The first, most important thing to understand about the Western and especially
American debate on Israel is this: Never before in history has there been such a
concerted, systematic and vicious campaign to discredit and demonize Israel, and
especially to undermine its support in the Jewish community. Without
comprehending this fact, the massive attacks from academia, mass media,
organizations and even in mainstream political and intellectual debate cannot be
In other words, we aren’t dealing with lots of mistakes, but
with the mass-production of hate speech.
These assaults cannot be taken
as isolated incidents. While some are obviously outrageous – the British
politician accusing Israel of genocide; a cartoon showing Ariel Sharon eating
Palestinian children; Egypt’s president calling Jews sub-humans; the Swedish
newspaper claiming Israel murders Palestinians to steal their organs – even the
better-constructed items are equally fallacious.
Not all are aware, of
course, of what they are doing. There are dupes as well as demonizers, but the
dupes often seem all too credulous to be wholly innocent.
are so many lies – new ones appear each day – and so many facts to counter them
with that it is partly a waste of time to counter each offensive in
What’s necessary is to understand that this is all based on lies,
ignorance and conscious bad faith.
THE CATEGORIES include, but are not
limited to: falsification of photographs and fabrication of events; distortion
of history; invention of quotes; publishing disproportionate numbers of
anti-Israel books and articles; indoctrination in schools; refusal to mainstream
Israeli views and placing an overwhelming emphasis on radical, critical ones;
giving excessive credibility to hostile sources’ outlandish tales (a worldwide
story on an alleged, since proven false massacre in Jenin based on a single
mysterious informant is just one example).
There is also the creation of
new categories of sin designed specifically as part of the anti- Israel campaign
and applied only to Israel, i.e., “pinkwashing” (mistreatment of gays in a
country that is among the world’s most open), or disproportionate use of force
Besides the obsession and double standards are the eagerness,
uncontrollable hatred, self-righteousness, unconcern for fairness or balance, and
passion that reveal the hidden agenda of those involved. They are indifferent to
real war crimes, intolerance and oppression by others in the world. Their
behavior should have destroyed their credibility, but they are protected
Some details of interest:
• This campaign’s intensity and
one-sidedness has relatively little effect on the actual Middle East situation
or on Western government policies.
• The main goal is to portray Israel
as responsible for the lack of peace, just as Jews were historically blamed by
those hostile to them for anti-Semitism. Since the experience of the 1993-2000
“peace process” era, the fact that the conflict continues because of the
intransigence of Israel’s enemies should have been obvious. Yet this history has
been forgotten and its impact on Israeli thinking buried or censored.
Much of the new antagonism stems from Western intelligentsia’s sharp turn to the
Left. The question, of course, is why Israel in particular is such a
prominent issue among the many causes available to them.
• What is
important is not so much to define specific things as “anti-Semitic” – which
generates distracting debates – but to explicate the creation of a situation
equivalent in effect to pre-1945 anti-Semitism. Since about 40 percent of the
world’s Jews live in Israel and most of the rest support Israel, the resulting
slander and demonization is also a slur and hatred against the vast majority of
Jews. The irrationality, obsession, intimidation and slander are quite
equivalent to what Jews suffered under historic anti-Semitism.
Israelis and their supporters are portrayed – as in classical anti-Semitism – as
irrational creatures involved in incomprehensible behavior. Removing from public
consciousness their experiences, attitudes and sufferings leaves the conclusion
that their behavior is evil, racist, bloodthirsty and power-hungry.
example, as a country under assault, Israel has to act militarily at times. The
army and government have no interest in wasting credibility and resources by
injuring Palestinians for fun or out of pure meanness. Yet this is how Israeli
behavior is often portrayed.
Similarly, Israel has lots to gain from
peace since, if secure and lasting, it would provide such benefits as fewer
deaths, less time and money going to the military, beneficial trade with
neighbors and higher living standards, etc. To believe Israel doesn’t want peace
is to believe it is aggressive and has devious ends.
And again, if Israel
really doesn’t face an existential threat – or only an easily defused one – then
its acting otherwise constitutes psychotic behavior.
A MAJOR and new
theme of this campaign is to convince American Jews that either Israel has
become illegitimate or must be bashed for its own good. Undeniably, this
campaign has enjoyed success on that front. Others are temporarily taken in by
nonsense like the Western expert/media spin on the recent Israeli elections
heading the country toward fascism.
While what we have here on the
surface seems like disproportionate insanity, it is actually ideologically
consistent and politically motivated. The result is an environment in which the
virulently anti-Semitic, genocidal, anti-Christian, anti-American and
pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood is the beneficiary of apologetics while Israel
A nut from an extremist cult spit on a teenage Jewish girl in a
small town in Israel and the next thing you know there is a serious Western
debate over Israel losing its soul.
A few fans from Israel’s most
nationalist football team don’t want Muslim players – Arabs already play for all
the other teams and are never harassed – and the next thing you know the New
York Times compares Israel to Nazi Germany.
One comforting thing about
this campaign is that its activists so often having to resort to lies and
exaggeration shows how little genuine material they possess.
effect is this all having in the real world? Ironically, it is less damaging to
Israel itself (attempts at economic boycotts, for example, have yielded no real
damage) than to Western Jews who live in the societies so affected. The growing
pressure will result in some running for cover – or even joining the assailants
– but far more will ultimately wake up.