It is ironic that, on the heels of the leaking of his “apartheid” comments, Secretary of State John Kerry started May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was in that very city, in May of 1991, that Israel heroically demonstrated that it was nothing akin to what Kerry declared it to be.
As detailed by the late New York Post editorial page editor, Eric Breindel, on May 30, 1991:
The government of Israel, having managed to gather Ethiopian Jews from around that country into the Addis Ababa vicinity over the past ten or so months, airlifted virtually the entire Ethiopian Jewish community to safety in Israel. The operation took place in utter secrecy. More than fourteen thousand Ethiopian Jews–called Falashas (outsiders)–were transported, in the course of a three-day period, to a land they had never seen.
The Ethiopian government–long pro-Soviet and not itself particularly well disposed toward the Falashas–was collapsing. Rebel forces were eight miles from Addis Ababa when the airlift began.
Ethiopian Jews, of course, are black–as black as other Ethiopians. (And most Israelis, needless to say, are Caucasian.) But the Falashas, because they identify themselves as Jews, were likely–in the view of outside analysts, including State Department officials–to be ‘very vulnerable’ in turbulent political circumstances.
This condition, historically, is nothing new for Jews. Many times throughout their history, Jews have been–to say the least–“vulnerable.” And they’ve had no safe haven to which to flee.
What’s different now?
Zionism: the existence of a Jewish state.
Breindel was one of the champions of the battle to repeal the UN “Zionism is racism” Resolution of 1975. In this column, he took the occasion of this dramatic rescue and threw it in the face of Israel’s haters:
In the end, the Ethiopian Jews–“black Jews” who trace their lineage to King Solomon–were saved by brethren they had never seen, some of whom risked their lives to bring the Falashas to a land of which they had only dreamed.
There’s only one word that describes this extraordinary endeavor: Zionism.
Read the news reports, look at the photos, watch the film footage–one fact is plain: Notwithstanding any UN resolutions, Zionism–whatever else it may or may not be–is not “a form of racism.”
A few months later, the Soviet Union itself collapsed. The UN, unable to withstand the rhetorical onslaught of Breindel and his allies, combined with the forcefulness of then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Bolton, repealed the infamous resolution.
However, thanks to Kerry, the battle is now going to have to be re-fought. As the New York Post columnist Benny Avni wrote on May 1st:
During this week’s UN Security Council debate on the Mideast, no Arab diplomat missed the opportunity to use the word “apartheid” to describe Israel. With one closed-door comment, Kerry managed to reverse Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s diplomatic heroics of more than 20 years ago: The “Zionism is racism” talk, supposedly eradicated from Turtle Bay in 1991, is back with a vengeance.
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