Conflict in Gaza: Myopia and defamation By Osias Wurman

One of the largest gay pride parade in the world takes place in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Israeli society is made up of ethnic fabric originating in 70 countries

I have never imagined a time when the State of Israel would suffer such a risk to its safety and such damage to its image as it is happening now. I was born almost seven decades ago on the blessed Brazilian soil, more specifically on the suburb of Madureira, where my parents and grandparents, who were immigrants from Poland, lived in the 1930s, since Polish Jews could not live freely in their homeland, contaminated by racial hatred.

During my community experience as president of the Jewish Federation of the State of Rio de Janeiro, and as vice president of the national organization, I sought to praise the qualities of our Brazilian people and the fraternal relationship between Brazil and Israel. Gratitude and loyalty are qualities that I have always praised. I grew up in a Jewish and Zionist home, always imbued with the spirit of shalom, salaam, peace!

My maternal grandfather’s business was established on Alfandega Street, a street in the downtown area called SAARA (acronym for Society of Friends of the Adjacencies of Alfândega Street), where Arabs and Jews, both of Semitic origin, had lunch at the same table in the restaurant Cedro do Líbano (in English, Cedar of Lebanon).

Nowadays, the most perfect and active democracy in the Middle East is being vilified − accused of running an abominable apartheid regime. A country where around 20% of the population are Arabs who vote freely and elect the 10% of Arab parliament members, and have rights to social security and labor.

The State of Israel rescued 80,000 black Jews from Ethiopia and made them free citizens in the Promised Land. There is nothing like this in the history of any other country. It is also worth remembering the humanitarian aid that the Jewish State traditionally sends whenever international disasters occur, as in the case of Haiti.

One of the largest gay pride parade in the world takes place in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Israeli society is made up of ethnic fabric originating in 70 countries.

Already in the 1970s, after a little more than 20 years of independence, a woman, Golda Meir, assumed the post of Prime Minister.

What does all this have to do with segregation and discrimination?

Throughout its existence, the Jewish State has not had one moment of full existential recognition by all its neighbors. The two exceptions are Egypt and Jordan, with whom Israel maintains full diplomatic relations for over 30 and 20 years, respectively.

In the current conflict with Hamas terrorism, the anti-Zionist propaganda has been dragging a big part of public opinion to the wrong side. I make it very clear that the pain and suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza are also our sadness and pain, not to mention Israeli victims of war, and civilians terrorized by thousands of rockets fired blindly into towns and civilians in Israel.

For over 3,800 years, since patriarch Abraham, the Jewish people are known for loving life and peace. We are fully aware that freeing the people of Gaza from the clutches of terrorism is a task for all peoples and all governments who value life and freedom.

Innocent men and women cannot admit that a terrorist entity - as deemed by the United States and the European Union - fire 12,000 rockets at the civilian population of a sovereign nation in 12 years. This is sheer terror! In addition, they cannot ignore the fact that Gaza’s civilians are hostages of this terror that has been using them as human shields standing beside rocket launching sites and attack units, a flagrant violation of human rights and a violation of the respect to the Palestinian civilian population.

Brazil and Israel will soon return to their normal diplomatic relationship, the result of a tradition that dates from Chancellor Oswaldo Aranha until today.

To those who have expressed unilateral repudiation of the Jewish State, let me remind them that:

1. The founding statute of Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel; 2. War against terrorism is worldwide, and Israel is a beacon in a dark area, an area plunged into fratricidal fanaticism as in Syria, Iraq, etc.; 3. The European Union, the United States, England, Russia, China, and Japan, and also most Arab countries, all hope that terror is defeated in this battle.

The people of Israel are the perfect sample of the Jewish people, and to us, Brazilian Jews, the lives of children and innocent civilians of Gaza are as precious as the lives of Israelis.

Help the State of Israel in this war to free Gaza from terror, oppression and hatred.

Osias Wurman is Israel’s Honorary Consul in Rio de Janeiro.

(This article was originaly published in Opinion page of O Globo journal – Rio – Brazil - 08-16-2014)

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