Paul Calvert Spoke With Daniel Seaman

Continued from page 2

Paul: So is this ignorance anti-Semitism?

Daniel: There is a large degree of ignorance, but people are generally ignorant about other places in the world too. Israel is a lot in the news, because of the religious aspects of Christians and the Judeo Christian heritage. It does draw people to have a certain interest to what is going on here more than other places in the world.

You can criticise Israel. It is legitimate to criticise us. I don't want to use the word or the term anti-Semitism lightly, but when you have a situation where Israel is singled out for criticism; where Israel is held to a different standard, then those are elements of old anti-Semitism, with the Jew being held to a different standard and applying rules differently to Jews. By applying it to the State of Israel you are in effect operating and using the same kind of behaviour that was against Jews in the past. The anti-Semitism does play a certain role, but no I don't think the media in general is anti-Semitic. It works in a particular way, which I think does a disservice to western societies, but what it does do is encourage at times the old anti-Semitic terms and it gives and lends them credibility, which is unfortunate and especially when people are critical and singling out Israel for criticism, which it wouldn't apply elsewhere in the world.

I will give you a small example to explain what I am saying. When Israel is attacked and it defends itself, this is understood that any country in the world is allowed to defend itself. When they can't criticise us on using military force to defend ourselves, then they talk about disproportionate use of force. The question is what the principle of deterrence is if not the fact that you have the military ability to defeat your enemies and you let them know that. It's the use of certain types of weapons that every western military uses. When Israel uses it we are criticised disproportionately. If you want to use the term the media uses against us, when again Israel is singled out for certain behaviour, when Israel is expected to be perfect and we cannot make mistakes and when mistakes are made we are accused of making it deliberately; these things have an anti-Semitic tone to them.

Paul: You were in the IDF and served as an elite paratrooper and you are a veteran of the 1982 Lebanon war, have your experiences helped you to get where you are today?

Daniel: Its part of my character, but the first thing you learn in the military is keeping your head down and I have had to do that over the years.

I've learned to be careful of both enemy and friendly fire; its part of the character of every Israeli; anyone who serves; anybody around the world. Today you have a lot of young men and women who've served in the western militaries in combats and can understand very clearly what I am talking about. It does create a certain character. It does affect your life. Some people it affects them badly. I like to take anything that happens to me in my life and turn it into an advantage, so I think it develops your character, gives you strength of character. It puts things in perspective and makes you understand what is important and not important in life. That's why some things, office politics and things like that, I don't really care about. Family is very important to me and appreciating what you have in life. When you have faced death and you're in combat, you know how to appreciate things and not take anything for granted.

Paul: With the threat of a nuclear build up in Iran, where do you see Israel today? Do you think we will go to war?

Daniel: The Talmud says very clearly that after the fall of the second temple prophecy was given to fools, so I have no intention of prophesying. We are concerned with the nuclear build up in Iran. We believe that it is not only a threat to Israel. We would be the first, I don't want to say victim, because we will not be victims of the Iranians, but we would be the first target of Iran in that sense, but not the only one. We represent western civilization to the Iranians and I think that's what we have been trying to convey to western society for a very long time. Israel is the excuse, it's not the reason. The reason is their battle with western civilization and therefore the threat is not only towards Israel, it's to all humanity and therefore all humanity has to prevent a group of extremist radical clerics from obtaining the doomsday weapon. This is something that should be stopped whichever way possible. Hopefully it will be done through non-aggressive means; beyond that all I can say is that when the State of Israel was re-created it was re-created not only to provide a home, but a safe haven to the Jews around the world who have been persecuted for 2000 years and culminated in the Holocaust. The Holocaust was not the reason for the creation of the State of Israel. The fact that the State of Israel did not exist is what created the Holocaust and what I mean by all this is very simple; the State of Israel was created in order for Jews to have the ability to defend themselves and not to make it easy for our enemies to destroy us. You can take from that whatever you want. The pure and simple reason is Israel has the ability to defend itself and defend its people and it will do so.

Paul: What's your prayer for Israel?

Daniel: The prayer is just to continue what it has been for the past 64 years. It's an amazing modern miracle. This is a country against all odds; against tremendous adversaries; having to deal with terror and yet when you look at Israel today, it is an amazing country. It is tremendously successful. I just hope we can continue doing so, because I put my faith in the Israeli people and even though I am not religious I have to say when you see all that we have achieved and know from the inside how this country is run, you have to believe in divine intervention; there is no other explanation for it. I can just hope we can continue doing the right thing and doing the proper thing and continue to have God's grace. CR

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