is the point of a comments section where only some comments are shown? Shouldn't the readers get a taste of both sides of the issue?

The main reason for anti-Semitism in the world right now is focused on Israel. The Jews as people are not bad...and I think much of the world knows that. However, Israel, its leaders, and its policies are a disgrace to the relgion (yes, I am Jewish). The reason there has been a rise in anti-Semitism is becasue Israel directly relates itself to Judaism. I am going to ask the American Jewish Israel supporters one question. How would you feel if the cross was placed on the American flag? Israel's flag, military vehicles, etc. have the symbol of Judaism (It has been denied over and over that the symbol does not symbolize Judaism, but the world sees the Star of David as the "Jewish Star"). Maybe the reason people are beginning to dislike Jews is because the policies of a country are being directly related to a religion. When a plane flies over the enemy and drops a bomb, and one sees the Star on that flag, one sees the Jewish religion dropping a bomb. I thought we were all taught that "thou shalt not kill". Doesn't it seem reasonable to think that, right or wrong, any bomb dropped by an Israeli plane shows Judaism to be a violent religion. No, Judaism is NOT a violent religion...but the world will see it as that. Israel has to stop doing things in the name of the Jews and start acting like a real country...for everybody. It does not matter who has the God given right to the does not mean others must be discriminated against in that land just because their forefathers did not settle on that land thousands of years ago.

This comment will not be posted, but oh well. At least whoever reads them will see this and maybe learn a thing or two. Even the Jewish population is getting fed up with this nonsense. And no, the whole world cannot be wrong.

-J. Lieberman

(24) Jon Newton, August 3, 2003 12:00 AM

Keep speaking out

Keep speaking out and reminding us of the truth. Hitler was right when he claimed "Tell a lie, make it big, repreat it often and people will believe you." The whole world has been wrong many times and will be wrong again.

(23) Simcha, August 18, 2002 12:00 AM



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