Israel – seen to some as being the most nefarious, heinous and odious country in the world. No other country gets a remotely comparable amount of criticism (from international bodies, states, media, academia etc.). No other country gets the same spotlight, the same protests, the same threats, and the same attention. There is no Roger Waters led boycott of Sudan, but of course there is one of Israel.
Most accusations against Israel are baseless, libellous, and simply wrong; but for the sake of this article, lets accept every single one of them. Lets say Israel is truly an apartheid, ethnic cleansing evil regime; does this explain why Israel is so hated? Not even close.
Even if every destructive claim against Israel were valid, it would still be nowhere close to one of the most damaging or oppressive states in the world. Since the years 2000, 1975, 1948 or however far one wants to go back, Israel has not been in the top ten list of casualties. The amount of lands occupied by other states or annexed is numerous; the amount of states which build “illegal” settlements is significant and just like the list of countries with the highest casualty count, least freedom, most oppression and poverty, nobody has any idea about whom these countries are.
It is not as if the Palestinians are especially special people who bring greater attention either. When 1000’s of Palestinians died in Syria recently, this was not deemed important news or a cause of concern, even for the Palestinian people. Once again, even if every charge against Israel was true, more Palestinians would have been killed from Arab-Palestinian violence than from Israeli-Palestinian violence in addition to facing a much more severe form of apartheid, poverty while having less government representation and rights.
So if its not Israel’s record which causes this attention, what is it? To me, I believe there are three main reasons for the hatred of Israel, almost always working in coordination with each other. These stem from Israel being Jewish, propaganda and ignorance.
Frequently Peter Beinart writes about the echo chamber and ignorance of American Jews about Israel. I am proud that there are Peter Beinart’s in the world but I must say that I think that Peter Beinart’s existence is the best refutation of his own argument. No other group has the same criticism of their own people as the Jews do. The amount of questioning that Jews do about Israel is simply unparalleled.
I support every Jew to be as vocal and involved with Israel as they want, regardless of how critical they are. The only “problem” is how prominent and influential Jews are. Government, Media, Academia is all filled with Jews – Jews who use their power to question and criticize Israel as their own self-reflection. The New York Times is a Jew’s guilty conscience. Academics, pundits and politicians are not Saudi or Burmese people writing about their governments, but Jews voicing their opinion on Israel.
There are over 1.5 billion Muslims (with 57 countries), 400 million Arabs (with 22 countries) and formerly 100’s of millions of people under the Soviet umbrella. Since the creation of Israel, these groups often in coordination with each other published and promoted massive propaganda campaigns against Israel. Through international bodies, media, literature, government and many other mediums, these groups were (and for the most part, still are) engaged in a battle to demonize Israel. Much of this was strategic as it was used as a tool to weaken the West, and for governments to deflect from their problems, however it had an incredible impact at getting billions of people to not only hate Israel, but to prioritize it in their lives.
Israel being a wealthy, educated country viewed as being “white” also makes things more challenging. People care more about inequality than they do about quality. The reason why South Africa was hated so much was not because it was the country that offered the lowest quality of living for their population, but because it was seen as being the most unequal country in the world. When people see two ethnic groups in conflict that they not only have nothing in common with (such as white skin), they see them as equals and in many cases, with such contempt that they do not care what happens. From the Western perspective, Arabs fighting each other – who cares, brown people fighting each other – who cares, Africans fighting each other – who cares; white people fighting against non-white people – evil colonization that must be stopped.
In spite of the aforementioned factors, nothing would be possible without ignorance. Almost nobody in the world knows about the conflict in Yemen, Sudan, Nigeria, or Somalia or really anywhere else in the world. Due to the reasons listed above, everybody knows about Israel. Every time Israel does something, it is reported and deemed important. Most people live in their cocoon of the world where the only conflict or oppression they hear about in the world is Israel. This in supplement to all of the expert opinions suggesting to them how evil Israel is (influenced by the Soviet-Muslim propaganda and authenticated by critical Jews). Then added to the fact that they see these powerful wealthy white people victimizing poor, helpless “native” ethnic people without context, their decision is made; Israel is wrong and these people are now experts, free (and likely) to spread their analysis to everyone else.
When I started writing this article, I compared all recent conflicts by casualty count and civilian deaths, looked at all annexations, occupations or settlements, and analyzed the oppression, poverty, freedom of people all over the world. Aside from being horrified by the mass amount of injustices that take place throughout this world, I realized it is all irrelevant. In the past decade alone, two Arab states killed over 100,000 of their own citizens with broad attention being drawn to both cases; nobody cared. Just as nobody cares about the other 10+ conflicts in the Arab world over the past decade leading to the deaths of 10,000’s of civilians. If nobody cares about occupied land and settlements in Europe (Cyprus), surely nobody will care about it in Eritrea or Morocco.
I used to think that activists with no relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were all anti-Semites due to their hypocritical stance on Israel in comparison to all of the other countries in the world that they are ignoring. I now realize that I’m wrong; these people (for the most part) do not hate Jews. However, they are just ignorant, mindless individuals. Morality only applies to conflicts that the world acknowledges and society has only deemed there to be one conflict worth caring about.
Albert Einstein once said, “never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity” and I think it is applicable in the case of Israel. Anti-Semitism is a disturbingly large problem that most people cannot even comprehend. There is no doubt that it does impact the world’s view of Israel. However, I truly believe that ignorance and apathy, or as Einstein describes as “stupidity” is the main cause of the world’s view on Israel. I cannot explain the John Mearsheimer’s and Roger Waters of the world and do not think my argument applies to them, but the people buying their books and supporting them I believe fall into this category.