A View from Israel: The Diaspora IDF

Next week is the eighth annual Israeli Apartheid Week – the start of an annual campaign that seeks to delegitimize Israel.

By ISRAEL KASNETT
February 17, 2012 17:27
4 minute read.
Pro-Palestinian supporters

Pro-Palestinian supporters 521. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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Next week is the eighth annual Israeli Apartheid Week – the start of an annual campaign that seeks to delegitimize Israel and, according to the official website, “educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement.”

To accommodate university schedules across various regions, the events will take place from February 20 to March 10 in Europe, February 26 to March 3 in the US and March 5-11 in Arab countries and South Africa.

The website encourages activists to “Join us in making this a year of struggle against apartheid and for justice, equality, and peace.”

To be clear, these activists are not pro- Palestinian as they claim, but rather are anti-Israel.

In their blind vigor to delegitimize Israel, they fail to understand that a Palestinian society that kills its own young girls in “honor killings” is not just. A society that treats its own women as second-class citizens is not interested in equality. A society that glorifies suicide bombers is not interested in peace.

And there is no logical reason these activists should take any more interest in the Palestinians than they do in the causes of others. There are millions of people around the globe suffering from far worse, but these so-called activists have decided to launch a BDS campaign on the one democracy in the Middle East solely because it is Jewish.

These are people who are not concerned that the Palestinians do not have a state of their own. Rather, they are concerned with the fact that the Jewish people do.

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ANTI-ISRAEL events such as Israel Apartheid Week are damaging since they reinforce, for those who are easily swayed, the false notion that Israel is an apartheid state and deserves to be sanctioned by the international community.

The liberal Left and naive college students have been duped by the Palestinian narrative and have taken it further than the Palestinians ever believed it would go.

The new media age has had a profound effect on the ability of Israel’s detractors to spread their vitriolic. As Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Thankfully, numerous pro-Israel groups today, especially those that have a presence on campuses in North America and Europe, have managed to stem the influence that anti-Israel groups have on unsuspecting, naive students.

Anti-Israel forums and campaigns used to be countered with pro-Israel forums and campaigns.

But now, many pro-Israel groups have made efforts to preempt anti-Semitic activists by implementing new campaigns as an ongoing strategy rather than remaining stuck in a cycle of action/reaction.

Pro-Israel activism has become, out of necessity, proactive activism.

ISRAEL IS not a perfect country and there is no reason to make it seem as though it is.

But no one should ever apologize for the need the Jewish state has to defend itself.

Will pro-Israel activists change the minds of those who are bent on defending Palestinians unconditionally? The answer is no.

But activists can steer the argument in the right direction.

The main focus at this point should be two-pronged: For one, emphasis must be placed on the fact that Iran is not only Israel’s problem, but is rather a world threat.

Second, Israel has great qualities and many successes. Activists must loudly and repeatedly emphasize the many positive ways in which Israel continues to contribute to the global community.

Sir Winston Churchill once said, “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”

While activists can counter IAW with irrefutable facts and numbers, with photos and videos, what is needed is stronger participation.

The more activists showing their presence and voicing their support, the higher the chance that the ignorant will become the informed.

Pro-Israel activists do not need to focus on refuting every claim the other side makes. Going on the offensive is much better than remaining on the defensive.

Activists should make arguments that highlight the steps towards peace Israel has already taken. They can show the scores of Palestinian-owned mansions, Mercedes and BMWs in the West Bank, and the new, modern mall and overflowing food markets in Gaza.

Challenge those who make the apartheid claim to visit the supermarket I frequent where IDF soldiers wait in line with Palestinians at the checkout counter.

If activists can challenge lies with facts, they will make a huge difference in the way people think about Israel.

Good luck to all of you on campus who fight for Israel daily. Don’t ever give up. You are the Diaspora IDF.

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