MK Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, on Thursday published an editorial in the Guardian in which he responded to a letter by 700 British artists who pledged to boycott Israel in protest over the allegedly high death toll of “Palestinian civilians” in the Gaza war during summer 2014.
In his editorial, Lapid described the letter as “shallow and lacking in coherence” and said that those who are calling for a boycott of Israel “are ignoring some painful truths”.
“The fact that, as is common with petitions like this, the majority of the signatories are unaware of the reality here in the Middle East, doesn’t reassure me,” he wrote.
“It only takes one ‘useful idiot’ like Roger Waters (the expression is not an insult but a phrase attributed to Lenin to describe weak liberals used by cynical regimes for their own ends) to call Israel an apartheid state and the liberal choir will immediately stand to attention and sing the chorus with him. Why? Because everyone wants to be like Nelson Mandela but no one has the patience to learn the details,” continued Lapid.
“I wonder if, before they put their names to the letter, anyone told the 700 signatories that twice already – once in 2000 and once in 2008 – Israel offered the Palestinians the chance to build an independent state on over 90% of the territories, and on both occasions the Palestinians refused?”
“Do they know that Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a terrorist organization that punishes homosexuality with hanging? That severely restricts the freedom of women to do such dangerous things as running a marathon or riding a scooter? Where Jews and Christians don’t have the right to live?” he wondered.
“Maybe when they aren’t signing petitions they would prefer democratic regimes, like Israel, where there is freedom of expression and freedom of the press and where rights for the LGBT community are protected by law. Where Muslims and Christians serve in the supreme court, the Knesset and senior positions in the military; where women have served as prime minister, as president of the supreme court and in the highest ranks of the army?”
If the IDF puts down its weapons and stops protecting Israelis for 24 hours, warned Lapid, “radical Islamists would kill us all. Women and children first. That’s what they’re doing to their brethren in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and across the Islamic world. What are the chances that they’d spare us?”
“To end the conflict Israel only has one demand: security for our citizens,” wrote Lapid, adding, “We don’t believe that’s unreasonable. In 2005, as part of the disengagement from Gaza, Israel pulled out without any demands from Gaza, took down the settlements and removed the army from the area.”
“We expected the Palestinians would take the opportunity to build schools, hospitals and factories but instead they kicked out the Palestinian Authority from Gaza and brought in Hamas – a fundamentalist Islamist terror group of the worst kind. And after a few months they began building terror tunnels into Israeli territory and started massive rocket and mortar fire upon the innocent civilian population,” he added.
“I am not a British artist. What I want is far more modest: for people not to try to kill me just because I’m a Jew. For Jews in Europe to be able to stand safely outside synagogues and do their shopping in a kosher supermarket and for Jews in Israel to be safe from the threat of rockets and mortars,” concluded Lapid.
Waters, who was mentioned by name in Lapid’s article, is one of the signatories to the British artists’ letter and is known for his continuous inflammatory statements against Israel.
Last year, the former rock star attacked actress Scarlett Johansson and Canadian musician Neil Young for their refusal to boycott Israel on a Facebook post. An Israeli radio host wrote a comment noting that anti-Israel tirades only prevent peace, which Waters immediately deleted.
He later compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying in an interview, “The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable.”
Waters previously released a giant balloon pig bearing the Star of David during a concert in Belgium. Concert-goers said the Jewish star was among several symbols representing various corporations and fascist movements.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)