Neil Lazarus
Neil Lazarus
An internationally acclaimed expert in the fields of Middle East politics, public diplomacy and effective communication training.

10 Questions to ask an anti Israel Protester

There is a new insidious tactic by the radical far left and it is challenging the establishment effectively. Its simplicity is its brilliance

The method is easy. Join a trip, preferably one that you don’t have to pay for and ask as many questions as you can about the occupation. The second stage is, to wait a few days, complain that you haven’t heard about the real truth behind Israel’s occupation and leave dramatically. Before departing make sure that it’s live streamed.

This tactic is proving a new challenge to many people who actually come to Israel to try and understand more, to receive an education and to look at two sides of a remarkably complicated conflict.

The people involved in this amateur dramatics are not interested in education, dialogue, discussion or staying up late at night arguing the final details which has always been the tradition of the Left.

They are hardcore, radical, fanatical so-called liberals that are not interested in liberal values. It’s very simple, they have an agenda, they see that only they are right and seek to prove it at both the cost and enjoyment of other people on the visit.

One common tactic is that these people will meet groups at the airport purporting that they present the real truth, handing out leaflets specifying which questions should be asked.

They never change their own minds because if you challenge them, they say you are supporting the oppressor. they represent the oppressed.

But I want to challenge these people, and I want to provide you with questions you should ask a protester who meets you before your trip to Israel.

1. When they talk about the occupation, what occupation are they actually talking about? You see Hamas would talk about the occupation of Palestine which would include: Haifa, Tel Aviv and Beersheba. Are they talking just about the West Bank or are they talking about the whole of Israel? What gives them the right to define what the occupation is?

2. If the occupation and Israel’s control of the West Bank is the major issue, why did Palestinians reject Ehud Olmert’s offer of a ninety six percent withdrawal of the West Bank with a 4% land swap. Israel has offered to end the present control/occupation of the West Bank; the Palestinians have refused it. How do they explain that?

3. If settlements are really the issue, why are we nearly on the verge of yet another war with Gaza and Hamas? Israel removed 9000 Jews from their homes by forcefully evicting them. We even removed Jewish graves from cemeteries, yet the situation got worse not better. How will these protesters guarantee us that by withdrawing from all settlements, the situation would be better not worse in the West Bank, given the precedent of what happened in Gaza. If they said Kaddish; the prayer of mourning, for those victims in Gaza, did they also say Kaddish for the 1300 victims of Hamas terrorism, killed by Hamas, on buses and in coffee shops on the streets of Israel? If not, why not? Surely, they wouldn’t justify that violence.

4. I’m sure they would agree that Israel’s history and the Jewish people’s history goes back thousands of years. Because if not, why are they rewriting history to suit their ideology. That’s somewhat fascist. George Orwell warned us about it in his book 1984. If they do admit that Jewish history goes back for thousands of years, why are they denying the rights of an indigenous population to return? I support indigenous rights, why don’t they?

5. Why do they claim that all Jews, as a precondition for peace, should leave the West Bank? Isn’t that ethnic cleansing? I’m against removing populations based on ethnicity. Why do they demand that all Jews leave?

6. They always say that we should visit Hebron, and I think you should visit as many places as you can; go to Ramallah, go to Jenin, go to all these places. Hebron is very specific, and really the core of the conflict. But if they are going to Hebron, what’s their opinion on the massacre of Jews in Hebron? I assume they know that 67 of the 69 Jews were killed back in 1929. Please tell me that they’re aware of that. What’s your opinion?

7. They say they’re very open minded, so my seventh question will be: “If I could organize for you a meeting with a settler, would you have dinner with them, stay overnight, have a Shabbat?” Surely, they would because they also want to meet with Palestinians. If not, why not?

8. They are very critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza, but if they support a two-state solution; Israel and Palestine, surely, they recognize Israel’s right to protect its borders. What would they have done if 40,000 people had tried to storm the border in their home country in five different places? Many people were shouting, “Death to the Jews.” What would their reaction have been?

9. Why do they say that they are progressive? Why do they say that they are liberal? If they call for the boycott of Israel they’re actually calling for two groups, Israelis and Palestinians, not to be talking to each other, but rather having less contact. I truly believe that peace will come when both sides are educated and when both sides recognize each other’s narratives. I don’t dismiss the Palestinian narrative. In fact, in my seminars, I teach it. I talk about the Al Naqba, I talk about 1948. Why is it they negate the right of Jews and their history in the West Bank? Understanding is not agreeing. They don’t have to agree that Jews have a right to be there, but to be a real liberal, to be a real progressive is to understand both sides and to bring them together.

10. And finally: Why do they shout their opposition at the top of their voices? Are they interesting in making the world a better place or political posturing? Surely the first move to peace is education? Will they start listening?

The time has come to pose these questions to these protestors.

After all, if not now, when?

About the Author
Neil Lazarus is an internationally acclaimed expert in the field of Middle East Politics, Israel Public Diplomacy and Effective Communication Training. He is the the director of He is emerging as one of Israel's leading key note speakers. He regularly podcasts.
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