Nine common myths about Israel
Myth number 1: The international community opposes Israel because it is an “ethnic nation-state.”
Pro-Israel graffiti. Photo: Courtesy
1. The international community opposes Israel because it is an “ethnic
A cover for Jew-hatred, this argument is applied only
against Israel and the Jewish people.
2. Judea and Samaria (the “West
Bank” of the Jordan River) belong to the “Palestinians.”
By history and
law (San Remo agreements, League of Nations’ decisions, British Mandate and the
UN Charter (Article 80) “Palestine” – as it was then called – is the Jewish
national home and belongs to the Jewish people. Arabs and the PLO also claim
this territory but in the Oslo Agreements (1993) they agreed to accept part of
the area in return for ending the conflict, recognizing Israel, and peace. That
was supposed to be the deal.
The International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) changed international law by interpreting the Fourth Geneva Convention
(GC IV) as applicable to the territories which Israel acquired as a result of
the 1967 Six Day War. Arbitrarily and unilaterally, the ICRC declared Israel’s
presence in these areas as “occupation in violation of GC IV” and has promoted
this canard, especially via the UN.
During the late 1990s, the ICRC added
a further onus, declaring Judea and Samaria to be “occupied Palestinian
territory,” thus designating presumptive ownership.
Because the ICRC is
the official “guardian” of GC IV, its decisions are considered
Their protocols, however, are not public, and therefore
there is no way of knowing who made this decision, or on what basis.
entire legal case against Israel rests on decisions made by the ICRC in secret,
without transparency, and apparently, without evidence.
3. American Jews
– especially those in college – are disaffected from Israel because of the
conflict with the Palestinians.
There is no basis for such a statement,
and certainly no reason for Israel to consider it in policy decisions. This myth
is used to pressure Israel into making more concessions, to encourage withdrawal
from Judea and Samaria, and to create another Palestinian state.
Palestinians deserve a state, just like Israel.
No one “deserves” a
state; it is earned, based on commitments to peace and security for its
neighbors, freedom, democracy, and an honest and open system of
Comparing Israel’s raison d’etre with that of Arab
Palestinians is absurd. Moreover, Arab Palestinians are unable to define their
5. Palestinians lack political/national
But, Jordan was created as a Palestinian state by the
British in 1921, albeit ruled by a Saudi tribe, and two-thirds of its population
is considered Palestinian. Palestinians rejected many offers by Israel to
achieve statehood. They don’t want to live alongside Israel; they want to
replace Israel. A two-state solution will not resolve the problem of millions of
so-called Arab Palestinian refugees living in the region under UNRWA
6. Adopting the Edmund Levy Commission report (which presents
Israel’s legitimate rights in Judea and Samaria) would make it impossible for
Israel to argue that it is the Palestinians who refuse to negotiate.
Palestinians have already refused to negotiate and seek recognition unilaterally
by the UN; adopting the Levy report won’t change their goal. Those who oppose
the report do so because they oppose settlements, not because it will deflect
Adopting the report will refute the lie that “settlements are
7. The occupation (of all areas claimed by Arabs) is a “moral
disaster” that numbs our moral sensibilities.
Over 95 percent of Arab
Palestinians live under PA control and carry passports issued by the PA or
Jordan, and can exercise political rights and limited
Due to terrorism, missile attacks from Gaza, and
ongoing incitement, offering sovereignty to another probable terrorist entity is
suicidal and immoral.
8. The Levy report does not serve Israel’s
interests; Zionism should aspire to greater social equality, including a
Ideally, perhaps, one might argue that a Palestinian
state dedicated to peace with Israel would be welcome. In the absence of this
possibility, however, and in view of regional turmoil and the rise of radical
Islamism, it is not in Israel’s national interest to promote Palestinian
statehood or to postpone its own development and national interests.
Israelis (Jews) steal private Palestinian land.
This canard has not been
proven. Evidence brought by Arab claimants against Jews has not been adjudicated
properly in courts. The Civil Administration, Prosecutors’ Office and other
state institutions often mistakenly, or ignorantly, sign-off on Arab claims, and
Israel’s High Court accepts these documents as valid.
however, have not been examined by authorized courts and therefore lack
The writer is a PhD historian, writer and journalist living