Most people like to think of themselves as moral, but the reality is that individuals tend to choose a moral stand the same way they pick out their clothes: based on social trends. Most people say that they support women’s rights, gay rights, race equality, and freedom of religion, even if they don’t.
Supporting Israel, however, is not fashionable even though it is the right moral choice. It carries the risk of personal and professional isolation, and in a large and growing number of countries, it also carries risks to one’s physical safety. Only the most courageous and ethical among us take that stand. We face the noisy and often violent opposition of the dimwitted and the uninformed anti-Zionists who are professionally and richly supported by a large network of anti-Semites.
When a Palestinian baby is killed by an IDF air strike in Gaza, naive and cowardly people jump to the easiest and most fashionable conclusion: Israel’s objective is to kill Palestinian babies. It takes moral strength to resist the social pressure to ignore the background of such an event, and to recognize that Palestinian terrorists purposefully create a situation where Israel has no choice but to defend itself and where avoiding civilian casualties is practically impossible.
Sadly we do not live in a world where moral courage is predominant among the masses. Most people are easily influenced into supporting terrorism under the guise of supporting babies and are quick to believe (or pretend to believe) lies that make them feel included.
Phoney and superficial support for Palestine is now the ultimate fashion statement. Attending anti-Israel rallies and shouting down pro-Israel speakers, even when the speaker is a Palestinian, is not only acceptable but also cynically encouraged as a sign of being a fighter for justice. The anti-Israel mob, however, does not support the Palestinians, and it never has. It is happy to sacrifice Palestinian jobs in the West Bank in order to demonize Israel. It does not support the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel; it supports the destruction of Israel.
Considering Jewish history in the Middle East and particularly in the land of Israel, an ethical person supports the independence of the Jewish nation. Considering the democratic and liberal nature of Israel, an ethical person also recognizes Israel’s importance to the future development of the Middle East. The Arabs who decided to reject Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948 are not ethical. The Israel / Arab conflict is the result of that atrocious and unethical decision.
An ethical person understands that Israel had no choice but to defend herself when she was attacked in 1948 and many times after that. In defending herself, Israel has used tactics at least as ethical as tactics used by other modern democracies when they are attacked. Clearly not every action taken by Israel is beyond reproach (as would be the case with any nation), but unethical people have turned the conflict on its head in order to satisfy their need to demonize the Jews.
Instead of recognizing the colossal abuses by Arabs against Israel, unethical people have made a career out of nitpicking small abuses by Israel and amplifying them using exaggerations and a sophisticated web of lies. At the same time, they ignore all crimes committed by Israel’s enemies. This inverted approach to ethics has gained great momentum in a world where lazy academics and students need sexy and trendy issues to hang on to. Unethical behavior is rewarded while truth and morality are thrown to the wolves.
Anti-Zionists are ethically equivalent to chauvinist judges who in the past (and still today in some parts of the world) blamed and punished a victim of rape for defending herself but ignored the criminal act of rape and the continued attacks by the rapist. Like those judges, anti-Zionists have the weight of authority behind them (in this case the highly anti-Israel United Nations). The chauvinist judges’ worry is that the victim of rape may overcome her attacker, just as the anti-Zionists’ anguish is that Israel has resisted hers.
The correct moral stand is crystal clear to anyone who is informed and honest. One must support Israel’s right to exist and defend herself while recognizing that Israel, like any nation, isn’t perfect and should be criticized when she errs – this is the position of Alan Dershowitz, a prominent defender of civil liberties, who is thoroughly hated by anti-Zionists. But the forces united in favor of the wrong moral stand (demonizing Israel at every opportunity, real or invented) are exceptionally powerful.
Despite this, Israel still has a surprisingly diverse set of defendants, mostly among Jews, but also among non-Jews. These remarkable people have decided to stand for what’s right rather than for what’s hip. The non-Jewish pro-Israel activists come from all backgrounds: Arabs such as Palestinian Bassem Eid, Syrian Aboud Dandachi, Egyptian Hussein Aboubakr, Lebanese Jonathan El-Khoury, and Jordanian Mudar Zahran; non-Arab Muslims such as Kasim Hafeez; Christians such as Father Gabriel Naddaf; African-Americans such as Dumisani Washington; North American Natives such as Ryan Mervyn Bellerose; and many others.
The pro-Israel advocates have made a deliberate choice to stand for Israel and for moral values rather than to follow the easy route and join the anti-Israel mob. They know the risks that they take, and they know that their task is grueling, but they also know that they will always be proud of what they did.