On the war in Gaza - comment

Israel’s inability to properly frame the war for what it was, a war of defense against a terrorist group that seeks to destroy Israel, has been deeply upsetting.

PRO-PALESTINIAN demonstrators attend a protest in London last weekend. (photo credit: TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS)
PRO-PALESTINIAN demonstrators attend a protest in London last weekend.
It has now been a few weeks since the latest round of fighting in Gaza. In Israel, as we always do, things bounce right back to normal. But I am left deeply upset.
Of course the human pain on both sides of the conflict still leaves its scar. Of course both the Palestinians and Israelis who lost family members and their homes are still suffering in ways that I cannot even imagine. But there were two things that were different for me personally as Jewish Israeli citizen living far from the rockets. 
The first were the pogroms against Jews in the mixed Arab and Jewish cities. (Yes, I am aware there were despicable violent reactions of Jews to these pogroms as well)
The second was Israel’s inability to properly frame the war for what it was, a war of defense against a terrorist group that seeks to destroy Israel.
My only comment about the pogroms was that they smashed the illusion among many Jews that there is such a thing as Israeli-Arabs. In my mind, along with many other Jewish Israelis, Israeli-Arabs were citizens of Israel with equal rights. They served in the government, hospitals, police and hi-tech sectors of Israel’s economy. Sure, there was tension between them and their fellow Jewish citizens, and yes, I do believe that Arabs do experience some racism and prejudice here in Israel. But, I had believed that Israeli Arabs, unlike their cousins in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, saw themselves as full partners in Israel and that the racism and prejudice that exist are vestiges of the earlier animosity and would soon disappear as Arabs become more and more integrated in Israeli society.
While it is easy to make an analogy to race relations in the US, it is simply a false equation. The first thing is that African-Americans rightfully see themselves as Americans. They demand equality and justice in the name of the same laws and the Constitution of the United States, (even if they were originally drafted by white slave owners). They seek their share of the American dream as full-fledged citizens of the United States. African Americans may advocate for the special interests of black Americans, as they should, but it is by virtue of being Americans that they seek those rights. Second, all of this is in spite of a history of brutal inhuman enslavement of blacks in America. Even if they were not represented in the Continental Congress, and even if their signatures are absent on the Declaration of Independence, they are proud to include themselves as part of the story of America.
The latest violence by Arab citizens of Israel makes me question whether they see themselves as Palestinians, not Israelis. It seems that they do not share the same vision of Israel as a Jewish State with equal rights to all its inhabitants. It seems that they would not add their signature to Israel’s Declaration of Independence if given the chance. This saddens me. I hope I am wrong and I hope that the violence really was just a few rotten apples. The Arab community going out of their way to provide kosher food, drinks and hospitality to the survivors of the tragedy of Meron, just a week before the war, is, I hope, the more correct picture of Arabs in Israel and offers me an exit ramp from these terrible thoughts.
AS FOR the second thing; until recently, the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and the Arabs, was a metaphor for an impossibly difficult diplomatic situation that simply cannot be solved. The latest attempt to simplify and take away the context of the conflict does not serve the good of either the Arabs or the Jews.
American media, along with the progressive Left, have turned Israel into a white occupying colonizer. They fail to recognize the rights of Jews as the indigenous people of Israel, which in effect erases millennia of Jewish history. The inability to see Israel as only protecting itself during the war, and the willful miscategorization of the Iron Dome as a weapon instead of a shield can only be antisemitism. Complaining that far more Palestinians died than Israelis made me feel that the progressive Left was upset that not enough Jews died. 
Until the 19th century, hatred of Jews was proudly labeled as such. With the entry of Jews into “polite” European society, Wilhelm Marr, a German agitator, coined the term “antisemite” to distance himself from the vulgarity associated with hatred of Jews. After the Holocaust, the term “antisemite” became considered too vulgar and the term “anti-Zionist was used.” But make no mistake, anti-Zionism is in fact antisemitism.
Criticizing Israel and its policies is just. Israel, like every country and person, makes its fair share of mistakes. During this war, Israel did in fact kill some innocent Palestinians. Each and every single one of them was either an operational failure, or because the Hamas leadership purposely inserted themselves into a civilian area, leaving Israel no choice but to strike in order to prevent further missiles into Israel. Hamas on the other hand targets civilians and considers the death of innocent Jews an operational success.
But to question Israel’s right to exist or its right to defend itself when thousands of missiles rained down upon its civilian population is antisemitic. An example I often give is of a little brat that keeps poking you in the eye. You tell him to stop, but he does not. He continues to poke you in the eye and it really hurts and is blinding. The right thing to do, is to just getup move away from him and not smack him in the face to make him stop. The problem is that the Hamas keeps on poking us in the eye and we quite literally have nowhere else to go. We Jews do not have the luxury to get up and leave. So we finally after repeatedly warning them to stop, smacked them away, and we are being blamed as the aggressor.
Perhaps the most jarring image I saw during the war that encapsulates just how far Israel has failed to make its case was a sign I saw: “Queers for Palestine.” It goes back to my earlier point of how much the progressive Left misunderstands the situation. In Gaza they imprison a man guilty of homosexual sex. In Israel we make him a coalition partner.