On the limits of tolerance...
I have often been told that I have "strong beliefs", an assertion with which I do not disagree, as "strong beliefs" are not to be equated with wrong beliefs. Believe it or not, I am aware that more often than not, my fellow Jewish brothers and sisters have beliefs that are contrary to my own, and as much as I might enjoy the idea of having everyone share my worldview every now and again, I am prepared to accept that on any given issue there will likely exist a plurality of Jewish beliefs.
While I certainly will not agree with all viewpoints expressed on any given issue concerning the Jewish People & State, I am willing to accept that my way is not the only way, and that I must be willing to work together (wherever possible) with my Jewish brothers and sisters, if we are to be able to live together as "one nation in the Land".
However, this attitude only goes so far, and it reaches its limit when I come across someone like Azmi Bishara. Bishara is an enemy of both the Jewish State & People, and he also happens to be a member of Israel's Knesset, and is the ring-leader of the 5th column within Israel, that is working against the interests of the Jewish State.
Bishara recently violated Israeli law by visiting an enemy country, in this instance Lebanon (he had previously attended a pro-Hezbollah rally in Syria where he called on Arab countries to expand their "resistance against Israel’s occupation, and to provide for the Palestinian people’s struggle against the occupation"). While in Lebanon, he had the following things to say about his home country, Israel, and in whose parliament he serves (Courtesy of Yediot Achronot):
"I will never recognize Zionism even if all Arabs do," he said. "I will never concede Palestine. The battle is still long..."
"The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is not a demographic dispute, but a national one," he said. "It's not the problem of 1.2 million Palestinians living in Israel. They are like all Arabs, only with Israeli citizenship forced upon them... "We are the original residents of Palestine, not those who came from Poland and Russia," the MK added. "Return Palestine to us and take your democracy with you. We Arabs are not interested in it."
Bishara has meanwhile returned to Israel and told Yediot Achronot Saturday night that his speech was "about Zionism and citizenship." "I didn’t say anything new that I hadn't said in other places. I've spoken like this in the Knesset," he said.
Not only is Bishara an enemy of the Jewish People & State, but he is also clearly an enemy of democracy.
Upon Bishara's return from Lebanon, he wasted no time in continuing his anti-Semitic diatribe (Courtesy of Arutz-7):
The gathering in Nazereth Saturday morning was under the banner "responsibility for the historical Nakba," referring to the "tragedy" of the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state.
MK Azmi Bishara, who was born and lives in Nazereth, encouraged the crowd to keep "burning the coals of the struggle against Zionists."
(And lest you think that Azmi Bishara is the exception to the rule, this incident represents only the tip of the iceberg. Another example can be found here).
To add insult to injury, the State of Israel's inaction in meting out a suitable punishment to someone like Bishara not only undermines Israel as a Jewish State, but as a democratic one, as well. If Bishara's comments do not fall under the scope of sedition, then what does?
Why is it that in the Jewish State of Israel, that we must suffer the indignity of having people like Azmi Bishara sit in the Knesset and have a say shaping the policies and character of the Jewish State? Azmi Bishara is not my brother, nor will he ever be, and I do not feel compelled to extend to him the same tolerance and understanding that I must extend to my fellow Jewish brothers and sisters - and certainly not to one who is not only not a member of the family, but one who is actively working to destroy the Jewish State!
Why is it that we find it so difficult to stand up for ourselves, and to assert our rights as proud Jews?
Perhaps having a steadfast belief in the justness of one's cause, and the willingness to stand behind one's beliefs regardless of the consequences is a lesson that we can learn from Azmi Bishara, himself.