Israel’s ‘You Built It’ Culture

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Like the left, the Muslim world believes that Israel’s success and its failure is proof of guilt. But even out of the Muslim world come glimpses of the basic truth.

Khalaf Al-Harbi, a Saudi columnist, wrote, “The secret to Israel’s survival, despite all the great challenges it has faced, lies in democracy and respect for the worth of the [Israeli] individual… The secret to the collapse of the Arab countries, one after another, lies in dictatorship and in the oppression of the individual… [Israel] drew its power from the honor it granted to its citizens, while its Arab neighbors trampled the [poor] creatures known as their citizens.”

Al-Harbi, no friend of Israel, went further than Mitt Romney did. If Mitt Romney crediting freedom and democracy as the ingredients that make for Israel’s culture of success is racist, then the Democrats must also charge Al-Harbi with racism.

Mitt Romney came to Israel to try and explain Israel’s success in the same terms that he has explained the success of the American businessman, by crediting the labor and dedication of the free individual in a culture that values freedom and accomplishment.

Every Israeli, like every American, who set foot in a new land, had to start all over again. They had to build houses, plant fields and raise cattle. They had to learn how to build armies and run institutions. And they had to do all those things while surrounded by enemies. They had to learn to sink or swim.

While the Muslim world wails over Palestinian refugees, the Jewish State is a nation of refugees populated by refugees from Czarism, Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Nasserism and Islamism. And each of those refugees had to begin a new life. The process wasn’t easy and Israel is still struggling with the challenges of absorbing millions of people from cultures as far apart as Russia, Yemen and France. But the refugee camps where they once lived, the tents and shacks, are a distant memory.

The survivors of the Holocaust are not still living in DP camps in Europe and Iraqi Jews aren’t living in tents in Israel. The last DP camp in Europe closed in 1959. The last of Israel’s refugee camps shut down in 1963. Meanwhile the Shatila refugee camp for Palestinian Arabs has been an ongoing concern in Beirut since 1949 making it older than many Israeli towns.

In 1910, Theodore Roosevelt addressed the Cambridge Union and told them, “Success, the real success, does not depend upon the position you hold but upon how you carry yourself in that position.” That assessment is the final rebuttal to the class warfare worldview of the left. Success is not in what you have, but in what you make of it.

A culture of free men and women who believe that they are here to build rather than destroy is able to do great things. And a culture of slaves of Allah who believe that they are here to destroy what others build and who prefer the public martyrdom of the suicide bomb and the refugee camp cannot hope to equal their accomplishments.

When the individual has the power to build then he is living in a “You built it” society. But when he only has the power to complain or destroy, then he is living in the Islamic or leftist “You didn’t build that” society.

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  • harvey simons

    am yisroel chai!

  • Nakba1948

    Once again, a self-proclaimed team of fake news journalists puts a self-proclaimed team of "real" news journalists to shame with respect to honest, logical analysis: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-july-31-201… Believe me, the joke's on you, Joe Zionist.

    • Larry

      Happy eternal nakba, dirtbag, may it continue to expand.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      EternalNakba1948, Please go to Syria to see the carnage your fellow islamofascist animals commit.

      Arabs killing Arabs. It's dog bites man. Nothing unusual.

      • Foolster41

        I would add, and STAY IN SYRIA. Obv. Nakba hates the west and freedoms and loves Sharia. He/she should go there and enjoy it there, instead of bringing it here where it is unwanted.

    • Advocatus

      Nakba, your problem starts right there. Clearly, you cannot distinguish between news and commentary. Other than that, you had nothing to add beyond some pathetic anti-Semitic drivel, as usual, but do carry on.

    • BS77

      Over 20,000 people have been killed in Syria in less than a year…but idiots like you are silent about that….you still think Israel is "the problem" in the Middle East. Just look around, moron. Look closely at Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc etc….where there is terror, misery, repression and wretched conditions for young children and women. Face reality you idiot.

    • CHOI

      Jon Stewart is a LEFT-WING SELF-HATING Jew.He's a clown dancing in the rain for pennies(in his case Millions of Pennies) and thinks it's "funny" to attack his own Flesh & Blood.
      Stewart is a SICK man and CONTEMPTIBLE POS.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        jon stewart is funny, according to the laugh track technicians who sweeten the audience reaction.

        • fiddler

          Yep, he uses blatant slander to make his audience laugh. Cheap laughs at the expense of character asassination.

      • Kufar Dawg

        I thought Jon Stewart was particularly disturbed when he invited Yusuf Islam to speak at his DC bash. Yusuf Islam, who used to be known as Cat Stevens, upheld the death fatwah against Salman Rushdie not once, but twice.

    • CHOI

      The ONLY Nakba the "Palestinian" Arabs have suffered is that their fellow Arabs/Muslims ,rather than absorbing them after their FAILED attempt(s) to DESTROY Israel,KEEP THEM as "REFUGEES": ,including in Arab/Muslim countries.

    • Ghostwriter

      And once again,Nakba1948 revels in anti-semitic nonsense while trying to convince the rest of us that his posts aren't cribbed from "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Believe me,I wish you'd crawl back to the ooze from which you were spawned.

    • PaulRevereNow

      ….yawn…..yawn….yawn……….zzzzzzz!

  • κατεργάζομαι

    "….."The land of Israel belongs to God, and He has decided to give it to the Jewish nation,
    in accordance with the covenant sealed on Mount Sinai, a covenant that no other nation
    was willing to undertake. After a long exile, we've returned home. We bear no malice toward anyone
    and seek no harm to anyone. But we will not surrender any portion of our land to foreign powers,
    and if foreigners rise up against us to destroy us, we will fight against them and,
    with God's help, we will destroy them."

    ~ Martin Wasserman

  • κατεργάζομαι

    The Arabs and Islamists remake history to serve their own interests, and their tales of woe and suffering are in reality intended to lull people into a state of pacifism to enable their eventual domination and subjugation of the world.

    That was the strategy Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda director, used in his war against the Jews of Europe and it worked.

    The Arabs may not be very original but they certainly have figured out how to seize upon a good idea and run with it! Comparing the plight of the Jews of Germany to that of the Arab-"Palestinians" was a stroke of genius. A very BIG Lie… but brilliant nevertheless!

    "The creation of Israel is "Palestine Holocaust Day" and the Palestinian People
    were subjected to the worst Holocaust in history."

    -Words spoken by Yassir Arafat May 10, 1997-

    Satan is a Liar!

  • κατεργάζομαι

    While Obama and much of the press fixates on its usual obsession… setting up Jews for a second Holocaust, Islam is also hard at work laying waste to major portions of the world and preparing to impose Islamic rule over everybody and extinguishing their respective non-Islamic civilizations.

    Today It's the Gun and the Qur'an (Koran)…
    Tomorrow It Will Be Nukes and the Qur'an.

    Islam has destroyed every civilization it touched and brought misery, poverty, ignorance and war in every country that it invaded!

    Look at GAZA.
    Look at the Jewish vs. Muslim Intellectual Output (Nobel Prize Winners) http://www.masada2000.org/nobel.html

    • Raymond in DC

      Israeli Nobel winners are just a small portion of Jewish Nobel winners, but Israel's TEN (4 in Chemistry, 2 in Economics, 1 in Literature, 3 in Peace) still exceeds the NINE for the entire Arab/Muslim world (1 in Chemistry, 1 in Physics, 2 in Literature, 5 in Peace – one of which went to Arafat). And Israel's patent count vastly exceeds those those of Arab/Muslim countries.

      • κατεργάζομαι

        Raymond: http://www.masada2000.org/nobel.html

        From a pool of 1.4 BILLION Muslims
        20% of World's Population
        (2 out of every 10 people)

        JEWISH NOBEL WINNERS
        From a pool of 12 million Jews
        0.2% of the World's Population
        (2 out of every 1,000 people)

        Unless the Swedes and Norwegians start awarding Nobel Prizes for plane hijackings, pizza shop bombings, civilian bus attacks, Jihad suicides/homicides, drive-by shootings, throat-slittings, embassy attacks and other such acts of barbarisms, the embarrassing low level of contribution to the welfare of Civilization and Mankind by the [Arab] Muslim world will continue.

        The Jewish People, meanwhile, will continue being the Lights Unto All Nations.

        amen.

  • Schlomotion

    In 1988, one could stand in Johannesburg and marvel at the progress and industry of the marvelous Afrikaners and turn around and make fun of the backwardness and lack of progress in the Bantustans. Apartheid is fun that way.

    • aleric_kong

      Israel in no way compares to Apartheid. Moslems left Israel on their own. Moslems have the same rights, and more, in Israel than in the anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-pluralistic Middle East.

      The Apartheid was awful due to sanctions and manipulating statistics. Most of the industry was built due to natural resources found hundreds of years earlier under colonialism. Today government regulations ruin the country post Apartheid. Mugabe turned around and was even worse, starting wars and famines which have harmed much more people.

    • Drakken

      In case it has escaped your liberal logic, SA is now sinking into the abyss of the rest of Africa, the whites are being slaughtered in droves and they are moving to other countries taking their weath and knowledge with them, soon SA will look like Rhodesia, another failed state.

    • Stern

      As always, the troll proves he has nothing to say with a post that says nothing. Trying to stretch an analogy that simply doesn't apply is a true mark of desperation.

      South Africa was successful because it exploited Black labour to build its buildings, work in its fields and factories, keep the homes of Whites clean, bring up White babies and more. Israel does not exploit Palestinian labour in any way, shape or form. In fact, thanks to years of violence, Israelis prefer NOT to hire Palestinians.

      • Kufar Dawg

        I'd only hire palesimians to stay away from me. I'm not interested in supporting their death cult or their rabid Jew hatred let them wither on the vine of their own bilious religion.

      • ebonystone

        If blacks were so "exploited" in S.A., why did black workers from neighboring countries emigrate in droves to find work there?

    • ziontruth

      The only apartheid in the Middle East is in all the countries except Israel—Islam's system of dhimmitude where Christians and Jews dutifully submit as docile second-class citizens to their Muslim masters.

      As for the situation in Israel, any suffering on part of the Arab settler-colonist population in Israel will end once the Jewish State does its duty of expelling them all. So, whether for now or in the future, the apartheid you should holler about is the one rampant in the Muslim world.

      But you won't, of course; being an Islam-sympathizing traitor, you'll only pick on Israel.

    • Kufar Dawg

      LOL, Muslime states aren't apartheids? Maybe you should ask the Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Jews unfortunate to live in ANY islamofascist pigocracy. The Jewish state of Israel is the only place in the Mid-East
      where Christians, Bahais, Druze and Jews aren't being slaughtered and persecuted w/impunity by muslo-nazi baboons.

    • Foolster41

      Once again you're pushing a false narrative about Jews, but for the life of you can't see why people think you're an anti-Semite!

  • cheese_burger

    The Leftists, who are now ALL, Islamic Fellow Travelers, have already been marked for extermination by Islam. This is not my opinion… it is Islamic Doctrine… immutable and unchangeable.

    • texasmom

      Yes, they are marked for extermination, BUT utopian beliefs blind them to that fact – they fantasize a world of kumbaya and flowers and love and peace while Islamists fantasize a world of sharia, pain, suffering and death.

    • Kufar Dawg

      The myopic leftists only have to look at what happened to Iranian Communists after the glorious Islamic Revolution there to know what their fate will be.

  • Mamala

    Thank you Daniel for ANOTHER brilliant article. Sharing this with everyone!

  • κατεργάζομαι

    Replying to Schlomotion…………….

    Two films that address human rights both hail from Africa —

    — the first from Mugabe's strife-torn Zimbabwe and the other from Uganda, which is a venue rarely productive of film.

    The more historical of the two, ROBERT MUGABE …WHAT HAPPENED?, a longitudinal study by articulate, charming director/filmmaker Simon Bright, who has spent many years in the country, of the longtime dynast/president of financially hectic Zimbabwe, is a daring recap of the life and times of President Robert Mugabe.

    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/robert_mug

  • jonmc

    (Oh boy, I bet this is going to be unpopular, where's my tin hat …)
    Of course there is a grain of truth in the Left's position in that if the success is built on genuine exploitation of others (e.g. sweatshops etc.) then arguably it is immoral.
    I think that perhaps that happens less in the US than in some other developed Countries, due to it's history, but in the UK at any rate in some periods of the Industrial revolution the work-force was brutally exploited by factory owners. The flip-side of that, of course, is that the (usually) Quaker-built businesses that truly cared about their workers – providing decent housing (by the standards of the times), education etc. are still revered (Cadbury's Bournville development and Port Sunlight spring to mind as just two).
    Thus I think it is valid to inquire as to the source of success and not simply accept as a mantra that "success is good", but it also follows therefore that accepting as a mantra "success is bad" is equal folly. And that is where the left "over-steps the mark", so to speak.

    • Stern

      What on earth are you talking about? There are no sweatshops in Israel. Your post is irrelevant to the topic of the article.

  • Gee

    I will make a simple statement – ALL Muslims are cowards.

    They are afraid of anybody that is different from them – they feel that they must oppress and/or enslave all that are not like them – even other Muslims. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to petition, all freedoms cause them to piss themselves with fear.

    Whereas Jews embrace and support freedoms that no other country in the world accept.

    There is the real guist of the matter – we embrace life and the unknown and Muslims fear and loath both.

  • Western Spirit

    The recent plunder of the market, Democrats shared in predominately, makes it appear capitalism is the villain. When the true villains are the people who manipulated Hedge funds, Derivatives and the housing market to bubble and crash. These people became rich at the expense of others. Al Gore said he knew how to keep the bubble expanding. But alas we didn't elect him, thank God.

    Now these illusion makers of the Left are using the chicanery of their own, people who adhere to the Left's agenda's, to make it appear being crooked is the only way to become rich. And this is being pitched to Americans still stinging from the crash. Plus, Israel, the little "devil" accompanying America's big "devil", is guilty of success,too.
    and therefore are crooks,too.

    See how it all fits?

  • watsa46

    We no more belong to ourselves! We are no more the master of our destiny. Few smart people will decide for us what we must do.
    This is the denial of the human identity. This is the definition of totalitarianism, foundation of communism and Islam.
    These 2 ideologies have profoundly affected Pr. O. The left reintroduces communism under a "black" skin!
    We see it every day.

  • watsa46
  • Bob Smith

    Leftists always find an excuse to bad-mouth (Israeli) success.__So what is the excuse for the difference between North and South Korea since the 1953 armistice?__You have essentially the same people, same land, same language, same devastated economy, same cultural background. And here we are, only 60 years later. What can we see from the great experiment between centralized government/economics in the North and free market economics in the South? __Simple.__The North and the centralized government/economic model has failed miserably. __The South and the decentralized government/economic model has become a world powerhouse. Not only do the South Koreans out produce the North Koreans but the average South Korean lives a more present life as a result.__And the leftist loons will still find some reason to bad mouth this success. Fools will be fools._

  • fiddler

    Excellent, excellent article. This is such a stinging rebuke to the collectivist "Occupy" mentality.

    Got a problem with the rich? Become rich yourself; and while on your way learn some value from the risks they take and the losses they suffer and bear themselves. Mind you we are not talking about the Saddam Hussein rich, the Hugo Chavez rich, the Stalinist rich, etc etc. Those seize other riches ostensibly for the sake of the "little guy", and of COURSE do it for TRULY altruistic motives! Perish the alternative thought!

    No, we are talking about talented, valuable individuals, who others envy. And envy is the key.

    No wonder the Bible talks about "covetiousness, which is idolatry".

  • http://www.thereligionofpeace.com Porky's2istan

    sigh.

    Why do I have to read this right wing Ayn Rand Neitzsche fantasy in order to get information about the the counter jihad?

    Israel is a democracy and the people have a 'community spirit'. They don't (usually) run around trying to become super rich while screwing over every other person in their country. They know that their hard work will be rewarded and not stolen by corrupt officials/businessmen like happens in islamic countries and is happening, more and more, in the west. Despite their monolithic hatred for everything non-muslim, muslims don't have that 'community spirit' and never will.

    This fantasy comparison fails utterly. In the west people are starting to really see that there are two types of people. Those who work and contribute, and those who make money from money and just leach off the real workers (like Mitt Romney). Go ahead and vote me down for being a lefty. Just remember when your pension/retirement/ira is looted by wall street and the looters still get their million dollar bonuses, that I told you so. I hope there is still Social Security for you after your life savings is gone, and it wasn't put into 'private individual accounts'.

    Or you can double down on the self delusion and blame the left/Democrats like that that guy 5 posts up just did.

    • Kufar Dawg

      The zero isn't a leech? Aside from civil service what has he done? Community Organizer anyone?

  • JoJoJams

    There really is no sense to your Amos n Andy routine, and notice that you're being given nothing but thumbs down over it. You have cogent posts when you leave the routine behind. I don't even read what you try to say when you spout this nonsense, since I refuse to try to translate your ebonics parody in to actual English, so, please do us all – and yourself – a big favor and just drop the AnA routine? It's not just old….it's pathetic.

  • Ghostwriter

    JoJoJams,I couldn't have said it any better myself.

  • Carol

    Daniel Greenfeld's pieces never cease to marvel me with the clear explanations, tying together of many threads in a highly readable and logical manner. I am very appreciative, once again, for his wonderful essays.

    To Porky's2istan, I understand your feelings and ambivalence. There seems to be a narrow line to walk to capture the good of each party.

    • Kufar Dawg

      Daniel's insightful analyses should be the kind of thinking that goes into determining national policy. Of course when your federal government is corrupt, cowardly and amoral the truth is the last thing they're interested in hearing or seeing or reading.

  • MburuChege

    By calling israeli ” the Jewish State”, where does that leave the millions of arabs, muslims, christians, druze, who live in israel??????????????

  • MburuChege

    somehow no one seems to recall that the “jewish state” receives billions of dollars of free cash handouts from the west….without it, its  economy would obviously go belly up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • MburuChege

    FICTION: Israel’s transformation from a bunch of refugees and farmers armed with third-rate weapons to a prosperous nation of flowering orchards, booming tech companies and new towns rising out of the earth…………..
     
    FACT:”Israel’s transformation from a bunch of refugees and farmers armed with third-rate weapons to a NUCLEAR-ARMED STATE RULED BY EXTREMIST POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS  WHO LOVE TO HATE NON-JEWS IS EVIDENCE OF ITS GRAVE THREAT TO WORLD PEACE!

  • MburuChege

    The survivors of the Holocaust are not still living in DP camps in Europe…BUT THEY RECIEVE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR FROM SPINELESS EUROPEANS!

  • usernamedenied

    I don’t like Rommey a bit, there is no need to bring him in at all but otherwise the article is plain truth. Palestinians are hypocrites who won’t hesitate to declare themselves oppressed on the world stage, but yet spread Jew hate to kids as early as age 3. How would anything of value get created when a society is so determined to destroy?

  • usernamedenied

    I don’t like Rommey a bit, there is no need to bring him in at all but otherwise the article is plain truth. Palestinians are hypocrites who won’t hesitate to declare themselves oppressed on the world stage, but yet spread Jew hate to kids as early as age 3. How would anything of value get created when a society is so determined to destroy?

  • EasTexan

    I've been to Zimbabwe, and everything the writer says about it is true. The British may have been colonialists but they brought a sense of order and accomplishment to that resource-rich country not known before, nor since. Under Mugabe's rule it's now gone; all of it. Leadership is everything. Think of India and its success since, from the time of independence, that country has continued the rule of law established by the British.