by Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan and Saskia Pantell
The month of November occupies an important place in Israel’s modern history. In the past century, a number of dramatic events took place during this month that had a significant impact on the course of the Jewish people and the history of the state.
The first to shed light on the special importance of November was the late ambassador Shlomo Argov who, on November 28, 1980, published a letter on this topic in the London Jewish Chronicle.
The first November milestone was the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, which called for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. This was the first international legal document recognizing the right of the Jewish people to its homeland.
In the face of the Arab-propagated myth that Israel was established by the Western Christian nations to compensate the Jews for the Holocaust, it is important to repeat again and again, especially for the younger generations, that Israel was created as a result of the struggle of the Zionist movement – the liberation movement of the Jewish people – much before World War II, to achieve self-determination for the Jewish people in its homeland.
The Balfour Declaration, which was endorsed by the League of Nations, led – 30 years later – to the partition plan adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 29, 1947. Two states for two peoples, this was the essence of that resolution, accepted by the Zionist movement but rejected totally by the Arabs, who refused to accept, like the actual Palestinian leadership, the very idea of a Jewish state.
Since 1947, the United Nations, dominated by the Arab-Muslim and the so-called non-aligned countries, became the main anti-Israeli platform worldwide, with dozens of resolutions, year after year, condemning the Jewish state.
Shockingly, November 29 became the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people!
One of the most infamous UN resolutions against Israel was adopted 40 years ago by the General Assembly. On November 10, 1975, Resolution 3379 equated Zionism with racism. The purpose of that resolution, initiated by the Arabs and their allies, was to delegitimize Israel and make it a pariah state. It took years and the efforts of many to revoke this resolution. But delegitimizing Israel is still, today, one of the major tools utilized by Arabs in their war against the Jewish state.
One of the very few constructive UN resolutions concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict was Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967, following the Six Day War.
This binding resolution speaks about the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East through negotiations, the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories (not “the” territories) occupied in the conflict to secured and recognized boundaries.
It took six years and the Yom Kippur War to convince the leader of the greatest Arab state to adopt the spirit of this resolution, namely direct negotiations without prior conditions. Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s historical visit to Israel, on November 19, 1977, at the invitation of prime minister Menachem Begin, led to the signing of the Egyptian- Israeli peace treaty and then peace with Jordan.
Israel’s quest for peace with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world suffered a heavy blow with the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995. Nevertheless, the aspiration for peace among the great majority of Israelis, 20 years later, is intact in spite of the waves of Palestinian terrorism and their BDS onslaught on the international scene against the Jewish State.
The bloody anti-Semitic terrorist attacks and manifestations in Europe, most of them by radical Islamists, against Jews, their synagogues and properties reminds us of the Kristallnacht pogroms of November 9, 1938. Kristallnacht was the beginning of the implementation of the Nazi final solution, the Shoah.
Instead of boycotting Israeli products from disputed territories in Judea and Samaria, Europe should concentrate on the war against Islamic terrorism in the Middle East and on its soil. This is what threatens Europe and world peace. At the same time, Europe should vigorously fight anti-Semitism, old and new.
Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan is founder and president of the Ambassadors Club of Israel. He has served, among other postings, as the Israeli Ambassador to Denmark, France, the Council of Europe, and UNESCO, as well as Head of State Protocol for Israel. He also currently the head of Israel’s Young Ambassadors School.
Saskia Pantell is an activist for Israel with many years of involvement in the Jewish and Zionist communities both in Sweden and internationally. She has been the regional director for the Ambassadors Club of Israel, as well as serving in multiple positions for the Zionist Federation of Sweden and the WZO. Currently, she is the Founder and CEO of the Sweden Israel Alliance.