Edited by John R. Houk
February 26, 2016
Alas, the day is here that cultured people are using sub-texts and innuendos to blame Israel for wrongdoings never committed. Before we, too, find her guilty by association, based on unsubstantiated allegations that sound good, let us investigate, learn from all that Israel can offer and celebrate the true Israel and the vital water lessons she provides. — Ari Bussel
The issue of water is an extremely important issue in the Middle East. This includes the ONLY true representative democracy in the Middle East, viz. Israel. Israel is so hated by Arab Muslims that they continuously propagate lies against the Jewish State. Sadly these lies are too often believed by the Westerners of Europe and America making the diabolical Muslim liars into heroic victims rather than the Jew-hating people their religion has taught them to be.
The greatest of ironies is Western Left Wing Jews – particularly in America – believe these libelous lies making them a part of this Muslim Jew-hatred. What does this make Liberal Jews. That would make them self-loathing.
Ari Bussel elaborates on this with two email submissions. The first was sent February 23, 2016. The second was sent the next day but was actually written by Ari in 2010. It is quite eerie that Ari presciently wrote on the issue roughly six years ago only to witness an exposé in this present time. I have posted them in the order I received. Note the 2010 article is posted second.
A Warm Embrace, A Welcome Back
By Ari Bussel
Sent 2/23/2016 8:39 PM
In 1942-1944 a new Israeli folk song and dance appeared, “Ma-im, ma-im Be-Sasson” (water, water, in joy). It became a sensation and still exists today. It reads, in part: “and you will pump water in joy, from the springs of salvation.”
The decades of settlement of Eretz Israel, first under Ottoman Empire then under British rule, were most difficult. The Land of Israel was – with very few exceptions in “major” cities – desolate and infested with malaria-bearing mosquitoes and swamps in some parts, and a harsh desert in others. The Arab population, which was in very large part not indigenous, was doing all it could against the Jews.
There was very little food, times were tough and there were bits of horrible news coming from Europe. The Brits were doing everything possible to avoid supporting the local Jewish population, and settling the land was a most formidable task.
Deprived of food, sleep and proper accommodations, the settlers of the land forced themselves not to be dejected and to keep morale up. They would dance and dance and dance to Ma-im, Ma-im, Oh, Ma-im Be-Sasson!
Today, Israel is a superpower in terms of water. Half as much rainfall, ten times the population, seventy times the size of the economy than 70 years ago, and yet Israel is self-sufficient in terms of its water needs. It seems that miracles indeed happen in this tiny sliver of land between the Jordan “River” and the Mediterranean.
Cotton fields in the south and banana plantations along the slopes of the Carmel mountains range, both extremely water consuming crops, stretch for miles. There are major desalination plants, converting seawater into drinking water. When there is little rain but conditions are right, clouds are being impregnated and rain becomes a reality. Cities in desert areas are blooming with reclaimed water (it is easy to notice since the drip irrigation uses purple plastic hoses). And agriculture, fresh fruits and vegetables, relies heavily on reclaimed water.
Science and technology have developed around and as a result of necessity. Harsh conditions dictate a reality of either importing water or becoming self-sufficient. And Israel has long learned the lesson she cannot rely on anyone but herself for her own survival.
Yet Israel has not kept her achievements to herself. Quite the contrary, she constantly shares, following the motto “light unto the nations.” From East to West Africa, India to China, and now coming to the USA, Israel’s water technology is being spread for the general good to everyone’s benefit.
Even in the immediate neighborhood, where wars have been fought because of water and neighbors want to destroy one another as a matter of tradition, pastime sport and culture than any real reason, Israel shares her know-how with her sworn enemies.
Syria, whose water resources were stolen by Turkey, was being assisted by Israel, pure cooperation without media fanfare, until the civil war erupted.
In Syria, vast agricultural areas dried up, forcing the farmers to migrate to the major cities or starve. This caused immense pressure on the political and economic systems, which contributed to the unrest.
The world at large recognizes Israel’s position and contributions in the area of water, except a few Jews and others right here in America.
National Geographic for me has always been an icon. We used to collect the yellow-and-white-cover magazines and to order the leather binders for each year. Before the advent of the Internet and smartphones, when travel was limited and extremely expensive, National Geographic took us to wondrous places to see amazing things only nature could create.
We trusted National Geographic; to be fair and balanced, to be neutral in anything and everything with one exception, standing for the might and wonder which is nature.
Little did I expect that National Geographic would betray all that it represented, when its photographers and editors chose to dedicate a whole issue to the subject of water, a scarce – and sacred – resource, and about one fifth of this special issue to the “evils” of Israel. Oh, so innocent. Oh, so deceiving.
Israelis “stealing” water! Israelis enjoying abundance of water at a pool or the Sea of Galilee, in contrast with Jordanian kids with swollen stomachs or skeleton bodies and a non-existent water supply. Israelis vs. nomad Bedouins. Israelis growing Bananas minus the tiny caveat that only reclaimed water is used, exclaiming in the text how water consuming are the banana plants. And it went on and on. Israel the devil and those horrible Israelis.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and Israelis, who cannot fathom twisting the truth to no (or ill) gain, ignored it. This Water Issue was allowed to sell in Israel, and Israelis did not go out to the streets in protest. The distance between reality and false propaganda was so fantastic, that Israelis simply refused to pay attention.
Alas, a major (Jewish) philanthropist, daughter of the Annenbergs whose name adorns music centers and other cultural landmarks, decided to open her “Space for Photography” in Century City (a Los Angeles neighborhood bordering the City of Beverly Hills) with the National Geographic water exhibit.
Shame, people shouted. All approaches to her offices and foundation were ignored as superfluous and meaningless noise. Two icons came together, National Geographic and philanthropic wealth. “Water!” was a lucrative enough title, and with the brand name of National Geographic and a newly opened “museum” in the heart of Century City, success was guaranteed. Why should anyone worry about truth, ethics or integrity?
Water Summit @ The Wallis
Some years passed. Annenberg gave $25m to a new Cultural Center in Beverly Hills, now named after her. On March 1-3, 2016, a Water Summit will be held in Beverly Hills, at the Wallis. It is part of a series of such summits throughout the United States, held by Jewish National Fund, a local non-profit.
More importantly, it is part of a Memorandum Of Understanding between Israel and the City of Beverly Hills (there was a similar MOU signed with the State of California).
Mayor Dr. Julian Gold, Congressman Ed Royce, Consul General David Siegel and other dignitaries will assemble at the Wallis to explore the wonders that Israel brings to the world in terms of Water.
Congressman Ed Royce
Consul General David Siegel
There will be a representative of major labor unions, major investment funds, government officials, activists and residents. In short, people will come to learn about all that Israel has to offer in terms of water, highlighting truth, not fiction; reality, not false fabrications.
This is more important now more than ever, with two thirds of humanity and 40 States of the Union facing severe water shortages. In California alone, the source for half the agriculture in the USA, one million acres were lost last year due to the ongoing drought, now in its fifth year.
In a breakfast event to kick off the California-Israel Water Summit, there were those who remembered the National Geographic Water Issue and the Annenberg Space for Photography’s decision to showcase it as its opening act. They looked at one another and inquired, who knows Wallis Annenberg, to extend her an invitation to the Water Summit.
There is no need for an apology. Correcting past misdeeds and evil-doings such as the betrayal, especially young ones and those most loyal ones, by National Geographic and its editorial staff will not do any good, after the seeds of lies and deception have germinated. But the truth has a tendency to eventually emerge and see the light of day, contrary to any ill intentions.
It happens every year when Israeli pilots fly over Auschwitz. When the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces leads Israeli soldiers there. It happens when anyone visits Israel and discovers for him or herself her numerous miracles of existence. And it will happen when Wallis Annenberg comes to the cultural center at this iconic city, a center that carries her name, and will be welcomed with the love and appreciation that exists toward a sister; even if she made an error in the past.
Op-Ed: The Water Ambassadors
Sent 2/24/2016 1:20 AM
Original Publication May 24, 2010 1:42 PM
Agriculture and water played a pivotal role in Biblical history, to such an extent that Jewish people still bless G-d every day, “He who returns the wind and brings down the rain” or “He who brings down the early morning dew” depending on the time of the year. Without water, the Land of Milk and Honey would become barren and dry, its trees would wither, its future in doubt.
All it takes is to accuse Israel of the wrongdoings her enemies never hesitated to commit.
Water is intrinsically intertwined in Israel’s history, from parting the sea to allow the escape from tyranny and slavery to the days the Israelites were wandering the desert and yet all their needs were met. Other highlights include Elijah the Prophet standing with his head on the line on Mount Carmel seeing a tiny father-of-cloud approaching; supplying water to Jerusalem in King David’s time; the aqueducts built during the Roman period from Haifa to Caesarea – still standing today – and during the same era, the water-collecting and storing mechanism in the Masada fortress at the Dead Sea.
Now, at the beginning of the 21st Century, water has become the new blood libel against Israel. Seeing the effectiveness of repeating the argument “The Holocaust Never Happened,” Israel’s enemies now use against her the very weapon once used to parch the Jewish inhabitants of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem in an attempt to force them to surrender. All it takes is to accuse Israel of the wrongdoings her enemies never hesitated to commit. No proof needed, just the chutzpa to promote the big lie.
Water assumes a modern, everyday importance as well. The most known phrase in Israel is “It’s a shame to waste a drop”–of water. Every drop of water is crucial, from not wasting water to clean one’s car (use a bucket rather than a hose) to using a two-tier water container in the bathroom and soaping dishes with the faucet off. Water is so expensive in Israel that people are trained, from very early age, to conserve.
This week the largest desalination plant opened in Israel, changing seawater to drinking water that actually taste good. Israel has long been the leader and pioneer in water technologies, from drip irrigation to gray water usage in agriculture. (For INN’s article featuring this, click here).
A classroom guide about water for grades one through 12 is readily available online and in numerous textbooks. Water is part of the curriculum in Israel, thus reinforcing what children learn out of necessity at home. Moreover, water is the subject of songs and dances in Israel, truly embracing a cultural experience.
It is exactly in this context that foreign photojournalists came to Israel to take pictures and tell a story. The story is part of a major project, a special National Geographic issue about a thirsty world.
What did they find in Israel? Somehow, none of the things I described, not a thing that every Israeli child has experienced since early age: the great respect shown a very scarce resource, the admiration, the dependence and the knowledge that water comes with a price. Every first, second and third grader in Israel can educate the world about water and its conservation.
Against that background of care and conservation, the photojournalists did not describe the Israeli reality. Instead, they focused on a story they wanted to tell, one of hatred and suspicion, one twisting reality into an attack on the Jewish State.
Dressed as a photo exhibit, National Geographic blames a water shortage and the ills of the region on Israel. The Dead Sea is drying up and it is Israel’s fault. Israelis consume more water than Arabs, supposedly, and this too is Israel’s fault. With ever increasing population pressures throughout the arid Middle East, there is a decreasing water table, so BLAME ISRAEL. No word on Arab destruction of the aquifer and warnings of Israeli water experts on Arab misuse of water sources.
Reinforcing the photo-exhibit message are pictures and captions showing Israel supposedly exploiting water by growing crops that are high consumers of water. Implying Israel does not know her right from her left in agriculture is foolish given most crop types were refined over the decades to better adapt to the climate and that each farmer gets strict allotments. In addition, most irrigation types and water used—gray water—were developed for lessening Israel’s dependence on water. Israelis invented water saving drip irrigation.
Israelis invented water saving drip irrigation.
The sophisticated National Geographic photojournalists with their ultra sensitive cameras and amazingly twisted hearts and minds set out to frame Israel for crimes she never committed. It is easy to accuse, and let the lies carry in the wind, like fire in a dry field on a scorching day.
“More humanity per pixel” says the Los Angeles-based Annenberg Foundation that opted to host the exhibit during the fifty days between Passover and Shavuot. But let us celebrate water, not hate, and let us learn from Israel and her long history intermingled and dependent on water. We must disallow the spread of propaganda against Israel under the guise of a National Geographic photo exhibit.
Alas, the day is here that cultured people are using sub-texts and innuendos to blame Israel for wrongdoings never committed. Before we, too, find her guilty by association, based on unsubstantiated allegations that sound good, let us investigate, learn from all that Israel can offer and celebrate the true Israel and the vital water lessons she provides.
Israel needs each and every one of us to combat the lies. The war does not rage in Israel proper, but right here in Los Angeles and on campuses throughout North America. It is in museums and places of culture and thought, locations that should have been the first to reject the lies, yet most adamantly embrace them.
To counter the lies we need to become Israel’s true Water Ambassadors and restore to the world a semblance of sanity and respect before the truth is buried forever.
In a new leaflet by the Los Angeles based Simon Wiesenthal Center, “2010 Top Ten Anti-Israel Lies,” water is not mentioned. A recent lecture by a doctoral student titled “Thirsting the Palestinians” held at Loyola Law School in Downtown Los Angeles and a billboard on Sunset Strip promoting the same lies were just appetizers. The Annenberg Exhibit is ushering in hatred with all its glory, propaganda with all its might, via no other doors than those of the Jewish Community itself. The very leaders of the community seem not to have noticed what the exhibition is saying–or have they?
Shame, Wallis Annenberg. Your love of photography and your family’s many contributions to culture cannot justify your helping to propagate hatred toward Israel and the Jewish People. Take action, lest you remain an accessory, a major facilitator in fact, to this horrible blood libel.
It is time to stand up and speak against the continued delegitimization, demonization and dehumanization of the Jewish State. Lest we ask later “why did we not do something about Israel’s fall when we had a chance,” let us answer the following now: If not we, who, and if not now, when?
A Warm Embrace, A Welcome Back
This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between award-winning investigative journalist and author Zager and Bussel, a foreign correspondent reporting from Israel.
Ari Bussel and Norma Zager collaborate both in writing and on the air in a point-counterpoint discussion of all things Israel-related. Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.
© Israel Monitor, February, 2016
First Published February 22, 2016
Op-Ed: The Water Ambassadors
© Arutz Sheva, All Rights Reserved
Ari Bussel is an activist with a deep passion and commitment to truth. His continuous fact-finding missions to the Middle East to secure truthful and factual information about the status of the situation are disseminated to a worldwide audience through his letters, journals and articles. Bussel is a graduate of UCLA and Stanford. His area of expertise is Israel’s Public Diplomacy.
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