Nine common myths about Israel

Myth number 1: The international community opposes Israel because it is an “ethnic nation-state.”

Pro-Israel graffiti 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Pro-Israel graffiti 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
1. The international community opposes Israel because it is an “ethnic nation-state.”
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 authoritative.
Their protocols, however, are not public, and therefore there is no way of knowing who made this decision, or on what basis.
The 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.
4. The 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 government.
Comparing Israel’s raison d’etre with that of Arab Palestinians is absurd. Moreover, Arab Palestinians are unable to define their own identity.
5. Palestinians lack political/national self-determination.
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 auspice.
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.
The 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 criticism.
Adopting the report will refute the lie that “settlements are illegal.”
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 self-determination.
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 Palestinian state.
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.
9. 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.
These claims, however, have not been examined by authorized courts and therefore lack authenticity.
The writer is a PhD historian, writer and journalist living in Jerusalem